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The Parsons Years

Supporting the Poor

We have seen that the Herbert Parsons was prepared to give £6 a year to the school. A more official responsibility was the tax paid by the prosperous members of the community to provide for paupers. This was not new. According to the parish records, 1800 was a ‘dear’ winter, when the better off people of the parish contributed £25 6s to support poor members of the parish, the money being spent on coals, potatoes, flannel petticoats and waistcoats.

In 1862, it was the three farmers (John Greaves at Home Farm, William Parsons at Hill Farm and William Tredwell at Church Farm), Herbert Parsons at the Manor, the Reverend Gordon, and Colonel North, the landowner, who paid poor rate. The levy was one shilling in the pound of the rateable value of their property, linked to the amount of land they owned. Colonel North paid only on the property and land which was not rented out so his contribution was less than the others. He paid for a barnyard, an allotment and a wood, all of which covered 24 acres. The rateable value for this property was £18 so he paid 18 shillings poor rate twice a year. The vicar paid £4-16-0d, Herbert Parsons paid for the Manor and accompanying land and extra for Gardener’s Cottage. He contributed £3-4-0d in all. The farmers contributed the most with John Greaves paying £17-16-0d, William Parsons £18 and William Tredwell £20-5s.

The rate increased in 1865 with the second payment being two shillings in the pound. By this time Reverend Gordon was renting a field from Col. North, still known as Vicar’s Field, as well as his house and he paid poor rate on that in addition to the house. There were 29 cottages the inhabitants of which paid £6-0-8d between them. In 1842,  two guineas for maintenance and almost £26 in out relief were paid out in the village, thus showing that the poor of Elsfield were generally maintained in their own homes rather than in the workhouse.


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