Chapter XIII.


The provision of workhouses by each parish commenced in the middle of the eighteenth century and that at Sutton about 1770, for in the accounts of the Vestry dated 6 December 1791, it is stated that a meeting was held to let pieces of land towards paying the expense of the new workhouse. This must have displaced an older house, as appears later on, for at another meeting held in March 1777, at which Samuel Boot and Thomas Wood were elected Churchwardens, Henry Morris, Overseer, Saml. Barnes, senr., Parish Constable, Joseph Lee, Headborough (to attend to the repair of roads), Benn. Sansom, Woodward (to ward the Forest lands of the town) it notes that an agreement made at a Vestry meeting called at the ' Workhouse ' for the following purpose, that is to say, " That every person having a stackyard or sheep pen upon the Forest to pay 2d. per year for each, and for every person that gets clay to pay . . . . (illegible)." Owing to the disappearance of the earlier Vestry book no record of this earlier house is to be found.

This Workhouse seems to have been a regular meeting place for the Vestry for a memo, of an Agreement made at ye Workhouse on 7 April, 1789, that Thomas Peniston is to have ye ground called Town Piece containing 189 acres of land more or less at £10 a year to commence from ye 8 April, 1789 for seven years, ye rent to be paid to the Overseer of ye poor of Sutton, and one fourth to the Overseer of Hucknall as witness my hand Thomas Peniston, Witnesses—John Clarke, Nathl. Bacon, Thos. Gadsby, Henty Ulyet, Wm. Adlington, Thos. Else, Wm. Gibson, Wm. Tomlinson, Jno. Chambers, Jno. Fletcher, Saml. Hall, Richard Haslam, Henry Morris, Thos. Dove, Wm. Cart, Saml. Ward, Saml. Stafford, Saml. Boot and Jos. Lee. This agreement makes it clear that Hucknall Huthwaite was a component part of the parish and no record appears as to the manner in which it became separated.

The books of the Workhouse Accounts have disappeared, and the Minutes in the Vestry books alone remain to give any information concerning its management. On 23 April, 1781, John Boler of Mansfield Woodhouse was appointed to overlook the poor at the Public Workhouse at Sutton-in-Ashfield for three months, for £2 12s. 6d.

No further entry appears for some years. On 11 February, 1788 a meeting was held at the house of John Wass, when town land was let to defray the workhouse expenses and the (old hand pumping) Fire Engine, Hatchcar, little Smeese and Peniston's fields, the bidders for Blackmires or Round Hill were John Fletcher £5 per annum : Thomas Chambers £10 10s. 0d., Sam. Stafford £15 15s. 0d., John Dove and Thomas Eldergill £15, Sam. Downing £16, Wm. Bower, £16 6s. 0d., and John Burton £17 Is. Od.

On 23 February, 1790, Saml. Wilson and his wife of H. Huthwaite were appointed Overseers of the Workhouse for £10, for one year. " First he is to see the provisions properly distributed amongst that family, he is also to set to work those that he thinks able. He is likewise to act in his professional business as surgeon and apothecary for all the poor of this parish gratis, he being paid for the drugs or medicine by the overseer of the poor for the time being." This agreement was signed by Samuel Wilson, and witnessed by. Jos. Sims and Thos. Hall (Churchwardens), Saml. Barnes, and Wm. Shooter, Overseers, and Messrs. Sam. Owtram, Sam. Downing, Thos. Bradley, Jas. Wilson, Sam. Boot, Wm. Knowles, Wm. Rowbotham, Jas. Schofield, Sam. Stafford and John Bower.

In 1791 at the meeting previously alluded to Hardwick Close was let towards building the new Workhouse, and on 20 May, 1795 at a meeting at the house of Ralph Wass it was agreed that in future parish business be transacted in the Vestry of the Parish Church. On 1 November, 1796, Saml. Wilson was hired to look after the Workhouse at 5/- per week, and was no doubt the surgeon and apothecary before alluded to and we may imagine that this curt and undignified entry was due to his requiring an advance of salary while it forms an interesting comparison with the status and salary of the medical men of today (1932). He however did not keep it long for on 23 May, 1797, Joseph Parkin and Elizabeth his wife were appointed to the office at 5/- per week. No record appears of the number of Inmates, nor of their lodging, feeding or length of residence.

At a Vestry meeting at Church on 24 February, 1800, Thomas Dove and his wife were appointed Master and Mistress of the Workhouse and to have maintenance for himself, wife and two smallest children, and for an encouragement to promote industry in the said Workhouse he shall have one penny out of every shilling that is earned in the Workhouse. This entry reminds us of the fact that persons were provided with work in the truly Work-house, and stocking frames were the usual means employed at Sutton. Indeed, as late as 1860 stocking frames were used at the House of Correction at Southwell.

The Doves managed for some years, for on 6 May, 1816, a workshop was erected. The years succeeding the Napoleonic War were extremely distressful at Sutton as may be seen from the previous chapter, and the Duke of Portland employed many men from Sutton in the cultivation of land upon Two Oaks Farm, as well as in the manufacture of Stockings, and on 31 July and 7 August, 1820, it was resolved by a majority of three-fourths " that it will be advisable and expedient for the Overseer . . . . to agree with the Visitors and Guardians of the House of Industry at Basford, and to unite with them under the regulations of the Act of Parliament for the maintenance of the poor of this Parish, and that a thousand pounds be borrowed from the Duke of Portland to pay the contribution towards the above expenses."

On 28 September at a meeting of parishioners " held this morning at eight o'clock (sic) to appoint a Guardian and other business relative to the House of Industry at Basford a further sum of £300 was ordered to be borrowed, and it was also resolved unanimously that Mr. John Clarke of Fulwood be recommended as a proper person to serve the office of Guardian of the Poor of the Parish of Sutton in Ashfield." It appears from this entry that Fulwood Crow Trees, where Mr. Clarke resided, was also a component part of the parish. The idea underlying the establishment of Houses of Industry was that by co-operation the expenses would be lessened and this led finally to the establishment of Unions under an Act of 1834 when rates were equalised over united areas. It has been impossible to find the Minutes and Accounts of this house at Basford, and very little information is furnished in later Minutes of the Vestry.

After the establishment of Unions the first election of Guardians to the Board at Mansfield was in 1836, the Rev. William Goodacre, and Mr. William Beecroft were returned and Mr. Edward Unwin as a Justice of the Peace became a member, ex officio. In the Minutes of the Board it states that at a meeting on 31 May, 1838, the Rev. W. Goodacre moved, and the Rev. Dr. Cursham seconded, and it was resolved that " the Clerk do write to the Poor Law Commissioners to enquire if Sutton-in-Ashfield and Blidworth (parishes in the late Union at Basford under Gilbert's Act, and now in the Mansfield Union) are likely to obtain their share of the property of the said dissolved Union of Basford, to which dissolution the representatives of the said parishes consented on the statement and promise of Mr. Asst. Commissioner Gulson that their respective shares should be applied on their behalf on entering into the Mansfield Union."

On 6 June, 1839, the Clerk was again instructed to write to the Commissioners, as to this debt due from Basford to Sutton, the inhabitants threatening to memorialise the House of Commons. Further correspondence was reported on 5 November, 1840, and an Order of the Poor Law Commissioners of 31 October, 1840, had been received appropriating the sum of £631 5s. Od. part of the proportionate share of the property of the late Basford Incorporation due to the parish of Sutton, to the Duke of Portland and Mr. Ashton, and a resolution of the Vestry meeting at Sutton held 4 November, 1840, " That the Guardians be requested to apply to the Poor Law Commissioners to allow the Overseers to pay the amount of the sale of the Old Workhouse and the sum of £120 from the proceeds of Basford to the Nottingham and Notts. Banking Co." who had advanced the money on loan.

On 22 June, 1846, consent was given to the sale of the Sutton Workhouse for £134 14s. Od. and from the sale of the Basford House of Industry £658 2s. 0d. Of this £100 was paid to John Clark of Kirkby Hardwick, £300 to Wm. Ashton, of Bulwell, £50 to the Duke of Portland and £254 to the Nottinghamshire Joint Stock Bank.

The old Workhouse still stands on the left side, going South, of Hardwick Street now known as St. Modwen's Square, and is in possession of the heirs of Mr. William Stokes who bought it in 1840. (In 1938 the building having been converted into Cottages, it was demolished under an Act of Parliament).