Edinburgh poor relief papers

Scope and Content

Collection of transcripts, all written in the same hand in [1750], of papers relating chiefly to the administration of poor relief and vagrancy in Edinburgh from 1594-1750, including an Act to impose stent of £500 p.a. for 3 years for cleansing the town, 1687; a 'Report from the committee of the lords appointed to consider the proper method for providing the poor', 1731; an Act of Sederunt imposing stent for 2% on members of the College of Justice for the maintenance of the poor, 1732; a contract between the Council of Edinburgh and the Kirk Sessions for the upkeep of 'a large hospitall or work house... for the more regular maintenance and employment of the whole poor of the...city', 1740; a confirmation of the erection of 'the burgh of the Canongate', 1594; an Act in favour of 'the burgh of Edinburgh anent the annuity' 1661; a report of the 'annexation of the lands and annualls mortifyed to the ministers and hospital of Edinburgh', undated; and a report of the Lords of Council and Session on method for support and maintenance of the begging poor in the charity work house, 1749. There are also additions of 1752 and 1754, the latter being the estimate of the expense of the City Guard for 1745-1746.

Administrative / Biographical History

In Scotland, poor relief was organised using a system of voluntary contributions distributed under the direction of the minister and elders of the Kirk and, from 1752, more strongly by the direction of the landowners, who were the principal ratepayers. The able-bodied poor had no right to statutory relief as in England. A 'stent' was the rate levied on property owners.


Single item.

Access Information

Access to this collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the supervised environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room. Uncatalogued material may not be seen. Please contact the University Archivist for details.

Acquisition Information

Bought from G.W. Walford in 1964.

Other Finding Aids

Collection level description.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

9" x 7½"

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.

Related Material

University of London Library MS 643 also relates to local taxation in Edinburgh.