Coining it, in and around Darlaston

Darlaston’s history is intimately connected to the history of metal-working, particularly  the manufacture of gun-locks and other mechanical components.  We were startled, though, to find such expertise put to felonious ends, and the constable of Darlaston (Thomas Partridge) drawn in to give evidence against the accused.

In 1819 three men were tried at the Staffordshire Assizes ‘for having, at the parish of Darlaston, in the county of Stafford..traitorously made and counterfeited a certain piece of coin to the likeness of a shilling’.  Joseph Wilkes, Thomas Earp alias Reddall and John Duffield stood trial for their lives, since coining was a capital offence.  Witnesses were able to show that Earp had been apprehended with a parcel of metal blanks hidden inside his umbrella, and that Wilkes had taken possession of the dies or ‘stamps’ used to convert the blanks into counterfeit coin.  Duffield was the organiser of the scheme.

The three men were working within a midlands network of counterfeiters, and were not apparently inhibited or deterred by the prosecution or execution of members of the circle.    John and Mary Bissaker of Warwick pursued a career in coining, and when John was executed in 1800 Mary carried on (narrowly avoiding execution herself in 1807).  It was Mary’s arrest and prosecution in 1819 that prompted the transfer of dies to the Darlaston men, and Mary’s execution that signaled the movement of the trade from Warwick to Darlaston.

But perhaps the most surprising part of the story is still to come.  When the three defendants were found guilty, Mr Justice Richardson initially sentenced them all to death; yet ‘the prisoners begged loudly for mercy; and the learned Judge was much affected.’  The astonishing result of this spontaneous appeal was that Richardson rescinded the death penalty for both Wilks and Earp, leaving Duffield as the only perpetrator paying for his crime with his life.  Surely this established a problematic precedent for this particular Judge, and for consistency of sentencing, even if it was expressive of candid humanitarianism?

[The Times, 10 August 1819, p. 3; I.M. and M.K. Baker, ‘John Duffield of Darlaston and his descendants’,  http://www.historywebsite.co.uk/articles/Duffield/page2.htm, viewed 28 June 2018]

 

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Stephen Foster

 

Stafford Record Office Ref D1149/6/2/8/52 Darlaston, Staffordshire Pauper’s Vouchers.

A Settled bill from Richard Meek to Richard Taylor for £1 3s 5d dated April to Oct 1823 for Shoe repairs and new shoes. The names included Stephen Foster for “shoes with high heels for a lame foot.” As a retired Podiatrist I realised that Stephen probably had a form of club foot called Talipes Equinus in which the heel cannot reach the ground; similar to a horse’s foot hence the name.

Looking for Stephen I discovered several Stephen Fosters in Darlaston and reconstructed the family using a very informative Will and the St. Lawrence Parish Records.

S.FosterChart.bmpchart2

Transcription of part of the Will of Stephen Foster dated 1813

Stephen Foster of Darlaston, Gunlockforger I give and devise:-

  1. unto my wife Hannah Foster for her natural life all and every my messuages tenements or dwellinghouses shops gardens hereditaments and real estate. After her decease I give and devise unto my son in Law William Bailey all that messuage tenement or dwelling house situate in Darlaston aforesaid and the shop near the same now in the occupation of the said William Bailey And also a necessary house near the said premises which is used by the occupiers of all my buildings in Darlaston. And also a pigstie near the said necessary house.
  2. After the decease of my wife I give and devise to my son Stephen Foster All that messuage tenement or dwelling house in Darlaston with the shop near the same now in the occupation of my said son Stephen and also full and free liberty power and authority to throw the shop slack through the window of the said shop and to fetch and carry away the same as often as shall be necessary but so nevertheless that the said shop slack be not suffered to obstruct the road to the shop hereinbefore given and devised to the said William Bailey more than is absolutely necessary And also the coal house and pigstie adjoining the said house which is now in the occupation of my said son.
  3. After the decease of my wife I give unto my son Josiah All that messuage tenement or dwelling house with the shop in the garden near to property [of] my son Job Foster And all that garden ground or void land the whole width and extending from the eastern part of the last mentioned shop to the back road to the Church and are now in my own occupation except the said shop which is occupied by my said son Josiah
  4. I give and devise to my sons Stephen and Josiah All that newly erected shop situate in Darlaston near the said other shops and now in my own occupation To hold the same unto and to the use of my said sons Stephen and Josiah as Tenants in common and not as joint Tenants. Provided always that the owners and tenants or occupiers of all the said messuages tenements or dwellinghouses shops and premises shall have an equal right to the pump standing near and belonging thereto and to have and take water therefrom and that the said pump and the well shall from time to time be repaired amended and kept in repair at the joint and equal costs and charges of the owners of the said messuages tenements or dwellinghouses and premises. And that the owners and tenants or occupiers of the said premises aforesaid shall have an equal right to the entry or passage and to pass and repass thereby to and from the street in front of the said premises to and from the back part of the respective premises.
  5. I give and devise to the said William Bailey and my said sons Stephen and Josiah All the void land at the back of the said dwelling houses except the garden ground or void land herebefore devised to my son Josiah. To hold the same unto the use of the said William Bailey and my said sons Stephen and Josiah as Tenants in common and not as joint tenants
  6. I give and bequeath to my said son Josiah my suit of black cloaths [sic] and to the said William Bailey and my said sons Stephen and Josiah all other my wearing apparel equally.
  7. I give and bequeath to my Grandson Richard Foster son of my late son George Foster one complete set of gunlock forgers tools to be chosen from my tools by him.
  8. I also give and bequeath to my said son Stephen all the rest of my tools belonging to my trade of a Gunlock Forger.
  9. I give and bequeath to my son Josiah the sum of fifty pounds.
  10. I give and bequeath to my executors hereinafter named all my household goods and furniture money securities for money book debts personal estate and effects, for my wife to have the use of all my household goods furniture bedding linen and other household effects for and during the term of her natural life
  11. Upon further trust to put and place the remainder of my said money personal estate and effects out at Interest upon government or real security and to pay all the Interest and product thereof unto my said wife for and during the term of her natural life
  12. And from and immediately after the decease of my said wife I give and bequeath to my son Job the sum of one Hundred pounds, to my son Stephen the sum of fifty pounds to the said William Bailey the sum of fifty pounds to my grandson Richard Foster the sum of Twenty pounds , to my grandson John Foster the sum of twenty pounds, to my grandson Stephen Foster the sum of twenty pounds, to my grandson Stephen Carter the sum of Twenty Pounds, and to my grandson George Carter the sum of Twenty Pounds

  13.  And from and immediately after the decease of my said wife I give and  bequeath all the rest and residue and remainder of my said household goods and furniture, money, securities for money, book debts, personal estate, and effects whatsoever and wheresoever and not herebefore given and disposed of to my daughter Elizabeth the wife of the said William Bailey and to my said sons Stephen and Josiah equally.

  1. And Lastly I do hereby nominate constitute and appoint my friend Francis Taylor of Darlaston, Miner my said sons Stephen and Josiah and my son in Law William Bailey joint executors of this my Will. In Witness whereof I the said Testator have to this my last Will and Testament contained and written on three sheets of paper, to the first two sheets set my hand and to this third and last sheet my hand and seal the this third day of January One Thousand and thirteen.

Signed Stephen Foster  Witnesses Thos. Brevitt, Butcher, Darlaston and A. Rooker, Surgeon, Darlaston                                                                                                                    Codicil dated 12 Mar 1813 removes Francis Taylor as an executor. A more shakey signature from Stephen. Wit: Moses Foster (Darlaston), William Foster (Darlaston) and Jno. Sketchley Clk to Messrs Crowther, Wednesbury.

The Chart above shows the family but curiously no Baptism has been found for either Job or George Foster. Job appears to have been born circa 1765 calculated from his age at burial but George who was dead before 1813 has no age given so I have guessed it based on the age of his first child.

There were 4 Stephen Fosters alive in 1823 – Stephen born 1777 s/o Stephen; Stephen born 1799 s/o Job; Stephen born 1800 s/o George and Stephen born 1817 s/o Josiah.

Stephen born 1777 and his brother Josiah inherited property from their Father so I have discounted these and their children as being less likely to need the help of the Overseers of the Poor.

That leaves the two Stephens born 1799 and 1800 as likely candidates. These were the sons of Job and George both of whom Stephen the Gun lock Forger claims in 1813 to be his sons but he leaves them considerably less than his other sons (Stephen and Josiah). It could be that he had previously provided for them, but this part of the family may be considerably less well off financially. It could be that Job and George were either adopted or illegitimate sons.

There is also a curious familiarity of the Names.

Frances Taylor is named as an executor. Could he be the related to the one who went to Tettenhall to become Governor of the Workhouse.                                                          William Bailey – a William Bayley has supplied goods and services to the Darlaston Workhouse.                                                                                                                                           A Rooker is also the surgeon to the Darlaston Workhouse.

Both Stephen who died 1813 and his wife Hannah are buried with an abode of Church St. Using this and the description of the various properties in the Will I am wondering if they can be identified.                                                                                                                    The Will states that he gives to Josiah “And all that garden ground or void land the whole width and extending from the eastern part of the last mentioned shop to the back road to the Church”.  Also “And that the owners and tenants or occupiers of the said premises aforesaid shall have an equal right to the entry or passage”

Using Google Earth and Maps it appears that this property might be between Church Street and Cramp Hill as there is an entry to the Church from Cramp Hill. GooglemapsChurchSt.Darl.

(Google Maps)

There is a Passageway between what is now Hair by Wendy and Kirans Balti making me wonder if the car park etc behind might be the land in question. Or they could be a little further along to the right of the photograph.

Royal Approval for Uttoxeter Workhouse

In November 1840 the Derby Mercury reported, in glowing terms, the visit of Queen Adelaide (widow of William IV) to the new Uttoxeter Workhouse. At the time she was living at Sudbury Hall. With her ‘accustomed benevolence’, reported the paper, ‘Her Majesty … has graciously consented to become the patroness of the Uttoxeter Provident District Visiting Society [and] has intimated her intention of giving an annual subscription of ten pounds to the society’. The queen also ‘paid a visit to the Uttoxeter Union Workhouse, and conveyed … her … intention to bestow a substantial meal of roast beef, plum pudding, and ale, upon the poor inmates on Christmas day. Her Majesty was pleased to inspect the house, and to express her approval of the general arrangements made for the accommodation and convenience of the poor people, who, with numerous other objects of compassion, will have cause to bless the Christian sympathy of the Queen Dowager.’

Source

Derby Mercury, 25 November 1840

Bricks and Lodgers: an unexpected pairing

This website already features a biography of George Fieldstaff, one of the labourers in the Uttoxeter workhouse brickyard, who went on to become a rate-payer and lodging-house keeper.  In tracing the lives and livelihoods of additional brickyard workers, I didn’t anticipate that anyone else would follow the same pattern so closely, but at least one other man’s career mirrored that of Fieldstaff.  Samuel Neild was baptised in Abbots Bromley in 1796 making him a very near contemporary of Fieldstaff, if not exactly the same age.  Neild married later than Fieldstaff, and had more children, but he too was both an employee of the brick yard in 1829 AND a lodging-house keeper who accommodated the transient poor at parish expense.  In 1832 he housed Ann Blake and her two sons, while in 1834 the overseers paid fourteen shillings for a coffin for an unnamed woman who died at Neild’s house.

Furthermore, the Neild family were near neighbours of the Fieldstaffs.  The 1851 census gives the Neild address as 66 Smithy Lane, just five houses away from the Fieldstaffs at 60 Smithy Lane.  The constituency of the lodgers ran the same gamut from those independent of the parish to ‘beggars’.  The only notable difference between the two men was in their propensity to take money as paupers or employees: George Fieldstaff was given parish relief, while Sam Neild was employed beyond the brickyard to whitewash houses.  Did the men’s elements of shared experience make for common cause or heated rivalry?

Sources: Staffordshire Record Office D3891/6/34/12/70, D3891/6/37/10/41, D3891/6/37/12/33, D3891/6/41/7/58 overseers’ vouchers 1829-1834; baptism of 3 January 1796 Abbot’s Bromley; marriage of 8 January 1829 Radford Nottinghamshire; census 1851.

Richard Hayne’s (1723–1787) Memorandum on Uttoxeter Workhouse, 1782

Amongst the papers of the Fitzherbert family of Tissington, Derbyshire, there is a bundle of miscellaneous items including a description of Uttoxeter workhouse, its management and the activities of its inmates in the second half of the eighteenth century. From the document, it is not clear why the memorandum was written or to whom it was addressed, but it may have been prompted by planned changes to the way in which workhouses were established as a result of Gilbert’s Act of the same year.

Richard Hayne was the second of five children born to John Hayne (b. circa 1688) of Uttoxeter and his wife Lettice Leighton (bapt. 11 Jan 1690). Richard was baptised on 26 March 1723. He was apprenticed to a Derby attorney William Turner in 1742 and appointed as a Justice of the Peace for Derbyshire in 1755, the year after he married Mary Newton at St Oswald’s parish church, Ashbourne. He spent some years living in Uttoxeter, but his main residence was Ashbourne Green Hall. The Hayne family also owned a number of other properties in Ashbourne including the Green Man inn and the Old House in Church Street used as a dower house. Richard died at Bath in 1787 and was buried in the churchyard of All Saints’, Weston. After Richard’s death, his widow moved to the Old House, remaining there until her death in 1802.

The memorandum offers one person’s perspective of the state of the Uttoxeter workhouse and its management before the construction of the one designed by Thomas Gardener which opened in 1789. Hayne’s views emphasise its poor state before his appointment as an inspector, the improvements made whilst he was in post and its decline once again after he left.

He starts the memorandum by recalling events of more than thirty years previously when Uttoxeter’s numerous poor were ‘constantly erecting cottages and enclosing small [plots] of land which they considered as their own, making careful not to change their place of settlement’. The workhouse itself was ‘mostly filled with old persons and children perhaps from 40–60’. Many other poor people received outdoor relief ranging from one to three or four shillings a week. The overseers, chosen usually from ‘the lower sort of Trades People’, sent provisions to the workhouse where ‘some of the old men there distributed it’, not just to the inmates but to others who came for their dinners. The problem was exacerbated, according to Hayne, because those who went to the workhouse for their meal had a tendency to pocket the victuals and carry them away.

Hayne’s other main concern was that the ‘Poor of the workhouse had no employ and ran about the town at pleasure by which habit the children were ignorant, idle and impudent’. The problem of how to ‘amend this bad and expensive conduct’ was discussed frequently by the gentlemen of Uttoxeter who attended the parish vestry. Remonstrating with the overseers proved ineffectual. Consequently the vestry proposed that ‘two Gentlemen should be added to the official overseers who could spare time to inspect’ the workhouse. Hayne and a Major Gardener were thus appointed. ‘Our first step’, wrote Hayne, was to ‘advertise for a person as Manager of the Workhouse’. They got one from Wolverhampton at £24 a year ‘or thereabouts for himself, his wife and his daughter’.

Hayne’s and Gardener’s next step was to inspect the workhouse where they ‘found a room full of broken spinning wheels … We directed these implements to be thoroughly repaired’. The boys and girls were then taught to spin and knit linen and wool, and the ‘old people as were able had their allotment of such work as suited them best’. The House was ‘whitewashed and cleaned in a wholesome manner’. Rooms were inspected on a weekly basis. As the workhouse manager was ‘qualified to instruct the children … in reading, writing and accompting’, copy books and reading books were procured for their education. For the sake of their health the children were permitted to play in a large yard attached to the workhouse where a palisade and locked gate were fixed. A boy, seated in a box, was to unlock the gate and admit in or out ‘all proper persons’.

Gardener’s and Hayne’s role as inspectors lasted for a year, during which time they alternated their duties every two weeks. Hayne claimed that he scarcely missed a day, sometimes carrying out unannounced inspections twice a day. He visited the market to see the butcher’s meat (usually animal muscle tissue) being weighed and put his mark next to the entry in the general account book. He also did this for the flour, wool, hemp and other materials brought into the workhouse. Outdoor relief (except during sickness) was stopped as was the practice of feeding any other than workhouse inmates.

As a result of the inspectors’ endeavours the workhouse was transformed: ‘From a most filthy, dirty place the House became perfectly sweet, clean and wholesome’. The inmates became industrious and the children ‘attained an attention to Business & were (from Parental Homebread (sic)  Brutality) Civilised and fited (sic) to be put out as Parish Apprentices into any decent families’. The spinning of linen yarn for shirts and worsted produced a sufficient amount to make stockings and ‘to be sent out to be woven into liney wolsey for coats and waistcoats for the Men and Boys and Gowns and Petticoats for the Women and Girls’.

After his term of office Hayne removed to Ashbourne, the major returned to his regiment and a contested county election ‘divided the friendship of the Gentlemen [of Uttoxeter and the] workhouse gradually sunk into its former state’.

How much of Hayne’s account we accept at face value is difficult to say. Frederick Eden’s State of the Poor certainly confirms many of the practices Hayne found on his arrival at Uttoxeter workhouse, but the extent to which the workhouse and its inmates were transformed within the space of a year is open to question.

Sources

Derbyshire Record Office, D239/Z/6, Fitzherbert of Tissington Papers, Memorandum Uttoxeter Workhouse 10 May 1782

Frederick Morton Eden, The State of the Poor, A History of the Labouring Classes in England, 3 vols (London: 1797)

Adrian Henstock (ed.), A Georgian Country Town: Ashbourne 17251825:  Fashionable Society (Ashbourne: Ashbourne Local History Group, 1989)

Alannah Tomkins, The Experience of Urban Poverty, 1723–82 (Manchester: MUP, 2006)

www.archerfamily.org.uk/family/hayne.htm accessed 6 Mar 2018

www.batharchives.co.uk/sites/bath_record_office/filesWES%20Inscriptions accessed 6 Mar 2018

This is a work in progress, subject to change as new research is conducted.

A Beer Ladder?

The Staffordshire volunteers have started to unfold the vouchers for Darlaston, and a grubby set of scraps they are too.  The surviving documents date from around 1816 to the mid 1820s.  They are tightly and chaotically bundled together and require numbering as well as calendaring.

The overseers’ account books for the parish precede the vouchers chronologically, but the volume covering 1790-1802 contains a useful workhouse inventory.  The list includes the usual complement of domestic goods, such as trenchers (or wooden plates) for serving meals to the poor, and sixteen bedsteads each with their own blanket and coverlid.  The combination and quantities of furniture and crockery suggest that paupers were required to sleep two to a bed, but this was quite usual in institutional settings other than workhouses.  It might have been well-regarded as a way to keep children with parents, and as a way to keep warm.

An unexpected item in the inventory was a ‘beer ladder’.  The kitchen contained a copper, which was presumably used for brewing, and the listing of mash tubs confirms that the workhouse was making its own beer.  Even so the ladder is slightly puzzling.  Was the copper so large that a ladder was required to add or stir contents?  Pam Sambrook’s book Country House Brewing gives a detailed account of the private estate’s brewhouse and its furniture, and sheds light on the role of the ladder.  Tall coppers required a platform or other device to allow the brewer to ‘watch the boil and stir the hops’, and while the workhouse set-up was certainly less sophisticated and large than that at somewhere like Shugborough, the brewing process would have been the same.  Ladders and step-ladders made a frequent appearance in brewhouse inventories elsewhere.

Calke Abbey

A further possibility, and this is speculation since I don’t think Pam mentions this terminology, is that the beer ladder at Darlaston workhouse was a variant on another brewers’ accessory the ‘oar’.  This was an implement with a long handle and a laddered or fenestrated paddle at the end for stirring or ‘rowing’ the mash.  Pam’s book contains useful illustrations of brewers’ ‘oars’ but not by the name of ‘ladders’.  What do you think?

Aldridge Overseers

Aldridge overseers’ accounts and vestry minutes yield the names of twenty men who held the office of overseer of the poor between 1823 and 1836.  Two men in each year were elected in this period, as the practice of employing a salaried assistant overseer was not supported continuously throughout the period.  A comparison of these names with those of local residents given in White’s Directory of 1834 reveals that, with the exception of Joseph Reynolds the beer-house keeper (and coincidentally assistant overseer 1820-2), all of the men whose names feature in the Directory were farmers.

1823  Charles Arrowsmith, Thomas Martin

1824  John Clarke, William Tookey

1825  Thomas Cook, Thomas Middleton

1826  Charles Juxon or Jaxon, Joseph Shelley

1827  John Smith, John White

1828  Thomas Crumpton, John Proffitt

1829  Thomas Keen, Thomas Martin

1830  Thomas Martin, John Nevill

1831  Thomas Martin, Joseph Reynolds

1832  Daniel Arblaster, Thomas Martin

1833  John Cliff, Thomas Martin

1834  William Bates, John Lea

1835  Daniel Allen, Joseph Shelley

1836  Daniel Allen, Joseph Shelley

 

So the important question for us will be, why did Thomas Martin do duty as an overseer so often?  He held office in seven of these fourteen years, and continuously 1829-33.  He presumably had an aptitude and taste for parish work; in addition to stints as overseer he was also the constable of the parish in 1826, when he was given five pounds ‘in consideration of his remaining in the office for the year ensuing as a bonus, for his extra duties in keeping the peace’.  The vouchers may reveal why keeping the peace was such an issue in the mid-1820s.

Sources: SRO D1104/4/1 Aldridge vestry minutes 1808-27; D4122 Aldridge overseers’ account book 1823-37.

If this is Friday, this must be Aldridge

The vouchers of Whittington parish have been typed up in quick time, meaning that we are now turning the focus to Aldridge.  This parish has crossed my radar before, as the home parish of farmer John Masgreave.  John was the elder brother of Ellen Parker neé Masgreave, for whom I wrote an entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Once again I’m in quest of names for the overseers and churchwardens of a parish, and this time I have both a set of vestry minutes and a volume of overseers’ accounts to help with the search.  The vestry minutes reveal that Aldridge anticipated legislation of 1818-19 and appointed a salaried assistant or ‘standing’ overseer as early as 1815.  The first post-holder was Patrick Cormick, succeeded in 1820 by Joseph Reynolds.  Reynolds was appointed at a salary of £25 per year, ‘without any cost or charge whatever to the parish excepting all journeys more than 10 miles from Aldridge’.  The parish was clearly trying to keep control of its liabilities in relation to trips associated with legal matters or the settlement of the poor.  Reynolds was required to receive and collect all the poor rates, pay the poor, and ‘execute the general business of the parish subject to the controul [sic] of the overseers for the time being’.  In other words, the parish still elected annual overseers, but they were merely honourary as it was Reynolds who did all the work.

The vestry minutes contain highlights of parish business and low points of parish behaviour.  In illustration of the former, it was resolved in January 1824 that the conveyance of letters between Aldridge and Walsall should be continued by Mrs Hathaway.  Rules were drawn up for the times when this lady should be expected to travel between the two locations for the reliable carriage of post.  A letter bag with a lock and key was supplied to her by the overseers of the poor (for some reason: the mail was not typically their province).  At the other end of the spectrum there was the intransigence of the organist and choirmaster.  Richard Glover was discharged from this post in 1822 for for ‘inability, impropriety of conduct and neglect of duty’.  There is no elaboration of these charges, but given that the next post-holder William Prince was specifically required to arrive at church early, and to teach singing to four parish girls, one can only hope that lateness was the worst of his offence.

Penalties for profiteering overseers

An Act of 1815 made it illegal for churchwardens or overseers to profit by supplying goods to their parish in the same year that they held office.  The penalty for infringement was high at £100.  This law was probably more honoured in the breech, but some keen-eyed contemporaries tried to make sure that it didn’t fall entirely out of view.  Samuel Cook, a radical citizen of Dudley, was one man who tried to make sure parish officers were held to account on this score.  He went to the trouble in 1823 of printing a small poster with the heading ‘Overseers liable to One Hundred Pounds Penalty!’ where he copied out some portions of the Act to publicise the (otherwise neglected) legislation.

This poster came to my attention when visiting the archives at Dudley.  I was searching the catalogues for parish records pertaining to locations in the ancient county of Staffordshire, and particularly for overseers’ vouchers that might survive for Sedgley, Brierley Hill, Kingswinford, and Lower Gornal.  None of these parishes have surviving vouchers relevant to our project, but finding the poster was a bonus.

Samuel Cook used the same small poster, no more than six inches square, to ask some pertinent questions about the workings of the Old Poor Law in Dudley.  He suffixed the main content of the poster with questions, asking about malt bags found at the workhouse, and the pay rise of £20 per year recently awarded to Mr Shorthouse (presumably a parish official).  It is a shame there weren’t more acute observers of parish relief to ask these sorts of questions!

House Row System

The Whittington Overseers of the Poor Law make seveal references to House row system or men.

An Internet search brought up the following on Google Books. There were various statements which appeared to be from parishes in the Staffordshire Moorlands but I expect it would be the same in Whittington

The House-row system.

Accounts and Papers of the House of Commons, Volume 45

Mr. Heald Salt, Guardian of the township of Wootton, states, that—

“If they (able-bodied labourers) apply in consequence of being out of work, I call a
meeting, and allot them to the rate-payers in proportion to their rate, and they are paid by the persons who employ them; this I call the house-row system.
The same plan has been pursued in our township ever since I can remember, and I was born in the township, and am now above 60 years of age. The non-resident able-bodied poor I relieve, if any of the family come over, giving as little as I can, and tell them they had better go back again. I never have sent any of the non-resident paupers to the workhouse.

The resident able-bodied have been sent to the workhouse, but not for the last five years. There have been cases where the paupers have not been satisfied with the wages paid by the house-row system.
The wages paid for the house-row system are not quite so good as those paid to independent labourers, and they have always reference to the families of the paupers. There are now two cases of persons going by house-row, the one a married man with seven children, none of whom have yet worked, and the other a married man with one child; they are tidy sort of working men, and about average labourer, one not being superior to the other. The man with seven children is paid by house-row 1s. a day and his victuals, and the other 7d, a day and his victuals, and the overseer has undertaken to pay 1s. a week for the lodgings of the latter, as his family are residing 13 miles from the parish.