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Link back to main ROSSBRET websiteAylsham


Aylsham Union

The House of Industry of Buxton (Incorporation), Oulton (Gilbert Union) and Aylsham Parish Workhouse were all adapted for use by the Aylsham Board of Guardians following The Poor Law Amendment Act 1834. Buxton Workhouse was erected to accommodate 360 inmates, however it was situated at the edge of the Union, quite some distance from some of the other Parishes.

It was hence proposed that:
Aylsham should be used for the reception of 'aged men, aged women and idiots'. Buxton workhouse would be the main accommodation for married adult paupers and their children and Oulton workhouse would be only temporary accommodation for the poor who could be housed there for one night.


The Union Workhouses are at Buxton & Oulton, both of which are old Houses of Industry; that at Buxton, 4 miles S S E of Aylsham, being built before the year 1800, ... & that at Oulton, 3+ miles N W of Aylsham, being altered in 1804 as a Workhouse. 

After the formation of the Union, in 1836, these houses were altered & enlarged, at the cost of about 1200. That at Buxton has room for about 400 paupers, & that at Oulton for about 100. Only the aged & infirm are sent to the latter, where the average weekly cost of each inmate, for food & clothing, is 2s.11d; but at Buxton it is only 2s+. 

The union has 2 chaplains & 8 surgeons; & Mr William Hill, of Marsham, is Union Clerk & Supt. Registrar. The Masters of the Workhouses are, Mr Thomas Potter at Buxton, & Mr E F Barnaby at Oulton. ... In the months of Oct, Nov, Dec 1844, no fewer than 18 persons died in this union, each of them above 80, & 3 of them above 90 years of age.

Source: White Directory 1845 - p 451
Submitted by Betty Longbottom

Link to Lowestoft cemetery
where many burials were from Oulton Workhouse, and District Asylum. 


In the parish is the smallest of the two workhouses of the Aylsham Union. It was originally a farm house, & was altered as a House of Industry, in 1804, at the cost of 1100. It was subsequently enlarged.
It is held on lease from Lady Sheffield.

Source: White Directory 1845 - p 469
Submitted by Betty Longbottom

Inmates Diet

Aylsham Union Diet ~ Able bodied:
BREAKFAST 7oz Bread plus I pint milk gruel. 5oz Bread plus 1 pint milk gruel.
DINNER 9 oz bread, 1 oz cheese 8 oz bread, 1 oz cheese
SUPPER 7 oz bread, 3/4 oz cheese 5 oz bread, 1/2 oz butter


Breakfast and supper continued the same for the week.
MONDAY 16oz potato, 12 oz suet pudding 12 oz potato, 12oz suet pudding
TUESDAY 12oz meat pudding, 16 oz potato/veg 10 oz, meat pudding, 12 oz potato/veg
WEDNESDAY 16 oz potato/veg, 7oz bread, 3/4 oz cheese 12 oz potato.veg, 5oz bred, 1/2 oz cheese
THURSDAY As per Tuesday As per Tuesday
FRIDAY As per Wednesday As per Wednesday
SATURDAY 16 oz potato/veg, 11oz yeast dumpling 12oz potato/veg, 11oz yeast pudding
The diet for the infirm was similar but in smaller portions


The Workhouse became St Michaels Hospital, Aylsham.

Registers of admission, discharge, outdoor relief, punishment,
master's journal, etc are at the Norfolk Record Office in the class C/GP1.

Norfolk Record Office
Gildengate House
Anglia Square
Upper Green Lane
Telephone: 01603 761349 

Norfolk Record Office; Records of Poor Law

Genuki Site of Norfolk Poor Law Unions 


"The Poor Law in Norfolk 1700-1850" published EARO 1983

Page updated March 12, 2008 by Rossbret