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Brecon and district
Care of the poor
  The Brecknock Poor Law Union  

drawing of poor people from PUNCHBefore the Victorian period the poor in Brecon and the surrounding area were supported by parish relief or by charity. Relief from the overseer of the poor for each parish was a small payment to families who could not support themselves.
In Brecon some of the richer people set up charities to help the poor and sometimes in hard times special collections were held. Many of the better off left money for the poor in their wills.

  In 1834 though a law was brought in which created Poor Law Unions. These were groups of parishes which came together to look after the poor. All the able bodied poor who could not look after themselves were to be locked away in a workhouse.
The Brecknock Poor Law Union was huge. It consisted of over 40 parishes.
They were:-
Aberyscir, Battle, all the Brecon parishes, Cantref, Cathedine, Cray, Garthbrengi, Glyn, Glyntawe, Llanddeti, Llanddew, Llandyfaelog Fach,
Llandyfaelog Tre'r Graig, Llandefalle, Llandeilo'r Fan, Llanfeigan, Llanfihangel fechan, Llanfihangel Nant Bran, Llanfihangel Talyllyn, Llangasty Talyllyn, Llangors, Llanhamlach, Llansantffraid, Llansbyddid, Llanfilo, Llanfrynach, Llanywern, Maescar, Merthyr Cynog, Modrydd, Penpont, Senni, Talachddu, Trawsgoed, Traian-glas, Traian-mawr, Fennifach, and Ysclydach
  The Brecknock Union was given land for its new workhouse by Sir Charles Morgan. The site was to the south of Llanfaes, well outside the town, where the better off would not have to see the paupers. In 1839 the workhouse for 150 inmates was built on the site.  
plan of workhouse drawing by Rob Davies
This drawing by Rob Davies gives us
some idea of how the Brecon workhouse
would have looked.
  The plan of the workhouse above is from later in the Victorian period and it shows that like dozens of others across Britain it was shaped like a cross. (The road marked in grey is the road north to Llanfaes.)
On the ground floor there were usually workrooms, washrooms, the kitchen and rooms where new arrivals were stripped and cleansed. On the first floor were the dormitories, the staff quarters, the dining hall and rooms for the sick and infirm.

More about the Brecon workhouse..

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