At the cutting edge of 'the new social and demographic history', this book provides a detailed picture of the most comprehensive system of poor relief operated by any Elizabethan town. Well before the Poor Laws of 1598 and 1601, Hadleigh, Suffolk a thriving woollen cloth centre with 2,500-3,000 people offered a complex array of assistance to many of its residents who could not provide for themselves: orphaned children, married couples with more offspring than they could support or supervise, widows, people with physical or mental disabilities, some of the unemployed, and the elderly.
Hadleigh's leaders also attempted to curb idleness and vagrancy and to prevent poor people who might later need relief from settling in the town. Based upon uniquely full records, this study traces 600 people who received help, including their family situation, and explores the social, religious, and economic considerations that made more prosperous people willing to run and pay for this system. Relevant to contemporary debates over assistance to the poor, the book provides a compelling picture of a network of care and control that integrated public and private forms of aid.
Marjorie Keniston McIntosh is Distinguished Professor of History Emerita, University of Colorado at Boulder. Her previous publications deal with the social history of England, 1350-1600, and African women.
ISBN 978-1-907396-92-2; September2013; 224pp; Paperback
“Marjorie McIntosh, Distinguished Professor of History Emerita at the University of Colorado Boulder, is a respected social and cultural historian of late medieval and early modern England. This book, volume 12 in the well-established Studies in Regional and Local History series published by University of Hertfordshire Press, which has developed a reputation for producing high-quality works of local and regional history under the general editorship of Nigel Goose, in many respects complements her recent national study of poor relief in late medieval England.” Dr James P Bowen, Reviews in History
“A comprehensive and absorbing study.” Richard Stone, The Historical Association
“A fascinating micro-study that works both as a local companion to her earlier survey published in Poor Relief in England, 1350-1600, and as an uncommonly detailed investigation in its own right. It is a book that is important not just because it is the earliest really detailed study of poor relief in a small community, but also because it is one of the best.” Jonathan Healey, Community and Change
“I am exceptionally impressed by this splendid case study, the like of which barely exists for the well-documented Old Poor Law era and certainly not for the pre-1601 period. McIntosh's ability to reconstruct the family circumstances and other demographic attributes of those receiving relief is unparalleled in any study of Tudor poor relief. This remarkable local study will be of interest to a large number of both local and national historians.” Professor Richard M. Smith, Emeritus Professor of Historical Geography and Demography, University of Cambridge
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