Elizabethan dating

The origins of the Old Poor Law extend back into the 15th century with the decline of the monasteries and the breakdown of the medieval social structure.

Charity was gradually replaced with a compulsory land tax levied at parish level.

Relief for those too ill or old to work, the so-called "impotent poor", was in the form of a payment or items of food ("the parish loaf") or clothing also known as outdoor relief.Neither method of relief was at this time in history seen as harsh.The act was supposed to deal with beggars who were considered a threat to civil order.The 1601 Poor Law could be described as "parochial" as the administrative unit of the system was the parish.There were around 1,500 such parishes based upon the area around a parish church.

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