Swineshead History Montage

Swineshead The Workhouse

In 1776-7, a Parliamentary survey of poor-relief expenditure in England and Wales, published as the Abstracts of the Returns Made by the Overseers of the Poor, included an inventory of workhouse provision. 


Below is a list  of the parishes or townships operating workhouses and, where available, the number of places available in each. Spellings are as found in original sources.


Alford (15), Barrow (8), Barton upon Humber—St Mary (20), Belton [north Lincs.] (12), Bolingbroke (40), Boston (26), Bourn (44), Branston (20), Butterwick (10), Crowland (45), Deeping—St James (12), Denton (30), Digby (15), Dorrington (8), Epworth (20), Freiston (16), Gainsborough (70), Glamford Briggs (10), Gosberton (28), Grantham (60), Haxey (24), Hecking (12), Helpringham (6), Holbeach (35), Kirton (15), Leak (35), Leverton (16), Lincoln (60), Louth (40), Metheringham (15), New Sleaford (22), Newton (10), Pinchbeck (25), Great Ponton (10), Potterhanworth (10), Market Raisin (17), Ruskington (10), St Swithin (30), Sibsey (20), Skirbeck (12), Spalding (56), East Stockwith (40), Surfleet (12), Sutton—St Mary's (20), Swineshead (30), Waddington (20), Welbourn (8). 

Report compiled in 1797 concerning Poor Relief in the village of Swineshead:

"Swineshead contains by estimation 4,400 acres, and 1,550 inhabitants. 166 houses pay tax, number exempt not ascertained.

Prices of provisions are: Beef, 5d. per lb. ; mutton, 5d. to 5½d. ; pork, 5d. ; bacon, 9d. ; butter, 7d. or 7½d. ; potatoes, 4d. a peck; wheat, £3 10s. a quarter; barley, 36s. ; malt, 52s. ; flour, 2s. 4d. to 2s. 10d. the stone; milk, ½d. per pint, but little is sold, as farmers mostly stock their pastures with sheep.

The Poor use much tea and water pottage made of water oatmeal, onions, salt and pepper, with butter when it can be got.


Labourers' wages in winter are from 1s. 2d. to 1s. 6d. a day; in summer 2s. a day without victuals. In harvest 3s. to 4s. a day, and. sometimes much more. Women get 1s. to 1s. 2d. a day for weeding corn, but in winter are unemployed except in spinning jersey or worsted, at which they earn so little that scarcely one person in ten will apply for it.

It is generally remarked that in these fens the people are sluggish and averse to industry. 10 ale-houses, 3 of which sell wine; no friendly society. Rent of land, about 20s. an acre. Farms from £10 to £200 a year, mostly from £40 to £100. When the fens were divided, about 27 years ago, land was given in lieu of tithes.

The Poor have been farmed for more than 20 years, but there are only 5 persons in the house — a deaf and dumb shoemaker of 46, an old woman, and 3 bastard children. 13 regular out-pensioners. A few others receive casual relief, but at this season (June, 1795) the Poor are most easily maintained from the work they procure in the fields.

The farmer of the Poor has £130 a year for the support of the Poor. The parish provides clothes, pays doctors' bills, etc., and relieves casual Poor who do not belong to the parish, as it is thought the farmer had too hard a bargain for some years past. Last year (1794) he had £120.  A subscription made last winter for the necessitous amounted to £50.

Upon the whole the Poor are well supported. Several donations, amounting to about £60 a year, are distributed among poor housekeepers.

There is a charity school for 25 poor children. Certificates are granted and received without scruple. About 3 removals in a year, an appeal scarcely once in 7 years."

  Pages: 1, 2