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 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                  2s 6d.
Joseph Atkinson, Acklam, for Mary Clay child at                        2s 0d.
John Weatherill, Rosedale, for Mary Bink's child at                      2s 0d.
John Porritt, Newton Mulgrave, for Elizabeth Cook child at         2s 0d.
Matthew Taylor, Skelton, for Jane Colling child at                      2s 0d.
John Wright for Mary Brice child at                                          2s 0d.
William Risley, Ranby, for Elizabeth Ingledew child at                2s 0d.
John Kell, Skelton, for Mary Leng child at                                 2s 6d.
William Bryan for Mary Carters child at                                    2s 0d.
Thomas Hutton, Marsk, for Esther Scott child at                         2s 0d.
Richard Baker, Brotton, for Elizabeth Fawcett child at             2s 0d.
Matthew Bell for Mary Knaggs child at                                    2s 6d.
Thomas Bird, Guisbrough, for Mary Stockdale child at               3s 0d.
Bartholemew Nelson for Hannah Wilkinson child at                      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                 3s 6d
Paid Jane Sanders for her months confinement her child being fathered on    
James Handysides                                                                £1 11s 6d
Paid Hannah Binks for finding out John Weatherills place of                  
residence                                                                                       2s 0d
Paid for an order to take him concerning Mary Binks child                2s 0d
Journey to Hinderwell to get Mr Porrit money for Mary Clay child 4s 0d
Paid for a Warrant Commitment for Francis Hudson to convey him to the
House of Correction for Elizabeth Lowes child                               6s 0d

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