Birth & Death title
Transcriptions of the Workhouse Birth, Death and Burial registers

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Introduction Birth and Baptism Death and Burial
 

Introduction

Before 1837, births and deaths in the 'Houses of Industry' at Aylsham, Buxton and Oulton were recorded in the appropriate Parish registers.  Then, with the advent of the Aylsham Poor Law Union and following refurbishment of the workhouses at Buxton and Oulton, local registers of birth and death were introduced.   The Norfolk Record Office (NRO) holds the original documents (index), but some are available to view on the FamilySearch web site and are listed in the following table.

Register No. of Images Start Date End Date NRO Cat No.
Buxton Workhouse Births 10 1 Feb 1837 17 Jun 1849 C/GP 1/381
Aylsham Workhouse Births 10 25 Oct 1849 28 Jan 1866 C/GP 1/382
21 24 Mar 1866 7 Oct 1920 C/GP 1/383
4 3 Jan 1890 10 Dec 1904 C/GP 1/384
Buxton Workhouse Deaths 9 20 Mar 1837 11 Oct 1849 C/GP 1/385
Oulton Workhouse Deaths 16 8 Jul 1837 5 Mar 1849 C/GP 1/386
Aylsham Workhouse Deaths 14 6 Nov 1849 31 Mar 1866 C/GP 1/387
15 31 Mar 1866 24 Sep 1891 C/GP 1/388
Aylsham Workhouse Notices of Death 43 26 Jul 1896 5 Apr 1898 C/GP 1/390
Aylsham Workhouse Burials 17 4 Dec 1857 1 Jul 1903 C/GP 1/391

BMD Coverage

FamilySearch Coverage

Transcripts of the documents are in the sections below.  In each case I have:

The Officiating Ministers, sometimes identified only by initials in the Registers, were:

Robert Hugh Winter Barnes - Son of Thomas Barnes; took over in 1917.
Thomas Barnes - Rector of Burgh from 1879.  Workhouse Chaplain from Feb 1892 onwards.
Stephen Atkinson Cooke - Workhouse Chaplain.  Curate of Oulton 1848.  Curate of Attleborough from 1861.
E. Dennis
Samuel Fisher - Curate of Oulton.
George Jarvis - Buxton Workhouse Chaplain.
H.T. Kerrey
Henry Hammond Lubbock - Rector of Bradfield.
William Heath Marsh - Rector of Lammas.
Edgar Montagu - Held various curacies in Norfolk and Suffolk, 1843-64. Vicar of Kettlestone from 1864 and died there in 1902.
William Poulton - Curate of Aylsham.
Samuel Marsh Shepheard - Union Chaplain.  Vicar of Calthorpe and lived at Erpingham.
Arthur James Skrimshire
Joseph L. Thackeray - Rector of Horstead and Coltishall.

Birth and Baptism

Buxton Workhouse

The register has 172 entries.  In some cases there is no entry for the date of baptism, which could mean that the child was baptised elsewhere or that it had died before baptism could be carried out.  Stillbirths were not recorded.

Buxton births cover Buxton births flyleaf Buxton births first entry Ordered by Date

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Ordered by Child's Name

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The Buxton Workhouse Register of Births and its first entry The Transcription (PDF)

Aylsham Workhouse

There are 567 entries in 3 books. 

Book 3 appears to have been kept separately and doesn't record any baptism details (or the given name).  Some of its entries duplicate those in Books 1 and 2, but others are unique.  In the transcription, duplicated entries are denoted and entries unique to Book 3 are in blue type

Aylsham births cover Aylsham births flyleaf Aylsham births first entries Ordered by Date

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Ordered by Child's Name

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The Aylsham Workhouse Register of Births and its first entries The Transcription (PDF)

Medical Attendance

Related instructions to the Medical Officer of the Workhouse or District were:

Art. 182.—In cases in which any Medical Officer, either for the Workhouse or a district, shall be called on by order of a person legally qualified to make such order to attend any woman in or immediately after childbirth, or shall, under circumstances of difficulty or danger, without any order, visit any such woman actually receiving relief, or whom the Guardians may subsequently decide to have been in a destitute condition, such Medical Officer shall be paid for his attendance and medicines by a sum of not less than ten shillings, nor more than twenty shillings, according as the Guardians may agree with such officer.

Art. 183.—Provided that in any special case in which great difficulty may have occurred in the delivery, or long subsequent attendance in respect of some puerperal malady or affection may have been requisite, any District Medical Officer shall receive the sum of two pounds.

Death and Burial

Buxton Workhouse

The Register has 133 entries, covering the period from the establishment of the Aylsham Union through to occupation of the new Aylsham Workhouse in 1849.  The majority of the deaths relate to Paupers who were young and/or able-bodied (the main occupants of the House).

Buxton death cover Buxton deaths flyleaf Buxton deaths first entries Ordered by Date

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Ordered by Name

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The Buxton Workhouse Register of Deaths and its first entries The Transcription (PDF)

Oulton Workhouse

The Register has 123 entries, covering the period from the establishment of the Union through to occupation of the new Aylsham Workhouse in 1849.  The majority of the deaths relate to Paupers who were aged and/or infirm (the main occupants of the House).

Oulton deaths cover Oulton deaths flyleaf Oulton deaths first entries Ordered by Date

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Ordered by Name

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The Oulton Workhouse Register of Deaths and its first entries The Transcription (PDF)

Aylsham Workhouse Deaths

The Register of deaths was started in the Autumn of 1849 when the new Workhouse came into operation.  There are 619 entries, with a ten-year gap between October 1867 and June 1877.

Aylsham deaths cover Aylsham deaths flyleaf Aylsham deaths first entries Ordered by Date

Size 481 KB
Ordered by Name

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Aylsham Workhouse Register of Deaths and the first entries The Transcription (PDF)

It's clear from the foregoing transcriptions that details recorded in the 'local' registers sometimes differed from those in the BMD indices.  This perhaps led to the introduction of a more formal method of informing the District Registrar, using Notices of Death.  The format was similar to a cheque book, with counterfoils and detachable certificates.  This copy covers two years and has 40 entries.

Notices of Death cover Notices of Death first page Ordered by Date

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Ordered by Name

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Aylsham Notices of Death and the first entry The Transcription (PDF)

 

Aylsham Workhouse Burials

 

Land at the North East corner of the site was used as a burial ground from the 1st of December 1857 and a separate Burials register was started at that time.  There are 548 entries, but note that there was a clerical error in May 1881 such that the document's own index numbering 'slipped' by 100.

 

Aylsham burials cover Aylsham burials first entries Ordered by Date

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Ordered by Name

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Burial Ground location Burial ground 1932 Burial Ground today
Aylsham Workhouse Burials and the first entries The Transcription (PDF) Burial Ground location 1885 Burial Ground in 1932 Burial Ground today

Many of the workhouse buildings now form part of a large housing estate and the burial ground has survived without damage.  Thanks to the interest of the Town Council, the local Heritage Group and the town's Scout Troop, the land has now been cleared and it is hoped that it will eventually be properly landscaped.

This is how it looked in 2018.  Thanks to Sue Riches for the photos taken on site.

Aerial photo of burial ground

Photo A From Point B From Point C - 1 From Point C -2 From Point C-3 From Point C-4
From Point A From Point B From Point C, scanning from left to right (West to East)

Longevity

Some of the Paupers lived to a good age.

Name Age Died

Ann

Roll

103

16 Apr 1863

Ann

Ives

98

4 Jan 1885

Sarah 

Saul

97

14 Jan1898

William

Dennis

96

3 Jul 1862

Elizabeth

Williams

96

8 Feb 1899

John

Bilham

95

22 Oct 1865

James

Keeler

95

10 Sep 1858

Mary

Braddock

94

31 Mar 1874

William

Kemp

94

9 Apr 1898

William

Martins

94

22 May 1869

Ann

Rivett

94

25 Apr 1869

But were these ages accurate?  Ann (nee Roberts) and Thomas Roll were married on the 18th of January 1800 at Banningham St. Botolph's church.  Ages were not recorded.  They had moved to Colby by 1804, when their son William was born, and they lived there for many years.  Their second son John was born in 1808. 

In the 1841, 1851 and 1861 Census returns for the village, Ann's age was recorded as 75, 84 and 101 respectively and her place of birth was given as Paston.  I don't have access to the Paston Parish Registers, but the Archdeacon's Transcripts have no Roberts' births in the 1760-1770 bracket.  However, there is a baptism of an Ann Roberts, daughter of Mary and Edward, on the 4th Of January 1867 at Cawston and her age would fit with the ages given in the 1841 and 1851 Census returns.

Thomas Roll died in the Workhouse on the 27th of December 1863, age 84.

Coffins

The price of coffins supplied to the Union by carpenter John Mace of Smallburgh in July 1836:

Messrs. William and John Johnson, Drapers of Red Lion Street, Aylsham, supplied flannel shrouds at a price of 28s/4d per Dozen.

Place of Internment and Burial Fees

The Reverend George Jarvis, who was appointed as Chaplain of Buxton Workhouse at a Salary of £50, also held the position of Curate at the Parish Church of St. Andrew.  In April 1837 he charged the Board a fee of 2s/6d for the burial of a Pauper (Joseph Sewell) and, although the fee was paid, the Board took the opportunity to review the Chaplain's salary, reducing it to £40.  The Poor Law Commissioners agreed that "as the service which the Chaplain of the Buxton Workhouse is actually called upon to perform is less than what was originally proposed at the time when the duties and remuneration of the Chaplain were under consideration, they are not unwilling to assent to the suggested reduction of his Salary from £50 to £40 per Annum."

In these early years of the new Poor Law, the Commissioners were bombarded with questions about burial procedure and costs.  This resulted in clarification being published in their Fifth Annual Report dated 1839.  Like many of the Commissioners' instructions, the 'clarification' was far from clear!

Copy of a Minute of the Poor Law Commissioners, dated 17th October 1838 (Expenses of Pauper Funerals)

The Poor Law Commissioners have had submitted to them such numerous and various questions in reference to the expenses of the funerals of paupers, that they deem it advisable to record their opinions on this subject, and to communicate them to the Assistant Commissioners, for the purpose of making them known to the different Boards of Guardians.

1. Where a pauper dies in a Union workhouse, the expenses of his funeral should be charged to that parish of the Union to which his relief, up to the time of his decease, was chargeable.

2. Amongst these expenses, the Commissioners are advised that the fee for registration of the pauper’s decease should be included, notwithstanding that the death actually takes place in a workhouse not situate in the parish to which he is chargeable.

3. With regard to the place of burial of the pauper, the alternatives open to the Guardians appear to be:

The Commissioners have in various instances received remonstrances from the parishioners of parishes wherein workhouses are situate, complaining of the inconvenience actually sustained, or likely to be sustained by them, in consequence of the increased number of burials in their churchyards, arising from the deceased inmates of the workhouse being interred there. The Commissioners think that this objection well deserves attention, and they recommend, generally, that unless a separate burial ground has been appropriated to the workhouse, the paupers should be conveyed to the churchyards of the parishes to which they respectively belong, in a decent hearse to be provided for that purpose.

Even where a separate burial-ground has been appropriated to the workhouse, the Commissioners still think that the Guardians would do well to attend to the expressed wishes of the deceased, or of their kindred, on this point, and, in accordance with any such wishes, convey the deceased paupers to their respective parishes for interment.

4. The payment of the burial fees to the clergyman, clerk, and sexton, has been occasionally the subject of inquiry and correspondence. As regards these fees (where the claim to them in respect of the burial of a person not being a pauper is either admitted or established) the Commissioners will not object to their being considered as a part of the necessary expense attendant on a pauper funeral, and to their being provided for out of the poor-rate, whenever the Guardians or Overseers shall think it incumbent on them to charge the expense of burying a pauper on the parish funds.

5. The difference in the nature of the claim of an Incumbent to burial fees for the interment of a parishioner and a non-parishioner has given rise to the question - under which class shall a pauper be considered who dies out of his parish, but in a workhouse of the Union wherein his parish is comprised?

The Commissioners considering that for certain purposes the workhouse must be deemed to be a portion of each parish comprised in the Union, were disposed to think that, upon this principle, if a deceased pauper were conveyed for interment to the parish to which he was chargeable, the Incumbent would be bound to bury him, as if he had died in the parish. The Commissioners, however, are advised, by those who are conversant with the law applicable to this subject, that in such a case the Incumbent may refuse to bury the deceased pauper, in the same manner as he may refuse to bury any other person dying out of the parish, but brought thither for burial. Upon the like principle, the Incumbent of the parish where the workhouse is situate cannot refuse to bury a pauper who has died in the workhouse, on the plea of his not being a parishioner of the parish in which the workhouse is situate.

6. With regard to the burial of paupers who die out of the workhouse, the principal question which has arisen has related to the mode of defraying the expense of the burial of a pauper, who, at the time of his decease in Union A., has been in the receipt of relief from the Guardians of Union B. Although the law is almost silent on the subject of the burial of paupers, yet looking at the uniform practice
which has prevailed since the 43rd Elizabeth, the Commissioners conceive that it is the duty of the Union authorities to provide for the burial of all destitute paupers dying within the Union, and to charge the expenses of such burial to the parish or township wherein it occurs, notwithstanding such paupers may be in the receipt. of relief from some other Union, as non-resident paupers. The Commissioners believe, however, that in cases of this nature, it is not an unfrequent practice for the Guardians of Union B., which relieves a non-resident pauper when living, to provide for his burial, as a continuation of such relief, notwithstanding his decease takes place in Union A. The Commissioners, without feeling themselves called upon to pronounce such a course to be absolutely illegal, or to issue, at the present moment, a positive regulation forbidding its continuance, are, nevertheless, extremely desirous that the Boards of Guardians of Unions should relinquish it; and they trust that the Boards of Guardians will lay down, for their own guidance, a bye-law, similar in its terms to that which has been adopted in Leicestershire, and which is as follows:  "That, pursuant to the recommendation of the Poor Law Commissioners, this Board will discontinue the payment of funeral expenses of paupers belonging to this Union, and dying out of it, and will pay such expenses for the paupers of other Unions who may happen to die within this Union."

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