Dorchester Parish Workhouse
Dorchester Workhouse pp031-035
By Deed Poll enrolled in the Court of Chancery, bearing date 6th October 15 Jac I., reciting the Act of 39 Eliz c.5. for erecting hospitals and working houses, and that the borough of Dorchester had theretofore abounded with great numbers of poor and needy people, who lived by begging and dishonest courses; but by the care of the magistrates had been reduced to better order, and that it was desired that such reformation begun might come to further perfection, which it was conceived could not be better accomplished than by the training up and instructing of the children of the poor in honest labour, and that the parties thereafter mentioned then stood seised in fee simple of a messuage with the appurtenances in the west part of the High South Street, which had theretofore been called by the name of the
Six Messuages, lying together, but had afterwards been united and used as one entire messuage and mansion-house; William Whiteway, one of the bailiffs of the borough of Dorchester, Francis Ashley, esq., recorder of the same borough, John Gould and John Parkins, Richard Bushrode and Joane Gould affecting the furtherance and advancement of so good a work as was by the burgesses and inhabitants of the said borough generally intended for the preventing of beggary and idleness, by some means to be provided for the education of the younger sort in exercise
and labour, or attaining to knowledge in some profitable course of living, declared that they had disposed and appointed the said six messuages and the new workhouse thereto adjoining, which was lately erected, and all buildings and land thereto belonging, to be for ever thereafter employed and used as an hospital or working house for the
relieving, harbouring and setting to work the poor children in the borough of Dorchester, did by virtue of the said Act, found, erect and establish a hospital and working house there for 50 poor children of the said borough to be therein relieved and employed in labour in some lawful trade, mystery or manual occupation, to be called the Hospital
of the Bailiffs and Burgesses of the Borough of Dorchester.
And they further ordered, that there should be a discreet man to govern the male children, and a sober woman to govern the female children, and that such man and his successors should be incorporated by the name of the Governor of the Poor Childfen of the Hospital of the Bailiffs and Burgesses of the Borough of Dorchester, and appointed John Coke of Dorchester, fustian weaver, the first governor of the said hospital; and they directed that the said hospital and
governor, and the woman who should be called the matron, and the children there should be ordered, visited, placed, and upon just cause displaced by the bailiffs and capital burgesses of the said borough, or the greater part of them, and according to such rules and statutes as should be by them established in writing under their common seal; and that the said governor should not let or dispose of any of the
lands or goods of the said hospital, but with the consent of the said bailiffs and burgesses. The hospital according to an account entered in the old corporation book marked G., under the date of 1624, was founded by the free and voluntary gifts of persons whose names arwe there entered, being chiefly capital burgesses, to the amount of £330. There were also collections made in several successive years, from 1617 to 1623, and several annuities given for terms of years long since expired, besides the rent charges
now in existence, the grants of which are hereafter given. Among the above is the sum of £200 given by Mrs Margaret Chubb, and £100 given by the will of Lawrence Stafford.
At the end of the list is a note, which states that the residue of the money given and not used about the house and children, was employed in a brewhouse and malthouse, and that the profit coming out of the said house, after brewing and malting, went wholly for the maintenance of the hospital, and for the governor's wages and his servants, and for the
apparelling and washing the said poor kept on work there.
p 032 Whiteway's Gift
p 032 Parkins's Gift
p 032 Bushrode's Gift
P 032 John & James Gould's Gift
p 033 Johan Gould's Gift
p 033 Donor Unknown
On 1st August 1743, a committee having reported that the old hospital or brewhouse was the most proper place to erect a hospital for the reception of the poor of the three parishes in Dorchester, it was desired that the corporation (in whom the title to such lands was vested) would lay the same before Mr Brown and Mr Gundry, for their opinion, whether the said corporation could apply these lands and
revenues thereof towards such intended building, and that Mr Benjamin Bastard be desired to deliver a plan and estimate of the building such hospital. In January following the committee resolved that the hospital, with the donations thereto, had been founded for setting to work fifty poor
children, and that the intention of the founders could not be carried into effect unless the said hospital was made fit and commodious for their reception; and that the hospital, at a small additional expense, might be made a convenient workhouse, as well for the reception of aged and other poor as well as poor children, and that the application of so much of the buildings and ground as should be more than sufficient for the reception of the children, to receive and maintain the aged and other poor would be furthering the good intention of the founders of the hospital; and the committee resolved, that the expenses of maintaining the children should be kept separate, and that the revenues of the hospital should be applied thereto and to the repairs of the hospital, as far as they would go, and that money should be collected from the
several parishes to make up such a sum as should be necessary, over and above the revenues of the hospital, for the support of the children as well as of the aged and other poor.
20th April 1745, the hospital and workhouse were declared fit for the reception of the poor of the several parishes of the town, and the whole expense in building, furnishing and stock in trade was reported to be £998-11s-7.5d.
After the hospital was rebuilt, the money paid over to the governor of the revenues of the old hospital was entered in the accounts as paid to guardians as to be applied towards the maintenance of the children; but this specific regulation seems soon to have been neglected, and what is now paid over forms part of the general funds.
24th May 1745 Among other donations to the hospital is entered :-
By George Trenchard esq, another piece of ground adjoining to the before mentioned piece of ground (being a garden, rented of the corporation at £3 per annum.) and which was before let to a tenant at a yearly rent of 20s.
In the Returns of 1786 it is stated that, the donor finding the profits of the garden misapplied and greatly abused, he took the same again into his won possession.
The hospital is now used as a workhouse for all the poor of the three parishes of Dorchester, under the provision of 22 Geo.3.
The following is the present income :-
1 - Robert Williams of Bridehead .
A messuage, burgage or dwelling house, lately erected by the lessee, with garden, containing in front from North to South 23 feet 6 inches, and from East to West as far as a certain street called South back street, 140 feet, situate in the parish of St. Peter Dorchester, in South Street on the West side thereof, and occupied by Charles Stickland, esq.
Term - of 99 years determinable on three lives of - Robert Williams the younger, and Fanny Williams, son and daughter of the lessee, Francis Cunningham.
Reserved Rent of £3 - Date of Lease 28th October 1831
Fine and Observations - Fine on adding a life, and surrender of former lease on which two lives were in existence. Lessee covenants to repair. £80 Fine entered in account.
2 - Elizabeth Chappell
A messuage, burgage or dwelling house newly erected by lessee, with the garden thereto belonging, containing in front from North to South 23 feet 6 inches, and from East to West as far as the Street called South back street, 140 feet situate in the parish of St. Peter Dorchester, on the West side of the South Street and adjoining the last mentioned house.
Term - 99 years determinable on three lives of -
Susanna Pople, Edward Bernard Pitman and William Lock the younger. Reserved Rent of £3 - Date of Lease 1st January 1821 Fines and Observations - £60 and the erecting the house. Corporation covenant to add another life on the death of the life first dying, in consideration of £10 to be paid by lessee. Covenants to repair by lessee.
3 - Mary Shergold
A messuage, burgage or dwelling house newly erected by lessee, with the garden thereto belonging, containing in front from North to South, 23 feet 6 inches, and from East to West as far as the Street called thew South back street, 140 feet, situate in the parish of Saint Peter Dorchester, on the West side of the South Street there and adjoining to the last above mentioned house.
Term - 99 years determinable on three lives of -
Frances Caroline Churchill, Edward Bernard Pitman, William Lock.
Reserved Rent £3 - Date of Lease 1st January 1821
Fine and Observations - £40 and the erecting house. Corporation covenant to add another life on the death of the life first dying, on payment by lessee of £10 Lessee covenants to repair.
4 - Charles Whitmarsh
A messuage or dwelling house containing in front 40 feet 8 inches, with the garden and outlet behind, situate on the West side of the South Street in the parish of Saint Peter, Dorchester. Term - 99 years determinable on three lives of -
Uriah Whitemarsh, Samuel Whitemarsh, and George Chitty
Reserved Rent of £16 - Date of Lease 25th March 1831
Fine and Observations - Lessee covenanted to build within two years a new house of the same description and in a line with the three existing houses, and to expend not less than £700 in such buildings beyond the value of old materials. Corporation covenanting to add another life on the death of life first dying, on payment by lessee of £20.
Total of the 4 Reserved Rents 25 Rent Charges 24 For a large room, part of the Hospital premises, used as a National School. 10 Total 59
The rents are received by a member of the corporation, all of
whom, in rotation, take the office of steward for a year.
The hospital premises now consist of a large building, forming three sides of a quadrangle, with a wall towards the South Street, and the remainder of the frontage towards South Street is occupied by the four houses above mentioned. At the back of the hospital, towards the back South Street, is a large room,now let as a National School.
The fines received in 1821 were laid out in repairing and improving the hospital; and from the year 1820 there has been paid £884-12s-8d and a large sum also, previously in the year 1809, in repairing the old houses, towards the payment of which £110 was contributed by the overseers of the three parishes.
The income and the fines have been for the last 20 or 30 years, wholly expended in repairing and improving the premises. Before that period, any balance that might remain in hand at the settling of the accounts at the end of the year was paid over to the guardians of the hospital for the general purposes of management.
There was also paid from this fund, insurance of the hospital in £1,200 at £2-14s-0d per annum, and £3 for the rent of a garden for the use of the hospital, together with 12s-8d land tax.
The accounts are balanced annually in July, and signed by such members of the corporation as are present at the audit.
On the 24th July 1833 there was £22-42-2d in hand, which was paid over to the incoming steward.
Source: Further Report of the Commissioners for Inquiring Concerning Charities. Vol 29 out of 32 Volumes. 1834
In Two Parts pp 1-894 pp 895-1439
Submitted by Alan Longbottom
Dorchester Union Workhouse
The Union was founded in 1836 and the Workhouse located in Damers Road, Dorchester.
The Infirmary was added in 1884.
In 1948 under the National Health Service it was renamed Damers Hospital.
Dorset Archive Service
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Link to an
Extract from an account of the jail and house of correction at Dorchester by Wm
Morton Pitt, Esq
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