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Also by Terry Spencer

The following studies by Terry Spencer are now available on the Knottingley website:

KNOTTINGLEY CARNIVAL
By the last quarter of the nineteenth century the August Bank Holiday period at Knottingley abounded in fun and frolic with the Feast as the hub of the festivities. The fair was supplemented by community sports and of the sporting element within the town none was more prominent than Knottingley Town Cricket Club.

KNOTTLA FLATTS:
Situated on the southern bank of the River Aire, to the north side of Aire Street, lies Knottingley Flatts. Today, the Flatts occupy only a small portion of the original layout which comprised the greater part of Knottingley Ings.

KNOTTLA FEAST:
The modern image of the fair is one of outdoor entertainment for pleasure seeking people but such a concept is one which has developed over the last two centuries being born as a result of the Industrial Revolution.

HOSPITAL SUNDAYS:
Prior to the establishment of the National Health Service in 1948 local people relied for health care in the event of sickness or serious injury upon charitable institutions such as Pontefract Dispensary and Leeds Infirmary.

KNOTTINGLEY COAT-OF-ARMS:
The application by Knottingley Urban District Council for a grant of arms was made to the College of Arms, London, in mid 1942.

FERRYBRIDGE GLASSWORKS:
That there was a glassworks at Ferrybridge is indisputable for it was both documented and photographed. That it was situated on the north bank of the River Aire "..where the Parish of Brotherton merges into the Parish of Ferrybridge" is confirmed by map reference. The doubt lies not in the existence or location of the furnace but with its origin.

NINETEENTH CENTURY KNOTTINGLEY:
The township of Knottingley, situated three miles north-east of Pontefract in the Wapentake of Osgoldcross, developed from a 6th century Saxon settlement in a forest clearing on the south bank of the river Aire. By the time of the Norman Conquest of 1066 the settlement had acquired the status of a manorial vill

KNOTTINGLEY PLAYING FIELDS:
As the process of industrialisation and urban development gained pace in the second half of the nineteenth century the provision of public spaces such as municipal gardens and parks for the purpose of public recreation and amenity became increasingly desirable.

CAPTAIN PERCY BENTLEY:
Percy Bentley, scion of a prominent Knottingley family, was born in that town on the 18th January 1891, the son of James William and Helena Bentley, and was baptised in the parish church of St. Botolph on the 11th February.

KNOTTINGLEY WAR MEMORIAL:
On Wednesday, 25th September 1918, a committee previously sanctioned by Knottingley Urban District Council in meeting assembled, met in the Council Chamber at Knottingley Town Hall to consider the form of memorial to the men who had fallen during the Great War.

FERRYBRIDGE WAR MEMORIAL:
No less than the citizens of its larger neighbour, the inhabitants of the village of Ferrybridge decided to honour those drawn from the community and slain in the Great War.

THE 'K' SISTERS:
For approximately a decade from the mid 1940's the 'K' Sisters, Marjorie and Pamela Kellett, were prominent throughout the town and district of Knottingley as all-round entertainers who harnessed their talent to providing public enjoyment and in so doing raised large amounts of money for local charities.

THE PALACE CINEMA:
The new cinema, one of the earliest purpose-built picture houses in the country, was situated on an oblique strip of land some 560 square yards in extent, adjacent to Ship Lane at the junction with lower Aire Street. The hall was designed to seat 600 people: 500 in the area and 100 in the balcony.

KNOTTINGLEY PUBLIC HOUSES & BREWERIES:
In 1752, eighteen residents of the township of Knottingley in company with John Mitchell, the Parish Constable, agreed to be bound over in the sum of £10 each to observe the legal and moral obligations attendant upon being granted a licence as an innkeeper.

KNOTTINGLEY TOWN HALL CLOCK:
In the Spring of 1994, the recently deceased and much lamented Edwin Beckett arranged for the installation of a clock at the top of the Town Hall turret. The event was celebrated in verse by Mrs Joyce Bell who concluded her eulogy by stating that her mother, Dolly Lightowler, had always wished to see a clock set in the "bare face" of the Town Hall - a wish which had now come true.

STATUE OF THE BLACK PRINCE:
Awareness of a link between my native Knottingley and the Prince's statue came quite recently when Mrs Shirley Bedford of Knottingley informed me that her great grandfather was the master of a barge which had transported the statue from Hull to Leeds in 1903.

KNOTTLA NICKNAMES:
It was in the course of a recent conversation with Roger Ellis that the subject of nicknames arose, following which, in an idle half-hour, I casually began to compile a list of those I recalled. My list quickly exceeded fifty in number and I was seized by a natural desire to list as many more as I could obtain.

KNOTTINGLEY SILVER BAND:
The origin of Knottingley Band is obscure. In 1980 the Band celebrated its conjectured centenary year, the date being taken from an old letterhead of 1880.  However, a subsequent documentary source has been located which indicates that the genesis of the Band may lie much further in the past.

KNOTTINGLEY TOWN HALL:
The burgeoning spirit of civic pride found practical expression on 29th October 1864, when a group of prominent citizens of the town formed the Knottingley Town Hall & Mechanics’ Institute Company Limited.

FIELD SYSTEMS AND PLACE NAMES OF OLD KNOTTINGLEY:
The purpose of this study is to consider the topography of modern day Knottingley and formulate a theoretical model concerning the development of the settlement during the medieval and post medieval eras as reflected in the field systems adopted.

GAZETTEER OF KNOTTINGLEY PLACE NAMES:
An A-Z listing of Knottingley field and place names.

LIME GROVE AND THE CARTER FAMILY
One of the most impressive and graceful houses ever built at Knottingley was Lime Grove. The large attached house was the residence of the Carter family and was built to the orders of Mark Carter at Mill Close, Hill Top, about 1808.

WAR SAVINGS WEEKS:
Conflict is fuelled by finance so it is unsurprising that following the outbreak of war in 1939, local savings committees were established to encourage people to curb personal expenditure and invest surplus cash in the National War Savings Scheme in order to assist the cost of the war.

SELECT VESTRY RIOTS 1874:
The township of Knottingley became a semi-autonomous parish in 1789 following the ecclesiastical reorganisation of that period but remaining under the patronage of the Vicar of Pontefract until it became an independent parish in 1846

 
Knottingley and Ferrybridge Local History

ASPECTS OF CIVIL ADMINISTRATION AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT IN

NINETEENTH CENTURY KNOTTINGLEY


By TERRY SPENCER B.A. (HONS), Ph D.

Preliminary Draft May 2005

CHAPTER FIVE

CLAIMANTS & PAYMENTS

A pauper seeking relief at a parish other than that to which he belonged was closely examined as to his parish of origin and was expected to produce a certificate of settlement showing that the ‘native’ parish was responsible for the cost of any relief granted.

Despite the fact that Knottingley as an important river port experienced a greater degree of socio-economic mobility than that of most inland townships, there are indications that applications for relief were dealt with in a somewhat casual way. The emphasis seems to have been on an oral examination with the outcome decided at the discretion of the Overseer.

There is evidence that the Select Vestry attempted to regularise the application procedure for in October 1841 it was resolved, "...that every application for Relief be taken down in writing and the Relieving Officer be ordered to go round the Town and produce in writing before the Board an exact account of the circumstances of parties and relief given in each case accordingly." (1)

Thereafter there are references to several applicants "having a form sent" in order that the Select Vestry Committee had a formal record of every applicant’s circumstances, although given the high level of illiteracy amongst the poor in that era one wonders about the utility of such a procedure. (2) The recourse to bureaucracy was an inevitable consequence of a whole series of developments from the closing decade of the eighteenth century. Contemporaneously with population growth was an increase in food prices from 1795 due to the effect of the Napoleonic Wars. Simultaneously, the rise of industrialisation and the application of mechanisation to agriculture and the erosion of domestic industry resulted in a fall in the provision of board and lodging as a staple rural of employment. (3) In addition, the widespread enclosure of common land robbed the poor of subsistence rights based upon customary observance from feudal times. (4) The combined effect was to create a mass of independent workers seeking hire for day wages in lessez faire conditions. The situation was further exacerbated with the conclusion of the Continental war which increased the number of unemployed as soldiers were discharged into the labour market, pushing down wages below subsistence level. In addition, these developments coincided with a period of good seasons and bountiful harvests reducing prices and wages. (5)

The removal of elements of economic stability from the poorer labourers naturally increased the number of applicants for poor relief. (6) Such was particularly the case at Knottingley where occupations based upon maritime activity, limestone excavation and agriculture, were subject to the effects of climatic conditions causing temporary as well as long term unemployment. In addition the 1795 amendments to the Act of Settlement, by producing a greater social mobility, were a factor in the increase in the number of residents at Knottingley thereby creating greater demand for Poor Law relief, particularly at times of cyclical depression.

The Poor Law Act of 1834 with its centralised supervision and bureaucratic administration was doubtless a factor which influenced the process of regularisation at Knottingley and by 1841 standardised forms had been introduced. Summoning claimants before the Vestry for case reviews had become increasingly common (7) with the threat of parish relief being stopped to enforce compliance. (8) An example of coercion by the Committee is shown by the decision of April 1852 that,

"Widow Travis’ pay be suspended until she give up letters from her son." (9)

The Select Vestry met at 10.00am each Tuesday and sat for one hour to hear applicants, no application being considered after 11 o’clock. (10) Furthermore, applicants had to attend personally for it was specified,

"That if a man’s wife attend the Vestry for relief she shall not be attended to except her husband come himself for it", (11) though whether the decision was to crush hubris or prevent moonlighting is uncertain.

Following an application the relieving officer was despatched to the residence of the claimant in order to examine the domestic environment and ascertain the circumstances and degree of an applicant’s poverty. Hence,

"Betty Colley be visited by the Overseers", and again,

"The Overseers visit William Howram’s wife in the Buck [Inn] Yard." (12)

The nature and extent of any relief recommended was calculated somewhat subjectively by the Overseers and usually approved unquestioningly by the Vestrymen.

"Joseph Wright’s case be inquired into by Mr. Smith with reference to what relief he ought to have – aged 79 years." (13)

The basis of eligibility and degree of need was largely based upon the Overseers’ personal knowledge of claimants and served adequately as far as the local inhabitants of a small parish were concerned. A more diverse element was to be found at Knottingley, however, in the form of transient labourers drawn to the town from widely dispersed locations and equally, natives of the township ‘exiled’ in alien parishes through involvement with the maritime trade.

Under the terms of the 1662 Act of Settlement newcomers to any parish were afforded the theoretical right of settlement and by implication, poor relief. A further act of 1697 enabled parish officers to issue a certificate which confirmed that a named family desirous of moving to a new location was recognised as being a legal charge on the ‘home’ parish in the event of becoming recipients of poor relief, which would reimburse money expended upon a migrant family by an ‘adoptive’ parish.

By the advent of the nineteenth century the basis of settlement in a new parish was birth, marriage or apprenticeship (and later, inheritance). In theory, newcomers enjoyed 40 days of unchallenged residence in their new settlement before any challenge was raised to their right of residence. In practice the right of settlement was usually challenged within the 40 day period by parish officers anxious to minimise any potential claimants for parish relief. A challenge by overseers within the 40 day qualifying period had to be presented for the approval of the local justices. The ‘incomers’ were then required to show that they were possessed of property with an annual rental value of £10 or face the prospect of repatriation to their home parish. As the average rental value of a cottage in the early nineteenth century was about 50 shillings a year, most newcomers were candidates for removal. (14)

Upon settlement or receipt of an application for poor relief, overseers began enquiries concerning the bona fides of the applicant. Thus, in August 1841, we find that,

"Enquiry be made respecting Thos. Stanhope’s settlement." (15)

Initially, when documentary proof of settlement right was not immediately available, an oath was required. Hence, the month following,

"John Martin be sworn to his settlement." (16)

In cases in which there was a local connection the oral testimony of a third party was invoked,

"Henry Tranmore’s Grandmother respecting his settlement be seen." (17)

When claimants from more distant parishes were involved it was necessary to contact the overseers of the parish of origin, usually by letter. In September 1843, for instance, it was recorded,

"That the Overseers be written to respecting Ellen Jones of Leeds" (18), and again, in November 1849, "That the Overseer write Greenwick (sic) respecting Geo. Thompson." (19)

Where parish relief was granted to a settler the relieving parish was reimbursed by the parish of origin.

"Widow Wainwright of Temple Hirst be paid 4 shillings weekly for the future", and that

"Widow Copley of Bradford have 2s per week"

are typical examples of the Knottingley Vestry acting as surrogate. Likewise,

"The order of Leeds Workhouse that Robert Jones have 1s additional for one month is confirmed." (20)

Similarly,

"The allowance by Newcastle Upon Tyne to John Masterman, being ill, is sanctioned by the Board." (21)

In cases where the removal of a pauper was sought an order for the proposed removal had to be obtained from the magistrates.

"That an order of removal be got for the removal of Mary Thorpe to Haddlesey", and

"That an order of removal be got for Thomas Greenwood",

are just two of many such within the Minute Books of Knottingley Select Vestry. (22)

The pauper had the right to appeal against the removal order and under the terms of the 1795 legislation a removal order could be suspended in cases of illness, a concession extended to the family of sick paupers in 1809. (23) Substantial delay occurred between application for relief and eventual removal even in the most uncomplicated cases. In the case of George Thompson quoted above, some six weeks was expended in ascertaining the validity of his claim and even when the decision to remove him was reached several more weeks were required whilst arrangements were made before the removal took place. (24)

Appeals against removal were not confined to the individuals concerned. The parish to which it was proposed to remove them also had right of appeal. In 1844, Knottingley Select Vestry decided that,

"The order of Charles Bowles removal be appealed against." (25)

During the interim period, claimants received temporary relief from the overseers of the parish of residence who then sought reimbursement from the parish of origin if the settlement application was rejected. Frequent references are to be found such as,

"Joseph Pollard be relieved and removed", and

"Rebecca Dixon be relieved and her settlement ascertained", and

"Wm Ayres 4s 6d per week and removed to his settlement." (26)

The able bodied were set to work. Samuel Nichols was relieved and provided with work by the Surveyor of Highways in 1842. Subsequently being found ineligible for relief Nichols was dismissed and within a week the decision was taken that,

"Samuel Nichols and family be removed to his settlement." (27)

A similar case concerns George Wood who having received outdoor relief for several months was admitted into Knottingley Workhouse on Boxing Day 1861. Following examination by the Overseers, Wood was promptly expelled,

"...in consequence of his being in a club [i.e. Friendly Society] at Mexbro’ and in receipt of 8s per week." (28)

The Select Vestry instruction to the Assistant Overseer, James Miller,

"To remove Jas. Spacey to Ripon immediately with all necessary documents", 

provides an indication of the speed at which removal, once sanctioned, was undertaken and also something of the bureaucracy underwriting the action. (29) A decision that,

"Mark Jewitt and family [be] removed to Thornton [on Tees?] To be conveyed by horse and cart"

gives an insight into one method of removal in the pre railway era. (30)

The acknowledgement or rejection of paupers became almost a point of honour and much time and money was spent resisting or enforcing the law of settlement, even to the extent that the merest suspicion of disqualification would be checked promptly as in November 1857 when,

"The Assistant Overseer went over to Leeds and found that Richard Copley had lived at Holbeck 8 years and had not broken his residence." (31)

In some cases the antecedents of a claimant proved to be too elusive as in September 1843,

"The case of Widow Beckett’s settlement be abandoned",

and Knottingley was compelled to support her. Beckett was allowed 1 shilling a week and was eventually admitted into the workhouse. (32) The background to another case is open to surmise but for whatever reason the Select Vestry decided in April 1851 that,

"Ann Howard, wife of William Howard, have no assistance given in finding her place of settlement." (33)

Once the legislative process had run its course it still remained for administrative details to be completed. An 1851 resolution,

"That the Overseers apply to [an unspecified] Union workhouse to receive Sarah Rhodes", (34)

indicates that while the establishment of the Pontefract Union lay some twenty years in the future, the 1834 Act was already well established elsewhere.

The record shows that several individuals could be simultaneously awaiting removal. (35) Once approved the deportation was ruthlessly applied whether involving individuals, married couples, (36) entire families, (37) widows, (38) and even individual children. (39)

On occasion the zeal of parish officers backfired on them. In 1857 the Overseers stated quite categorically that,

"Robert Jackson’s settlement is not in Knottingley",

only to conclude two months later that,

"Robert Jackson have 2s 6d per week and reside where he pleases." (42)

Knottingley Overseers were routinely called upon to undertake journeys to examine ‘exiled’ paupers who claimed the township as their parish of origin. In 1842 for instance, the Select Vestry authorised,

"One of the Overseers to go to Sheffield, Beverley & Kampsall (sic) [Campsall] to enquire after the settlement of John Martin, Wm Braithwaite and John Mason." (41)

In December, an Overseer was instructed to,

"...go to Salford to enquire into John Butcher’s case." (42)

From the late seventeenth century all vestries were instructed to revise poor relief in order to assess changing circumstances and prevent fraud by paupers or covetous overseers. (43) To facilitate this practice, it was necessary for ‘exiled’ paupers to be reassessed, particularly by the third decade of the nineteenth century when the effects of industrialisation and legislation wrought rapid changes to the social life of the population. In November 1845, the Knottingley Select Vestry resolved that the Overseer,

"See all the paupers in Hull belonging to Knottingley & bring acct. (sic) in writing of their circumstances. " (44)

Similarly, the following month it was decreed,

"That the paupers at Leeds & Bradford be visited." (45)

Again, in March 1853, it was resolved,

"That a letter of enquiry be Sent to every out Township pauper." (46)

An idea of the potential for abuse of the system is evident from the Vestry decision of July 1856,

"That means be used to know if out of Town paupers be living." (47)

The awareness, gained no doubt from experience, of the likelihood of fraudulent conduct by some claimants explains the caution of the Select Vestry in the case of Mary Pulman, referred to previously, when the Overseers were detailed to accompany her to Liverpool and witness her departure for America in 1853. Nor was this an isolated incident for the Overseers were frequently called upon to accompany paupers en route to or from Knottingley. Thus in 1862,

"John Smith be sent to fetch William Parker from Selby Union" (48),

and on an errand of a different kind, in midwinter 1844,

"…the Overseers got to Liverpool for James Hodson’s Indentures of Apprenticeship." (49)

An example of the system in reverse is seen in the decision in August 1852 to accept the repatriation of a native pauper,

"Widow Claybrough be received into the House when the Bradford officers shall bring her. " (50)

The introduction of the Penny Post in 1840 and the development of a national railway network and its accompanying telegraph system from that decade made the process of checking pauper credentials and removal or resettlement quicker and easier, providing a welcome element of ease and comfort for officers travelling on Select Vestry business. (51) An interesting glimpse of the pre-railway era with particular reference to Knottingley’s maritime connection is revealed in the decision of March 1842,

"That Wm Masterman & family be sent to Newcastle by the Knottingley & Hull Packets." (52)

Regardless of improved communications, the job of the Overseers was a demanding one and it is interesting to note that on occasion the non-availability of an Overseer resulted in the Select Vestry having to delegate a third party to undertake the examination or journey of a claimant. In August 1840 it was decided,

"William Hepworth Esqr. be requested to go to Whitley and Darrington to take evidence respecting James Mason’s settlement" (53),

while in 1844,

"Widow Peel be left to Mr Shaw to settle with the Overseers of Womersley." (54)

The system of reciprocal relief seems to have worked well given the constraints of time, distance and allowing for the degree of illiteracy amongst a substantial element of paupers. Select Vestry records furnish numerous instances of mutual regard between officials of different parishes with requests that examinations of claimants be conducted by proxy and forwarded to them, (55) that relief be granted to ‘exiled’ parishioners on their behalf, (56) or upgraded in accordance with changed circumstance. (57) Indeed, in the case of certain parishes in which a substantial number of Knottingley ‘exiles’ were resident, there appears to have been a considerable degree of confidence in the relieving officers to the extent that carte blanch was provided in the appraisal of each claimant. Viz:

"Mr Moxon [Hull Overseer] relieve Wm Shaw at discretion." (58)

and again

"Mr Moxon relieve Widow Gomersall as he sees fit." (59)

or expressed in a different way,

"Mr Moxon to do as he sees needful." (60)

Likewise, with reference to other Overseers,

"Masterman to be relieved at Newcastle like their paupers", (61)

and

"Bradford Overseers relieve Wm Copley as they do their own paupers." (62)

Similarly, appreciation for co-operation is seen in Knottingley’s acknowledgement,

"That the Vestry approves of the conduct of the Overseers of Newcastle in taking Wm Masterman." (63)

and this is also expressed in the promptness with which bills were paid for services rendered by other authorities. (64)

Constraints of space and money and doubts concerning validity did occasionally result in refusal to co-operate, as in 1841 when,

"The application from Hensall to receive a pauper of theirs into the workhouse be refused." (65)

Outright rejection of paupers nominating the township as their parish of origin without any means of verification also features.

"Widow Ward of Carlton near Worksop be not acknowledged" (66)

is typical of a number of such cases and is shown rather more forcefully in the instruction that the overseer write to Halifax overseers that,

"The Vestry are entirely ignorant of a William Walker of Halifax being our pauper." (67)

Even more curt was the decision that,

"No notice be taken of a letter from Monk Bretton." (68)

Not unnaturally, settlement problems were the most frequent cause of dispute between parishes and was sometimes the cause of a protracted and increasingly bitter affair, often resulting in the triumph of fiscal prudency invoked in the name of dubious honour. A case in 1840-41 concerning Benjamin Hall and his family illustrates the point.

Hall appears to have been examined by the Knottingley Overseers who concluded that his parish of settlement was St. John’s, Southwark. The Southwark authorities declined to accept responsibility for Hall, however, and by March 1841, Knottingley Select Vestry decided to seek legal advice. (69) Hall and family were allowed temporary relief whilst a removal order was procured and later that month the Hall children were removed to Brotherton where they presumably were born. (70)

Both the disputant parties were unyielding and in September 1841 Knottingley Select Vestry decided,

"That Mr Clough have the case of Benjamin Hall’s settlement for trial at the next sessions with St. John’s, Southwark." (71)

The legal outcome is undisclosed but it would appear that Knottingley had the weaker case for in October 1841, it sought compromise, resolving that

"If we have all the costs to pay in Benjamin Hall’s case and take him we will persuit (sic) the case but if they [Southwark] will pay their own costs we will take the pauper." (72)

Nor was recourse to legal action uncommon. In June 1842, for instance we find,

"James Hawksworth’s settlement be tried with Beal at the next Rotherham Sessions."(73)

The instruction that the Overseer at Eggborough be sued for non-payment of a debt incurred by Knottingley in the relief of one of his paupers is recorded in April 1856 (74) and may have echoed a case some nine years earlier when it was resolved,

"That an order be immediately obtained on Ferrybridge for the payment of Isaac Clegg’s wife." (75)

A dispute arose with Cridling Stubbs in October 1861, with Knottingley resolving to take legal action to obtain compensation for the alleged removal of John Mountier and his family. (76) The details of the case are incomplete but the record shows that the family were being relieved by Knottingley the previous month and it would seem that the paupers had been brought to Knottingley without due legal process by the Cridling Stubbs Overseer. (77) Perhaps the Overseers’ assumption that the Mountier’s originated at Knottingley was based upon his knowledge that the family had received parish relief there at an earlier date, Amelia Mountier and her children being workhouse inmates at the time of the 1841 Census. Legal advice was a sin qua non in all doubtful cases as shown by a case in November 1860

"That an opinion of Mr Blanshard (sic) having been taken respecting the settlement of Christopher Mattinson the Select Vestry agree to the order of removal being served by the Overseers of Beal."

Clearly legal opinion was the determining factor in the acceptance of Mattinson by the Knottingley Overseers and the subsequent decision of the Select Vestry to allow him a payment of 1 shilling per week. (78) The decision in November 1841

"That Jeremiah Rhodes be not now removed to his settlement",

may be an indication of a belated acknowledgement of responsibility by Knottingley Vestry when faced with a legal threat to counter the proposed removal of Rhodes. (79) The case may have it origin in the issue of broken settlement whereby a pauper was deemed to forfeit the right to relief by the parish of settlement if taking up residence elsewhere. In February 1842, Knottingley sought to evade responsibility to a claim on them stating that,

"…application be made to the Overseers of Bishop Wilton on behalf of John Dove who was relieved by them nine years ago." (80)

The rouse was evidently unsuccessful for Dove and his family feature as recipients of parish pay at Knottingley thereafter. (81) However, almost twenty years later the ploy was still being utilised, for in July 1861 it is recorded that,

"Mary Nelson’s pay be stopped as she has broken her settlement by going to Goole." (82)

Later the same year the Select Vestry decided that

"James Pease’s Pay be stopped in consequence of his going to live in Pontefract Township viz: - Cattle Laith." (83)

Cattle Laithes (Leys) were grazing lying on the periphery of Knottingley township and had formed part of the common fields of Knottingley Manor from time immemorial. The Select Vestry decision was clearly a cynical ploy to disown responsibility and was successfully resisted by the Pontefract Overseers and ultimately rescinded by Knottingley Select Vestry.

Disputes between parishes even transcended the death of a claimant on occasion, adding further indignity to the victim of a pauper funeral as each parish disclaimed responsibility for the expense incurred by such a burial. Knottingley Select Vestry decided in June 1846,

"That Borrit’s funeral expenses be not allowed to Worsbrough." (84)

The situation was by no means unique for in August that year it was similarly decided that,

"The 10s demanded for the funeral of John Hartley be not paid." (85)

The demand for payment appears to have come from an official but unidentified source for the same meeting resolved,

"To enquire if a coroner can compel us to bury a pauper belonging us, not residing in Township." (86)

The absence of any further reference to the dispute may be an indication that Knottingley had to comply with the coroner’s decision that the parish of settlement had a duty to its paupers even beyond life itself.

The record indicates a degree of negotiations between parishes concerning the amount of relief to be paid to out of town paupers. For example, in August 1861, Knottingley Select Vestry decided

"An offer of 2s 6d be made to the Guardians of Howden in respect of Ann Whitehouse" (87),

while on an occasion two decades earlier, the Vestry Clerk was instructed to

"Write to Malton that Joseph Toole &B Wife wants more and [Knottingley] will remove them unless they are allowed 5s per week." (88)

The demand not being met immediately, Knottingley Overseers began preparations for removal within the month. (89) Likewise, in April 1856, notification was given that

"If money [be] not sent from Allerton Bywater & Eggborough immediately, the pay be stopped" (90),

and in March of the year following Knottingley Vestry advised the overseers of South Hindley that Joseph Kitson should have additional relief,

"...or be take into the workhouse." (91)

©2005 Dr. Terry Spencer


| INDEX | INTRODUCTION | CHAPTER ONE | CHAPTER TWO | CHAPTER THREE | CHAPTER FOUR |
| CHAPTER FIVE | CHAPTER SIX | CHAPTER SEVEN |
CHAPTER EIGHT | CHAPTER NINE | CHAPTER TEN |


 

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