John Bancroft b 1803 - Removal from Sutton


I came across an interesting article recently concerning a John Bancroft born 1803 in the Keighley area, the son of Isaac & Mary.

John’s wife, Mary [nee Brigg] died at the young age of 32 years in 1836, and left him with five young children to bring up. Shortly after her death John was obviously desperate for some financial help, and must have approached the Sutton Authorities where he was living, for some poor relief money. He then fell foul of the “Act of Settlement” rules, which allowed the authorities to remove someone from their parish and send them back in the parish from where they came from previously, unless they could produce a Certificate of Settlement.

The ‘Settlement and Removal Act’, follows on from the ‘Poor Relief Act’ of 1662, the purpose of which was to establish the parish to which a person belonged [i.e. their place of “settlement”], and hence clarify which parish was responsible for him, should they be in need of poor relief money. It was mandatory for each person to have a parish of settlement and to produce a Settlement Certificate to prove that they were a legitimate resident of that parish, otherwise they were liable to be moved back to the parish they had lived in previously.
The Settlement Act was partly repealed in 1834, when legislation was introduced to strengthen the authority’s powers to send people to the workhouse, although not fully repealed until 1876.

To gain settlement status to a parish a person had to meet one of the following conditions:
· Be born in the parish.
· Have married in the parish
· Be hired for a year and a day within the parish
· Rent a property worth £10 per year, or pay the same in rent.
· Receive poor relief in that parish previously.
· Have a seven-year apprenticeship with a settled resident in the parish.

A person had to undergo a settlement examination by the overseers of the parish to obtain legal settlement in a new parish, before they could obtain poor relief, and if they were unsuccessful in obtaining this, the overseers could obtain a removal order to have them transferred back, by force if necessary, to their original parish of settlement. [The picture at the top shows an original removal order]

The statement given in 1836 by John Bancroft to the Sutton Authorities for his request for settlement in the Sutton Parish was as follows:
"I am about thirty three years of age and was born at Keighley in the said Riding, as I have been informed and believe. My father when I was about a year and a half old removed to Sutton and rented a farm of the yearly rent of about eighteen pounds, that he occupied the same farm until about 17 years ago when he removed to Cowling and took a farm where he now resides, of the yearly rent of about sixty pounds. I lived with my father at Sutton aforesaid, and removed with him to Cowling and continued to form part of his family until about twelve years ago when I married, when I took a farm in Cowling aforesaid, of Holmes Clapham for the yearly rent of Eighteen Pounds and occupied the same about five years and paid the Rent. I then removed to Sutton and occupied a Cottage and had the keeping of two cows from the twenty third day of March to Martimas for which I paid Eight Pound ten shillings: That I am now a widower with five children viz. Isaac aged about twelve years, William aged about ten years, Abraham aged about eight years, Sarah aged about four years and Mary aged about two years. That I have done no Act save as aforesaid, whereby to gained a settlement, and am now chargeable to the said township of Sutton".

Despite this statement given by him, and probably because the authorities could see the cost involved in supporting John and his five children from poor relief funds, they decided not to issue a settlement certificate and to remove them from Sutton parish back to his last place of residence, Cowling. They would have produced a request to the local Justice of the Peace for removal of John and his family. The wording of their request would have been “the family came lately to inhabit Sutton, not having gained a legal settlement there nor produced a certificate owning themselves to be settled elsewhere” and that “if not timely prevented, they are likely to become chargeable to the township of Sutton”

This sad story shows the struggle that some people had surviving during these hard times, and ended up being past from pillar to post, as parish authorities did what ever they could to rid themselves of so called “paupers”, who would be a burden and drain on their local poor relief funds.

I do not know what happened to John after his move back to Cowling, but by the time of the 1841 census, there is no sign of him in the area and his children are by then scattered across different areas. I assume John probably died sometime between 1836 and 1841.

Does anyone have any further information about when happened to the family after they had to move back to Cowling?
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