Maidstone Union (Coxheath Union)
The first Board meeting of the Guardians of the Coxheath Union took place in October 1835 and was renamed the Maidstone Union in June 1836 upon the parish of Maidstone joining the Union. The Union continued to be run by the Guardians until 1 April 1930 when its responsibilities were transferred under the Local Government Act of 1929 to Kent County Council. Under this new system the parishes which comprised the old Maidstone Union became part of the Maidstone and District Area under the control of the Kent County Council Public Assistance Committee.
PARISHES WITHIN UNION
- Boughton Monchelsea
- East Barming
- East Farleigh
- West Barming
- West Farleigh
Prior to the erection of the new Union Workhouse some of the existing parish poorhouses of Coxheath , Maidstone, Marden, Staplehurst, and Yalding were used for the various categories of inmates. The new Union Workhouse was built at Coxheath with the first inmates being admitted to the new Workhouse in May 1838.
The workhouse buildings were taken over by Kent County Council in 1930 and became known as the Maidstone Public Assistance Institution. At a later date it was also known as Coxheath Institution, Linton Hospital and Coxheath Hospital.
The remaining buildings are now privately owned.
BURIAL OF INMATES DYING IN THE WORKHOUSE
The normal practice for persons dying in the Workhouse was for them to be removed to their parish of settlement (if within the Union) for burial or in the parish where the Workhouse was situated, which for Maidstone Union was Linton. From November 1840 inmates dying in the Workhouse could also be interned in the graveyard attached to the Workhouse. If a person died in an institution which was situated out of the Union’s area they were normally buried in the parish of that institution.
Following the Burial Acts of 1852-1857 burials may also have taken place at a cemetery built and operated by the local Burial Board.
BAPTISM OF CHILDREN BORN IN THE WORKHOUSE
The Baptism of children born in the Union Workhouse would normally only take place under exceptional circumstances unless the licence given to the Chaplain of the Workhouse included permission to carry out baptisms in the Workhouse Chapel. This was the case at Maidstone from 1841. Baptisms could also take place in the parish church closest to the Workhouse, in this case Linton, or the parish of settlement.
From 1 January 1905 the address recorded on the birth certificates of children born in the Workhouse was entered as “Coxheath Home, Linton”.
The children were educated in the Workhouse until May 1899 when the children attended the local schools.
From December 1886 orphan children boarded out with foster parents with this arrangement being extended to include deserted children in February 1892.
An extension was built to the Workhouse to provide accommodation for the children separate from the main Workhouse buildings in 1858 and known as the Workhouse Schools.
In May 1916 the children were removed to the Union’s children at Stone House next to the Workhouse Schools.
Children were also sent to other specialist institutions run by other Unions, charities or private individuals.
INMATES RECEIVED FROM OTHER UNION WORKHOUSES
From May 1880 to 1883 children from the Brentford Union were accommodated in the Workhouse Schools.
From 1882 to 1899 children from the Gravesend Union were accommodated in the Workhouse Schools.
In June 1921 the inmates from the Hollingbourne Union Workhouse were received following its closure.
INMATES SENT TO OTHER UNION WORKHOUSES
LOCATION OF SURVIVING UNION RECORDS
Kent History and Library Centre, Maidstone, Kent
DOCUMENTS WHICH HAVE BEEN TRANSCRIBED
Register of Births – 1836 to 1841
Register of Baptisms –1841
Register of Burials – 1840 to 1841
Minutes of the Board of Guardians – 1835 to 1841
– SEE “LIST OF SURNAMES”