Montgomery and Pool (Forden from 1870), Montgomeryshire
In 1792, Montgomery and Pool, together with 13 other parishes, were incorporated under a local Act of Parliament (32 Geo.3. c.96. For the better Relief and Employment of the Poor, belonging to the Parishes of Montgomery and Pool, and certain other Parishes and Places therein mentioned in the Counties of Montgomery and Salop). The Incoporation was governed by a board of 24 directors who had powers to manage poor relief administration and to set up a workhouse or "House of Industry". A workhouse was built in 1795, on an elevated site about a mile to the south-west of Forden. Designed by Joseph Bromfield, it cost £12,000 and could accommodate up to 1,000 inmates.
In 1795, a schoolmaster was appointed at a salary of £10-10s-0d per annum, which presumably included board and lodging. In 1798 his salary was £14 per annum, but from the Board Minutes of 1804 it appears that this ill-paid functionary was allowed to earn an extra four guineas a year by cutting the children's hair, and shaving the poor inmates of the House.
Punishments for misbehaving inmates were severe, with the lash, scold's bridle, and stocks regularly being deployed as the following records show:
Because of its local Act status, the Montgomery and Pool Incorporation was exempt from most of the provisions of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act. It member parishes at this time were: Aston, Berriew, Brompton and Rhiston, Castlewright, Chirbury, Churchstoke, Cletterwood, Forden, Hope, Leighton, Llandysil, Llanmerewig, Montgomery, Lower Pool, Middle Pool, Upper Pool, Trelystan, and Worthin.
The Incorporation continued in operation until 25th March, 1870, when it was replaced by the new Forden Poor Law Union. The new union's operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 34 in number, representing its 24 constituent parishes as listed below (figures in brackets indicate numbers of Guardians if more than one):
Aston, Berriew (3), Brompton and Rhiston, Castle Caereinion, Castlewright, Chirbury (2), Churchstoke (2), Cletterwood, Cyfronydd, Forden, Hope, Leighton, Llandysil, Llanmerewig, Middletown, Montgomery (2), Lower Pool (2), Middle Pool (3), Upper Pool, Rhosgoch, Trewern, Trelystan, Uppington, Worthin. The parishes ranged in size from Rhosgoch (population 48) to Worthin (3,150). Later additions to the Union included Allerbury, Buttington and Guilsfield.
The layoutof the site is shown on the 1901 map below.
The main building was in the form of a U-shaped block facing to the north-west.
A small mortuary stood immediately to the north of the main building.
Several outbuildings stood at the north of the site, one of which had its own partitioned yards at the rear.
A chapel lay at the south of the workhouse.
The workhouse later became Brynhyfryd Hospital and provided care mainly for the elderly. In 2001, the building was being used as a meditation centre.
Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals.
- Powys County Archives Office, County Hall, Llandrindod Wells, Powys, LD1 5LG. Holdings include: Minute books (1795-1824); Minute book of Special Committee of Guardians (1818-25); Officer's Reports book (records information on many aspects of the workhouse, 1795-98) [digitised]; Cash book, receipts and disbursements (1800-03); Workhouse Master's Day Book (daily inmate statistics 1835-54); Guardians' minute books (1870-1900, 1912-15, 1921-30); Ledgers (1886-1930); etc.
- Montgomeryshire Collections 32, 1902.
Unless otherwise indicated, this page () is copyright Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.