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Mildenhall Workhouse Rules (1830)

Rules and Orders for the Management of the Poor, in the Workhouse of the Parish of Mildenhall.

Agreed to by the Churchwardens and Overseers on the First Day of July 1830.

1. That all the beds be made and all the rooms and passages swept and cleaned by 11 o'clock and washed twice per week in summer and once in winter, that the dishes be washed twice and the dining tables once in each day.

2. That all the children and others in the House, be washed, combed and cleaned by 8 o'clock in the morning, their linen and clothes kept in repair and clean, and in the case of disobedience or misbehaviour in the children that they be corrected by the Master

3. That prayers be read by the Master in the public dining room 2 days in the week before breakfast and before supper, and that Grace be duly said before dinner and before supper, that all do sit decently at their meals, avoid talking and do not leave the table till thanks are returned, and in default in any of these particulars that they do lose their next meal.

4. That all who are able and the children who are big enough to be employed in sufficient number and by turns for a week, in all the business that regards the household work, and the washing and cleaning the House, and in mending and washing linen etc and in general that all persons in health be kept to such work as they can perform according to their ages and abilities, from Lady Day to Michaelmas from 6 in the morning till 6 at night, and from Michaelmas to Lady Day, for as many hours as may be convenient, that the young both male and female, be at all times instructed by the Master or Mistress in spinning and knitting, that one penny in a shilling be given to the aged and adult out of their earnings, and a like proportion as may be, reserved by the Master to be given to the young when they shall be discharged from the House, that all persons (who are able) refusing to work be kept on bread and water till they change their conduct.

5. That all persons guilty of profane swearing, riotous or disorderly behaviour either to the Master Mistress or to each other, who shall in any manner offend so as to disturb or break the peace, shall immediately be taken before a Magistrate and punished according to law, and that all expenses attending the prosecutions be defrayed by the Parish.

6. That no pauper shall be absent from the House without a ticket of leave from the Master, or when abroad to beg in the streets.

7. That the Master and Mistress be strictly attentive to the wants and infirmities of the poor both young and old under their care, by instructing the former and comforting the latter, that the poor do show all proper respect to the Master and Mistress, be obedient to their just commands, civil and obliging to each other and diligent and industrious in there several occupations.

8. That the poor in the House who are in health be conducted in an orderly manner two and two by the Master or Mistress, to the Parish Church twice every Lord's Day and return in the same manner, that they do sit in such part of the church as shall be appointed by the Minister and Churchwardens, and that they be permitted to walk out after evening service in the summer, attended by the Master or Mistress.

9. That the hours of meals be regularly fixed, and that the quantity and quality of the same be served up as settled by the Table of Diet agreed upon between the Master and the Parish.

10. That no pauper be sent out of the House to work in the Parish, except with the consent of the Churchwardens or Overseers, or the members of the Select Vestry.

11. That the Master do keep a book for the inspection of the Ministers, Parish Officers and other respectable inhabitants, and register therein the names, age, sex and employment of every pauper in the House, with the day of their entering and leaving the same.

12. That these rules be read over the first Monday in every month by the Master at dinner time, and be kept hung up in all the rooms in the workhouse.

Grace before Meals.

Lord pardon all our sins, and bless these thy good creatures to our use and give us thankful hearts for the same. Amen

Grace after Meals.

We humbly bless thy Holy Name, oh Lord, for these thy gracious mercies vouchsafed unto us. Amen.

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