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The old poor law in east Kent, 1606 - 1834; A social and demographic analysis

Newman, A. E (1979) The old poor law in east Kent, 1606 - 1834; A social and demographic analysis. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86368) (KAR id:86368)


Within East Kent, the development of the old poor law from 1601 to 1834 has been examined in a number of parishes of differing characteristics. The amount of the rates raised for the relief of the poor has been taken as the indicator of the size of the problem; both in absolute and real terms increases during the eighteenth century draw attention, to difficulties existing at least a generation before the Speenhamland meeting in 1795. Administrative strategies by which parishes sought to meet their responsibilities at minimum cost have a similar chronology. Many experimented with a workhouse with varying degrees of success - the importance of the workhouse test in the early eighteenth century should be emphasised. The laws of settlement and removal, another aspect of the administration, have been found to have had rather more significance than is usually accorded them. The relationship between social structure and the development of the old poor law is important. Three lines of enquiry have been followed: into the distribution of wealth, demographic experience, and occupational and family structure. Critical changes occurred in the distribution of land in the area. These have been traced through rating assessments, but this source needs careful evaluation. An aggregative analysis of parish registers shows considerable natural increase, but also outward migration from rural parishes. Changes in mortality had much to do with changes in family size, and the apparent occupational and family structure influenced the attitudes of poor law officials. In the nineteenth century a point of equilibrium was passed, so that the old poor law became subject to abuse. There was, however, an interplay between economic structure and the relief system, while agricultural depression exacerbated the problem

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86368
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Uncontrolled keywords: History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of History
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:54 UTC
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2022 10:30 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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