Montgomeryshire 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 Montgomeryshire was covered by four Unions:
|Union||Parishes & Townships included|
|Forden|| The Forden Poor Law Union was created in 25 March 1870, replacing the Montgomery and Pool Incorporation and comprised the parishes and townships of:
Alberbury (joined later), Aston, Berriew, Brompton and Rhiston, Buttington (joined later), Castell Caereinion, Castlewright, Chirbury, Churchstoke, Cletterwood, Cyfronydd, Forden, Guilsfield (joined later), Hope, Leighton, Llandysil, Llanmerewig, Middletown, Montgomery, Lower Pool, Middle Pool, Upper Pool, Rhosgoch, Trewern, Trelystan, Uppington, Worthen.
The Workhouse was in Forden and later became Brynhyfryd Hospital.
The records for the Forden Union are held at the Powys County Archives in Llandrindod.
|Llanfyllin|| The Llanfyllin Poor Law Union was created on 15 February 1837 and comprised the parishes and townships of:
The Workhouse was built in 1838 in the south-east of the Llanfyllin and was known as Y Dolydd. It was featured in the 2004 BBC Television series Restoration and has now been converted to an education, arts and entertainment centre.
The records for the Llanfyllin Union are held at the Powys County Archives in Llandrindod.
|Machynlleth|| The Machynlleth Poor Law Union was created on 16 January, 1837, against strong local opposition. It comprised the parishes and townships of:
The Workhouse was built in Maengwyn Street, Machynlleth and was later used as hospital.
The records for the Machynlleth Union are held at the Powys County Archives in Llandrindod.
|Newtown & Llanidloes|| The Newtown and Llanidloes Poor Law Union was created on 13 February, 1837, against strong local opposition, and comprised the parishes and townships of:
The Workhouse was opened in 1840 at Caersws, between the towns of Newtown and Llanidloes. It later became the Llys Maldwyn Hospital
The records for the Newtown and Llanidloes Union are held at the Powys County Archives in Llandrindod.
- Workhouses (National Library)
- Poor Law Administration (National Library)
- Llanfyllin Workhouse restoration (BBC Wales)