Vestry Matters 1799 to 1832
CRT130Lei5 is a compilation of a number of extracts from the All Saints' vestry minutes from 1799 to 1841. Some of these extracts give an idea of life in the town in this period. A number of extracts refer to the Parish Workhouse in Baker Street and are dealt with there. Other references are as follows:
- 25th April 1799: "Mr. Heurtley in consideration of receiving the Sum of Twenty Guineas…agrees with the said Parish Officers, to attend the Poor of the said Parish, and to give in all Cases, such Medical-aid as may be required, to attend to all Cases of the Small Pox, Fractures and Midwifery, where the Assistance of a Woman is not sufficient…"
- 8th May 1800: "Agreed that William Robinson Lawford do attend the poor of Leighton, including the Women in the Almshouses, to administer such medical and surgical Aid as the paupers in the said parish may require…salary twenty guineas a year…exclusive of the small Pox by inoculation [Edward Jenner had discovered inoculation in 1796]
- 19th April 1802: "The Vestry considering that the Poor have been much increased and become otherways more burthensome to that parish by the practice of employing out-parishioners it is earnestly requested that Persons employing labourers would give the preference to those of our own parish. And whereas it hath been reason been alleged that the poor of our own Parish have refused to work that hath been offered to them and have at the same time applied to the parish for subsistence, to prevent such abuse in future it is recommended that the names of such persons so refusing to work may be sent to the Overseers who are authorised to deny them relief. And if any Person who shall be employed by the Overseers be found negligent in his labour or defrauding the parish in not faithfully performing the business in which he be employed, the Overseers are required to make complaints to a magistrate of the person so offending, that they be punished as the may be deemed to deserve".
- 28th October 1802: "It being the general opinion that the best means of employing the Poor in the Winter Season, will be by opening a Quarry for digging Sand Stone, The Committee in consequence addressed a letter to John Franklin esquire the Steward of the Manor, praying he would solicit permission to authorise the Overseers to open a Stone pit on the Land of Mrs. Leigh contiguous to the Town Houses at the North End, and to permit them to dig, and sell the stone so dug, for the use and behalf of the Poor only".
- 13th November 1802: "The Meeting also recommended to the attention of the vestry, that the faculty are of opinion that the Epidemic Fever which has been prevalent in this Town for some years, and been fatal to so many of its inhabitants, has been subsisted by the uncomfortable manner in which the poor are lodged, by the several stagnated and filthy putrid drains in the streets (particularly at North End) and by not having a Building as an Infirmary to remove the Sick, it is therefore the opinion of this Meeting that a Building for that purpose should be erected contiguous to the Town".
- 10th July 1807: "At a Vestry held…for the purpose of considering the best mode of repairing the pond in the North End - whether by continuing it in its present state or having the same to be filled up. It is agreed that the pond shall be continued, as it now is, subject to the survey of Benjamin Bevan, and that an application be made by the Agents of the different insurance offices for a Liberal contribution to effect the same".
- 10th June 1817: "At a Meeting this Day held in the Town Hall to take into consideration the present state of Inhabitants as far as regards those now diseased with the small pox and to adopt Measures to prevent its spreading farther Resolved that all those who refuse to be Vaccinated and should hereafter have the small pox naturally or by Inoculation and require the aid of the Parish - their goods and affects will be sold to defray the Expenses they Incur and likewise will be deprived in future of all the Town Gifts and Donations".
- 13th June 1817: "At a meeting held this day in this place for the purpose of electing a sexton in the Room of the late Edward White who having filled that Office many Years departed this life 12th day of June of the Small Pox. James Elkerton elected".
- 8th September 1824: "At a Meeting of the Inhabitants holden this Day in the Parish Vestry, convened by public notice to take into consideration the rebuilding the Bridge between the Counties of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire and laying in the parish of Leighton Buzzard and the parish of Linslade (having been repaired between the said Parishes) being now broken up by a Flood and required to be rebuilt, It was unanimously agreed that a New Bridge should be Erected agreeable to the annexed plan and estimate produced here by James Saunders, who engages to do it for the sum of £165. 10. the whole width of the new Bridge made passable on Saturday night Oct 18th 1824. N. B. The Bottom is not yet paved nor the Bridge quite finished owing to repeated floods and the season too late to complete the agreement".
- 10th January 1830: "At a Meeting held this day by public notice for the appointment of Watchman for the Township of Leighton Buzzard in the Room of Holliday Heckenbottom - resigned who had faithfully fulfilled the duties of Cryer and Watchman upwards of Forty Years. resolved that John Stairs was duly Elected".
- 14th April 1830: "to take into consideration the Small Pox having broke out in several parts of the Town this meeting do agree to appoint the Overseer of the Poor to go to Mr. William Chew to take his premises in Grovebury field and make the best bargain they can".
- 24th February 1832: "Recommendation from a Vestry held…to take under their Consideration the propriety of paying a Sum out of the poors rate to enable the family of John Kitchen, his wife and seven children, to emigrate to America. the subject had had the solid consideration of this Vestry, and its was agreed without a Dissenting voice, that a sum of Forty five pounds be paid out of the poor rate, which shall be specifically applied for the payment of their passage".