Romney Marsh Union
The first Board meeting of the Guardians of the Romney Marsh Union took place in November 1835 and 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 Romney Marsh Union became part of the Ashford and District Area under the control of the Kent County Council Public Assistance Committee.
PARISHES WITHIN UNION
- Hope All Saints
- New Romney
- Old Romney
- St Mary in the Marsh
- West Hythe
Prior to the purchase of an existing building in New Romney to accommodate the poor of the whole Union the inmates of the existing parish poorhouses were removed to the poorhouses of Brookland (subsequently removed to Lydd), Lydd and New Romney. The inmates of the Lydd and New Romney Workhouses were moved into the newly enlarged Union Workhouse in January 1837.
The workhouse buildings were taken over by Kent County Council in 1930 and due to their poor condition were sold, with the inmates being removed to the East Ashford and West Ashford Institutions.
The workhouse buildings have now been demolished.
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 the Romney Marsh Union was New Romney. 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. Baptisms could also take place in the parish church closest to the Workhouse, in this case New Romney, 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 “Butt Field House”.
The children from the Union Workhouse attended the National School in New Romney from November 1836.
From May 1910 to 1916 the children were removed from the Workhouse and sent to the Union’s Scattered Home at “Glen Morfa”, Spitalfield Lane, New Romney.
Children were also sent to other specialist institutions run by other Unions, charities or private individuals.
INMATES RECEIVED FROM OTHER UNION WORKHOUSES
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 Deaths – 1836 to 1841
Minutes of the Board of Guardians – 1835 to 1841
– SEE “LIST OF SURNAMES”