Find your ancestors in Lincolnshire Settlement Certificates 1675 - 1860

The records contain details of 8,590 people who were granted permission to settle in a Lincolnshire parish under the 1662 Poor Law Relief Act between 1665 and 1865.

Certificates of settlement were granted to those on rents less than £10 a year who were entitled to claim on the parish’s poor relief if it became necessary. Some of those granted certificates were working. You could claim if you had been employed in the parish for more than a year and a day or if you had an apprenticeship of at least seven years from a settled person within the parish.

For those who were not employed and who qualified as “impotent poor” then you were entitled if you had been born in a parish or had lived there without anyone complaining about you, for a period of 40 uninterrupted days. Unmarried and expectant mothers were usually given certificates with the most reluctance as they were considered the most expensive to support if it became necessary.

In 1692 an amendment to the 1662 Act, “For supplying some Defects in the Laws for the Relief of the Poor” gave some protection for those with certificates, including newcomers to a parish who had the paperwork from their previous parish, as long as they didn’t need the poor rate. The same Act contained provision for the so-called “badging of the poor”. Those in receipt of poor relief would have to wear, in red or blue, on their right shoulder, the letter “P” preceded with the initial letter for the parish.

Lincolnshire is a historic county in the east of England. It borders Norfolk to the south east, Cambridgeshire to the south, Rutland to the south west, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire to the west, South Yorkshire in the northwest and the East Riding of Yorkshire to the north. Northamptonshire is in the south. The county town is Lincoln.