A talk entitled 'Beggars at Quarter Sessions' was given by Marian Moverley, who has done a great deal of research, at North Yorkshire County Records Office, into the plight of homeless people in the 18th and 19th centuries. These included discharged servicemen, their families, fortune tellers and musicians, disabled, itinerant workers and deserted families. Many came from distant parts of the country, Scotland or Wales, and even from overseas, and all had to be returned to their native parishes. The Poor Law demanded that relief for these people was only available from their own parish, and therefore if found in any other place they had to be sent home.
Each person apprehended represented ten shillings (50p) to the parish constable, and they were detained in a House of Correction until seen by a local magistrate and sentenced at the Court of Quarter Sessions. Given a 'vagrant's pass', they were then moved by a series of carters back to their native parish, where they became the responsibility of the parish overseer. Carters were paid sixpence (two and a half pence) per mile for each vagrant, and one shilling (5 pence) for criminals, and the travellers were set down at each county boundary to wait for the next carter. Begging seems to have been quite a lucrative business -
Great Broughton Village Hall
Monday 10th October at 7.30pm
Beggars at Quarter Sessions