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The Poor Law

In: Social Issues

Submitted By faye123
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The poor relief of 1601 was an act of the Parliament of England. It created a National poor law system for England and Wales, which is commonly known as the Law that made the individual parishes responsible for poor law legislation.
It drew together a collection of laws from between 16th and 18th centuries which included an improvement of the ‘Act for the relief of the Poor 1597’ that founded ‘overseers of the poor’ (May, 1995). The 1601 act was responsible for introducing a less barbaric approach, which was prevalent under the Tudor system and its main focus was to help as oppose to punish beggars and vagabonds (Slack,1990).

The two forms of relief for the poor was either indoor relief meaning inside a workhouse or outdoor relief (outside a workhouse), this was the most common form of relief as the cost of building different workhouse were extremely expensive. A huge majority of relief came in the form of food and distribution of money during this period (Slack,1990).

The ‘Deserving’ and ‘undeserving poor’ were ways of defining whether a person was accepted of the poor relief. The idle poor were identified as those avoiding work, the law wanted to warrant that these people were punished, although branding and whipping was abolished once the 1601 poor law was introduced as it was seen as barbaric and a more humane approach was maintained (Quigley,1996). They were still forced into work, much often forced to work long hours in the workhouses.
The impotent poor were genuinely physically unable to work due to ill health, the elderly, and the sick were also classed as the ‘impotent poor’ and it was in the hands of the local parish to raise money for those who were unable (Rose,1971).

The young were apprenticed, the labouring poor were made to work, and the worthy poor were housed and given pensions and sometimes gifts were distributed to the worthy poor by...

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