The Bromyard Workhouse was built in 1836 at a cost of around £3000, the architect being George Wilkinson who also was responsible for the workhouses at Leominster, Weobley and Ledbury.
It was designed for 120 inmates and followed the usual cruciform shape, thus allowing for easy segregation of people into the categories……men, women, elderly and infirm, and children, all of which came from the surrounding villages as follows:
Avenbury, Bridenbury, Collington, Little Cowarne, Much Cowarne, Cradley, Edwin Ralph, Evesbach, Felton, Bishops Frome, Grendon Bishop, Grendon Warren, Hampton Charles, Linton, Moreton Jeffries, Norton with Brockhampton, Ocle Pychard, Pencombe, Upper Sapey, Stanford Bishop, Stoke Lacy, Tedstone Delamere, Tedstone Wafer, Thornbury, Ullingswich, Wacton, Whitbourne, Winslow, Wolferlow; and from over the border in Worcestershire, Acton Beauchamp, Edwin Loach and Lower Sapey…….these three now being within Herefordshire boundaries.
Food Rations in the Workhouse
Food rations for Bromyard were much the same as elsewhere in other Workhouses, and they were extremely basic, as decreed by the Poor Law Act.
Breakfast – 3lbs 8oz bread plus 10 ½ pints of gruel to last the week, although the women were allocated 13oz less bread.
Dinner – for two days there was 8 oz bacon plus 2lbs of potatoes; for two more days there were 2 pints of soup, l lb 6oz bread, and for the last three days l lb 5 oz bread and 6 oz cheese.
Supper – for the week, 2lbs 1oz bread and 10 ½ oz of cheese.
Again, the women were given the same as the men but less, and the elderly were allowed some tea, butter and sugar instead of gruel.
Disease in the Workhouse
Bromyard Workhouse was not immune to outbreaks of disease, and in 1893 Smallpox was brought into the Workhouse – presumed by tramps – and it was not long before a cottage half a mile from the workhouse was turned into an isolation hospital to deal with such outbreaks.
News from the Workhouse
Advertisement for Schoolmistress
An advertisement was posted for a schoolmistress for the Bromyard Union Workhouse, at a salary of 10 pounds per year.
John Sunderland, a man of aliases
February 1856 – John Sunderland, a man with a number of aliases, was charged with running away from his wife and two children who had in consequence become chargeable to the parish of Stoke Lacey. The wife said that her husband had left her in Staffordshire three years earlier, and that she had come down to the Bromyard Workhouse. “John” blamed his bad behaviour on being out of work initially, and then on being injured on the railroad. He was sent to gaol for one month.
Egenia Philpotts – murderess
June 1857 – Egenia Philpotts was committed for trial at Hereford Assizes for the murder of her new born child. Mr. and Mrs. Brailsford, Master and Matron of the Bromyard Union Workhouse, said that the defendant who had been an inmate at the Workhouse, left on 20th then returned on 24th, saying that she had been confined at her father’s house and that the child was dead. However, Egenia’s mother told the court that her daughter had informed her that the confinement had taken place at the Union Workhouse. Superintendent Harward deposed that on confronting the prisoner on the Tuesday morning, she stuck to her story that she gave birth in the Workhouse where she was attended by Mr. Owen the Surgeon and Mrs. Brailsford the Matron, and that she supposed that after the baby died they buried it in Bromyard churchyard. Later however, she admitted that she gave birth in Mr. Rowberry’s field and that she buried the child in a ditch. After a search, the baby was found and although there were no external marks there was evidence of clay in it’s mouth and blood coming from the nose.
Egenia said that it was an accidental birth as she was on her way home, and that she was unconscious afterwards. On waking the baby was dead.
She was committed for trial!!
Workhouse Porter attempts suicide
June 1891 – The last train was approaching Suckley, when a young man ran down the embankment and threw himself across the rails; the driver blew his whistle and immediately braked, managing to stop just in time. The dazed man was put in a sitting position, and was recognised as Richards, who had been a porter at the Bromyard Workhouse. He was taken into custody after some resistence, and it was decided that he was of unsound mind. He was remanded by Magistrates on the charge of attempted suicide.
Tramps revolt at the Workhouse
September 1892 – Thomas Morgan, John Timbs, Peter Allen, William Green, Thomas James, John Lomas and William Smith, all tramps, were brought before the court by Thomas Arter, Master of Bromyard Union Workhouse charged with refusing to complete their allotted task of breaking stone. They were admitted into the Workhouse, and the following morning told to break the stone, but by the evening they had failed to finish the task and Thomas Arter gave the information to the police and had them all locked up. Roberts, the porter, said that he had told the defendants that they had to break 9cwt of stone each but they barely completed a quarter of this amount and refused to do any more. Thomas Morgan also damaged a door, trying to get out. They were all committed to 14 days hard labour, with Thomas Morgan earning himself another 7 days for damaging the door.
Bromyard Union Workhouse Staff and Inmates 1901 Census
|Richard Byards||43||Master of the Workhouse b. Southampton, Freemantle|
|Emma Byards||37||Matron b. East Ham, Essex|
|Maud Byards||12||Daughter b. East Ham, Essex|
|Charles Byards||12||Son b. East Ham, Essex|
|Arthur Peggram||37||Porter b. Clyro, Radnorshire|
|Gertrude Peggram||36||Hospital Nurse b. Reading, Berkshire|
|Eva James||34||Night Nurse b. Evesham, Worcestershire|
|Charles Green||75||Widower, Cooper b. Upper Sapey, Herefordshire|
|Thomas Cureton||86||Widower, Shoemaker, born Avenbury, Herefordshire|
|Elizabeth Bradford||86||Widow (blind) b. Bromyard, Herefordshire|
|William Croft||87||Sawyer, born on voyage from Canada to England|
|John Horton||47||Labourer, b. Ridgemont, Bedfordshire|
|Hannah Welsh||42||Widow, Field Hand b. Grimley, Worcestershire|
|Isaac Round||81||Nail Maker b. Worcestershire|
|Henry Portman||65||Stableman b. Callow End, Worcestershire|
|John Bartlet||76||Waggoner b. Ludlow, Shropshire|
|Henry Beachey||Ag. Lab. B. Lockley, Worcestershire|
|Henry Powles||70||Widower, Ag. Lab. B. Berrington|
|William Row||68||Widower, Shoemaker b. Gloucestershire|
|James Bishop||74||Bricklayer b. Herefordshire|
|William Oliver||73||Widower, Ag. Lab b. Wacton, Herefordshire|
|George Hackett||15||Not known where born|
|Edward Clewes||68||Waggoner b. Herefordshire|
|Isaac Strafford||68||House Painter b. Rusham, Lancashire|
|Edwin Underhill||57||Ag. Lab. B. Droitwich, Worcestershire|
|John Pitt||36||Widower, Puddler b. Wolverhampton|
|William Vaughn||50||Bread Maker b. Bromyard, Herefordshire|
|Thomas Bray||67||Wheelwright b. Docklow, Herefordshire|
|Hannah Price||80||Widow, b. Kington, Herefordshire|
|George Mays||67||Ag. Lab. B. Buntingford, Hertfordshire|
|James Gettens||74||Widower, Cowman b. Cradley, Herefordshire|
|William Hitchins||56||Ag. Lab. B. Cradley, Herefordshire|
|George Plaskett||70||Waggoner b. Brockhampton, Herefordshire|
|John Berrins (?)||83||Widower, Ag. Lab. B. Bishops Frome, Herefordshire|
|John Davies||71||Timber Feller b. Bishops Frome, Herefordshire|
|William Casewood||77||Waggoner b. Hereford|
|Noah Foxall||77||Ag. Lab. B. Knightwick, Worcestershire|
|Ann Saunders||73||b. Hacton Beeches, Worcestershire|
|Fanny Watkins||35||Charwoman b. Avenbury, Herefordshire|
|Frederick Watkins||3||b. Linton, Herefordshire|
|Walter Stephen Watkins||Baby||b. Linton, Herefordshire|
|James Hopkins||69||Ag. Lab. b. Bishops Frome, Herefordshire|
|John Williams||80||Shoemaker, b. Maidenhead, Berkshire|
|Samuel Gettens||50||Tunnel Miner b. Dawley, Shropshire|
|George Drew||43||Widower, Navvy, b. Inglestone, Gloucestershire|
|Frederick Drew||8||b. Llantresant, Monmouth|
|Eliza Phillips||43||Domestic Servant b. Ocle Pychard, Herefordshire|
|Martha Brown||69||Widow b. Golden Grove, Pembrokeshire|
|Thomas Smith||86||Widower, Stonemason b. Exeter|
|George Teague||65||Blacksmith’s Striker b. Brinstey, Herefordshire|
|George Field||64||Bricklayer b. Linton, Herefordshire|
|Jas Weatherby||19||b. Walsall, Staffordshire|
|Benjamin James||37||Waggoner b. Stoke Prior, Herefordshire|
|Edward Baker||80||Widower, Ag. Lab. b. Marden, Herefordshire|
|Fanny Clare||31||(Lunatic) b. Upper Sapey, Herefordshire|
|William Pitt||80||Navvy b. Stoke Prior|
|David Mytton||21||(partially blind) b. Herefordshire|
|William Morris||34||b. Cradley, Herefordshire|
|William James||87||Ag. Lab. b. Pencombe, Herefordshire|
|Joseph Powell||80||Sawyer b. Stoke Lacy, Herefordshire|
|Eliza Powell||74||b. Kidderminster|
|John Foxall||75||Ag. Lab. b. Whitbourne, Herefordshire|
|Edward Kennett||82||Widower, Timber Feller, b. Worcestershire|
|Mary Yeomans||78||Domestic Servant, b. Wacton, Herefordshire|
|Margaret Jones||56||(imbecile) b. Kings Pyon, Herefordshire|
|William Jones||36||(imbecile) b. Suckley, Worcestershire|
|Joseph Ovens||69||Widower, Ag. Lab. b. Norton, Herefordshire|
|George Drew||67||(lunatic) b. Powick, Worcestershire|
|John Jones||65||Widower, Cowman b. Linton, Herefordshire|
|John Pritchard||75||Widower, Navvy, b. Brinstead, Herefordshire|
|John Cheeseman||62||Navvy b. Cradley, Herefordshire|
|Thomas Morris||62||Waggoner b. Tedstone, Herefordshire|
|Richard Shuck||65||Ag. Lab. b. Cradley, Herefordshire|
|Ann Newton||70||Widow b. Tenbury, Worcestershire|
|Patience Thomas||79||Widow b. Bromyard, Herefordshire|
|John Downes||56||Brickmaker b. Bosbury, Herefordshire|
|William Corbett||74||Widower, Gardener b. Norton, Herefordshire|
|William Woodward||77||Widower, Maltster b. Great Malvern, Worcestershire|
|William Webster||51||Gardener b. Ashby de la Zouche, Leicestershire|
|Thomas Fisher||30||Bricklayers Labourer b. Liverpool|
|Mary Collins||46||Charwoman b. Dublin, Ireland|
|William Clark||30||Ag. Lab. b. Blackburn, Lancashire|
|John Price||62||Ag. Lab. b. Leeds, Yorkshire|
|Arthur O’Leary||45||Tailor b. Cork, Ireland|
|William Cook||30||Stoker b. Prescot, Lancashire|
|William Coldrick||32||Ag. Lab. b. Newent, Gloucestershire|
|Arthur Wellham||42||Ag. Lab. b. Norwich, Norfolk|
|William Brown||49||Ag. Lab. b. Lancashire|