Newent Workhouse

Admission and Discharge Records

The data that has been transcribed is a list of the names and a summary of other information that was recorded in the Newent Workhouse Admission and Discharge Books covering the years 1835-1903 (Glos. Archives Reference G/NE/60/1-10) there are some gaps for the years 1844-1857 and 1880-1888. The records detail 5500 Admissions and 4200 Discharges (including over 300 who died in the Workhouse).

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The 10 books were usually well written up, though book 2 (G/NE/60/2) did cause some problems. Firstly, because of the large number of admissions, some 1400 as opposed to book 7 which had only 130, and secondly the ink in the book had faded and the writing was difficult to interpret. Nearly all forenames were abbreviated and the spelling of surnames was inconsistent.

Throughout the other 9 books admission entries could often be cross referenced with a discharge entry to clarify a name, but this was generally not possible with book 2 as half (700) of the admissions were for "vagrants" with surnames of apparent Irish origin, who when discharged were only recorded by the numbers that left.

Some examples of the inconsistent spelling found in all 10 books are as follows: A family recorded on admission as GURMIN were discharged a week later under the more familiar name GURNEY. A mother and her children in the 1830's and 40's were either KEREN or KERREN but most other records appear to suggest the family name more likely to be KERNS, KEARNS or KEARNE. Also a Christopher PREDETH dies in the workhouse on the 10th Dec 1835 but is recorded as being buried 3 days later in Newent Churchyard under the surname PREEDY.

The information that was recorded in the 10 books changed slightly over the years so some details from the various columns have been combined. To help put a single entry into context some information has been added that was not in the original book to assist the reader.

An example would be when a mother and her children were admitted and the reason for admission written against the mother's entry was "Husband deserted her" with "Ditto" against the children's names; for the children this has been recorded as [Father] deserted them.

Other useful information that has been expanded upon is the "Class for Diet" columns, which can sometimes be the only indication of an approximate age for that person, by book 3 (1856-1861) they were divided into 9 categories. 

An entry with a mark in column 8 has been expanded to read 8 [Girls from 2 to 9]. The "Class for Diet" changed over time and by book 10 (1901-1903) Class 5 was for [Children aged 3 to 8].

David Drinkwater

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