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Document number: 3176
Date: 04 Dec 1835
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: SCROPE George Julius Duncombe Poulett
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA35(MW)-78
Last updated: 10th October 2012

Castle Combe <1>
Decr 4th 1835

Dear Talbot,

I was disappointed at not seeing you yesterday at the first meeting of the Chippenham <2> Union – of course as a Magistrate of the Division you are an ex off. Guardian, and Lacock being one of the largest parishes in the Union you are quite as deeply interested as any of us in getting the Kew Machine into good working order. I hope we are to have your help in future, for to tell you the truth, the Board is not very redundant in ability – Except the Magistrates (of whom Neeld <3> & I are away the greater part of the year) there are but three or four gentlemen of Chippenham, Gundry, <4> Awdrey [sic], &c, on whom we can depend for good work – Wyld of Wraxall is the only Clergyman who has been willing to serve as Guardian. Ashe, <5> Cotes, & other useful men, have shirked. This is too bad – because the sweep of the change (and being the Law of the Land it must be carried now into effect) will depend wholly on the cordial and active cooperation of the poor residents of intelligence and respectability in these country districts. If they stand aloof and look coldly on the system, it will be ill-worked, and do harm instead of good. The interests of the poor themselves, as well as our own pecuniary ones, call on us to direct the working of the Machine, so as to improve their condition as well as our own. All depends upon the Brand of Guardians, who direct every-thing related to Poor relief in the Union – Whatever therefore may be over private opinion on the Law itself – and the system which ought to be adopted in relieving the Poor, that opinion & that System one has the opportunity of enforcing and probably of putting in practice by attendance at the Board.

We have done nothing yet but choose a Clerk & receive a [Secture?] from ‘A’ Court. on the 18th we meet to chuse 4 relieving officers – Your man Shern has applied to me as a Candidate for one of these situations, which are paid at the rate of 80£ to 90£ a year. The post of Relieving officer for Chippenham & Lacock will probably (according to present appearances) be given to Bradbury <6> – And as the continuance of the Lacock Workhouse is something uncertain, and at all events Hern’s position there will be inferior to that of Relieving Officer to another district, I hope you will not be displeased with him if he prepares himself as a Candidate for the latter, nor with me if I am desirous of securing an man officer for the district in which I reside, who has shown himself so capable of dealing with & reclaiming a wild pauperised population in the case of Lacock. You cannot so much need his services at present in your improved state, as we do here.

We were unlucky at Devizes were we not? There was no making head against the personal popularity of Estcourt. <7> So you ever attend the meeting of the Reform Association at Devizes? I see there is one to day, and a General Annual Meeting to be held Shortly. The latter I shall attend, though I am ashamed to say, it will be the first I have been to. But I am far from head quarters. Shall we arrange to go together?

Believe me ever Dear Talbot, very truly yours
G Poulette Scrope

PS. I have my Parliamentary Papers forwarded here in the Vacation. Several “curious & interesting” Reports have come down lately. Would you like to see any of the following? If so, I will send them per penny Postman to you. e. g. Reports of the Bribery & Intimidation Committee (de Ballot &c)

Orange lodges in Ireland Do
Orange Institution in Gr Britain Do
Fine Arts & Manufactures Do
Public Works Ireland Do
Gaols & Houses of Carceration Co
Commissioners of Public Instruction Ireland
Poor Law Commission Report of 1st Year
Poor Inquiry Ireland joint Report
&c &c &c
ventilating warming & Heating in Public Buildings
(Committee on)

Chippenham December four 1835 G. Poulett Scrope
H. F. Talbot Esqr
Lacock Abbey


1. Castle Combe, Wiltshire, 7 mi NW of Lacock.

2. Chippenham, Wiltshire: largest town near Lacock, 3 miles N.

3. Joseph Neeld (1789–1856), MP & botanist.

4. William Gundry, banker, Chippenham .

5. Rev Robert Ashe.

6. George S Bradbury, governor of Union Workhouse, World’s End, Chippenham.

7. Thomas Henry Sutton Sotheron Bucknall Estcourt (1801–1876), MP.

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