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to render this Work useful to persons interested in the management of parish concerns, and to rate payers in general.
Carlton, near Barnsley,
The first act of parliament for the ge- No law for
relieving neral relief of the poor, was passed in the the poor befourteenth year
of the reign of Queen Eli- fore the zabeth ; before that time their wants were chiefly supplied by charitable institutions, and the donations of the benevolent. Monasteries and hospitals were richly endowed for supporting the clergy and providing for the poor ; and the property of persons
First occasion for
dying intestate was vested in such institutions for the same charitable purposes.
At the commencement of the Reformthe general ation, in the reign of Henry the Eighth, the
monastic clergy were possessed of about one fifth of the revenues of the kingdom, which that monarch seized and distributed amongst his courtiers and flatterers, as a reward for their servility. The poor were thus deprived of their support, and the country, in consequence, became so much infested with beggars and indigent persons, that it was found necessary to provide for them by a general tax.
During the period that elapsed, betwixt supported by charity. the suppression of the monasteries and the
commencement of the operation of the poor laws, paupers were restrained from begging out of their own district or parish, and were, in some measure, provided for by voluntary contributions collected in the churches. The clergy were directed, by government, to exhort their parishioners to be liberal and bountiful. Once a year, at the conclusion of divine service, it was the duty of the collectors to write down what