This is one of the most important resources that we have seen, and one that should be of great interest to all family historians. Published in 1772 it was the handbook of the duties and responsibilities of the Parish Officer.
It includes the duties of the overseers of the poor, the power in relieving, employing and settling, etc. of poor persons; the laws relating to the poor, and settlements, and the statutes concerning masters and servants. The right of Settlement was something that was of great concern to all of our ancestors. Basically, to be able to have right of settlement in a parish, one had to be born there, married there or serving an apprenticeship there. Proof was all-important, especially if a person became destitute and needed support from the parish. Parish officers would have people literally evicted and transported to another parish under such circumstances. What happened about bastardy? What obligations does an apprentice have to his master and vice-versa? This book describes it all, together with the supporting laws.
Other sections of the book include the authority and duty of constables, tithingmen, etc.; churchwardens, how they should be chosen, their duties, church accounts, repairing of churches, etc. There are some very interesting punishments for not attending church and keeping to the rules! There is a section on surveying the highways, Scavengers, methods of taxation of the highways, and laws. And finally, the duties and powers of Watchmen.