How dependent were the ‘dependent poor’? Poor relief and the life-course in Terling, Essex, 1762-1834
Continuity and Change
Cambridge University Press
© Cambridge University Press 2015
Despite the volume of research on the Old Poor Law, only in the last two decades have detailed local studies have begun to assess the impact of relief payments across the life-courses of individuals. Their conclusions have been mixed. While many have found that the rural labouring poor of southern England were increasingly frequent recipients of poor relief after the 1780s, recent studies have indicated that ‘dependence’ on relief was generally intermittent, not permanent. Based on a new dataset for the Essex village of Terling, this study sets individual life-histories within the broader chronology of change to show how young, able-bodied men and women became relief recipients much more often after 1795 than they had before.
Continuity and Change, 2015, Vol. 30, Issue 2, pp.193-222