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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The Bede Houses at Louth, lincolnshire.

On the corner of Schoolhouse lane & Gospelgate in Louth are some Bede Houses.  
The gardens are very attractive and they have won awards in the "Louth in Bloom" contest.

Almshouses and Bede Houses

"Prior to 1834, each parish was responsible for its own poor. That worked well when economic times were good, but served poorly when times were bad. In some cases, two or more parishes would pool their resources, as in East and West Allington, or a group of parishes would commit to build a shared Almshouse. It was the Lord of the Manor's task to find work for able-bodied poor. Others were reduced to begging and perhaps an annual gift from a Trust. Sometimes old houses were set aside in the village for "six old poor women" or something similar. These were generally called Almshouses, and may have included a small garden and an animal pen.

A Bede House was a type of almshouse run to a set of strict rules, typically run by a church. "Bede" is Old English or Saxon for "priest". Each Bedesman (or woman) was given a daily allowance of one penny plus a weekly or monthly allotment of clothing and fuel (normally coal), for which they lived by a timetable of prayer and manual work.

Very few records exist from these times, other than references to funds contributed by trusts set up by wealthy landowners or local clergy. The names of the receiving poor may appear in a parish chest document, but no law mandated that any records be kept or retained.

A good record of Lincolnshire Almshouses can be found in the book: "Lincolnshire Almshouses - Nine Centuries of Charitable Housing," by Linda Crust, publ. by the Heritage Trust of Lincolnshire, paperback, 80 pages, ISBN: 0-948639-38-5, selling for around £13.

There are still almshouses functioning in Lincolnshire. There is an active Almshouse Association and they publish a booklet on their work."


(The above information courtesy of Wikipedia.)








The Bede Houses on Gospelgate.

All images taken on a Panasonic TZ40 compact camera.