Removal Order

William Russell c1734-1820 father of Jacob Russell:

The Bedfordshire Poor Law Papers shows a Removal Order dated April 1816 to take ‘William Russel’ from Potton to Shefford.

The historical background to ‘Removal Orders’ is the Poor Law Act of 1601 and the ensuing Settlement Act of 1662.  See various on-line articles including in the Victorian Web.

It seems strange that 80+ year old William was sent back to Shefford, where he was born and had married Hannah Maria Gregory c1750-1808, especially when he’d been in Potton for 39 years.  Were William’s offspring living in Potton unable, or unwilling to support him?  In 1811 his daughter in law had received relief as Jacob’s brother William was serving with the Bedfordshire Militia.  All parishes would have had to have dealt with extra paupers in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars when they ended with Waterloo in 1815. Was lack of local employment forcing Jacob to work and live elsewhere, with or without his family?  Questions, questions … seems a complex tale and we are unlikely to ever know the reasons.

The Removal Order was carried out and William died in Shefford.

Bedfordshire and Luton Archive Service [BLARS] Ref P70/13/3/6 3.

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