Chelsea Settlement and Bastardy Examinations 1733 – 1766

Edited by Tim Hitchcock and John Black

This volume contains the accounts of 466 examinations conducted by Justices of the Peace to enquire into the origins of paupers and the paternity of illegitimate children, largely to establish which parish might bear the responsibility for caring for those who had no means of support. These examinations bring into sharp focus the meeting point between the poor and the system of relief, the Elizabethan Poor Law, upon which the majority of the eighteenth-century population relied at some point during their lives. In the introduction the editors discuss the legal context and the practice of poor relief generally and in this Chelsea parish in particular. There is a full index of all those mentioned in these records.

Available to purchase from Boydell and Brewer

Available online at British History Online