Almshouses in Early Modern England
Title Details

291 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

15 b/w. 4 line. Illustrations

Series: People, Markets, Goods: Economies and Societies in History

Imprint: Boydell Press

Almshouses in Early Modern England

Charitable Housing in the Mixed Economy of Welfare, 1550-1725

by Angela Nicholls

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Addresses a neglected element of English welfare history, examining the role and significance of English almshouses in the period 1550 - 1725 and the contribution they made within the developing welfare systems of the time
Almshouses providing accommodation for poor people are a common feature of the towns and villages of England, visible representations of historic attitudes towards the poor. The period after the Reformation saw not only the survival of many medieval institutions but also a remarkable number of new foundations, as people from many different backgrounds used their wealth to revive and remodel this ancient form of provision to meet new needs. This book addresses a neglected element of English welfare history, examining the role and significance of English almshouses in the period 1550 - 1725 and the contribution they made within the developing welfare systems of the time.
Drawing on archival evidence, the book analyses why almshouses were founded and the reasons for the continuing popularity of this particular form of charity; who the occupants were; what benefits they received; and how residents wereexpected to live their lives. It challenges the assumption that Post-Reformation almshouses were places of privilege for the respectable deserving poor and reveals a surprising variation in the socio-economic status of almspeopleand their experience of almshouse life. The book places these findings in the context of the contemporary national and local debates about poverty and poor relief and argues that early modern almshouses took on a distinct and newidentity within the changed landscape of relief provision in post-Reformation England. Many almshouses played an integral role in the early welfare provision of their local communities, yet, ultimately, their significance was affected by the emergence of harsher public provision in the new workhouses of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

ANGELA NICHOLLS is Associate Fellow at the University of Warwick
Introduction
Housing Policy
Chronology and Distribution of Almshouse Foundations
Almshouse Founders and Their Motivations
Almshouse Residents and the Experience of Almshouse Life
The Material Benefits of an Almshouse Place
Case Study: A Seventeenth-Century Welfare Republic - the Parish of Leamington Hastings and its Almshouse
Conclusion
Appendix 1. Almshouse Foundations by County, 1550 - 1870
Appendix 2. Size of Almshouses in Eight English Counties, 1550 - 1725
Appendix 3. Almshouse Numbers and Places in Three Counties, 1550 - 1800
Appendix 4. Minimum Subsistence Budget in 1690s Adjusted for Inflation
Bibliography
"A warm and well-informed account of almshouses [and] a sturdy piece of scholarship." JOURNAL OF ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY
"Fills an importance gap in our knowledge of early modern almhouse history...It will be essential reading." FAMILY AND COMMUNITY HISTORICAL RESEARCH SOCIETY NEWSLETTER
"Nicholls (thoroughly establishes how almshouses were deeply embedded in the welfare system of post-Reformation England. . . . Nicholls uses a great deal of statistical data, often expressing it through numerous charts, graphs, and tables, and provides photographs that bring the topic to life. Recommended." CHOICE

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March 2017

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Title Details

291 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

15 b/w. 4 line. Illustrations

Series: People, Markets, Goods: Economies and Societies in History

Imprint: Boydell Press