Will the real overseer of Uttoxeter please stand up?

Parish overseers were appointed to administer the poor law under legislation of 1598-1601, and Uttoxeter’s ratepayers stepped up to the task to act as overseers for the town in the 1820s and 1830s as follows:

1827-8 Thomas Flint and William Walker

1828-9  J. Tomkinson and William Porter

1829-30 Samuel Brassington and J. Burton

1830-31 George Foster and Thomas Riley

1831-2 Thomas Bunting and Ralph Adams

1832-3 William Woolley and William Fletcher

1833-4 William Rogers and Francis French

1834-5 John Burdett and John French

Separate overseers were appointed for the villages of Crakemarsh, Creighton and Stramshall, and for Loxley.  But this wasn’t the whole story for the town, as at some point after the Sturges Bourne Act of 1819, Uttoxeter took up the opportunity to employ a salaried ‘assistant’ overseer to undertake the majority of the day-to-day work.  White’s Directory for Staffordshire of 1834 identified one Thomas Norris as the incumbent assistant overseer and the vouchers confirm that Norris was paid a salary of £42 a year. But this wasn’t all: the same Directory lists William Porter as the ‘parish cashier’, which was not a title endorsed by legislation.  This raises the intriguing question of what William Porter’s duties were, and how far did his work overlap with Norris or indeed with either of the formally-elected overseers for each year?  We are hoping the vouchers will tell us…

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