Coping with Risk in the Seventeenth Century: The First Age of the English Old Poor Law: A Regional Study
Chapter from the book: Tanimoto M. & Wong R. 2019. Public Goods Provision in the Early Modern Economy: Comparative Perspectives from Japan, China, and Europe.
This chapter, by Jonathan Healey, examines how the Old Poor Law’s relief was incorporated into people’s “economy of makeshifts,” focusing on the Lancashire as a regional society. The chapter discusses the role of the Old Poor Law by examining what the causes of poverty reported by the petitioners, which shows what people expected the Old Poor Law to do. The chapter also explores how the law contributed to the disappearance of famine in England after 1623. The documents used in this study, such as pauper censuses and petitions of the poor, were the result of micro-politics engaged in by the poor, ratepayers, overseers, and Justices of the Peace in each parish and county.