Old Age and the English Poor Law, 1500-1700

Old Age and the English Poor Law, 1500-1700

L. A. Botelho


Boydell Press



Based on documents from two Suffolk villages, this study examines the operation of the poor law and the individual effort the elderly poor needed to make to survive.
This study is a test-case of the old poor law. In its exploration of the virtually unknown world of the aged poor in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England, it asks how the elderly poor managed to survive in a pre-industrial economy, and answers through focusing on the many factors that make up the experience of old age - status, health, wealth, and local culture - in two Suffolk villages. Botelho demonstrates that the poor law did not, nor did it intend to, provide complete support, and she documents the individual efforts of the poor as they made their own old age arrangements, drawing as heavily upon their own initiatives as upon charity and legislated relief.

LYNN BOTELHO is Associate Professor of History, Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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November 2004
1 black and white, 1 line illustrations
208 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843830948
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press
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A welcome addition to the growing body of works on aging and the life-cycle. [....] A book that contributes significantly to our understanding of parish politics, poverty, and the experience of growing old in seventeenth-century England. RURAL HISTORY
Makes an important contribution to the study of both topics in the title. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW
An important and complex book. The author's endeavour and contributions are innovative, pathbreaking and deserving of further attention. JOURNAL OF BRITISH HISTORY (US)