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Blything Union

Comprises all the 47 parishes of Blything Hundred, & also Carlton &
Kelsale parishes, which form a detached member of Hoxne Hundred. These 49 parishes contained 27,321 inhabitants in 1841, & extend over an area of about 91,3000 acres, or 138 sq miles. All the parishes in Blything Hundred, except Dunwich, were incorporated by an Act of 4 George 111 (1764), for the maintenance of their poor, in a House of Industry, erected in the course of the 2 following years at Bulchamp, in Blythburgh parish, nearly in the centre of the Hundred. 

The sum of 12,000 was borrowed on the credit of the poor rates, for the erection of this Workhouse, & was repaid by annual installments, the last of which was paid in 1791. This house was so unpopular among the poor, that before it was completely finished, it was partly destroyed by a riotous mob, which was dispersed by the military. 

It was opened Oct 13, 1766, on which day 56 paupers were admitted. It had 352 inmates in April 1767, & the average number during the following years was: 214 in 1790; 281 in 1795; 331 in 1800; 335 in 1810; 533 in 1817; 558 in 1818; 551 in 1820; 445 in 1825; 401 in 1830; 345 in 1835; 192 in 1840; & 264 in 1843. 

The Directors & Acting Guardians dissolved the incorporation in July, 1835, & at their request the present Union was formed under
the control of the New Poor Law Commissioners. In the following year, about 1000 was expended in altering the Workhouse, so as to admit of a better classification of the inmates. The male able-bodied inmates are employed in a hand corn mill, in picking oakum etc. 

The average annual expenditure of the 46 parishes during the 7 years preceding their incorporation in 1764, was only 3085, being only about 1s. in the pound on the assessed rental. The expenditure on the poor of the 49 parishes forming the present Union was 23,777 in 1832; 23,389 in 1833; 23,752 in 1834; 11,000 in 1839; 10,005 in 1840; & 9400 in 1841; thus, it appears, that since the formation of the Union, the poor rates have been reduced about 50%; but these sums are exclusive of the county rates, to which the Union contributes about 3000 per annum, which is paid out of the poor rates. 

3 Guardians are elected for Halesworth, 2 each for Kelsale, Leiston, Peasenhall, Southwold, Walpole, Wenhaston, Westleton, Wrentham, & Yoxford; & 1 for each of the other parishes. 

Harry White esq, of Halesworth, is clerk to the Board of Guardians, of which the Earl of Stradbroke is chairman, & Sir Thomas S Gooch, vice chairman. Mr Daniel & Mrs Forman are master & matron of the Workhouse; John Beales esq, house surgeon; & the Rev Richard Day,
Source: White Directory 1844 - p 354/5
Submitted by Betty Longbottom

LINK to photograph of Blything Workhouse

"The Saxons fought the battle of Bulcamp beside the river near Blythburgh and it was here in the 7th century that Bishop Felix established a monastery. In the Middle Ages fortunes were made exporting wool from the bustling port of Blythburgh."

Another site gives a map grid reference for Bulcamp:  TM4376

Another site states: "Blyford: This village lies on the river Blythe at a ford, hence the name. Nearby Bulcamp was, in the 17th century, widely thought of as the battle site where King Anna of the East Angles fought against Penda and the Mercians in 654. There is, however, no evidence for this. In the eighteenth century, Bulcamp was the site of a large poor house."
Source: Submitted by Bob Skinner


The Southwold Medical & Surgical Institution was commenced in 1837, for the relief of lying-in women & other sick & infirm poor; & attached to it is a Self supporting Dispensary, which, for small weekly or monthly contributions, affords to the contributors such medical & surgical aid
as they or their families may require. The Earl of Stradbroke is president, & the Rev H W R Brich & A Lillingstone esq, are vice - presidents, of this useful institution.
Source: White Directory 1844 - p 394
Submitted by Betty Longbottom

Page updated March 12, 2008 by Rossbret