PARISH GOVERNMENT AND POOR RELIEF
Vestry minute-books for Kelvedon Hatch survive
for the periods 1736-60 and
1835-81. (fn. 4)
During the period 1736-60
vestry meetings usually seem
to have been held only at
Easter in each year. In only one year (fn. 5) during this
period was more than one meeting recorded. The
minutes were brief but were always signed. The Revd.
C. Wragg, rector of the parish from 1731 until 1758,
seems never to have attended the meetings. His successor, the Revd. N. Griffinhoeff (1758-60) attended
the only Easter vestry held during his incumbency and
was the first to sign the minutes. The number of
parishioners who attended the meetings varied between
3 and 6. Members of the Wright family, lords of the
manor of Kelvedon Hatch, (fn. 6) always attended and
usually signed first.
The minutes rarely did more than record the ap-pointment of officers and the balances remaining in
officers' hands at the end of each year. In the period
1736-60 there was only one office of churchwarden
and one office of overseer. George Wright was churchwarden throughout the period. Until 1744 the overseers served for two years consecutively, but after that
date they served for one year only. As late as 1835
there was an illiterate overseer. In 1614 (fn. 7) there were
two constables, but in the period 1736-60 there was
only one office of constable. These officers usually
served for several years consecutively. The appointment of surveyors was not recorded in the minute-book,
but there appears to have been one office of surveyor.
The rateable value of the parish was £700 in 1738 (fn. 8)
and £1,676 in 1835.
Until 1751 the overseers, churchwarden, and constables were each granted separate rates for which they
were directly responsible to the parish. Occasionally
one officer was ordered to pay another officer's deficit
out of his surplus. In April 1751 it was decided that
the constable's charges for the ensuing year should be
paid by the churchwarden. In March 1752 the same
constable was reappointed, but on this occasion it was
resolved that his charges should be paid by the overseer.
No further resolutions were recorded on this matter
and it is not clear how the charges of either the constable or the churchwarden were met in the years after
1753. By 1833, however, their expenditure was
evidently met by the overseers who included it in their
account. It is not clear what the practice was in regard
to the surveyors' accounts.
There was a poorhouse (fn. 9) in Kelvedon Hatch, situated
on Kelvedon Common, and in 1835 there were at least
two male paupers in it. In most cases, however, poor
relief was given outside the poorhouse. In each of the
years 1813-15 there were thirteen adults on 'permanent' outdoor relief. (fn. 10) Provision for the poor
included the payment of weekly doles.
In 1776 the cost of poor relief was £90. (fn. 11) In
1783-5 it averaged £104 a year. (fn. 12) It reached £501
in 1800-1 and £538 in 1801-2, but in the next six
years it was always between £300 and £400 a year. (fn. 13)
In the years 1808-17 the cost was usually above £400
and reached a maximum of £567 in 1812-13. (fn. 14) In
each of the years 1833 and 1834 it was £275 and in
In 1836 Kelvedon Hatch became part of the Ongar
Poor Law Union.