Leeds Workhouse Rules (1771)
Relieving and Employing the POOR
Township of LEEDS:
FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE
At a Meeting of the CHURCHWARDENS and OVERSEERS of the POOR for the Township of LEEDS, and of the principal Inhabitants in Vestry assembled, the 9th Day of MAY, 1771.
It is agreed that the following Rules for the ordering, relieving, lodging, keeping, maintaining, and employing the Poor of the said Township; and also the Rules and Orders for the due Government of the Workhouse, now established in the said Township, shall be pursued and put in Force.
1. THAT the Government of the Poor in or belonging to the Township of Leeds, shall be vested in the Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor for the Time being, with twelve of the principal Inhabitants of the said Township, to be chosen as hereafter directed.
2. That on Sunday next, Six Trustees for the Workhouse be chosen by the Inhabitants of the Township, in Vestry at the Parish-Church, for one Year; and that on every second Sunday in November, and second Sunday in May hereafter, Six New Trustees shall be chosen as aforesaid, and in Case of other Vacancies, that so many more may be chosen for Half a Year as are requisite to fill up such Vacancies, notice of such Vacancies being given on the Sundays preceding, and on the Morning of the Days of Election of such Trustees, in the Parish-Church and Chapels in the Town.
3. That the Churchwardens, Overseers of the Poor and Trustees do meet every Wednesday, at the Workhouse at Two o'Clock in the Afternoon, to relieve, admit, and discharge the Poor in the said Township; and that five or more of them shall constitute a Committee in all Cases, except where otherwise directed.
4. That no Churchwarden or Overseer of the Poor of this Township shall relieve any of the Poor therein with the public Money, except on sudden and emergent Occasions, and that for one Week only, and to report to the next Committee, on pain of not being allowed in their Accounts such Money as shall be advanced on such Occasion; and no such Payment to be repeated, unless ordered by the next Committee to be continued.
5. That no Person be admitted into the House without the Authority of the Committee, except on sudden and emergent Occasions, in which Cases, the Master shall have Power to receive such Persons, and keep them in the House till the succeeding Wednesday, upon their producing to and leaving with him an Order for that Purpose, signed by three of the Committees.
6. That the Master return Weekly to the Committee the Names of all Persons admitted into or discharged from the House, and of such as have left the House without the Consent of the Committee or Master, since the holding of the former Committee.
7. That the Churchwardens and Overseers take an Account of the Goods and Effects of such Persons as shall be ordered and come into the House, and that they dispose of the same as they shall be directed by the Committee.
8. That such Persons, who neglect to come to the House, after they have been ordered by the Committee so to do, be allowed no Subsistence or Pay whatsoever, nor be admitted· without the Order of the Committee immediately. preceding such Admission.
9. That the Churchwardens and Overseers the Poor in their several Divisions, strictly inquire after all Women suspected to be with Child of Bastard Children, and in Case they are Inmates, with all convenient Expedition cause such Women Inmates to be carried before two or more Justices of the Peace, to be examined touching their place of Settlement, and apply for Orders of Removal; and that at the End of one Month next after any Woman shall be delivered of a Bastard Child, likely to become chargeable to this Township, the said Officers in their respective Divisions shall cause such Woman to appear before two such Justices, in order to make a Filiation, and to be proceeded against as the said Justices shall direct .
10. That no Midwife be paid for the Delivery of any poor Person out of the House, without a previous Order for that Purpose from one of the Committees; and that Such Order be reported to the next Committee after Delivery.
11. That no poor Persons out of this House be supplied with Coffins at the Expence of the Township, unless they procure and leave with the Master of this House, an Order for that Purpose, signed by three Committees.
12. That the Churchwardens and Overseers in their respective Divisions; once in every Year; take an Account of such poor Persons residing in this Township, as have no legal Settlements therein, commonly called Inmates, and that they make a List of their Names, of the Number of their Families, their Occupations, how many Years they have resided in the Township, distinguish the Places of their Settlements, and receive into their Hands all Certificates of the Settlements of Inmates, and deliver the same to the Committee before they go out of Office.
13. That the Churchwardens and Overseers in the Month of November in every Year, shall make a Return of such Inhabitants in their several Divisions, as are proper to have poor Apprentices put out to.
14. That a Treasurer be appointed by the Committee from Time to Time.
15, That the Master of the Workhouse for the Time being, be chosen by the Inhabitants of the Township, in Vestry at the Parish-Church, ten Days Notice having been previously given; and that in Case of Misbehaviour, he may be suspended by a Committee consisting of fourteen Committees; and that a Vestry be called within fourteen Days after such Suspension, to determine upon his Discharge or Re-admission.
16. That an Apothecary from Time to Time, be chosen by the Committee, to supply .the Poor in this House, or when specially ordered by the Committee, in or belonging to this township, with Medicines, and in Cases of Surgery, at such Salary as shall be agreed upon.
17. That two Providers be from Time to Time appointed by the Committee out of their own Body, to purchase Corn, Butcher's Meat, Cheese, Butter, Salt, and other Provisions of good Kind and Quality, for the Use of the House.
18. That Two Surveyors be from Time to Time appointed by the Committee out of their Own Body, who are to inspect the Provisions, to buy and distribute the Cloathing, to buy Wool for Woolsey, to inspect the Work-Room, to examine the Condition of the House and Utensils, and order the necessary Repairs thereof.
19. That all the Beds be made by the Nurses in the Morning, and every Room and, Passage swept, and clean'd by eleven, and that they, ,be wash'd twice a Week in Summer, and once in Winter; and that the Dishes be washed twice a Day or oftner, by the Cooks, .and the Dining Room Tables be washed every Day.
20. That on the First Wednesday after Lady Day, Midsummer, Michaelmas, and Christmas in every Year, two or more of the Committee be appointed to inspect and examine the Accounts of the Treasurer and Master, and they ate desired to sign the fame, and make their Report to the Committee, on the Wednesday. Fortnight next after such respective Appointments.
21. That the Master for the Time being keep a Daily and Weekly Account, in a. Book to be provided for that Purpose, of each Person's Work in Spinning and other Manufactures done in the House; and also of such In-Pensioners as work Abroad, and the Wages to be paid on account of their work.
22. That the Nurses shall have all the children under their Care, washed, combed and cleaned by Ten o'Clock every Morning; and that such Children be taught to read, and work (as their several Capacities will bear,) in such Manufactures as may be most useful and beneficial for the public Good; and that the Nurses repair their own and Childrens Linen and Cloaths, to keep them decent and clean; and in Case of Disobedience or Misbehaviour of any of the Children, such Children shall be corrected by the Master.
23. That Prayers be read in the public Dining Room, every Morning before Breakfast, and every Evening before Supper; and that Grace be duly said at Dinner and Supper.
24. That all the Poor in this House who are able do attend Prayers, sit decently at their Meals, avoid talking, and make no attempt to go out of the Dining-Room till Thanks are returned, and in Default in any of these Particulars, to lose their next Meal.
25. That all Persons in Health be kept to such, work as they can best perform, according to their several Ages and Abilities, from Lady-Day to Michaelmas, from Six in the Morning to Six at Night, (Meal Times excepted) and during the residue of the Year, such Hours as the Master from Time to Time shall appoint; and if any grown Person refuse to work, the Person so offending shall be kept on Bread and ·Water, or expelled the House.
26. That in Case any Person in the House shall pretend to be sick, lame, or otherwise indisposed, with an Intent to be excused working, such Imposters when discovered, or adjudged by the Committee so to be, shall be carried before a Magistrate in order to be punished as the Law directs.
27. That no Fires be kept in any of the Wards; (except in extraordinary Cases) from the 1st Day of May to the 29th of September. That from the 29th of September till the 1st of May, there shall be allowed for the keeping of Fires in the Work-. Room and Long-Room, two Corves of Coals to each Room weekly; and to the other Wards, one Corf for each Fire: And it is ordered, that the Fires in every Ward be put out each Night at 8 o'Clock; and that no Candles be allowed to be burnt in any of the Lodging Wards; except in Cases of Sickness; and that the Poor go to Bed each Night upon the ringing of the Evening bell.
28. That the Porter take no Fee, Gratuity, or Reward of any Person or Persons whatsoever for Admittance into, or for going out of the said House, on pain of being displaced by the Committee, on Proof of such Misdemeanor; and if such Porter shall suspect any of the Poor, or any others who shall come to them, of bringing in any Ale, Brandy, Rum, or other Spirituous Liquors, or carrying out any Cloaths, Linen, Victuals, or other Things belonging to the House, or to any of the Poor therein, he shall stop such Persons, and give immediate Notice to the Master.
29. That no Person in this House, on any Pretence whatsoever, shall presume to go out of the House without a Ticket for that Purpose from the Master or Mistress, on Pain of being discharged; and in Case any of the Poor maintained in this House shall carry any Bread, Cheese, or other Provisions without Leave from the Master out of the common Dining-Room, or give, sell, or otherwise dispose of the same to any Person, they shall be prosecuted for such Offence, and punished; and that every Person buying or receiving any Bread, Cheese, or other Provisions, so stolen or carried out of this House, shall be prosecuted for receiving the same; and that every such Person stealing or removing with Intent to imbezzle any Goods, Money, or Cloaths belonging to the House, or to any Person therein, shall be carried before one or more Justices of the Peace for this Borough, to be punished according to law.
30. That no Ale, Brandy, Rum, or other spirituous Liquors be brought into the House; and to prevent Disturbances in the House, by brawling, quarrelling, fighting, or abusive Language, that the Offenders do lose one Day's Meat for the First Offence, and for the Second to be put into the Dungeon, there to remain twenty-four Hours; that if any poor Persons going out into the Town by Leave as aforesaid, shall get drunk or otherwise misbehave themselves, every such Person or Persons upon Proof thereof made, shall be punished as the Committee shall direct.
31. That the Persons in the House endeavour to preserve Peace, good Order, and Unity therein; that they look upon themselves as one Family, and to prevent Disputes which may arise from telling Lies, the Offender shall by Order of the Master, be set and stand upon a Stool in the Dining-Room during Dinner-Time, with a Paper fixed on his or her Breast, whereon shall be written, Infamous Liar, and also shall lose that Meal.
32. That the Names of all such Persons in this House as misbehave themselves by fighting, or by breaking or destroying any Goods or Utensils in the House, or concerning the Reproof of the Master, or uttering ill Language against him, or neglecting his Instructions, or shall encourage their own or other Children to breaking of the Rules or Orders herein contained, or endeavour to prevent or hinder the Execution of any Punishment inflicted for the Breach of any such Orders, be by the Master recorded in a Book kept for that Purpose, and reported to the Committee at their next Meeting, that by their Authority, or Admonition, Wickedness, Rudeness, and Irregularity may be restrained, and Peace and good Order maintained in the House.
33. That when any Person dies in the House, their Cloaths shall be lodged in the Store-Room for the use of the Township, and the Nurse who attended the Party while sick, shall be required faithfully to deliver up all the other Goods and Money of the Deceased to the Master or Mistress for the use of the House, or be punished if she purloin the same.
34. That the Master make a minute in Writing of the Faults or Misdemeanors of every Person in the House, and shew them to the Committee, in order that the Offenders may receive due Punishment for the same; and that the Committee hear any just Complaints against the Master or Mistress.
35. That poor Persons in the House who are able and in Health be exhorted by the Master to go to the Parish-Church, or to such other Place of Worship as they have been accustomed to resort to, twice every Lord's-Day, and that all such Persons return Home as soon as the Service is over; but that such as do not return in due Time, or are found loitering or begging by the Way, be punished as the Committee shall direct.
36. That no Person be permitted to use Tobacco at the Expence of the House, without the Consent of the Surveyors, who are hereby required not to allow more than one Ounce to one Person weekly; but no Tobacco to be smoked in the House after the Hour of seven in the Evening in Winter, and Eight in Summer.
37. That the Gates and Out-Doors belonging to the House be locked every Night at Nine o'Clock in Winter, and. Ten in Summer, and the Keys delivered to the Master..
38. That the Master provide such Necessaries and Refreshments for the Sick as the Apothecary shall direct, the Master to charge the same in his petty Expences.
39. That no Person be admitted to visit the Poor of this House, except on Thursday's in the Afternoon between the Hours of Two and Four o'Clock, unless they have a Note for that Purpose; signed by one of the Committee; and that on such Thursday's, a Person be appointed by the Master to assist the Porter in keeping good Order and Regularity.
40. That in Case any Person admitted into this House shall be found to beg Alms in any part of the Township, such Person be carried before a Magistrate, and dealt with according to Law.
41. That the Door between the Committee Room and the Wicket-Gate leading down into the Court, be locked every Wednesday during the Meeting of the Committee, and at other Times occasionally when the Master shall think fit.
42. That the original Assessment for the Relief of the Poor, and all other Books .and Papers relating to the Workhouse be kept in the Committee-Room there, and that none of such Assessments or other Books be removed our of the House, without an Order of the Committee, or of one of his Majesty's Justices of Peace of this Borough; and it is ordered that every Person before they shall be permitted to examine any Rate or Assessment in the House, pay to the Master One Shilling, and for Copies or Extracts of any Assessments, Sixpence for 24 Names, and so in Proportion for a greater or less Number.
43. That all the Rules respecting the internal Government of the House be read by the Master in the common Dining-Room once a Month, at the Time of Dinner.
17th JULY, 1771.
Examined with the Original Draft of
the Rules, as settled at the Vestry.
Transcription © Peter Higginbotham. All rights reserved.
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