SKELTON - IN - CLEVELAND
IN HISTORY

Page 32.

THE OVERSEERS OF THE POOR.
ILLEGITIMACY.
A daughter of a poor family was by necessity put out to work, often in service, at an early age.
If she became pregnant she became a burden on her own Parish, to which she would be quickly "removed" to avoid the child been born in any other and becoming a liability there.
The girl would be forcibly taken to the magistrates and compelled to swear on oath the name of the father.
A "Filiation Order" or "Bastardy Bond" would be issued compelling the father to pay for the delivery of the child and its maintenance to the age of 14.
This payment could be a lump sum, but more usually a regular, means-related amount of from 2 shillings to 3 shillings and sixpence per week.
It was the Overseers duty to ensure that payments were received and passed on to the child's mother.
Default of payment could result in the father's goods being seized or even his imprisonment.
The Skelton Poor Book gives a list of 14 illegitimate children at April 1822 and weekly payments due.
The total population of the village was about 700 at this time.
It is reckoned that the National average of births outside wedlock was about 5 to 6 percent of total births and that this went down after the introduction of the Workhouse system in 1834.
Richard Otley, Darlington, for Jane Stephenson child at
Joseph Atkinson, Acklam, for Mary Clay child at
John Weatherill, Rosedale, for Mary Bink's child at
John Porritt, Newton Mulgrave, for Elizabeth Cook child at
Matthew Taylor, Skelton, for Jane Colling child at
John Wright for Mary Brice child at
William Risley, Ranby, for Elizabeth Ingledew child at
John Kell, Skelton, for Mary Leng child at
William Bryan for Mary Carters child at
Thomas Hutton, Marsk, for Esther Scott child at
Richard Baker, Brotton, for Elizabeth Fawcett child at
Matthew Bell for Mary Knaggs child at
Thomas Bird, Guisbrough, for Mary Stockdale child at
Bartholemew Nelson for Hannah Wilkinson child at
2s 6d
2s 0d
2s 0d
2s 0d
2s 0d
2s 0d
2s 0d
2s 6d
2s 0d
2s 0d
2s 0d
2s 6d
3s 0d
2s 0d

The pages of the Poor Book detail payments made and the efforts of the Overseers to chase absent fathers to pay their legal dues.

Journey to Guisbro and summons for James Handysides
Paid Jane Sanders for her months confinement her child being fathered on James Handysides
Paid Hannah Binks for finding out John Weatherills place of residence
Paid for an order to take him concerning Mary Binks child
Journey to Hinderwell to get Mr Porrit money for Mary Clay child
Paid for a Warrant Commitment for Francis Hudson to convey him to the House of Correction for Elizabeth Lowes child
3s 6d

1 11s 6d
2s 0d
2s 0d
4s 0d

6s 0d


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