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Norfolk: Poor Law after 1834 Act

Hoxne Union (in Suffolk)

Mendham has 800 (out of 3000) acres in Norfolk and a NFK population of approximately 267 people in 1841 and was in this Suffolk Union initially (see later).

Union history

Description of the Union - White's 1844 Suffolk

The following is extracted from pages 449 and 450 of the gazetteer and is part of the section entitled "Hoxne Hundred".

HOXNE UNION, as already noticed, comprises 24 of the 26 parishes of Hoxne Hundred, and contains 15,800 inhabitants, of whom 257 are in the Norfolk part of Mendham parish. Its area is about 80 square miles, or 50,000 acres. The Union was formed by the New Poor Law Commissioners, in 1834, and its Workhouse, at Stradbroke, was erected during that and the following year, at the cost of about £10,000, and has room for 300 inmates, but has seldom half that number, and had only 120 in 1841, when the census was taken, and 86 in October 1843. The average annual expenditure of the 24 parishes, for the support of their poor, during the three years preceding the formation of the Union was £19,330, but during the following year it did not exceed £12,000, including the great expense of migrating many pauper families to the manufacturing districts. The Commissioners, in their report, say this reduction has not been accomplished by causing the aged and infirm to suffer privation, but by carefully investigating the cases of the applicants for relief, detecting imposition, and gradually but firmly withdrawing all out-door relief from able-bodied paupers. Previous to the formation of the Union, their were usually, in the winter months, upwards of 800 labourers without employment, receiving out-door relief in the 24 parishes. During the first quarter after the opening of the workhouse, in January 1836, only 52 able-bodied persons accepted temporary relief within its walls. The expenditure of the Union in 1838, was £7312, and in 1839 was £8279. 4s. The Workhouse is a large cruciform brick building, admirably adapted for the most approved system of classification; and within the same enclosure, a Fever Ward has been built, at the cost of £600. Mr. W. L. B. Freuer, of Weybread, is Superintendent Registrar and Clerk to the Board of Guardians; to whom Sir. E. Kerrison, is chairman, and the Rev. W. B. Mack, vice-chairman. Mr. John Sims is the auditor; and the relieving officers and district registrars are Mr. Thomas Thurston, for the Stradbroke District, and Mr. Wm. Bloss, of Brundish, for Dennington District. The Rev. J. Knevett, of Syleham, is chaplain to the Union; and Mr. Wm. Coyte is master, and Mrs Wright, matron of the Workhouse.

Parishes in the Union.

  Athelington, Badingham, Bedfield, Bedingfield, Brundish, Denham, Dennington, Fressingfield, Horham, Hoxne, Laxfield, Mendham, Metfield, Monk Soham, Saxstead, Southolt, Stradbroke, Syleham, Tannington, Weybread, Wilby, Wingfield, Withersdale, Worlingworth.


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