Overseers intro



. Othewise there is a wealth of information beyond the accounts of sums given to named persons in relief or for rent, or for keeping the old, poor or orphaned. The details of materials and services bought from named suppliers make these books more comprehensive than those later directories which are so much consulted, and includes thatchers, carpenters, masons, surgeons, lawyers, midwives, millers, publicans, butchers, woodcutters, horse-hirers, shoemakers and a variety of village minders and carers. The Overseers were involved with apprenticeships, settlement disputes, removals, childbed, illnesses and deaths, and I have tried to pick out all of these. There will be references here to people whose contact with the parish was glancing and whose presence went unrecorded in the registers. You may even find something you were not looking to find, as for instance that your ancestor was 'A pockey whore from Staplehurst' or one of 'A Rubage Famaly Sent From Bread'.

If you use these books you will see that similar books from neighbouring villages, particularly Bodiam and Benenden, would be likely to contain relevant additional material. However, nothing survives from Bodiam's Parish Chest, apart from the registers; and the earliest Overseers Accounts and Assessments book for Benenden starts at 1769.