Ann Wilcox seeks parish relief

In 1832 pauper Ann Wilcox, or more likely schoolmaster A. Peacock, wrote to the parish of Alrewas in Staffordshire from Portwood, Stockport.


In consequence of you not remitting to Mr Pickford, overseer of this place, I have not received any support for the last five weeks last Saturday and I am at this time in a starving condition owing to extreme ill health. I have not been able to do any thing towards a living.  I am exceeding sorry to be troublesom[e] but I am sorry to say that I shall be obliged to go before the Magistrates to send me to you.

I am Gentlemen Your humble Servant Ann Wilcox.

The above is correct A Peacock Schoolmaster.[1]

Wilcox wrote because she had not received relief, but contained within her letter was a threat. Without the money, she would go to the magistrate as the law entitled her to do. The magistrate might send her back to Alrewas as her legal place of settlement. This is a common tactic found in pauper letters. Providing in-parish relief to a pauper was usually more expensive than providing out parish relief. The threat of returning was usually enough to get a parish to pay up.

[1] SRO, D783/2/3/13/5/1/1, Ann Wilcox, Portwood, to the Overseers of Alrewas near Lichfield, Nov. 12 1832.