Sources: Parish chest documents; Quarter Sessions files; Boston Borough Sessions files. There are over 5,000 surviving Removal Orders for Lincolnshire.

Once a pauper had been examined to his settlement, and if their settlement was found to be other than the parish where they lived, a Removal Order would be issued by the Magistrates ordering them to be removed to their parish of settlement where they must be taken care of.

Removal Orders could often take a person or a family back to a place of settlement miles across the country, sometimes to a parish they had only known briefly as a small child. Illegitimate babies and children could be removed away from their mothers in the 18th century if the child was not born in the mother's place of settlement (the settlement of illegitimate children was their place of birth) - but not always. Sometimes an agreement was made between the overseers of the child's place of settlement and the overseers of the parish where it was living so that it could be maintained by the former whilst living in the latter. Children whose mother had remarried a man with a different place of settlement from their father could be removed away from their mother as they would retain their father's settlement, but again agreements could be made between parishes as with illegitimate children above.

In 1732/3 an Act prevented the removal of pregnant women and women within the first month of giving birth.

The Overseer, once the Removal Order had been issued, had a choice. He could physically remove the person or family, or he could allow them to stay provided that their parish of settlement would send regular payments for their support. This seems to have been a regular option, particularly if work was available where the pauper was living, but not in his parish of settlement. Physical removal could be on foot, on horseback or by cart, and the Overseer was responsible for delivering the pauper to the Overseer of the parish of settlement. Regardless of what happened to the pauper, an unopposed removal order proved his place of settlement.

This interesting statement is written on the back of a Removal Order [Quadring parish 13/4/28/1]
1843 May 29th Removed the within named Louisa Speeding and her illegitimate Child viz. Louisa from Spalding to London 30th Delivered them together with a copy of the within Order to William OCKENDON one of the Overseers of the poor of the parish of All Saints Parish in the County of Middlesex
Robt JUDD Constable of Spalding

Removal Orders could also be suspended if a pauper was too ill to be removed. The “execution” of the order would come when the pauper recovered, or had died, and any money spent on the pauper during the suspension would be repaid by their parish of Settlement. Many suspensions and executions appear on the back of Removal Orders.

This example comes from the parish of Pinchbeck;
Richard FOUNTAIN, Ann his wife and their two Children – namely - Sarah aged about 4 years, and Hannah aged about 2 years removed from Pinchbeck to Surfleet. Order dated 10 December 1822 [On reverse] Order suspended 10 December 1822 Richard Fountain cannot be removed by reason of his Leg having been broken. Executed 11 March 1823 £8 16s expenses incurred by the suspension to be paid by the parish of Surfleet on demand. [Pinchbeck Parish 13/3/33 and Surfleet Parish 13/22/64]

Many Removal Orders have survived in both parishes involved in the removal. As two copies were issued, their survival rate is better than for Examinations and Certificates.

If the parish to which a pauper was removed did not agree that the place of settlement was correct, an appeal could be made against the order at the Quarter Sessions. For this reason many parish removal orders have survived in the Quarter Sessions files, sometimes with the result of the appeal written at the bottom or on the back of the order. There are also some very early (late 17th early 18th century) Orders of Sessions giving judgments on places of settlement. Overseers often sought advice from lawyers regarding the advisability of appealing against an order, and their surviving letters can give much more detail about a pauper’s settlement.

After the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, the Overseers of the parishes continued to organise the issuing of Removal Orders by the Magistrates. The resulting documents gradually changed, and by the 1840s you may find many paged documents including Notices of Removal and Certificates of Chargeability issued by the Guardians of the Union, together with a Removal Order that contains the Grounds for the removal (the reasons why the pauper belongs to the parish to which he is being removed) and also a Settlement Examination or Examinations as sometimes several people were examined about one person’s settlement. These documents continue to 1865.

The LFHS has published indexes to and transcriptions of many Settlement Examinations and Removal Orders on CD Rom (over 10,000 documents).