Epsom Vestry Records relating to the Workhouse

The following extracts have been taken from the Epsom Vestry Records which are incomplete and in places very difficult to read. The selection of entries has been subjective but hopefully gives the reader a reasonable impression of the matters being considered. We are grateful to Bourne Hall Museum for the use of their transcription of the records.

29 October 1772
Persons under 50 years living in Almshouse , requirement to leave. Failure to do so, removal to Workhouse. No persons under 50 to reside in Almshouse in future without the consent of the Vestry.

7 July 1773
The contractor of the poor to deliver his watch to John Wooland to stay in his custody.

26 May 1774
Ordered that the overseer of the poor of the parish shall pay Mrs Bartlett the sum of £3 for attending the laying in of the women of the parish.

30 May 1774
Agreed that the rate for the relief of the poor of this parish shall be two shillings and sixpence in the pound for this year.

23 November 1774
Ordered that the sum of five pounds be laid out, and provided for the use of the poor in the Workhouse, for bed covering at the expense of this parish.
Ordered that Mr Davis formerly Contractor of the poor of this parish, be paid the sum of thirty five shillings which he has paid to the Overseers of the parish of Tadley, in Hampshire, on account of .....(Unreadable) family.

12 December 1775
That the windows of the Workhouse shall be immediately mended.
Ordered that a committee be appointed to take a survey of the state and condition of the Workhouse and that the following persons be of the said committee viz – William Northey; Joseph Shaw Esq.; Revd. Mr Parkhurst; Revd. Mr Madans(?); Mr Saker; Mr Bond; Mr Coles(?); Mr Comport; Mr Worsfold .....(Unreadable); Mr Potter; Mr Reaves; Mr Taylor; Mr Davis(?); Mr Browne; Mr Greenwood; Mr Jacquet(?). And that the said committee or any five of them shall meet at the said Workhouse on Wednesday 20 inst. At 11 o’clock in the forenoon and shall report such observations as they shall make concerning repairs to the next meeting to the next meeting of this Vestry.

31 March 1776
In pursuance of an Order of Vestry held at the Spread Eagle December 12 1775, Mr Greenwood one of the committee thereby appointed to inspect the conditions of the Poor House reported , that the walls .....(Unreadable) are out of repair, the Roof and Tiling to be Mended, Windows to be repaired, Outside Gates and Eaves ? in a ruinous condition, Outside doors .....(Unreadable) want repairing. Ordered , that the same be considered by the next Vestry.
Mary Lee appeared before this Vestry and made a complaint against the Master of the Workhouse, for ill treatment of her, whilst in the Workhouse, And proved, that she went out to carry home some Work in Order to Buy some food for herself and child, And returning at a favourable hour, was refused to be let in, And if not taken in by Farmer Fox, she and her child must have lain in the street all night, And that when she wanted to go out to Work, he would not open the Gates for her, but obliged her to get over them, in Order to go to her work. Ordered that the said complaint be considered by the next Vestry.

(probably) 7 April 1776
Ordered, upon considering Mr Greenwood’s report of the Poor House, that the same be .....(Unreadable) by the Carpenters and Bricklayers of this Parish, And that they do report the State and Condition (of) the roof at the next Vestry, together with the invoice for any expenses of repairing the said Workhouse.
Upon considering the complaint of Mary Lee, Ordered that Mr Brindley(?) contractor of the poor do pay her half a guinea for the injury he has done her.

30 May 1776
Considering (the) report .....(Unreadable) of (the ) Workhouse.
That the said ? Workhouse be inspected by a committee of this Vestry and any other .....(Unreadable) to attend on .....(Unreadable) June 7 at 12 o’clock at noon and that the said committee make their report to the next Vestry in order that such repairs as shall seem .....(Unreadable) be immediately done. That Joseph Shaw , William Northey Esq., and ? Revd. Mr Madan be directed to .....(Unreadable) the said committee and do attend as above together with the Churchwarden(s), Overseer(s) and such Workmen belonging to the parish ? as shall desire ? to attend, and that .....(Unreadable) accordingly.
Ordered that a two and sixpenny rate be levied for the poor, and that there be .....(Unreadable) book for the names.

24 June 1776
Ordered that a Rate of Two Shillings be made for the use of this Parish And upon mature consideration will be sufficient instead of of a Rate of Two Shillings and Sixpence made as appears by an Order at the last Vestry.
Ordered that the Repairs necessary to be done to the workhouse in this parish .....(Unreadable) shall be postponed till the next Vestry.

26 June 1776
Ordered that the Repairs necessary to be done to the Workhouse in this Parish the consideration thereof shall be postponed to the next Vestry. Ordered that the Churchwardens and Overseers of the poor of this parish shall immediately pay the wife of John Carpenter the sum of four pounds fourteen shillings and sixpence for her charges in going with her two children to Lincolnshire to have one of her children bathed in the sea (?) and the Expense of her Journey .....(Unreadable).

16 September 1776
Ordered that Mr Bachshall Carpenter, and Mr Greenwood Carpenter, be desired to make an Estimate of the Charges and Expense of the necessary repair of the Workhouse, and deliver in the same at the next Vestry.
Ordered, that the Expense of removing Mrs Reeves to Mr Harrisons House at Hoxton, and of Supporting her there, be paid by this Parish.

18 February 1777
Ordered that the Overseers do pay the Reverend Mr Parkhurst his bill on Mrs Reeves account on her order of removal from Bethlehem Hospital to Mr Harrisons at Hoxton.

19 March 1777
Agreed at this Vestry, That Mr Morris Mr Collins Mr Reeve Mr Bond and Mr Bachshall, be desired to survey the necessary repairs made in (sic) about the Workhouse of this Parish, And that they do give directions immediately for repairing the same at the Expense of this Parish. And that they do find a proper plan whereto to remove the Necessary House And the same be removed accordingly.
Agreed that a Supplemental rate of two Shillings in the pound, be made for this Parish for the remainder of the Year.
Agreed, that .....(Unreadable) family being chargeable to this Parish, and they residing under a Certificate from the Parish of Broad Chalk in Wilts be removed to that Parish, by an Order of Justices.
Ordered that the officers of this Parish shall give Notice to the Person, who had the Case of Charles Chapp’s child, that this Parish will not pay any more Money on that child’s Account, from Sunday next the 23rd. March.
Also Notice to be given Anne Paine (or Pain) of this Parish, that the Officers will pay her no more Money for her child.

2 April 1777
Whereas Thomas Lomas ? has been Committed to the Bridewell at Kingston upon Thames, about Six Weeks Since, for not Giving a .....(Unreadable) to this Parish, to indemnify this Parish against any charge which may happen, on Account of a Bastard Child , Which he is charged on the Oath of Elizabeth Jarman, with having Gotten on her, and whereas the said Thomas Lomas ? be discharged from his imprisonment, upon his giving a bond to the Officers of this Parish to Pay such a sum weekly to them for the maintenance of the said Child, and for so longitude (sic), as Mr Shaw, who Committed the said Thomas Lomas ?, shall approve of, And we do desire that upon such Bond being Executed , Mr Shaw will Order the said Thomas Lomas ? to be discharged from his Imprisonment.

11 June 1777
Ordered that the Rate for the relief of the poor of this Parish, for this Year shall be at two Shillings in the Pound.

24 June 1777
It was agreed at this Vestry, that the dispute between the Parish of Great Bookham and this Parish, relating to the removal of the Widow Bridges and her family, be referred to the Justices at their next Meeting.

17 June 1777
Ordered that it be advertized in the Public Newspapers That the Maintenance and Care of the poor of this Parish, will be set, to a Person properly qualified for the office, from Michelmas day next ensuing, for the Term of three years : And that proposals from Persons willing to Undertake the same, may be sent to the Vestry Clerk of this Parish,sealed up : And that a Vestry will be held for this Parish on the Third day of September next, to receive such proposals, at the Spread Eagle in Epsom, at Six o’clock in the Afternoon.

5 September 1777
The proposals of Mr John Evans, Mr John Cole, and Mr Furnaux ? ; were this Evening read, And it is ordered by this Vestry, that the officers of this Parish, do request ? into the character of the said John Evans, his proposals appearing to Us, the most reasonable : And the officers are desired to make their report on this day tonight Where a Vestry will be held at this House, at Seven o’clock, to .....(Unreadable) such report.

12 September 1777
Agreed at this Vestry, that Mr John Evans be the Contractor of the poor of this Parish for the Term of Six Years, he undertaking to Erect a Workshop, or to alter the Stable for that purpose, And if so, to Build another Stable; to keep a horse in. Subject to the Articles of Agreement between this Vestry and the said John Evans, to be Settled at the next Meeting.

19 September 1777
The Contract drawn up, was read, between this parish and Mr Evans, and unanimously Agreed to, And it was Ordered to be Sent to Mr Evans for his Approbation.

10 October 1777
At this Vestry, the Approuvement(?) of the Goods etc in the Workhouse was produced, amounting to One Hundred and Forty-Six Pounds two shillings and three pence, And deducting five pounds two shillings and three pence, Leaving a balance of One Hundred and Forty One Pounds, on that Account. And it appearing that the Goods delivered to Mr Bully at the time he became the Contractor, were valued at One Hundred and Thirty Pounds Eleven Shillings, there appears to be due to Mr Bully Ten Pounds Nine Shillings on that amount.
Agreed that the Goods etc were approved at fifteen too much, Therefore the Same was ? Valued to Mr Evans at One Hundred and Thirty One Pounds by Consent of this Vestry.

11 March 1778
Upon hearing the State of the Want of repairs to be done at the Workhouse: Agreed that the repairs be done there, amending to the Estimates this day delivered in to this Vestry by Mr Foster and Mr Butcher, Mr Foster’s Estimate amounting to £33-17s-4d, and Mr Butcher’s to £45-0s-0d.

16 September 1778
Upon the Complaint of Mr Northey that the drain from the Workhouse running into his Field , to the great Inconvenience and Annoyance of the Same, Ordered that the same be immediately remedied, And that Mr Marston and Mr Yalden be desired to direct the same.
Upon Receiving of the Report from the Committee of the Workhouse, that the privy belonging to the Same, adjoining to the Horse and Groom doth incommode, and is a nuisance to the Same, Ordered, that Mr Marston and Mr Yalden be desired to go to the Workhouse , and to Consider of a proper flow, to which the Same may be Removed, And that the Same may be done accordingly.
At being reported at this Vestry, that the Gates at the Workhouse, are finished by Mr Butcher, Ordered that Mr Butcher be desired to put the said Gates up, immediately. And the officers ? be desired to give Mr Butcher notice thereof.

18 November 1778
Mr Yalden and Mr Marston reported to this Vestry, That in pursuance of the desire of the last Vestry, they did with Mr Evans the Contractor, go to Mr Harrison’s at Hoxton to see Mrs Reeve, who has been confined there, as a Lunatick for some Years past, And to be Satisfied, in What State of Mind, the said Mrs Reeve, was ; And they are of Opinion, that She ought not to be kept any longer at Hoxton, at so great an Expense, But that she ought to be Removed to the Workhouse in this Parish, as she appears to them, to be in a quiet State of Mind, and they were informed there, that she was not Outrageous at any time, but was in a Melancholy State.
Ordered, that Mr Evans be desired to go to Hoxton , And remove Mrs Reeve from Mr Harrison’s at Hoxton, to Workhouse at Epsom, And to pay Mr Harrison, what is due to him on her Account, which the Parish will repay him.

31 March 1779
Ordered, that the clerk sends for Mr Evans, the Contractor of the Workhouse, to attend the next Vestry, there being many complaints against him by this Vestry.

7 April 1779
Agreed at this Vestry, that upon hearing the Complaints of the Poor of this Parish, and others, against the Behaviour of the Contractor for the Poor of this Parish , We are of the Opinion that Mr Evans the Contractor has been Guilty of a Breach of the Contract.
Agreed, by Mrs Bennett on the behalf of her father Mr Evans, and this Vestry ; that the Articles between Mr Evans and this Parish, for Contracting for the Poor be eventually dissolved at the Expiration of Six Months from this day.

14 April 1779
It was agreed at this Vestry, by Mr Evans the Contractor for the Poor, and the Inhabitants of this Parish now assembled in Vestry, that the Contract between Mr Evans, and this Parish, be dissolved , and Vacated by mutual Consent, on Midsummer day next, without Notice of Six Months according to the Articles ; But that a Weeks Notice before next Midsummer, shall be given to Mr Evans, that the Parish has Appointed an Appraizer on their part, to Value the Effects at the Workhouse, And that upon such Appraisement being made, and the Monies paid to Mr Evans as shall be then due to him, Mr Evans and his Servants are immediately to deliver up the Possession of the Workhouse.
And Mr Evans Agreed to Send all the Children now in the Workhouse, who have been Sent there by him, and who are not Parishioners here, shall be Sent from thence immediately.

16 June 1779
Agreed that the Rate for the Poor shall be at two Shillings in the Pound for this Year.
Agreed that Mr Fox shall be the Contractor for the Maintenance of the Poor of this Parish in ? such Form and on such Conditions as shall be Agreed on, at the next Vestry, to be held for this purpose.

12 August 1779
Agreed, that the Report of the Committee, who Met at the Workhouse Saturday last, be Confirmed And that the Same do Stand as Part of the Minutes, Which Report follows,
"We found the Children nearly in a State of Nakedness, most part of them without Stockings or Hose, dirty, lousey, and in a very wretched Condition.
That the older people declared, they were in the same State, as the Children dirty or lousey , and in a very bad Situation. We tasted the Beer, and the old people declared, that instead of the Beer being Bittered with Hops, it was Bittered with Feverfew And We think the Same.
We found there, Thomas Scriven a lunatick , partly naked, and chained, with the door open, .....(Unreadable) in the room, .....(Unreadable) might have destroyed him.
The Children said they are not to read.
We found the House was very Offensive above Stairs, that We could not go to Inspect the rooms and bedding."
Agreed unanimously, that a Vestry be held on Sunday next, pursuant to the Contract entered into between Mr Evans, and this Parish, for the Maintenance and Care of the Poor, in Order to Consider of the Cloathing and Maintenance of the Poor, Which by the foregoing Report, Appears to be much Neglected.

19 August 1779
Upon reading the Minutes of the last Vestry, and the Report of the Committee therein contained. It does appear that the Children and other Poor in the Workhouse have much neglected – and that Mr Evans the Contractor hath not fulfilled his Contract with respect to Provisions, Clothing and other Necessaries for the said Poor.
Resolved that the Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor be desired to go to the said Workhouse, And if upon further Examination, they shall find the several Causes of the said Complaint, not removed, and the poor still remaining, as described in the said report, That they do lay out such Sums, as may be needful for the proper provision for the said poor persons, And to retain so much of the Money, as are or may become due to the Contractor in Order to Reimburse themselves for such necessary Expenses, as they may be at in the .....(Unreadable) pursuant of the Claims in the Contract for that purpose between Mr Evans and this Parish.
It appearing to this Vestry that Mr Evans the Contractor hath not Caused the poor children of this Parish to be taught to read But hath Neglected the Same.
Resolved, that such Neglect is a Breach of his Contract entered into with this Parish, Whereby he has forfeited the Sum of Two Hundred Pounds being the Penalty for any Breach of the Contract with this Parish, as by the deed may more fully Appear.
Ordered that Mr .....(Unreadable) do Bring an Action in the name of the Churchwardens and Overseers of this Parish for removing ? of the Same.

30 August 1779
Upon reading a Letter from Mr Evans the Contractor for the Poor of this Parish to Mr Gascoyne (spelling ? ), one of the Overseers of the Poor, Intimating a desire to Settle all Matters, relating to the Contract of this Parish, on the 29 of September next, Instead of the 25 of December amending to his former Notice, and this Vestry thus finding it proper that a .....(Unreadable) Meeting of the Parish should be held before the said 29 day of September, in Order to Consider of Matters, relating to such Settlement.
Ordered, that a Vestry be called for that Purpose, on Sunday the Twelfth day of September next, And that the Same be adjourned to the Spread Eagle to Monday the 13th And that Mr .....(Unreadable) do Send .....(Unreadable) Notice of the same to Mr Evans, And do Send him a Copy of this Notice, And Desire his Attendance on the said 13 day of September.

13 September 1779
Mr Evans the Contractor for the Poor of this Parish, Attending this Vestry, desired to Resign his Contract at Michelmas day next, instead of the Christmas following, Pursuant to his Notice given for that Purpose:
Agreed .....(Unreadable) : .....(Unreadable) : that the said Resignation be Accepted accordingly.
Ordered that a Committee of this Vestry, do Meet at the Workhouse, on Tuesday the 28 instant, at Four o’Clock in the forenoon, in Order at settle all accounts with the Contractor, and other Matters relative to the Same.
And that two Appraisers to be Named by the Contractor, and the others by the Parish, do Meet at the said Workhouse, on Monday the 27 instant at Eight o’Clock in the Morning, in Order to Appraise the Several Goods upon the .....(Unreadable). And that the Appraisances thereof Signed by the Appraisers, be delivered to the Committee at their Meeting on Tuesday the Twenty Eighth, provided, that nothing contained in these Minutes,shall be Construed or Understood, to Proclude or Affect either party, with Respect to any Action at Law or Suit in Equity Which is or may be Commenced, or depending ? relative to the said Contract.
Ordered, that the two Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor, together with any persons they shall chose to Nominate, be the Committee for the above Purposes.

5 October 1779
.....(Unreadable) the Report of the Committee for settling Mr Evans’ Accounts – When the following Account was produced .....(Unreadable) Account of Settlement between Mr Evans and Parish of Epsom.

Account of Settlement between Mr Evans of parish of Epsom
To Mr Evans                    ????                   
1779 September 29th 1779 September 29th
Appraisance of household furniture etc. £144 17s.0d of household furniture agreeable to Contractor £131 0s.0d
ditto Cart House and Stable £22 0s.0d deduct for Necessary £1 7s.6d
Necessary £3 10s.6d ditto To Ball. Of Bill delivered June 5th 1779 (unreadable) £6 19s.8d
To Ball. Of Bill delivered June 24th 1779 £19 9s.0d Sundries agreed to be taken by Mr Davis for what Mr Bully ordered into the House £1 9s.4d
Ann Whitelaying £2 0s.0d £140 16s.2d
Michael Owen £2 1s.6d £163 15s.0d
Francis Owen £1 7s.8½d Balance due to Mr Evans £304 11s.6d
Garden £4 5s.9½d
19? Sallary £105 0s.0d
£304 11s.6d
£140 16s.2d
£163 15s.4d
Add for frames to Workhous in Workshop £2 2s.0d
Total £165 17s.4d
Brought over £163 17s.0d
Ommitted for Thomas (unreadable) From Jun 24 to Sep 29th at 2d per week £1 7s.8d
£167 4s.6d

And a Motion having been made Whether the said Ballance should be paid to Mr Evans.
Resolved that the Same be not paid, till the present Action now depending and brought by this Parish, against Mr Evans in Order to .....(Unreadable) the Penalty, of Two Hundred Pounds, for his Breach of Contract with this Parish, be determined.

18 October 1779
Upon Considering the State of the Question, Relative to the Contract, And the several Proceedings and Suite at Law that are or may be depending and relative to the same, and which are likely to Involve this Parish in Trouble and Expense, It was thought Advisable and most Conducive to the Welfare of this Parish, that a Compromize be made between the Parties.
Resolved, that the Manner and Form of such Compromize be left to the Revd. Mr Madan And that he be desired, to Write to Mr Evans, and Report his Account ? at the next Vestry.

23 October 1779
The Rev. Mr Madan reported that he Wrote to Mr Evans, the Contractor, pursuant to the desire of the last Vestry, And that he had Received a Letter from Mr Evans dated the 22nd. Instant, purporting his Resolution not to listen to the Form of Accounts proposed.
Resolved, that all Actions and other Proceedings with the said Mr Evans be Carried on at the Expense of the Parish, So far as the Same concerns the late Contract, with Mr Evans, and any other Parochial Matters relating thereto, as also relative to Information threatened to be Moved against certain Officers of this Parish, and others for a pretended disturbance at the said Workhouse.
Ordered that the Clerk wait on Mr Provost, to desire him to be Concerned for the Parish, in their Business with the Contractor.
Ordered, that a Vestry shall be Called to Morrow, in the Church, to give Notice, that proposals will be received at the next Vestry, for any persons willing to Contract for the Maintainance, Clothing and Care of the Poor in the Workhouse.
Ordered, that a Vestry be Called in the Church, to Morrow .....(Unreadable) And be Adjourned to the next day, at the Kings Head at 7 o’clock, for the purpose of taking the Affairs of the Workhouse, into consideration.

1 November 1779
Agreed, that Mr Everest be Commenced as the Solicitor in defending the Action brought by Mr Evans the late Contractor against this Parish, And to present ? the Action already Commenced against him, and other Action that this Parish may Commence against him. Ordered, that Mr Everest and the Officers of this Parish, be desired to go to Mr Evans the late Contractor And offer him the Sum of £167.4.8 together with Costs of that, and any other Action depending between him and this Parish, And to Execute Personal Releases on each Side And to report his Answer at the next Vestry.

3 November 1779
A Letter from Mr Evans the Attorney to the Rev. Mr Madan was read Offering on behalf of his father, to leave the Proceedings at Law, between him, and this Parish, to Arbritation.