Comprises 24 of the 26 parishes of Hoxne Hundred, & contains 15,800 inhabitants, of whom 257 are in the Norfolk part of Mendham parish.Its area is about 80 sq miles, 50,000 acres.
The Union was formed by the New Poor Law Commissioners in 1836, & its Workhouse, at Stradbroke, was erected during that & the following year, at the cost of about £10,000, & has room for 300 inmates, but has seldom half that number, & had only 120 in 1841, when the census was take, & 86 in Oct 1843.
The average annual expenditure of the 24 parishes, for the support of their poor, during the 3 years preceding the formation of the Union, was £19,930, but during the following year it did not exceed £12,000, including the great expense of migrating many pauper families to the manufacturing districts. The Commissioners, in their report, say this reduction has not been accomplished by causing the aged & infirm to suffer privation, but by carefully investigating the cases of applicants for relief, detecting imposition, & gradually but firmly withdrawing all out door relief from all able bodied paupers. Previous to the formation of the Union, there were usually, in the winter months, upwards of 800 labourers without employment, receiving out door relief in the 24 parishes.
During the first quarter after the opening of the workhouse, in Jan 1836, only 52 able bodied persons accepted temporary relief within its walls. The expenditure of the Union, in 1838, was £7312, & in 1839, £8279.4s.
The Workhouse is a large cruciform brick building, admirably adapted for the most approved system of classification; & within the same enclosure, a Fever Ward has been built, at the cost of £600.
Mr W L B Frever, of Weybridge, is Supt.Registrar & Clerk to the Board of Guardians; to whom Sir E Kerrison is chairman; & the Rev W B Mack, vice chairman. Mr J Sims is the auditor; & the relieving officers & district registrars are Mr Thomas Thurston (Stradbroke) & Mr William
Bloss (Dennington). The Rev J Knevett, of Syleham, is chaplain to the Union; & Mr William Coyte is master, & Mrs Wright, matron of the Workhouse.
Source: White Directory 1844 - p 449
Submitted by Betty Longbottom
Page updated March 12, 2008 by Rossbret