chapter  5
Urban Experiments in the Suppression of Vagrancy and the Relief of the Poor
Pages 12

A number of new officials were appointed at the same time to see that the scheme worked smoothly. The mayor hirns elf took over the position of Master of the Bridewell and four of the aldermen were made responsible for the four great wards, or major administrative areas, ofthe city. They, in turn, appointed a host ofminor officials. From the point of view of overall responsibility, the deacons were by far the most important of these. Two were appointed for each petty ward (twenty-four in all) and they were initially responsible for recording the names of all the poor, including those of children whose parents were unable to support them adequately, the latter being put out to service. Those with less than three years, residence were sent away from the city while all newcomers unable to support themselves were refused admittance. Having obtained this information, the deacons were ordered to see that all capable of work did work, any vagabonds, idlers, loiterers or drunkards that remained being punished. In addition to these punitive duties, they were expected to know how many poor there were in the city with insufficient alms, so that they could be provided for, and to see that any money, wood or other gifts to the poor were duly distributed.