Ancestry UK

Great Boughton (Tarvin from 1871), Cheshire

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Up to 1834

No information.

After 1834

The Great Boughton Poor Law Union formally came into being on 17th May 1837. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 103 in number, representing its 101 constituent parishes and townships as listed below (figures in brackets indicate numbers of Guardians if more than one):

County of Chester Aldersey, Aldford, Ashton, Bache, Backford, Barrow, Barton, Blacon cum Crabwall, Boughton-cum-Spittle [Spital Boughton], Broxton, Bridge Trafford, Bruen Stapleford, Buerton, Burton by Tarvin, Caldecott, Capenhurst, Carden, Caughall, Chorlton by Backford, Chowley, Christleton, Churton by Aldford, Churton by Farndon, Churton Heath, Claverton, Clotton Hoofield, Clutton, Coddington, Cotton Abbotts, Cotton Edmunds, Crewe by Farndon, Croughton, Dodleston, Duckington, Duddon, Dunham on the Hill, Eaton by Chester, Eccleston, Edge, Edgerley, Elton, Farndon, Foulk Stapleford, Golborne Bellow, Golborne David, Grafton, Great Boughton, Great Mollington, Great Saughall, Great Stanney, Guilden Sutton, Handley, Hapsford, Harthill, Hatton, Hockenhull, Hoole, Hoole Village, Horton, Horton cum Peel, Huntington, Huxley, Iddinshall, Ince, Kelsall, King's Marsh, Lea by Backford, Lea Newbold, Little Mollington, Little Saughall, Little Stanney, Littleton, Lower Kinnerton, Marlston cum Lache, Mickle Trafford, Moston, Mouldsworth, Newton by Chester, Newton by Tattenhall, Picton, Poulton, Pulford, Rowton, Saighton, Shotwick, Shotwick Park, Stanlow, Stoke, Stretton, Tarvin, Tattenhall, Thornton le Moors, Tilston, Upton by Chester, Waverton, Wervin, Willington, Wimbolds Trafford, Woodbank.
County of Flint
Hawarden (3), Higher Kinnerton, Saltney.
Later Additions:Buckley, Prior's Heys, Sealand.

The population falling within the Union at the 1831 census had been 23,988 with parishes ranging in size from Edgerley and Calton Abbots (population 11 each) to Hawarden (5,414). The average annual poor-rate expenditure for the period 1834-36 had been £10,033 or 8s.4d. per head of the population.

Great Boughton's 103 Guardians and 101 member parishes and townships made it the largest union in the country. For two decades after its formation in 1837, the union resisted the building of a workhouse. Its capitulation came after the Poor Law Board decided that the union covered too great an area and split off the western part in 1853 to form the new Hawarden Union. In March, 1871, Great Boughton was renamed Tarvin, with further of its constituent parishes being transferred to the recently formed Chester Union.

In 1857, Great Boughton Union built a workhouse on a 4-acre site on the east side of Heath Lane in Great Boughton. Designed by J Harrison, it accommodated 100 inmates and its construction cost around £2,500 plus a further £500 for the site. The workhouse location and layout are shown on the 1897 map below:

Great Boughton site 1897

Tarvin workhouse aerial view, 1920s.
Courtesy of Steve Martin.

Even in the workhouse, Christmas was usually a festive occasion in the workhouse as illustrated by the picture below kindly contributed by Steve Martin. The small boy is Steve's father Chris, son of the workhouse Master and Matron. The institution's GP, Dr W. Woodruff, is at the left of the picture.

Christmas at Tarvin workhouse, c.1928.
© Steve Martin

The workhouse later became Tarvin House providing care for the elderly. Sadey Gift Guy, who grew up there in the 1940s and 50s, says:

My Parents were Mr Norman G Guy and Mrs Sadey D Guy. My parents were Master and Matron at Tarvin House from 1939 to 1956. My Mum died at Heath Lane 10 days after she had retired age of 55 years. They had kept the old Poor Law contract and could both retire together at 55. It was a sad time at the hospital.

Great Boughton front entrance (with Sadey and her mother).
© Sadey Gift Guy.

The workhouse buildings no longer exist and modern housing now occupies the site.

Great Boughton former workhouse site, 2001.
© Peter Higginbotham.




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.



  • None.


  • Thanks to Steve Martin for the aerial and Christmas pictures — his grandparents were the workhouse Master and Matron between 1920 and 1933.

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