The success of the Shrewsbury Incorporation, formed in 1784, led to the formation of a number of other such Incorprations in the area, including Atcham, Oswestry, Whitchurch, and Montgomery and Pool. Ellesmere, together with the parishes of Baschurch, Middle, Hordley and Hadnal Chase, was incorporated under a local Act in 1791. This gave it the powers, amongst other things, to erect a workhouse which it did in 1791-2 at Haughton. Ellesmere was the subject of a report by Eden in his 1797 survey of the poor in England:
The Ellesmere Poor Law Union formally came into being on 14th November 1836. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 14 in number, representing its 9 constituent parishes as listed below (figures in brackets indicate numbers of Guardians if more than one):
County of Salop:
Baschurch (2), Ellesmere (5), Hadnal Ease, Hordley, Middle, Great Ness, Little Ness, Pelton, Welsh Hampton.
Later Addition: Cockshutt (from 1896).
The population falling within the Union at the 1831 census had been 10,263 — ranging from Little Ness and Pelton (population 49 each) to Ellesmere itself (6,540). The average annual poor-rate expenditure for the period 1834-36 had been £4,666 or 9s.1d. per head of the population.
The new Ellesmere Union took over the existing workhouse at Haughton. It could accommodate 350 inmates and centred around a three-storey H-shaped main building, with males accommodated in the west wing and females in the east wing which also contained a chapel. The workhouse had its own graveyard at the north of the site. The workhouse location and layout are shown on the 1924 OS map by which time it had become known as Ellesmere Poor Law Institution:
The buildings were demolished soon after the abolition of the workhouse system in 1930.
Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.
- Shropshire Archives, Castle Gates, Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY1 2AQ. Please note that records may contain gaps or have access restrictions - please check before visiting. Holdings include: Records of numbers of inmates (1795, 1810, 1824); Guardians' minutes (1871-5, 1908-23); Ledgers (1928-30); Births and deaths (1866-1930); etc.
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