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On admission to the workhouse inmates were stripped, searched, washed, and had their hair cropped. Women were kept separate from the men, even their husbands, children were kept apart from adults and their parents. They worked 10 hours a day, either oakum picking, gardening, cooking or sewing.
A Sample of St. Mary's Workhouse Admittances.
ADAMS Charlotte age 21. Admitted 8th November 1785 put in the house by her father and paid the officers for her board. Discharged 07 March 1786 taken out by her father.
BENNETT Isabelle age 25. Admitted 7th October 1776 underweight and without home and exposed to evil. Discharged 23 October 1776 got over the wall and went away.
BENNETT Isabelle age 25. Admitted 9th November 1776 having run away seventeen days before was admitted being underweight. Discharged 18 May 1777 run away.
BETHERSTONE Thomas age 59. Admitted 4th December 1777 his friends to pay for his board. Discharged July 1778 went out and did not return for two nights.
BETHERSTONE Thomas age 59. Admitted 10th July 1778 his friends ashamed to see him about the streets. Discharged by general order of the officers. Not to be admitted again. Unable to support himself.
BIRMINGHAM Mary age 17. Admitted 28th December 1781 passed as a vagrant from Burnride in Yorkshire. Discharged 11 February 1782 run away out of the back gates and took with her a new chefs apron and old petticoat belonging to Anson and Sheriff.
BISSICK John age 55. Admitted 17th February 1784 could get no employment and the weather severe. Discharged 15 April 1784 discharged to provide for himself. Died 6th November 1785.
BRADSHAW Elizabeth age 36. Admitted 13th October 1783 in a bad low spirit was and not able to take care of her family.
BRADSHAW Thomas age 5. Admitted 13th October 1783 with mother.
BRADSHAW Matthew age 6 months. Admitted 13th October 1783. Died 17 November 1783.
BRADSHAW Charles age 3. Admitted 23rd August 1784 his mother not able to provide for him being in the house herself.
BRETT Ann age 52. Admitted 27th January 1769 sick. Died 6th March 1789.
BRETT Ann age 15. Admitted 27th January 1769 brought in with her mother being without home. Discharged 4th April 1772 went to live with Jacob Whaller, Sandwich.
BRETT John age 17. Admitted 27th January 1769 brought in with his mother being without home. Discharged 5th March 1769 clothed and carried to Canterbury.
BRETT Sarah age 6. Admitted 27th January 1769 brought in with her mother being young. Discharged 27th December 1780 went to live at Captain Watson's.
BRETT Ann age 29. Admitted 20th February 1785 her husband being a poor man and not able to support himself and family she being with child.
BREWINGTON John. Age 6. Admitted 20th February 1785 admitted with mother.
BREWINGTON Rebecca age 4. Admitted 20th February 1785 with mother.
BREWINGTON Margaret 3rd April. 1785 born in house Mrs. Baker midwife.
BROAD Thomas. age 46. Admitted 1st August 1778 being distressed and nowhere to lodge was starving in the streets. Discharged 9th October 1778 for bad behavior also threatening the matrons life.
BROAD Thomas age 46. Admitted 25th October 1778 an idle abusive man stamps the name of man of such unbelieving creature.
BROAD Thomas age 47. Admitted October 1779 an idle fellow. Discharged 3rd April 1780 went out of himself to Deal to provide for himself.
BROAD Thomas age 48. Admitted 9th August 1780 an idle abusive man. Discharged 19th April 1781 went out of his own accord.
BROAD Thomas age 50. Admitted 18th September 1781 an idle fellow. Discharged 24th October 1781 run away.
BROAD Thomas age 50. Admitted 3rd November 1781 an idle fellow. Discharged 3rd April 1782 went out to provide for himself.
BROAD Thomas age 51 Admitted 26th July 1782 returned from his travels was admitted for fear of worse consequences. Discharged 5th April 1783 thought able to provide for himself.
BROAD Thomas age 52.Admitted 12th May 1783 being so abusive when he was out was admitted again by order of Mr. Hammond. Discharged 21st April 1784 thought able to provide for himself.
BROAD Thomas age 54. Admitted 5th January 1785. Admitted again during winter. Discharged 10th May 1785 to provide for himself.
BROAD Thomas age 54. Admitted 6th November 1785. Admitted during the winter season. Discharged 22nd March 1786 to provide for himself.
BURVILLE Ann age 3. Admitted 5th March 1774 big with child without home and thought to be in trouble. Discharged 4th April 1774 thought able to provide for herself.
BURVILLE Elizabeth age 3. Admitted 5th March 1774 has the smallpox admitted with mother.
BURVILLE Ann 7th March 1774 born in house Mrs. Baker midwife, Died 8th March 1774.
CARTER John age 11. Admitted 10th February 1774 a welsh boy taken up at sea and carried back to London. His mates not to be found was brought back. Discharged 24th April 1774 sails for London with Captain James on board the Peace Maker bound for South Wales.
CLARK Mary age 29. Admitted 18th January 1777 her husband dead and left with one child big with another not able to provide for herself. Discharged having been guilty of several felonious accounts was confined with a log at her leg but went away with lock chain and log and left young child behind.
CLARK George age 1. Admitted 18th January 1777 with mother. Died 14th August 1778.
CLARK Mary age 32. Admitted 18th October 1780 sick and with nowhere to be. Discharged 25 January 1781 went to live at Mr. King's shipwright. Was clothed out. Run away from her place as soon as she got her clothes. Re-taken and brought back 3rd September 1781 run away.
DEAL Robert age 60. Admitted 15th September 1776 fallen from hay loft in Mr. Hawkes and hurt himself and having nowhere to go. Discharged 22nd March 1777 went out.
DEAL Robert age 60. Admitted 24th March 1777 having himself sick, having nowhere to be, no bed nor house. Discharged 21st April 1777 for bad behavior.
DEAL Robert age 60. Admitted 26th November 1777 without clothes having no care of himself was not able to provide for himself. Discharged 10th May 1778 for being abusive and getting drunk.
DEAL Robert age 61. Admitted 7th December 1779 superannuated. Discharged 30th May 1780 because he would not pick oakum.
DEAL Robert age 62. Admitted 13th December 1780 almost starved and naked. Discharged 9th April 1781 told the master he should go out and get his own living.
DEAL Robert age 63. Admitted 17th November 1781 covered with rags and vermin. Discharged 24th June 1782 went out of his own accord.
DEAL Robert age 64. Admitted 11th October 1782 covered with rags and vermin was admitted again.
DEAL Robert age 65. Admitted 6th May 1783 had the misfortune to fall from a ladder at the ships stables.
DEAL Robert age 65. 29th December 1783 admitted again. Discharged 21st August 1784 asked Mr. Archer leave to go out to provide for himself.
DRAPER Elizabeth age 50. Admitted 5th September 1777 being sick and without bed and other needful things her husband not able to provide for her. Discharged 24th June 1778 went out for half days work and did not return.
EATON Hannah Admitted 2nd June 1783 her father run away left her a charge to the parish. Discharged 9th June 1783 removed to the parish of Chatham by order of removal.
EPPS Richard age 60. Admitted 19th March 1781 has the misfortune by a fall to break his collar bone and otherwise hurt was admitted.
ERWIN James age 21. Admitted 3rd January 1783 brought from The Fountain stables sick. Died 6th April 1783.
FILMER Mary age 6. Admitted 30th October 1775 her father ran away her mother turned out of her house was unable to provide for her. Discharged 11th July 1783 went on trial to Mr. Adams Biggin Street.
FILMER Mary age 15. Admitted 15th September 1783 returned from Mr. Adams Biggin Street. Adams liked the girl but would not give her no wages. Discharged 2nd February 1784 went to live with Mrs. Pain milkwoman, Townsend.
FORSYTH Mary age 17. Admitted 22nd January 1784 lame in one and finger so not able to remain in service was admitted for a cure.
FRANKS Margaret age 14. Admitted 21st August 1781 Thomas Chapman agreed with the officer to allow eighteen pence a week for her board. Discharged 16th October taken out by her father to put her into service.
FRANKS Margaret age 15. Admitted 5th November 1782 return from her service her mistress not liking her. Discharged 26th July 1783 went to live at Mr. Cole's, North Sea Coast.
FRANKS Margaret age 17. Admitted 9th July 1784. Out of place. Discharged 27th July 1784 went to live at Mr. Corral's Kings Head Street.
FRANKS Margaret age 17. Admitted 25th August 1784. Out of place. Discharged 16th September 1784 went to live at Mr. Martin's at The Swan.
GRAVENER John age 50. Admitted 9th September 1776 having no home no friends being in some measure superannuated and his wife a poor object was admitted. Discharged 29th June 1777 being drunk and his friends desiring him not to make a riot thought he would go out of the house to which his mate answered you are welcome only let me have your bed.
GRAVENER John age 51. Admitted 28th October 1777 having nowhere to lodge was much distressed. Died 2nd August 1779.
GULLERIDGE William age 47. Admitted 10th December 1773 without clothes and without friends. Discharged 14th December 1773 went out because he would not fetch water.
GULLERIDGE William age 48. Admitted 26th November 1774 having no employment and little disorder in his senses. Discharged 6th December 1774 went out because he was able to do some work.
GULLERIDGE William age 48. Admitted 9th December 1774 appears to be insane. Discharged 10th April 1775 thought able to provide for himself.
GULLERIDGE William age 49. Admitted 9th October 1775 sick and unable to provide for himself. Discharged 26th March thought able to provide for himself.
GULLERIDGE William age 50. Admitted 4th November 1776 no friends no home and somewhat disorder in his senses was admitted. Discharged 21st May 1777 went out because he would shout in the house.
GULLERIDGE William age 51. Admitted 17th November 1777 no clothes no friends nowhere to be was admitted. Discharged 21st April 1778 went away and did not return.
GULLERIDGE William age 52. Admitted 10th November 1778 having his clothes worn out. Discharged 3rd June 1779 went out because his mates told him he was a Roman Catholic.
HAMBLETON Adam age 11. Admitted 21st July 1773 his father being dead left his mother with five children unable to provide. Discharged 1st July 1776 was bound apprentice to Thomas Vince tailor makers for seven years.
HAMMOND James age 54. Admitted 6th October 1775 broke his arm and not able to provide for himself. Discharged 4th February 1776 went out because the master would not give him a dinner.
HUSBAND James. Admitted 16th March 1784 was starving about the streets and no home or anywhere to live was admitted. Discharged 29th April 1784 asked the officers leave to go out and provide for himself - granted.
HUSBAND James. Admitted 10th May 1784 admitted again. Discharged 27th May 1784 discharged the house because he would not go to sea after the officers had provided him a place.
HUSSEY Ann age 58. Admitted 19th June 1775 without house or home. Discharged 30th August 1775 whipped for stealing stockings and turned out of the house.
JARRETT Ann age 6. Admitted 17th September 1781 her mother being carried out of town by order of removal. Discharged 29th September 1781 taken out by mother.
KILFOY Frances age 22. Admitted 20th June 1774 her husband left her big with child and unable to provide for herself. Discharged 10th April 1775 thought able to provide for herself.
KILFOY Elizabeth 22nd September 1774 born in house, Discharged 22nd May went with mother.
KILFOY Frances age 20. Admitted 10th April 1775 thought advisable not to turn her out and was re-admitted on that account. Discharged 15th May 1775 thought able to provide for herself.
KILFOY Elizabeth admitted with mother. Discharged 15th May 1775 went with mother.
KILFOY Frances age 23. Admitted 25th September 1775 having no friends no employment was unable to provide for herself. Discharged 19th January 1776 being found feloniously stealing from the house stockings, aprons and caps was sent to gaol.
KILFOY Elizabeth Admitted 25th September 1775 with mother. Died 9th April 1776.
KILFOY Frances age 24. Being whipped at the public whippery was discharged gaol and admitted to the house. Discharged 16th July 1776 went out to work and did not return.
KILFOY Frances age 26. Admitted 17th November 1777 a wandering idle but without clothes and no lodgings nor friends . Discharged 13th January 1778 run away.
KILFOY Frances age 27. Admitted 6th October 1778 standing about in an idle manner. Discharged January 17th 1779 went to live at Mr. Ball's, The Kings Head tap house.
KILFOY Frances age 28. Admitted 20th July 1779 big with child. Discharged 6th July run away.
KILFOY Sarah. 5th October 1779 born in house Mrs. Baker midwife. Died 16th May 1780.
KILFOY Frances Admitted 19th October 1781 covered with rags and vermin and having no home. Discharged 21st May 1782 run away.
LADD William age 54. Admitted 26th November 1776 lame. Discharged 3rd May went out rather than being confined, broke the rules of the house and stayed out without leave.
LANGFORD Mrs. Admitted 29th November 1780 not able to provide for herself and in a low condition. Died 8th December 1780.
LANT Daniel age 5. Admitted 22nd December 1771 his mother dead and father run away. Discharged 22nd August 1778 bound apprentice to Mr. Thomas Cain, Stroud nr. Rochester. Dredgerman and fisherman. The said Daniel Lant aged 12 years 4 months to live there until he arrives at the full age of 21.
McDONALD Ann age 19. Admitted 12th May 1781 an idle girl without home or friends to go to was admitted. Discharged 11th July 1781 married to a soldier.
MANN Margaret age 30. Admitted 2nd August 1771 her husband run away left her with five children. Discharged 24th August 1772 went to London in quest of her husband.
MANN Henry age 3. Admitted with mother. Discharged 24th August 1772 went with mother.
MANN Margaret age 5. Admitted with mother. Discharged 24th August 1772 went with mother.
MANN William age 2. Admitted with mother. Discharged 24th August 1772 went with mother.
MANN Ann age 8. Admitted with mother. Discharged 24th August 1772 went with mother.
MANN Elizabeth 17 August 1771. Born in house, Mrs. Ann Long midwife. Discharged 24 August 24th 1772 went with mother.
POLLING Jane age 28. Admitted 26th October 1767 her husband to idle and drunk to maintain her. Discharged 17th March 1768 turned out.
POLLING Isaac age 2. Admitted 26th October 1767 brought in with mother. Discharged 17th March 1768 taken out with mother.
POLLING Jane age 29. Admitted 27th April 1768 her husband to idle and drunk to maintain her. Discharged 13th June 1768 turned out.
POLLING Isaac age 3. Admitted 27th April 1768 brought in with mother. Discharged 13th June 1768 taken out by mother.
POLLING Isaac age 3. Admitted 15th December 1768 his father and mother to idle to provide for him. Died 17th March 1769.
POLLING Jane age 32. Admitted 23rd October 1772 her husband to idle to provide for her. Discharged 24th November 1772 thought able to provide for herself.
POLLING Jane age 33. Admitted 11th October 1773 being big with child her husband sent to gaol. Discharged 13th July 1774 at her own request.
POLLING Margaret 29th December 1773 born in house Mrs. Baker midwife. Discharged 13th July 1774 taken out with mother.
POLLING Jane age 34. Admitted 13th July 1774 a garret is no hoge stye (sic) nor stone walls is no bread. Discharged 22 August 1774 went out.
POLLING John age 3. Admitted 13th July with mother. Discharged 22nd August 1774 went out with mother.
POLLING Margaret age 6 months. Admitted with mother. Discharged 22nd August 1774 went out with mother.
POLLING Jane age 35. Admitted 23rd November 1775 her husband a drunken man and she an idle woman was admitted on the account of her suffering children. Discharged 22nd September 1778 run away.
POLLING John age 4. Admitted 23rd November 1775 with mother. Discharged 22nd September runaway with mother.
POLLING Margaret age 1. Admitted 23rd November 1775 with mother. Died 18th December 1776.
POLLING Jane age 38 Admitted 3rd October 1778 having wandered about a week to please her own idle woman desired to be admitted, was admitted. Discharged 18th May 1784 went on trial to Mr. Francis Neville of Greenwich Manor.
POLLING Jane age 41. Admitted 4th November 1781 no home but the workhouse was admitted.
REDWOOD Ann age 25. Admitted 30 August 1783 runaway from her place and was whipped with Mary Wilsher and brought to the house. Discharged 14th August 1784 went to live at the Cookshop, wages £4 per year.
ROBINSON Thomas age 9. Admitted 18th January 1773 brought in with mother and father. Discharged 10th June 1776 sent to his mother because she objected to him being bound apprentice to a cork cutter.
SMITH Ann age 34. Admitted 26th April 1771 supposed to be in labour. Discharged 25th November 1771 turned out having robbed the house, was whipped.
SMITH James age 2. Admitted 21 April 1777 his mother not willing to keep him and therefore pretended she was not able. Discharged 5th November 1778 taken out by his mother.
STROUD John age 13 days. Admitted 4th September 1781 his mother died in child bed. Died 13th September 1781.
SPANE Susannah. Admitted 27th May 1777 sick. Discharged 8th June 1777 taken out by her mother her friend not knowing she was in the pauper house.
TAYLOR John age 19. Admitted 14th September 1774 disorder in his senses and his father could not govern him. Discharged 27th September 1774 taken out.
TOMES George age 12. Admitted 8th May 1772 his mother and father both dead and he lame. Discharged 2nd November 1772 sails for London to be admitted a patient in St. George's hospital.
TOMES George age 13. Admitted 12 May 1773 discharged the hospital incurable. Discharged 14th February bound apprentice to Thomas Prince. Died 4th October 1777.
TURNER Alice age 22. Admitted 26th January 1770 sick in the street and a stranger. Discharged 29th January thought able to provide for herself.
USHER Susannah age 36. Admitted 10th July 1775 her husband being lame her landlord turned her out of the house and she having nowhere to be admitted. Discharged 29th July 1776 she demanded to have her clothes and she would go out and provide for herself - allowed to take them.
WALLACE Margaret age 28. Admitted 2nd August 1776 discharged from her service without any fault of hers and having no friends nor home was admitted. Discharged 13th August 1776 went to Mr. Hoult's and did not return.
WILLIAMS Sarah age 30. Admitted 23rd April 1784 by determination of the Quarter Sessions at Canterbury was brought to her maiden parish. Discharged 29th April 1784 went out of her own account.
WILLIAMS Sarah age 31. Admitted 29th January 1785 discharged from Dover jail and brought to the house. Died 16th February 1785.
WILSHER Mary age 21. Admitted 30th August 1783 having runaway from her service was committed to gaol and whipped. Discharged 25th November 1783 went to London with Frances Phillips and get service there.
WITHERS Sarah age 60. Admitted 2nd January. Pass from London. Discharged 30th May 1776 being reported for idle and drunkenness went out to provide for herself.
WITHERS Sarah age 62. Admitted 22nd May 1778 having no employment and no lodgings. Discharged 13th February 1779 went to live with Mrs. Ladd.
WITHERS Sarah age 64. Admitted 8th July 1780 no home and nowhere to go. Discharged 1st August 1780 went out to nursing at two places but brought no money home.
WITHERS Sarah age 66.Admitted 28th August 1782 discharged from her service having no home to go to. Discharged 22nd November 1782 went to live at the Castle.
WITHERS Sarah age 66. Admitted 6th January 1783 come from her service at the Castle and having no home. Discharged 16th April 1783 went to live at Mr. Thompson's wine merchant.
WITHERS Sarah age 66. Admitted 19th April 1783 returned from Mr. Thompson's service and having no home. Discharged 29th April 1783 went to keep Mr. Young's house and afterwards went away with him.
WITHERS Sarah age 66. Admitted 24th June 1783 returned from London and not able to provide for herself.
Compiled by J. Banks.
Records held at Canterbury Archives.
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