Newark Poor Law Union


Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.

  • The Newark Poor Law Union (and Civil Registration District) was centered in Newark, Nottinghamshire, but included 26 Lincolnshire parishes.
  • After the Poor Law Amendment Act reforms of 1834, the Newark Poor Law Union was formed on 24 March 1836 to serve 44 local parishes in both counties. Additional parishes were added as they were formed in the region or boundaries changed. The new Newark Union took over the existing Work House. The building housing the Newark Gaol was converted to a workhouse as well. For more on the history of this Union, see the Peter Higganbotham website.
  • The Newark Poor Law Union was originally divided into four Registration Sub-Districts: North Collingham, Bassingham, Bennington and Claypole.
  • Search the Nottinghamshire Archives for Poor Law records. Holdings include Guardians' minute books (1836-1930); Register of non-resident poor (1909-13); Vaccination registers (1881-1932).
  • For more on researching Poor Law records, see our Poor Law records list.


  • Newark had a parish workhouse since at least 1628.
  • In 1786, the town erected a new workhouse at the east side of Hawton Road (now Albert Street) near the borough gaol.
  • In 1817, the Claypole Incorporation was formed, comprised of 20 parishes (5 in Nottinghamshire and 15 in Lincolnshire), and it erected a workhouse at Claypole in Lincolnshire, about three miles from the Nottinghamshire border.
  • In 1913, the Claypole workhouse building was converted into about twenty cottages. It was torn down in 1978.
  • The Great War Bulletin for November 30th, 1914 tells us that:
" An inquest was held this evening into the death of 87-year-old Eliza WILSON, an inmate at the town’s Workhouse. Nurse Anna KEMP said Eliza fell, cutting her head and blacking an eye, on a trip to the lavatory. The jury decided she “died of old age, accelerated by an accidental fall”. "
  • The Great War Bulletin for January 18th, 1915 tells us that the Newark Board of Guardians of the Poor declined to accept the resignation of Lt.-Colonel W. V. R. FANE, the Board President. The other Guardians pointed out that Parliament enabled members of local authorities to retain their seats while serving their country.
  • The Great War Bulletin for March 15th, 1915 tells us that the Newark Board of Guardians of the Poor could not afford the price of coal or for fish due to wartime inflation. No bids were submitted, and bids for chimney sweeping and wheat straw had to be turned down.
  • The Great War Bulletin for September 27th, 1915 tells us that the Newark Board of Guardians were surprised to discover that many local parishes had not paid their annual membership costs. The following parishes were in arrears, but paid up promptly: Balderton £558, Barnby £31, Besthorpe £31, North Clifton £58 10s, South Clifton £31, Girton £81 10s, Langford £38 10s, South Scarle £26, Spalford £9 10s, Thorney £40, Broughton £83, Fenton £16 10s, Fulbeck £132 10s, Hougham £216 10s, Sedgebrook £9 10s, Stapleford £31 10s. The parish's excuse was that they had been so busy striving to persuade men to volunteer to fight, they had forgotten to pay this annual debt.
  • The Great War Bulletin for December 6th, 1915 tells us that the Newark Board of Guardians of the Poor disagreed over how to deal with the fact that the Royal Engineers had taken over the West Wing of the Workhouse on Bowbridge Road. Plans were finally made to accommodate new arrivals in the Infirmary until space could be found.

District Population



  • Maurice CAPLAN, "In the Shadow of the Workhouse," 1985, paperback.

Staff and officers

  • 1842: John WILSON, governor; Robert CAPARN, clerk. Relieving Officers: Michael PROCTOR and Thos. TILNEY.
  • 1851: John CORBETT, governor; Robert CAPARN, clerk. Relieving Officers: John HARDY and Thomas TINLEY (note spelling variation).
  • 1869: William NEWTON, clerk to the guardians; Edwin A. BAXTER, workhouse master; Mrs. Eleanor BAXTER, workhouse matron; Eleazor EPTON, schoolmaster, Mrs. Elizabeth BAXTER, schoolmistress; Rev. C. P. PLUMTREE, chaplain.
  • 1899: Michael Herbert COLTON, clerk. Relieving Officers: Alfred MINKLEY and W. J. MORRIS; Edward A. BAXTER, workhouse master; Mrs. BAXTER, workhouse matron; Rev. G. AVERILL, chaplain and H. C. BURROWS, medical officer.
  • 1912: W. V. R. FANE, Chairman of the Board of Guardians; Arthur James FRANKS, clerk; John Owen WARDLEY, treasurer. Relieving Officers: Walter Harry PEARSON and Gilbert HARDWICK; Frederick HARRISON, workhouse master; Mrs. M. A. HARRISON, workhouse matron; Rev. William Bellett SEALY, chaplain and Hugh Fitz Neville HINE, medical officer.
  • A former master of the Newark Workhouse served in the Army in World War One. John DYDE, then Master of the Scarborough Workhouse, was commissioned in July, 1915, as a Lieutenant and quartermaster for the 5th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.