The land agent and the old poor laws: examining the correspondence of William Spencer in Sapcote, Leicestershire

Shave, Samantha (2020) The land agent and the old poor laws: examining the correspondence of William Spencer in Sapcote, Leicestershire. Agricultural History Review, 68 (2). ISSN 0002-1490

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Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

Limited research has been conducted on the ways in which land agents were involved in the administration and management of poor relief on estates. Literature on the old poor laws has focused on the individuals vested with powers under law to administer poor relief (such as parish officers and magistrates) and literature on land agents has overlooked this role. In order to address this deficiency, this article examines the richly detailed correspondence of William Spencer, who worked in Leicestershire for John Frewen Turner, and his role in implementation of a deterrent workhouse system in the early nineteenth century. Spencer directed the establishment of the new institution, negotiated between the landowner and key individuals in the community, and gleaned information about poor relief practices in other locations. Spencer also held prejudices against individuals in the community, and reported their resistance to the new workhouse. This case study illustrates some of the ways in which land agents influenced and managed poor relief system in nineteenth-century rural England.

Keywords:old poor laws, workhouses, Social policy, rural welfare, England
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V214 English History
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V143 Modern History 1700-1799
M Law > M111 English Law
L Social studies > L510 Health & Welfare
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V144 Modern History 1800-1899
L Social studies > L432 Welfare Policy
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
ID Code:42181
Deposited On:25 Sep 2020 08:58

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