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Norfolk: Poor Law

Stow Incorporation (in Suffolk) 1764 - 1835

(Stow Union from 1835)

This Suffolk Poor Law Union was situated to the south west of Diss and was centered west of Stowmarket.

Incorporation history

Description of the Union (previously an Incorporation) - White's 1844 Suffolk

The following is extracted from pages 265 and 266 of the gazetteer and is part of the section entitled "Stow Hundred".

STOW UNION compises an area of 89 square miles and 54,978 acres divided into 34 parishes, of which 14 are in Stow Hundred, 11 in Blackbourn Hundred, and 9 in Thedwestry Hundred, which see. In 1841, it had 19,675 inhabitants of whom 9759 were males, and 9916 were females ; and 4072 houses, of which 113 were empty, and 29 building, when the census was taken. Its expenditure for the support of the poor, in 1838, was £7768, and in 1840, £7754. 9s. The average annual expenditure of the 34 parishes, during the three years preceding the formation of the Union, was £14,919. The Union Workhouse, standing on an eminence in the parish of Onehouse. more than 1½ W. of Stowmarket, was erected in 1781, as a House of Industry for the 14 parishes of Stow Hundred, which were incorporated under Gilbert's Act. It cost more than £12,000, and was described in 1810 as having more the appearance of a gentleman's seat than a receptacle for paupers. Its internal arrangement has been considerably altered since the formation of the present Union, in 1835, to afford a better classification of the inmates, of whom it had 235, in 1821 ; 189, in 1831 ; but only 91 in 1841, so that it appears to have fewer paupers from 34, than it had from 14 parishes. They are maintained at the average weekly cost of 2s. 4d. per head. Each parish in the Union returns one guardian, except Stowmarket, which returns two. Mr. Edw. and Mrs. Ablitt are master and matron of the Workhouse ; Mr. E. R. Buchanan, of Stowmarket, is Clerk to the Board of Guardians, and also Superintendent Registrar. Mr. Wm Feltham is Registrar of Marriages for the whole Union, which is divided into three Relieving and Registration Districts. The Registrars of Births and Deaths are Spencer Freeman, for Stowmarket District ; Edw. Knevett, for Rattlesden District ; and C. M. Burcham, for Walsham-le-Willows District. The latter is also Registrar of Marriages for the latter district; and Mr. Wm. Feltham is Registrar of marriages for the other two districts. The Relieving Officers are, E. Knevett, C. B. Law, and C. M. Burcham. On the 11th of August, 1843, several pieces of plate, which cost £300, raised by subscription, were presented by the Guardians and other principal inhabitants of this union, to John Henry Heigham, Esq., as a mark of esteem for the valuable services he has rendered as Chairman of the Board.

Parishes in the Union

Blackbourn Hundred

  Ashfield (Great), Badwell Ash, Elmswell, Hinderclay, Hunston, Langham, Norton, Rickinghall Inferior, Stowlangtoft, Walsham-le-Willows, Wattisfield.

Stow Hundred

  Buxhall, Combs, Creeting St. Peter, Finborough Great, Finborough Little, Gipping, Harleston, Haughley, Old Newton [Dagworth hamlet], Onehouse, Shelland, Stowmarket, Stowupland, Wetherden.

These were the previous "Stow Incorporation" parishes.

Thedwestry Hundred

  Beyton, Drinkstone, Felsham, Gedding, Hessett, Rattlesden, Thurston, Tostock, Woolpit.


Further information can be found:


See also the Norfolk Poor Law page and the Post 1834 Unions page

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Copyright © Mike Bristow.
February 2011