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Document number: 4392
Date: Dec 1835
Dating: between 19th - 23rd
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: AWDRY West
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Last updated: 29th August 2012

The Report of the Committee appointed to take into consideration of the present State of the Workhouse Accommodation within the Union

There are at present five Workhouses within the Union – vizt at Chippenham <1> – Corsham, Lacock, Box and Colerne <2> – Your Committee have examined the Masters of these Workhouses as to the number of Paupers they usually have in them, and the further number which they are capable of accommodating, and have embodied the information thus obtained in the following table:

Workhouses Governor’s names No of Paupers now in the House Greatest No ever in the House Greatest No the House will hold Remarks
Chippenham G. J. Brad[illegible] 47 61 120–– belongs to the Parish
Corsham M Arnold 35 45 90–– rented at £30 pr ann
Lacock Thos. Shearn 15 17 100– including the olf Workhouse
Box J. Roberts 28 32 36– part of this building is used as a free school rented on Lease for 21 yrs at £14 pr annum
Colerne J. Salter 18 24 35–
143 179 381

From this it appears that the Existing Workhouses without any further outlay upon them than is required for additional Beds &c may be made to contain more than twice the greatest Number of Paupers which have at any time been placed in them by the five Parishes to which they belong – As these five Parishes contain considerably more than one half the total population of the Union it would appear that their Workhouses may be expected to hold all the Paupers of the entire Union for whom Workhouse Accommodation will be required, supposing the System of In-door Relief not to be more rigidly adopted through the Union than it has been of late in these five Parishes.

At all events if these five Workhouses are retained at the Commencement by the Union they will enable the system of In-door Relief to be entered upon to a considerable extent And as it appears to Your Committee that until some little Experience has been obtained of the Working of the New System & of the probable Amount of Workhouse Accommodation that will be required it would be premature to expend any Money in the purchase, building, or alteration of any Houses for the purpose, Your Committee suggest as the best mode of proceeding under the Circumstances that Arrangements should be made with the five Parishes above mentioned to rent their respective Workhouses on account of the Union at least for the Ensuing Quarter up to the 25th of March 1836; by which time the future wants of the Union will be better ascertained – that an Arrangement also should be made, upon proper terms, with the present Masters of these Workhouses, for the continuance of their Levies for that period in such form as the Regulations of the Poor Law Commissioners will permit –

And your Committee further suggest that, if the Board of Guardians are of this Opinion, the same or another committee should be immediately appointed to negotiate the above Arrangements with the Parishes and Workhouse Masters.

“signed” G. P. Scrope. <3> Chairman.

At the general weekly Meeting of the Guardians held the 18. Decr the foregoing Report was read & approved and the same Committee Authorized to negotiate with the several Parishes of Chippenham Lacock, Corsham, Box & Colerne for renting their respective Workhouses on Account of the Union for the Ensuing Quarter up to Lady day next,<4> & also to make terms with the charters for their Services till that time–

Dear Sir/

I send you a Copy of the Report of the Workhouse Committee, and the Order of the Board of Guardians thereon – I shall feel obliged by your informing me previous to the 24th Inst (the next meeting of the board) Whether you will sanction the Parish officers of Lacock entering into the above Arrangement.

Your obliged & obed Sert
West Awdry/ clerk

W. H. F. Talbot Esq
Lacock Abbey


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

2. The small villages surrounding Chippenham.

3. George Julius Duncombe Poulett Scrope (1797–1876), MP & scientist.

4. Lady Day is one of the traditional English quarter days, the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin, on 25 March.

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