The Poor in Tytherington


Tytherington Life

Little is known about the condition of the poor in Tytherington in medieval times; charity from the Church and the community probably sufficed to ameliorate the worst hardships. In 1597, the poor became the legal responsibility of the community, an arrangement which basically held until 1834. The annual meeting of property holding parishioners, the Vestry, appointed two Churchwardens and two or more 'substantial householders' known as Overseers of the Poor, whose duty it was to care for the poor. In Tytherington, there is tangible evidence of their activities; a row of seven cottages for paupers was built on the hill sometime in the 18th century. Under the 1834 Act, ratepayers elected Boards of Guardians and workhouses were built, relieving the parish of all but financial obligations.

A few relevant documents survive, from the early part of the 19th century. The Overseers' accounts 1824-1837, some assessments for the Poor Rate, details of payments, all would be subject for profitable study. `The Disbursements of Stephen Toghill Overseer of the Poor for the said Parish of Tytherington for the first half of the year 1824' occupy six foolscap pages. Here are a few typical items.

                                                                                     s   d
To paid for Washing and Mending for W Godfrey       1  7   5
To paid for Half Year's rent for J Boits                        2  12 6
To paid Moses Pinnell for Buring [sic] his Child                 5 0
Paid H Baker for Making Hiz: Gardner, Close                   4 8
Do for Smook frock & pair Breecks for Boits Boy            7 6
Paid Isaac Fry for Watkins Girl                                      19  6
Gave Toby Morgan towards his rent                           1 10 0
John Boyts 3 days work                                                  4 6
Itchington Bridge Money to 2700 Rate                       4 2 1
Tytherington Bridge Money do "                                  6  9 4
Paid Isaac Fry for Clothing Fanny Watkins                    10 0
Gave Mary Gardner towards a pair of shose                  2 0
AWarrant for Frederick Moxham attending Sessions & 1 0 0
Journey to Horsley & Expences
To paid a woman for looking after Harry Curtis                2 0
To paid for 5 and a half yards Dowlas for G Boyt            5 6

There were many small payments to individuals. The total expenditure for the half-year was 62-18-6d. Dowlas was a strong coarse calico, or linen.

There are occasional references to paupers in the Register of Burials, e.g., in 1681 Edward Nicholls 'having received alms from the Parish for about 40 years,' in 1700 Margaret Nash `almswoman', and between 1784 and 1793, fifteen paupers were noted. By 1826 the problem had become acute, nationally, and Tytherington for the first time 'farmed out' its poor; Isaac Roberts, a yeoman of Thornbury, undertook to look after them for a fixed sum. The contract was renewed, for 120 in 1827, for 160 in 1828; Roberts was replaced, the payment went up 195, and in 1834 the new Act changed everything. The Thornbury Workhouse was built by 1840, Tytherington ratepayers agreed at a Vestry on 28th November 1839 that the Guardians of the Union should sell the seven cottages on the Hill, and already in 1840 the first burial of a pauper from the Workhouse took place in Tytherington.  The 1881 Census shows five Tytherington villagers as residents in the Thornbury workhouse.