Fermanagh Gold Introduction
 
THE POOR LAW ACT 1838

During the years the Townland Valuation was being conducted, an alarming increase in the number of people in Ireland unable to support themselves was evident to civil authorities and religious leaders.

Parliament legislated an Act in 1838. This Act declared that relief was to be provided within a Workhouse system. The legislations called for the country to be divided into administrative districts known as Poor Law Unions, each to be a geographical joining of townlands within ten miles of a large market town in which the Workhouse was to be located.

Boundaries of unions often crossed county, barony and civil parish lines, they did not, however, intersect townland boundaries. The admission ticket into the Poor Law Union Workhouse required the following entries;

Name,
Surname, 
Age, 
Wife, 
Children under 15, 
Married, divorced, widowed, etc., 
Last time in a workhouse, time you left home, 
Disability, 
Urgency
Names and callings of relations, 
Last residence, and how long. 
Electoral division, townland, date.