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Document one

Rules and orders for the good regulation of Dartford workhouse, agreed upon in a vestry, 28 September 1721

There were 41 Rules and Orders relating to the Dartford Workhouse. Most of them concerned administration and internal order.

1) That the Master and Mistress be sober and orderly persons, apt to teach, and skilled in  House-keeping; punctually conform themselves to the Directions of the Governors, and to such of the following Rules as may any way concern them

2) That they do all that lies in their Power to promote Industry, Frugality, Peace and Piety in the House.

3) That, for these good Ends, they see that all the Family, except the Sick, be up, dressed, washed, and combed by Six in the Summer Mornings, and Seven in the Winter; and that Prayers be read by the Master, or some fit Person appointed by him, to as many of the Family as can attend them every Morning before Breakfast

4) That after Prayers all go to Breakfast and be allowed half an Hour at it.

5) That after Breakfast all the Family be employed in such Works ‘till Twelve at Noon, as they shall be capable of doing, and shall be directed to, by the Master or Mistress.

6) That the Children which are fit, be taught two Hours each Day, to read and write, and say their Prayers and Catechism, at the Direction of the Master and Mistress; and moreover, be taught and employed the rest of their vacant Time in Spinning, Knitting, Sewing and such other useful Housewifery Works as shall best qualify them for good Servants.

7) That they be called to Dinner at Twelve, and at One return to their proper Businesses till Seven in the Evening in the Summer, and Six in the Winter.

8) That they go to Supper after their Work, and after Supper to Evening Prayer; and be all in Bed by Eight in the Winter Nights, and Nine in the Summer.

9) That the Master see all the Men’s and Boys’ Candles out, each Night, and the Mistress do the same by the Women’s and Girls’.

10) That the several Meals be according to the Weekly Bill of Fare, appointed by the Governors.

11) That the Cloth be laid at every Dinner, and Grace be said before and after Meat, by one of the Children.

12) That the Prayers and Graces to be used in the House be chosen and appointed by the Minister of the Parish, for the time being.

13) That the Sick and Bed-rid, instead of the common Diet of the House, have such Diet as shall be proper for their condition.

14) That such Nurses be appointed, for Attendance on the Sick, as the Master and Mistress shall appoint.

15) That the whole House, above Stairs and below, be swept every Day, and washed once a week, by such Persons as the Mistress shall direct.

16) That each Person be provided with two Shirts or Shifts, and have a clean one every Sunday Morning, and that each Shirt and Shift be marked with the two first Letters of the Owners’ Names.

17) That the Sheets belonging to the House shall be marked with ‘D.P.’(Dartford Parish), also the Table-cloths and Towels and other Linen, and numbered.

18) That the Mistress of the House take Charge of all the Linen and be accountable for the same.

19) That the Linen be washed as often as is necessary, by any Person or Persons directed by the Mistress.

20) That all Possible Care be taken to keep the People and Children free from Lice and Filthiness, and their Beds from Bugs.

21) That the Coals, Candles and Soap be delivered out by the Mistress, according to Necessity, and an Account be kept in a Book of what Quantity of each has daily been delivered out.

22) That the Beer in one Day be drawn by one Person to be appointed by the Mistress.

23) That no Persons go out of the House without leave of the Master or Mistress, and that no leave be given but upon Necessary and reasonable Occasions.

24) That as many of the People as are disposed, and can be spared from the Service of the House, have leave to go to Church upon Wednesdays and Holidays.

25) That the Whole Family, except such as of Necessity must be at home, go every Sunday, Morning and Afternoon, to the Parish Church, accompanied by the Master or Mistress, in Order, and return in the same Order.

26) That the Vacant Time on Sundays be employed in reading or hearing some portion of the Holy Scripture or a part of ‘The Whole Duty of Man’, and singing a Psalm.

27) That no Person presume to ask Charity within or without the House, on Pain of losing their Meals that Day for the first Fault, and of being punished for the Second, at the Direction of the Governors.

28) That all bear quietly the just Reproofs of the Master and Mistress and do not persist to utter any abusive or indecent Language, towards them; but in Case any find themselves ill used by the Master or Mistress, to complain to the Governors.

29) That certain Punishments be appointed for Thieving, Lying, Swearing, Disobedience, or other notorious Immoralities at the Discretion of the Governors, not repugnant to the Laws of the Land.

30) That in case any Person will not reform under the Discipline of the House, he or she shall be brought before a Justice of the Peace to be punished as the Law directs.

31) That the Master and Mistress be never absent from the House together, without Leave had of the Visiting Governors, and such Leave not to be granted but upon a reasonable Occasion.

32) That Twelve of the fittest Persons in the Parish be, in every Easter Week, hereafter chosen, by the Parishioners in the Vestry, to be Governors, to see the due Execution of these Rules and Orders, and that the Church-Wardens for the time being be always of that Number. In the mean time the Trustees for building the House to be Governors.

33) That two of the Governors, in their Turns, visit the House weekly, one of them each Day; and enter in a Book for that purpose, Minutes of such Disorders, and Defects as he shall find there, in order to have them laid every third Sunday in the Afternoon before a general Meeting of the Governors in the Vestry Room, who shall be there attended by the Master of the House, with the said Book; and the Majority of the Governors, at such general Meeting, to make such Orders as they think fit, concerning the said Minutes.

34) That any of the Governors, as they have Opportunity, may visit the House out of their Turns, and enter his Opinions in the Minute Book, concerning any abuse or defect he finds in the House.

35) That every Visiting-Governor writes his Name in the Book when he visits, whether he finds any Matter of Complaint there or no.

36) That all Provisions, Utensils, and Materials for Work in the House be bought by the Overseers of the Poor, with the Approbation of the Governors at their General Meeting, and bring, or send, with the Provisions and Goods, Bills, with the Weight and Prices fig’d by the Persons of whom they were bought, to be filed by the Master after a fair Entry of them in a Book for that Purpose.

37) That Books, as many as be necessary, be bought for the entry of all the Affairs, relating to the House, at the Discretion of the Governors.

38) That the Apothecary who attends the Sick, for a yearly Salary, or otherwise, shall enter, in a Book for that Purpose, the Name of every Medicine, he brings, and of the Person to whom he gives it; or else to forfeit Sixpence of each Neglect, for the Use of the Sick; this Book to be kept by the Master, for the Inspection of the Governors.

39) That an Account, in Writing, be kept of all the Goods of the House, and of such Alterations and Appointments as shall be made by the Governors, concerning them, from time to time.

40) That a Book be kept for Entry of all the Names of the Persons in the House, the Time of their admission, their Age and Employment in the House, and the Time and Cause of their leaving the House.

41) That a general State of Account of the Expenses and Profits of the House be laid before the Parishioners, in Vestry, once a month i.e. the first Sunday in every Month, after the Evening Prayer, by the Overseers of the Poor for the time being".

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