Note that the historical county of Brecknockshire and its county town of Brecknock are also known, respectively, as Breconshire and Brecon, with both forms being used in official documents. However, the Brecknock Poor Law Union was always referred to as such.
The parish of Llanddetty operated a parish workhouse located around 1.5 miles to the west of Llangynidr. The building is now a residential property known as the Old Workhouse.
Brecknock Poor Law Union was formed on 5th October, 1836. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 47 in number, representing its 42 constituent parishes as listed below (figures in brackets indicate numbers of Guardians if more than one):
Brecknockshire: Aberyscir, Battle, Christ's College, Brecon — St. Davids's Upper and Lower Division or Llanfaes (2), Brecon — St. John the Evangelist (2), Brecon — St. Mary's (2), Cantref and Capel hant dû, Cathedine, Cray, Garth Brengy, Glynn, Glyn Tawe (or Callwen), Llanddetty, Llanddew, Llandefaelog (or Llandefaelog) fach, Llandefailog (or Llandefaelog) tre'r Graig, Llandefalle (2), Llandeilo'r Fan, Llanfigan (or Lanfeigan, Llanvigan), Llanfihangel fechan, Llanfihangel Nant Bran, Llanfihangel Tal y llyn, Llanfillo, Llanfrynach, Llangasty Tal y llyn, Llangorse, Llanhamlach, Llansaintfraed (or Llansantffraid), Llanspyddyd, Llanywern, Maescar, Merthyr Cynog (2), Modrydd, Pen Pont, Senny, Talachddu, Trallwng (or Trallong), Trawscoed, Trayan (or Traian) Glas, Trayan (or Traian) Mawr, Venny fach, Ysclydach.
The population falling within the union at the 1831 census had been 17,550 with parishes ranging in size from Llandefailog tref Graig (population 47) to the combined parishes of Brecknock (5,002). The average annual poor-rate expenditure for the period 1834-36 had been £8,110 or 9s.3d. per head of the population.
In 1838, the Poor Law Commissioners approved an expenditure of £2,649 on a workhouse for 100 inmates. The workhouse was erected in 1838-39 on Bailihelig Road, approximately a mile to the south-west of Brecon.
At the front, facing north-east, stood a long block with a central entrance.
To the rear, connected by a short central spine, was a parallel accommodation block.
A separate block, probably the original infirmary, stood at the rear.
The workhouse later became St David's Hospital providing care for geriatric patients. This closed in the early 1990s and the site was taken over by the Christ College Public School for use as hall of residence known as St David's House.
Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.
- Powys County Archives Office, Unit 29, Ddole Road Enterprise Park, Llandrindod, LD1 6DF. Relatively few records survive. Holdings include: Assessment committee minutes (1862-80); list of paupers (1926-29) etc.
- Higginbotham, Peter The Workhouse Encyclopedia (2014, The History Press)
Unless otherwise indicated, this page () is copyright Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.