Limpsfield: bastardy bonds andcertificates of settlement

Scope and Content

Bastardy bonds and certificates of settlement relating to the parish ofLimpsfield, Surrey.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Poor Law acts of 1597 and 1601 had placed the responsibility for poorrelief in the hands of the parish. Overseers of the poor were appointed ineach parish to administer the law. These unpaid officials had theresponsibility for collecting poor rates from occupiers of land and property,and for using the money to relieve the destitute, apprentice their children,and set the able-bodied unemployed to work.

Settlement Certificates

The Settlement Act of 1662 made it mandatory of each person to have a parishof legal settlement. This was the only parish in which they were entitled toreceive poor relief. The parish of settlement was usually a person's parishof birth, or where they had lived or worked for at least a year. In order toobtain legal settlement in a different parish, a person had to undergo asettlement examination by the overseers of the poor and justify his request.If successful, they were granted a settlement certificate. If someonerequired relief when living where they did not have legal settlement, theoverseers could issue a removal order to have them transferred back to theirparish of settlement.

Bastardy Bonds

When a woman was known to be expecting an illegitimate child, parishofficials would submit her to an examination to try to determine the name ofthe father. They would then attempt to have him sign a bastardy bond, inwhich he agreed to be responsible for the maintenance of the child.


One bound volume

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