Conisbrough & Denaby Main
Heritage Group

                                                                                                   Researched and written by Carol Narey
                                                                   For use in the Conisbrough & Denaby Main Heritage Group Newsletter

Settlement and Removal Orders

The Poor Relief Act 1662 was better known as the Settlement and Removal Act.  The purpose of the Act was to establish the parish to which a person belonged, this would clarify which parish would be responsible for him should he become in need of Poor Relief.
A Settlement Certificate would be issued and after 1662 it was necessary for this to be carried by whoever was moving from one parish to another.

As parishes were often unwilling to issue such certificates people often stayed where they were, knowing that in an emergency their own parish would look after them.

The Settlement Laws benefited the owners of large estates who controlled housing. Some land owners demolished empty housing in order to reduce the population of their lands and prevent people from going back.  It was also common to recruit labourers from neighbouring parishes so that they could easily be sacked.

Overseers of the Poor

An Overseer of the Poor was an official who administered the poor relief such as money, food or clothing.  The Overseers were often unwilling and certainly unpaid parish officials who worked under the supervision of the Justice of the Peace.

The Law stated that two Overseers should be elected each Easter.
Overseers had four duties:
Work out how much poor relief money was needed in order to set the poor rate accordingly.

Collect the poor rate

Give out poor relief

Supervise the poorhouse.