Radnorshire Poor Law Unions

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Wales Gotoarrow.png Radnorshire Gotoarrow.png Poor Law Unions

Under the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834 all parishes in Wales and England were grouped together into Poor Law Unions. Each Poor Law Union had to provide a place where people who were unable to support themselves could live and work, known as the workhouse. Conditions in the workhouses were deliberately made to be harsh, spartan and degrading so as to deter all but the absolutely destitute.

Before the 1834 Act, although some workhouses did exist, individual parishes provided relief in the form of money, food, clothing or goods, but the recipients continued to live independently.

The Workhouse system was not abolished until the 1930s.

These Poor Law Unions were based on neither county boundaries nor national boundaries, with many Unions along the Wales-England border covering parts of both countries.

The county of Radnorshire was covered by three Unions:

Union Parishes & Townships included
Knighton The Knighton Poor Law Union was created on 9 November 1836 and comprised the parishes and townships of:
  • Radnorshire: Bleddfa, Heyop, Knighton, Llanbadarn Fynydd, Llanbister, Llandewi Ystradenni, Llanfihangel Beguildy, Llanfihangel Rhydithon, Llangynllo, Llannano, Stanage.
  • Herefordshire: Adforton, Brampton Bryan, Letton and Newton, Paytoe and Grange, Buckton and Coxwall, Stanway, Walford.
  • Shropshire:Bedstone, Betws y Crwyn, Bucknell, Llanfair Waterdine, Stowe.

The Workhouse was built in 1837 on Frydd Lane, Knighton.

Presteigne The Presteigne Poor Law Union was created on 8 November 1836 and comprised the parishes and townships of:
  • Radnorshire: Cascob (part), Discoyd, Norton, Pilleth, Presteigne, Whitton.
  • Herefordshire: Byton, Combe, Lower Kinsham, Upper Kinsham, Knell, Lingen, Linton and Cascob (part), Rodd, Nash and Little Bampton, Stapelton and Frog Street, Willey.

The Presteigne Union opposed the building of a Workhouse and the Local Government Board dissolved the Presteign Union on 27 February 1877. Its Radnorshire parishes were reassigned to the Knighton Union and those in Herefordshire to the Kington Union.


The Rhayader Poor Law Union was created on 10 October 1836 and comprised the parishes and townships of:

  • Radnorshire: Abbey Cwm Hir, Cefnllys, Llanbadarn Fawr, Llanfihangel Helygen, Llansanffraid Cwm Teuddwr, Llanyre, Nantmel, Rhayader Gwy, St. Harmon.
  • Breconshire: Llanwrthwl.

The Rhayader Union initially opposed the building of a Workshouse which was not built until the 1870s on the Builth Road, Rhayader.

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