Bisley Workhouse (Joiners)

The heavy burden of poor-relief in a parish with so numerous a population of cottage weavers led to a succession of expedients. In 1677 the parish officers were given permission to build poorhouses and in 1726 the parish hired a house called Joiners for use as a workhouse. In the 1730s and 1740s the workhouse housed 30-60 paupers. In the year 1728- 9 the expenses of running it, including the salary of £26 paid to the governor of the house, were £115, offset only to the extent of £30 earned by the inmates, and in 1748-9 the expenses had risen to £291 and the earnings were £24.  In 1782 the keeper of the house made an agreement to farm the poor there.  Between 1722 and 1724 14 people were required to convey their cottages to the parish officers in consideration of having been in receipt of relief for periods which varied between 1 and 7 years; the deeds empowered the officers to use the cottages for housing paupers or to sell them for the benefit of the poor but possibly the original owners were allowed to remain, the cottages being merely pledged as security against their requiring further relief. The cottages were probably later taken into possession by the parish, which owned 20 cottages in 1837.  In 1722 the overseers were also paying the rent for numerous other paupers.

The house was situated in Joiners Lane (Now part of “Wysis Way”) which runs from Holloway to Farwells Road. It has long been demolished but some evidence of its site remains.

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