Rochford Poor Law Union, Essex Genealogy

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Constituent parishes[edit | edit source]

Ashingdon, Essex
Barling Magna, Essex
Canewdon, Essex
Canvey Island, Essex
Eastwood, Essex
Foulness, Essex
Great Stambridge, Essex
Great Wakering, Essex
Hadleigh, Essex
Havengore, Essex
Hawkwell, Essex
Hockley, Essex
Leigh-on-Sea, Essex
Little Stambridge, Essex
Little Wakering, Essex
North Shoebury, Essex
Paglesham, Essex
Prittlewell, Essex
Rawreth, Essex
Rayleigh, Essex
Rochford, Essex
Shopland, Essex
South Benfleet, Essex
South Fambridge, Essex
South Shoebury, Essex
Southchurch, Essex
Southend St John the Baptist, Essex
Sutton, Essex
Thundersley, Essex

Records[edit | edit source]

Essex Record Office, Wharf Road Chelmsford CM2 6YT. Holdings include: Guardians' minute books (1835-1930); Births (1837-1930); Deaths (1914-22); Lists of poor in workhouse (1774-1829); Newspaper cuttings (1894-1936)

The surviving records are held at the Essex record Office in the reference G/Ro Title [ROCHFORD UNION] series, along with other record series.
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. These records are catalogued as G/...S. 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/MP 1-22).
Many of the workhouse infirmaries continued as hospitals after 1930, continuing after the introduction of the National Health Service in 1948. The records of the Connaught House Public Assistance Institution (D/BC 1/5-6), formerly the ROCHFORD UNION infirmary at the Southend Branch are also available.
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.
For copy of calculation of Poor Law Board of average annual expense of each parish in the ROCHFORD UNION 1858, see T/P 83/3 pp. 13-15 and for balance sheet of ROCHFORD UNION, 1868, see T/P 83/3 pp. 92-96.

Please refer to individual parish pages above for each parish record of church warden and overseer's accounts for that parish ( with settlement accounts and Bastardy orders)

Websites[edit | edit source]

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