Chelmsford Poor Law Union, Essex Genealogy

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History[edit | edit source]

Parish workhouses described in a parliamentary report of 1777 were:

Great Baddow, Essex Genealogy  (with accommodation for up to 20 ),

Buttsbury, Essex Genealogy (10),

Chelmsford, Essex Genealogy (100),

Danbury, Essex Genealogy (18),

Fryerning, Essex Genealogy (20),

South Hanningfield, Essex Genealogy  (9),

Roxwell, Essex Genealogy (20),

Springfield, Essex Genealogy (35),

Stock Harvard, Essex Genealogy (10), 

Great Waltham, Essex Genealogy  (100),

Little Waltham, Essex Genealogy (20),

Writtle, Essex Genealogy (100).

Constituent Parishes
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Boreham, Essex Genealogy
Broomfield, Essex Genealogy
Buttsbury, Essex Genealogy
Chelmsford, Essex Genealogy
Chignall Smealy, Essex Genealogy
Chignall St James, Essex Genealogy
Danbury, Essex Genealogy
East Hanningfield, Essex Genealogy
Fryerning, Essex Genealogy
Good Easter, Essex Genealogy
Great Baddow, Essex Genealogy
Great Leighs, Essex Genealogy
Great Waltham, Essex Genealogy
High Easter, Essex Genealogy
Highwood, Essex Genealogy
Ingatestone, Essex Genealogy
Little Baddow, Essex Genealogy
Little Leighs, Essex Genealogy
Little Waltham, Essex Genealogy
Margaretting, Essex Genealogy
Mashbury, Essex Genealogy
Moulsham, Essex Genealogy
Pleshey, Essex
Rettendon, Essex Genealogy
Roxwell, Essex Genealogy
Runwell, Essex Genealogy
Sandon, Essex Genealogy
South Hanningfield, Essex Genealogy
Springfield, Essex Genealogy 

Springfield Holy Trinity, Essex Genealogy
Stock Harvard, Essex
West Hanningfield, Essex Genealogy
Widford, Essex Genealogy
Woodham Ferrers, Essex Genealogy
Writtle, Essex Genealogy

[edit | edit source]

•Essex Record Office, Wharf Road Chelmsford CM2 6YT. Holdings include: Guardians' minutes (1835-1930); Ledgers (1835-1929); Admissions and discharges (1883-88, 1891-4, 1897-8, 1926-9); Indoor relief books (1886-1931);

Essex Record Office reference G/Ch Title [Chelmsford Union]
 The Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 removed responsibility for the poor from parishes (see D/P.../11-18) and transferred administration to Boards of Guardians of the poor. The Guardians administered groups of parishes or Poor Law Unions. Each Union had its own workhouse. In 1872 the Public Health Act created urban and rural sanitary authorities, with the Guardians constituted as the rural sanitary authority for those parts of each Union not in an urban sanitary authority. The Local Government Act of 1894 replaced rural sanitary authorities with rural district councils (see D/R). The Local Government Act of 1929 abolished the Boards of Guardians and transferred their powers to the Public Assistance Committees of County Councils (for minutes of Essex County Council Public Assistance Committee 1929-1948 see C/MPa 1-22).
Many of the workhouse infirmaries continued as hospitals after 1930, continuing after the introduction of the National Health Service in 1948.
For other records illustrating the work of the Guardians see D/P.../19.
For orders, directions and declarations of Poor Law Commissioners responsible for grouping parishes into Unions, 1835-1837, see Q/RSw 2-5.
For catalogue of correspondence between Poor Law Unions and Poor Law Commission (later poor law Board and Local Government Board) 1834-1900 see List and Index Society vol. 56.
G. Cuttle The Legacy of the Rural Guardians (Heffer, 1934 E.R.O. Library 362.50942) provides a good account of the work of the Guardians in six mid-Essex Unions, together with the newscuttings he collected and used in writing the book (T/P 181).
For analysis of ledgers see Journal of the Society of Archivists II, pp. 367-369.
The CHELMSFORD UNION consisted of the parishes of Great Baddow, Little Baddow, Boreham, Broomfield, Buttsbury, Chelmsford, Chignal St. James, Chignal Smealey, Danbury, Good Easter, Fryerning, East Hanningfield, South Hanningfield, West Hanningfield, Ingatestone, Great Leighs, Little Leighs, Margaretting, Mashbury, Pleshey, Rettendon, Roxwell, Runwell, Sandon, Springfield, Stock, Great Waltham, Little Waltham, Widford, Woodham Ferrers, Writtle

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For more information on the history of the workhouse, see Peter Higginbotham's web site: and