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Transciption: A Kentish incident relating to the Poor Law of 1824

Submitted by Ruiha Smalley on 2 November 2020

These two documents (Gordon Ward ref: CHA 006) relate to the extremes that parishes would go to, to ascertain where the charges for the support of a child should be laid under the Poor Law as it stood in 1824.  The child in question, William Winton, was born on board the hulk of HMS Namur, moored in the River Medway at Chatham, sometime before 1824. The child and mother would appear to be destitute as they were on the hulk at the time of birth and because there was no means of support other than the parish.


Dear Sirs
        We beg to acknowledge the receipt of your favor
of the 21st respecting the birth of the infant William Winton.
        We find the weasel was commissioned by Capt[ai]n Curtis 15th Sept[ember]
1823 and fitted out along side the Namur hulk --- The Child must
we think have been born as you mention on board the hulk
as the wife of one of the warrant officers remembers
such an event abhout the time. But much difficulty appears
in determining what parish the hulk was then lying in.
The parishes of Chatham and Frindsbury extend from
either side of the river and meet just about the centre where
the ships are moored and as they swing round with
each tide it may have been in the one parish or the other
according to whatever position the ship happened to be in
 --- The only way as it appears to us by which the fact could
be shewn would be by measurement to obtain the exact
position of the hulk as she may lie nearer one shore than
the other; or if the day and hour on which the Child was
born were known the state of the tide at such period might
determine it.
        We shall be happy in rendering any further assist-
ance in the matter that you may require.
        Our charges as annexed we shall feel greatly oblig-
ed by your either remitting to us or paying to Messrs
T & J C Lowe Southampton Build[in]gs Chancery Lane
Chatham                                   We are
28th June 1824                                   Dear Sir
                                                                        Yours truly
                                                                              Stephens & Son
[end first page]


[second page]  
Mr John Mercer                                                            Dr. to Stephens & Son  
1826   £  s  d
June 22                                 Postage of Letter from you    "  "  7
      Attending ----- one of the Clerks of the Dock Yard in consequence  
of the request contained in your Letter and ascertaining  
the name of the Hulk alongside of which the Weazel  
Sloop was fitted out in the Medway afterwards going on  
board the Hulk, making enquiry respecting the Birth  
of the infant George Winton and then attending one of  
the Warrant Officers who lived on shore whose Wife was  
on Board at the time of the Birth and who on our   
questioning her recollected the event Also attending the    "  13 4
High Constable of Chatham and obtaining the exact  
boundary in the River of the Parish of Chatham and  
attending at Chatham Church and at St Nicholas  
Rochester and searching the Registers for the Birth of  
the Child  
Paid Boat hire    "    "  8
   "    Search at St NIcholas     "   1  "
Letter of correspondence     "   3  6
   £"  19 1
[end second page]  
[end of document]