The Old Poor Law Pre 1834
Please note that from 28 June 2010:
All Microfilm / Microfiche
Available at the Manchester Room@City Library (booking advisable).
Archives (items with prefix Archives)
Available at the Greater Manchester County Record Office (appointment essential).
Prior to 1834 the administration of the Poor Law was the responsibility of the parish or township. The system was introduced by the Poor Law Acts of 1597 and 1601, and the Act of Settlement of 1662. The parish appointed Overseers of the Poor who collected rates from the occupiers of land and property, and spent income on helping the destitute.
We hold some records of the Churchwardens and Ovrseers of the parish of Manchester, but in the main they are purely administrative (ref: Archives GB127.M3). There are other records closely akin to these in the Muniment Room of Manchester Cathedral and one Overseers' Account book 1664-1711 has found its way into John Rylands Library (English MS No 97, edited in Chetham Society Volume 80).
However, included in our collection are 609 apprenticeship indentures (indexed by name of child and master), mainly for children put out by the Churchwardens and Overseers from 1700-1913 (on microfilm until 1900, MF 3009, 3019, 3020). To search the index to these please open our archives catalogue.
The records of the Townships we hold often include records of the Overseers of the Poor. These include:
- Township of Cheetham (ref: Archives GB127.M10/7)
- Township of Chorlton upon Medlock (ref: Archives GB127.M10/9)
You may also find records of the Overseers of the Poor surviving in the parish records. For example these include: