Secrets of the Tin Box

An Analysis of Settlement Certificates

Box of Settlemet Cerificates

Committee members Jill Wood and Tina Williams have been carrying out a detailed analysis of information gleaned from Settlement Certificates contained in a metal box, which was re-discovered at St Editha’s Church in 2014. The box contains approximately 280 certificates, dating from 1697 – 1822.

The 1662 Act of Settlement and Removal established the need to prove entitlement to Bundles of certificates1poor relief by the issuing of Settlement Certificates . The certificates state which parish a family belonged to and therefore which parish had the legal responsibility to provide poor relief if needed. These documents were important for a mobile population, who may have needed to travel to procure work or settle elsewhere. They were not issued exclusively to paupers.

Widow Sarah BirstallThe analysis, which is currently being finalised, will include the dates, names, occupations, the parish where the individual or families originated from, plus the names of witnesses, Churchwardens, Sidesmen and Overseers of the Poor and Justices of the Peace.

The research provides an insight into not only the lives of the individuals concerned,  but also the complex legislation governing migration and settlement.

Blog post and images courtesy of Jill Wood and Tina Williams.

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