A parliamentary report of 1777 recorded parish workhouses in operation at Kington for up to 40 inmates, and at Pembridge for up to 30.
Kington Poor Law Union was officially formed on 25th August 1836. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 29 in number, representing its 26 constituent parishes as listed below (figures in brackets indicate numbers of Guardians if more than one):
County of Hereford:
Kington (3); Brilley; Eardisley; Lower Harton; Huntington; Lyonshall or Lynhales; Pembridge (2); Staunton-on-Arrow; Titley; Willersley; Winforton.
County of Radnor: Colva; Ednol; Evenjobb, Newcastle, Barland and Burva; Gladestry; Glascwm; Harpton; Kinnerton, Salford and Badland; Llandegley; Llanfihangel Nant Melan; Michaelchurch-on-Arrow; Newchurch; New Radnor; Old Radnor and Burlinjobb; Trewern and Gwithla; Walton and Womaston.
Later Additions (all from 1836): Byton; Combe; Lower Kinsham; Upper Kinsham; Knill; Lingen; Rodd, Nash and Little Brampton; Stapleton; Willey.
The population falling within the union at the 1831 census had been 12,022 with parished rangingin size from Willersley (population 13) to Kington itself (3,111). The average annual poor-rate expenditure for the period 1833-35 had been £6,425 or 10s.8d. per head of the population.
The new Kington Union board of Guardians met for the first time on 26th August 1836. A Building Committee was formed to find a site and obtain for a workhouse. On the 30th August, the Clerk was instructed to advertise for plans, specifications and tenders for a workhouse for 150-250 persons. It was eventually decided to adopt the plans submitted by HJ Whitling which were for a building for 180 inmates and costing £2,800. Whitling was also the architect of the workhouses at Clun, Bridport, and East Retford. In order to reduce costs the design was amended and the revised version approved by the Poor Law Commissioners on 16th December 1836. The workhouse was built in 1837 at a site on the east side of Kingswood Road to the south of Kington. The workhouse location and layout are shown on the 1902 map below.
The workhouse followed the popular cruciform or "square" plan with an entrance block at the east, behind which lay the four accommodation wings radiating from a central hub, creating yards for the different classes of pauper (male/female, old/young). A detached infirmary was erected to the south in 1901.
The former workhouse was rebuilt as Kingswood Hall nursing home in about 1962.
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.
- Herefordshire Archives and Record Centre, Fir Tree Lane, Hereford HR2 6LA. Holdings include: Guardians' minute books (1836-1930 with gaps); Admissions and discharges (1906-27); Creed registers (1905-12).
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