Denbighshire Poor Law Unions
Under the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834 all parishes in Wales and England were grouped together into Poor Law Unions. Each Poor Law Union had to provide a place where people who were unable to support themselves could live and work, known as the workhouse. Conditions in the workhouses were deliberately made to be harsh, spartan and degrading so as to deter all but the absolutely destitute.
Before the 1834 Act, although some workhouses did exist, individual parishes provided relief in the form of money, food, clothing or goods, but the recipients continued to live independently.
The Workhouse system was not abolished until the 1930s.
These Poor Law Unions were based on neither county boundaries nor national boundaries, with many Unions along the Wales-England border covering parts of both countries.
The county of Denbighshire was covered by four Unions:
|Union||Parishes & Townships included|
|Llanrwst|| The Llanrwst Union was created on 3 April 1837 and comprised the parishes and townships of:
The records of the Llanrwst Union are held at Denbighshire Record Office in Ruthin.
|Ruthin|| The Ruthin Union was created on 4 February 1837 and comprised the parishes and townships of:
The workhouse was built in Llanrhydd Street, Ruthin.
The records of the Ruthin Union are held at Denbighshire Record Office in Ruthin.
|Wrexham|| The Wrexham Union was created on 30 March 1837 and covered parts England. The Union comprised the parishes and townships of:
The workhouse was built around 1838 off the Ruthin Road in Croesnewydd, Wrexham. Wrexham's Maelor Hospital now stands on the site.
The records of the Wrexham Union are held at Denbighshire Record Office in Ruthin.
|Oswestry|| In 1791, the Hundred of Oswestry and the border parishes of Chirk and Llansilin were incorporated under a local Act for poor relief. The Incorporation comprised the parishes and townships of :
The Workhouse was built at Morda.
The records for the Oswestry Union are held at Shropshire Record Office in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England.
Records from the Poor Law Unions include the following:
- Creed Registers
- Rate books
- Workhouse Lists of Inmates
- Register of Apprentices
- Register of Births
- Register of Deaths
- Vestry Rate Books
- Admission and Discharge Registers
- Board of Guardians' Records
Records at The Family History Library
To determine records availability for each union, search the FamilySearch Catalog under the name of the county, Denbighshire, and then under the name of the Poor Law Union, e.g. Wrexham; then search under the term[s] "poorlaw" or "poorhouses".
On-line Transcriptions Relating to Poor Law Records
1) For more information on the history of the workhouse, see Peter Higginbotham's Workhouses web site.
2) Also a Genuki website.