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Llandeilofawr Workhouse

Introduction

The Workhouse often evokes the grim world of Oliver Twist, but its story is also a fascinating mix of social history, politics, economics and architecture, buildings, inmates, staff and administrators, even its poets.

So writes historian Peter Higginbotham in his extensive website devoted to the history of workhouses. But the workhouse as an institution is both earlier - and later - than the 19th century versions immortalised by writers such as Dickens, their origins going back to the early 17th century and their abolition not coming until 1930. Their 'hey-day' (if such a word is appropriate for these truly inhuman establishments) was the 19th century. As Peter Higginbotham continues:

State-provided poor relief is often dated from the end of Queen Elizabeth's reign in 1601 when the passing of an Act for the Relief of the Poor made parishes legally responsible for looking after their own poor. This was funded by the collection of a poor-rate tax from local property owners, a tax that survives in the present-day council tax. www.workhouses.org.uk

No physical evidence of Llandeilo workhouse exists any more. For some time after 1930, though, the building continued to be used for much the same purpose, but now under the control of the local council instead of the Poor Law Guardians. With the eventual closure of buildings, documentation relating to these places often disappeared and what scant records remain in county and other archives usually leave us with a fragmentary and incomplete picture.

Still, sufficient records remain for Llandeilo workhouse for us to piece together a tantalising glimpse into the long-lost world of this quintessential Victorian institution. The geographic area served by the Llandeilofawr workhouse was extensive, consisting of eleven parishes extending as far south as the Amman Valley, and including a population of 15,1614 in 1831.

The History of Poor Law Unions

Early workhouses were mostly set up within individual parishes. Parliamentary reports in 1776-7 list almost 2,000 parish workhouses in England and Wales - with approximately one parish in seven running one. However, the setting up and operation of a poor-house or workhouse often proved beyond the resources of many individual parishes, so various schemes were devised for groups or Unions of adjacent parishes to do this jointly.

England and Wales before 1834

An early model for the Union was the London Corporation of the Poor, which was established in London in 1647 and continued until 1660. In 1696, a local Act in Bristol incorporated the eighteen parishes of the city and included the provision for the setting up of a workhouse run by paid officers. Two buildings, one previously used as the city's mint, were converted for the purpose, with much of the effort involving the housing and training of pauper children. Within a few years, Bristol's example had been followed by a number of other cities, including a re-establishment of London.

England and Wales from 1834

Under the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, the Poor Law Commission was given the power to unite parishes in England and Wales into Poor Law Unions, each Union being administered by a local Board of Guardians according to the directions issued by the Commission. According to the Act, relief was only to be given to able-bodied paupers through the workhouse and central to the formation of a Union was the provision of a workhouse building.

By the time of the Poor Law Commission's fifth annual report in 1839, a total of 583 unions (covering some 95 percent of parishes) were operating in England and Wales.

After the Government reformed the Poor Law in 1834 workhouses were built to house the destitute in appalling conditions. Fathers, mothers and children were separated on entering the workhouses and no one outside the workhouse system was allowed relief. For the poverty-stricken the options were stark: to enter the workhouse or starve. In Carmarthen for example, it was noted by The Times newspaper that prisoners in the town's jail were better fed than those in the workhouse. As a result workhouses were both feared and hated in equal measure by those forced to enter them or who lived under the threat of ending up inside their walls.

One day in June 1843 the workhouse at Carmarthen was stormed by the 'Rebecca Rioters' who, in 1842-43, carried out a campaign of protests across south-west Wales, mainly against the high charges at the tollgates on the public roads. There was a tollgate for every three miles of road in Carmarthenshire, with tolls exacted every time a farmer and his produce passed through them, and the Rebecca Riots resulted in hundreds of these tollgates being demolished in daring night-time raids. But attacks were also made against a number of workhouses in the area as protesters expressed their hatred of the new Poor Law of 1834 and the means by which paupers were being treated.

After the attack on Carmarthen workhouse, The Times newspaper sent their leading reporter, T.C. Foster, from London to cover the events. Travelling by train to Bristol, then boat to Cardiff and finally stage coach to Carmarthen, Foster was able to detect the resentment to the Poor Laws in just the 36 hours his journey had taken. His first report, written from the Ivy Bush Hotel in Carmarthen, and published in The Times on June 26th 1843, remarks:

In Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Cardiganshire the Rebeccaites traverse the country from end to end and level the tollgates and commit other outrages with perfect impunity, added to which the whole country is suffering from the effects of the new poor law, against which there appears to be universal feelings of detestation

On 19th June 1843 protesters had entered Carmarthen to lay their grievances about the tollgates before magistrates. However, possibly diverted by local unruly elements, a large crowd converged on the workhouse instead where the Master was forced to hand over his keys. The mob then rushed into the courtyard and entered the buildings where they smashed furniture and broke windows. The riot continued until the arrival of the 4th Light Dragoons who charged on the workhouse, finally bringing proceedings under control and taking sixty prisoners.

These same Light Dragoons would undertake another and more famous charge just eleven years later in 1854 when, as part of the British army's Light Brigade, they rode to their deaths at Balaclava during the Crimea War. The target of their charge this time was 20 battalions of infantry of the Imperial Russian army supported by over fifty artillery pieces, quite a different proposition from the unarmed peasantry of Carmarthen eleven years earlier. Their action, described as heroic or stupid depending on which historian you read, was immortalised by Tennyson soon after in his poem The Charge of the Light Brigade. "Their's not to reason why, Their's but to do and die, Into the Valley of Death, Rode the six hundred" was Tennyson's own, ambivilant, conclusion.

Although there was some periodic reorganisation of Union boundaries, with existing Unions being dissolved or merged, most notably in London, the majority of the Unions set up under the 1834 Act continued in operation for almost a century. The end came at midnight on Monday 31st March 1930, when a new Local Government Bill abolished all the Poor Law Unions and their Boards of Guardians, their role passing to county councils and county boroughs. Responsibility for the destitute then passed to new local Public Assistance Committees, before the creation of the welfare state after 1945 took everyone under the wing of today's social security system.

Llandeilofawr Workhouse

Llandilo (or Llandeilo) Fawr Poor Law Union was formed at the Cawdor Hotel on 16th December, 1836. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 20 in number, representing its 11 constituent parishes as listed below (figures in brackets indicate numbers of Guardians if more than one):

Carmarthenshire: Brechfa, Llandifeisant, Llandilo Fawr (4), Llandybie (2), Llaneggwad (2), Llanfynydd (2), Llangathen (2), Llansawl (2), Llanvihangel Aberbythyrch, Llanvihangel Kilfargen, Talley (2).

The population falling within the Union at the 1831 census had been 15,614 with parishes ranging in size from Llanvihangel Kilfargen (population 69) to Llandilo Fawr itself (5,149). The average annual poor-rate expenditure for the period 1834-36 had been £5,653 or 7s.3d. per head of the population.

The Llandilo Fawr Union workhouse was erected in 1837-38 at Ffairfach, about half a mile to the south of Llandilo. Intended to accommodate 120 inmates, its construction cost was £2,243. In addition to the permanent inmates there was also accommodation for tramps and vagrants. The building was designed by George Wilkinson who was responsible for at least eight other workhouses in Wales. Its location and layout are shown on the 1907 map below.

Map of the location of Llandeilo workhouse
Workhouse layout
Llandeilofawr workhouse plan in 1907. The thick black lines are the wings where the inmates lived and worked, with the administrative block being at the central hub. The white spaces inside represent the open-air exercise areas.

The workhouse design was based on the popular square plan where accommodation wings for the different classes of inmate (male/female, infirm/able-bodied) radiated from a central supervisory hub. From here the Master and his staff could reach any part of the building quickly, as a spider at the centre of a web can reach its trapped prey. The area in between the wings formed segregated yards where the inmates could take exercise. An entrance block at one end contained a porter's lodge, boardroom and offices.

The former Llandilo Fawr Union workhouse building was demolished in the 1970s.

Although there are plenty of records surviving from Llandeilofawr workhouse, the picture is still fragmentary. The Poor Law Act laid down strict guidelines on how each workhouse had to be run, though the regime in individual cases was determined in some degree by the Masters in charge, who ranged from outright sadists to more enlightened people, but conditions in all of them were harsh.

The numbers of paupers had grown alarmingly throughout the 18th and 19th centuries and the old system of parish relief could no longer cope. This is what the new Poor Law of 1834 was supposed to address, the plan being for the new workhouses to replace parish relief. As a historian of the period has asked:
How could the parishes be relieved of their able-bodied poor? Simply, so the theory of the new Poor Law said, by ending their parish relief (for which at least the community had got some useful work out of them, on hedging and road-mending, for example) and giving relief to them and their families only in the workhouses where they would repay it in honest toil.
And they blessed Rebecca, Pat Molloy, 1983, pages 79-80
Grill for measuring stone size
Carmarthen workhouse: iron grill for grading rocks. Each able-bodied pauper's daily quota of one and a half tons had to be broken down into pieces small enough to pass through the holes. (Carmarthen Museum)

The reality, however, couldn't have been more different - or more wasteful. Instead of a husband doing useful work in return for his parish relief, the entire family - husband, wife and children - were locked away in near-prison conditions, and forced to do work, much of which was completely pointless and about as far from honest toil as it was possible to be. The 'honest toil' for an able-bodied man in Carmarthen workhouse consisted of breaking stones, a daily quota of a ton and a half of large rocks that had to be broken into pieces small enough to pass through a grill, thoughtfully provided in the cell where the man was locked away for the day. Refusal to work on the stone-breaking brought the offending pauper before the magistrates where he would be sentenced to a tread-wheel in the local gaol for a month or two, an exercise even more pointless than breaking stones.

Many internal documents have disappeared and those that survive in public archives only give us the workhouse's side of the story, but conditions in these places were so bad that occasionally they reached the more accessible pages of the newspapers. This was the case in nearby Carmarthen, where the Carmarthen Journal had this to say about the local workhouse:

The germs of incipient rebellion and treason on a small scale would appear to lurk in the workhouse of the Carmarthen Union. Since the Christmas holidays there has been nothing but risings and mutinies against the stone breaking. Within the last week about half a dozen paupers were committed to prison for refusing to break them

Small wonder that only the most desperate sought relief within the walls of a workhouse. And smaller wonder still that the Rebecca Rioters in Carmarthen on June 14th 1843 switched their anger from grievances over toll charges to the workhouse instead, which by now had acquired all the infamy of the Bastille prison in Paris, the freeing of whose inmates had been the first act of the French Revolution in 1789.

The end of the workhouse

On midnight 31st March 1930 the administration of Llandeilofawr workhouse passed from the hands of the Poor Law Guardians and to Carmarthenshire County Council. For a while little changed except the name but in time the building, like many others throughout the UK, evolved into a more recognisable hospital, before it was finally demolished in the 1970s. A nursing home called Awel Tywi (Towy Breeze) now occupies the site.

This evolution of Llandeilofawr Union workhouse was typical of many of the country's workhouses, as this website describes:

From 1913 onwards, the term 'workhouse' was replaced by 'poor law institution' in official documents but the institution itself was to live on for a good many years yet. During the First World War, many Boards of Guardians offered workhouse premises for military use, mostly as hospitals but also for accommodating military personnel, prisoners of war (for example, Banbury) and 'aliens' (for example Islington).

The general depression in the years following the First World War, culminating in the miners' strike of 1926, put a tremendous strain on the system with some unions effectively becoming bankrupt. In some areas, where colliery owners also had influence with local Boards of Guardians, there were allegations that relief was deliberately reduced to break the strike. Conversely, where miners and union officials dominated a Board, there were complaints that the rates were being used to supplement strike funds.

Neville Chamberlain, Health Minister in the 1925 Conservative government, believed that that the poor-law system needed reforming and in 1926 pushed through a Board of Guardians (Default) Act which enabled the dismissal of a Board of Guardians and its replacement with government officials. This was followed by a further Poor Law Act in 1927, and in 1928 he introduced The Local Government Act which would in many respects bring about many of the measures proposed by the Royal Commission's Report in 1909. Essentially, this would abolish the Boards of Guardians and transfer all their powers and responsibilities to local councils. These were required to submit administrative schemes to end 'poor relief' as such - "as soon as circumstances permit" - and provide more specific "public assistance" on the basis of other legislation such as the Public Health Act, the Education Act, and so on. The Act was passed on 27th March 1929 and came into effect on 1st April 1930 - a day which supposedly marked the end of the road for 643 Boards of Guardians in England and Wales.

Although the workhouse was officially no more, many institutions carried on into the 1930s virtually unaltered. Objections from Boards of Guardians and councils meant that changes were very slow in taking place. Ultimately, the 1929 Act did not succeed in abolishing the Poor Law - it merely reformed how it was administered and changed a few names. Poor Law Institutions became Public Assistance Institutions and were controlled by a committee of 'guardians'. However, physical conditions improved a little for the inmates, the majority of whom continued to be the old, the mentally deficient, unmarried mothers, and vagrants.

The National Health Service Act of 1946 came into force on 5th July 1948. Even the sweeping changes that came with this had less impact than might be imagined. Institutions now came under the control of Hospital Management Committees under Regional hospital Boards but many still carried the stigma from their workhouse days. Many of these new 'hospitals' also maintained "Reception Centres for Wayfarers", i.e. casual wards for vagrants, until the 1960s.

Sources

  • www.workhouses.org.uk is a wealth of information on this subject and is the best starting point on the internet for the beginner. Much of the above is from this website.
  • And they blessed Rebecca, Pat Molloy, Gomer Press, 1983.
  • Carmarthenshire Archive Service

The Punishment Book 1878-1907

Carmarthenshire County Archive
Record Number: Abercennen 526
Workhouse Punishment Book, 1878-1907

Llandeilo Workhouse punishment book
The Llandilofawr Union Workhouse punishment book (Carmarthenshire County Archives Service)

It hardly needs saying that the entries made in the punishment book of Llandeilofawr Union workhouse are a one-sided account of relations between inmates and the workhouse authorities. Those who compile official records may not necessarily have balance and fairness in mind as they write. And while the transgressions of the inmates are recorded in detail, along with the punishments meted out to them, the book is silent on the conditions the inmates had to endure, conditions which may even have been a contributory factor to their offences. Corrective institutions have improved dramatically since the dark and dismal places of incarceration built and run by the Victorians, but even today periodic revelations of serious abuses, physical and sexual, against inmates in children's homes, mental institutions and prisons are a stark reminder that terrible things can still go on once a door has slammed shut and the key is turned.

The punishment book of Llandeilofawr workhouse records only the offences committed by inmates but, unsurprisingly, is silent on any that would undoubtedly have been committed by the authorities themselves.

In return for their stay in the workhouse inmates had to undertake backbreaking work in near-prison conditions (conditions in Carmarthen workhouse were described by the decidedly pro-establishment Times as being actually worse than prison).

The daily routine laid down by the Poor Law Commission was as follows:

Wake
6.00 am
Breakfast
6.30-7.00 am
Start work
7.00 am
Dinner
12.00-1.00 pm
Finish Work
5.00 pm
Supper
6.00-7.00 pm
Bed
8.00 pm

In the winter inmates had the luxury of rising an hour later at 7 am.

Many inmates were to become long-term residents of the workhouse. A Parliamentary report of 1861 found that, nation-wide, over 20 percent of inmates had been in the workhouse for more than five years. These mostly consisted of elderly, chronically sick, and mentally ill paupers. Able-bodied men often had to spend their working day breaking stones, while the women and children were made to scrub and clean the workhouse premises, and do all the laundry, cooking, washing and countless other domestic chores in return for their food and accommodation. It was the women inmates, also, who made the uniforms that had to be worn while in the workhouse. Most of the work, in other words, was self-generated and was of no use to the community beyond the workhouse walls.

Technically, inmates at a workhouse were resident there voluntarily and were not therefore prisoners, so they could leave whenever they chose by giving the required notice, usually three hours. That most inmates had no homes or work to return to was the only reason they stayed at all, or usually returned if they ever did leave. The most common cause for a family applying to the workhouse was eviction from their rented hovels and the workhouse was always the very last resort.

This situation left the authorities with a legal conundrum: if an inmate did leave (or 'abscond', as the punishment books term it), technically they were committing no offence. No authority likes to be without the powers to administer punishment, however, and workhouses were no different, resorting to considerable ingenuity in finding justification for chastising anyone who had the temerity to forsake its tender embrace. If anyone left the confines of a workhouse while still wearing the uniform that all inmates were required to wear, then the poor absconder could be, and often was, charged with theft of workhouse property. Some workhouses also increased the notice period, and absconding is a common entry in the Llandeilofawr punishment book.

The inmates included men, women, children, wives, the elderly, the chronically sick and lunatics, and the records of Llandeilofawr workhouses deposited in the Carmarthenshire County Archives record births as well as deaths - unmarried pregnant women were often hidden away in the workhouse to cover up the shame such a predicament brought on their families.

In Llandeilofawr the most common offences committed by inmates were general insubordination and unruly behaviour - swearing, refusing to work, threatening behaviour towards staff and other inmates, petty theft of inmates' property, absconding while wearing Union clothes, and drunkenness, though occasional minor assaults took place. The punishments were usually those invoked under articles 129 and 131 of the Poor Law codes, which meant solitary confinement with reduced food rations for periods from a few hours to a few days. The phrase "locked up for 24 hours with bread and water" is a recurring one in the punishment books kept by each workhouse. Sometimes, however, inmates were sent for trial before the local magistrates where, without fail, they would receive prison sentences with hard labour.

Here is a summary of the entries found in the punishment book of Llandeilofawr between 1878 and 1907, concentrating on three inmates: one William Evans, aged 47 and deaf and dumb; David Jones, aged 13; and David Davies, aged 62. These three between them are responsible for 31 of the 50 entries in the punishment book. A mere snapshot though this book may be, nonetheless it offers a fascinating glimpse into life in these legendary institutions.

Jan 17 1878
Mary Williams, aged 45.
Offence: threatening to crumble an inmate's head, disobeying the Matron, and swearing at the Master with her fist in his face. Punishment: placed in the Refractory cell until the assistance of a constable was obtained to have her removed to the Town cell.

The punishment meted out to a friend of Mary Williams just two days later reveals a particularly vindictive streak in the authorities:

Jan 19 1978
Mary Evans, aged 33
Offence: using abusive language to those who gave evidence against her friend Mary Williams (who was committed) and disobeying the officers.
Punishment: kept on bread and water for 24 hours when she promised not to do such a thing again.

Less than a year later Mary Williams was to incur the wrath of the workhouse authorities yet again, and once more prison was the consequence:

Dec 15 1879
Mary Williams, aged 46
Offence: Refusing to cleanse her person. Punishment: sent away to a constable. She was committed to prison for 21 days.

The punishment meted out to Mary Williams seems inordinately harsh for such a trivial offence - refusing to wash - but her entry for January 17th 1878 above is the very first recorded in the punishment book, so there may have been earlier incidents which could have contributed to her prison sentence. This was certainly the case with two other inmates - William Evans and David Jones - who also earned custodial sentences after breaking the workhouse rules many times.

Work for an able-bodied inmate was compulsory, regardless of age. Being locked away in solitary confinement for refusing to work was common enough in Llandeilo workhouse, but wouldn't the very elderly - a 73 year old, for example - be exempted from work? Answer: no, and here's the entry in the punishment book to prove it:

Sept 23 1904
David Jones, age 73
Offence: Constantly refusing to work when ordered to by the Master.
Punishment: Applied Article 129 of the Poor Law Orders towards him from 4 pm till 9.40 am in the Receiving Room.

William Evans (deaf and dumb) aged 47

During the period records of punishment were kept (1878-1907) three inmates seem to have been responsible for a particularly high number of incidents. The first involves one William Evans, aged 47 at the time of his first appearance in the punishment book. The entries against his name describe this unfortunate man as being deaf and dumb and he makes eleven appearances between June 21st 1878 and March 25th 1886. In most cases he received the customary punishment of solitary confinement and reduction of his food rations but on two occasions he finds his way into prison for his troubles plus a spell in a strait jacket for good measure. He first appears in the record on June 21st 1878 on a drunk and disorderly charge. On Jan 9th 1879 he is "refusing to work and threatening the hall porter". On February 3rd 1879 he is "refusing to work unless paid", a not unreasonable request, while on March 27th 1879 the pattern is repeated when the entry against his name reads "refusing to work and threatening the Master". On April 25th the story is the same again, but August 29th sees an escalation in his defiance when he "used violence towards the master and porter, was drunk the previous night after coming from a funeral and stole one of the boys' caps and refused returning it. The cap was found by a boy in the town."

The workhouse regarded this as serious enough to warrant a spell in prison and the punishment book records him as being put in charge of the police for which "he was committed in prison for 14 days."

On November 25th 1979 he is up to his old tricks again when he is recorded as "threatening the Master and Matron with a hammer" and similar threats follow on March 18th 1880. For a while he is replaced by another inmate as the thorn in the authorities' flesh, a 13 year old boy, David Jones, who appears in the punishment book 13 times from May 24th to August 4th 1880 (see below). Until this boy is dispatched to a two-year prison sentence we hear nothing from William Evans until, once again, he exercises the writing skills of the workhouse Master when he assaults a fellow inmate on 7th April 1881. On August 2nd 1881 he receives the usual solitary confinement and reduction of food rations for refusing to work yet again, his most common infringement. He seems to have gone quiet for a year, but on July 16 1882 he is " Creating a noise in the ward when the inmates were in bed and refusing to leave the ward at the Master's request. At 9.15 am he locked or bolted himself in the Work Room, consequently the door had to be broke open where he attacked the Master and the men, who came to his assistance, with a hammer ." For this " He was placed in the Straight (sic) Jacket Straps until a policeman arrived to take him and charged. Was subsequently committed to few days in prison ."

This appears to have done the trick for a while, as we hear nothing of him for four years until, on March 25th 1886, he is again refusing to work. His punishment is 48 hours bread and water after when he disappears from the pages of the punishment book completely.

Our understanding and treatment of handicapped people has improved considerably since the dark days of the Victorian workhouse, and the frustration this deaf and dumb man must have felt at not being able to even explain himself is all too easy to imagine. In any situation there will always be some brave souls who decide to stand up to authority. Those who have the power of speech can at least communicate their grievances and express their feelings to others (even if nothing gets done), but the deaf-mute William Evans would have had no recourse to any such release of his pent-up frustrations.

David Jones, aged 13

This boy is to cause more trouble in just two months than William Evans managed in eight years. From May 24th to August 4th 1881 he makes 13 appearances in the punishment book for various offences of theft and damage to workhouse property and fellow inmates' clothing. The usual punishments had no effect whatsoever on him and after two months he was brought before the Llandeilo magistrates on August 7th 1881 where, the punishment book records, "he was committed to prison for a month and afterwards to two years in a reformatory."

While at the workhouse his punishment included two sessions in a strait jacket, a night in the 'Receiving' room with his father in attendance, with another incident resulting in "his parents giving him a good thrashing". To see just how disturbed this child's behaviour was it's best to transcribe all his entries in the punishment book:

May 24, 1880
(17)
Offence: Stole a book of the value of 6d and endeavouring to escape detection, burnt it. Repeated thefts committed by him.
Punishment: Applied Article 131 of the Poor Law Codes towards him from 2.30 pm til 8.30 pm in the Receiving Room. Observation: Admitted the offence.
July 10, 1880
(18)
Offence: Cutting 4 of the Boys' best trousers with a knife. Also, a pinafore and a scarf were afterwards detected. Considerable damage committed by him in a few minutes.
Punishment: Applied Article 129 of the Poor Law Codes for 48 hours and also Article 131.
Observation: Admitted the offence. D.M.
July 17, 1880
(19)
Offence: Tearing two of the Boys' best caps and threw them in the closet. Also threw some clothing through the window to the wet while the boys were sleeping and threw others through the ventilator to the Garret.
Punishment: Applied Articles 129 and 131 of the Poor Law Orders for twelve hours towards him in the Receiving Room.
Observation: Admitted the offences and brought most of the articles back. D.M.
July 19, 1880
(20)
Offence: Throwing some of the children's clothing out through the window and others into the Garret while they were in bed.
Punishment: Applied articles 129 and 131 of the Poor Law Codes for 12 hours to him. He began kicking and beating the door and was subsequently place in the straight (sic) jacket straps for about 3 hours which made him more quiet during the remainder of his confinement.
Observation: Admitted the offence and returned the articles. D.M.
July 22, 1880
(21)
Offence: Throwing some of the other boys' clothing through the window after they had undress. Punishment: His father in charge of him at night at the Receiving Room.
Observation: he is very closely watched or very likely more mischief would be committed by him. D.M.
July 23, 1880
(22)
Offence: Took some stones with him and placed them under his pillow and when the children were about asleep threw them through the window and broke a pane of glass.
Punishment: Was placed in a straight jacket for about an hour and afterwards discharged until he slept.
Observation: he wanted his brother to join him in jumping out of the window and run away.
July 24, 1880
(23)
Offence: Splitted open a pair of stockings at rising time and threw others through the window into the rain. Also, flung another pair of stockings into the closet and hit his brother with a stone on his head until the blood flowed.
Punishment: His parents gave him a good thrashing.
Observation: Incorrigible in a workhouse
July 25, 1880
(24)
Offence: Splitted a bed-sheet through the middle. No wearing apparel was left in the dormitory
July 26, 1880
(25)
Offence: Was discovered outside the Bedroom window with his feet on the front-door sill about jumping down. Had a sheet and counterpane with him.
July 29, 1880
(26)
Offence: Threw the Chamberware [chamber pot] through the window. It dashed to pieces. Also climbed on an idle bedstead until his life was in danger and tried Whide (?) himself there while the other boys were asleep.
Opinion of the Guardians thereon: At a meeting of the Board of Guardians on 31st July 1880 it was resolved that proceedings be taken before the Magistrates for the purpose of putting the boy into Neath Reformatory
Aug 1, 1880
(27)
Offence: Tore a pinafore and a towel also a lead water pipe
Aug 2, 1880
(28)
Offence: Smashed two panes of glass with a piece of timber.
Aug 4, 1880
(29)
Offence: Removed the Brick-work and Grate in the Boys' day room.
Punishment: Taken before the Magistrates Aug 7th 1880.
Observations: He was committed to prison for a month and afterwards to two years in a Reformatory. D.M.

Opinion of the Guardians thereon: At a meeting of the Board of Guardians on 31st July 1880 it was resolved that proceedings be taken before the Magistrates for the purpose of putting the boy into Neath Reformatory.

(Source: Llandeilofawr Workhouse Punishment Book, 1878-1907, Carmarthenshire County Archive, Record Number: Abercennen 526)

While young David Jones was undoubtedly a nuisance to all concerned, especially his fellow inmates, today his behaviour is recognisably due to some serious behavioural disorder such as autism or hyper-activity. There's little to gain from employing hindsight to condemn the past when we are still guilty of similar abuses today, and learning from the mistakes of our forebears would be the ideal course of action were it not also a rare one.

As time wore on the entries in the punishment book seemed to change in nature and by the turn of the twentieth century absconding is by far the most common offence. On Monday 14th July 1900 one David Davies, aged 61, was "sent on a message to Trapp for a few bars of soap and did not return till Wednesday night, the worse for drink. 12 hours bread and water". Something seems to have been going on at this time because at the time when David Davies absconded three boys aged 13,12 and 8 "instead of going to school absconded and walked to Llanelly where they were seen wandering about by the Police and locked up". The Master retrieved them the following day, for which he "applied 6 strokes with a birch" to the two older boys and 2 strokes for the 8 year old.

In fact all the entries in the register between 19th June 1889 and May 25th 1904 were for absconding. One inmate in particular, David Davies aged 50 at the time of his first offence in 1889, seemed to have a particularly fondness for the taste of freedom, with an equal fondness for the taste of quite a different substance:

David Davies

Registry entry number in brackets

Jan 12, 1889
aged 50 (35)
Offence: Drunk and disorderly and threatening an old man named James McLean.
Punishment: Applied article 129 of the Poor Law Orders towards him for 48 hours.
June 10, 1889
aged 50 (36)
Offence: Left the house on morning of Monday 10 June in workhouse clothes but did note return until Saturday 15 June in a drunken state and attempted to strike the master on his admission.
Punishment: Applied article 129 of Poor Law Orders towards him for 48 hours.
July 14, 1900
aged 61 (39)
Offence: Sent on a message to Trapp for a few bars of soap and did not return till Wednesday night, the worse for drink.
Punishment: Applied Article 131 for twelve hours bread and water.
May 15, 1901
aged 62 (41)
Offence: Absconded with the Union clothes and sent home by the police.
Punishment: 12 hours bread and water and kept in the Receiving Room.
Sept 24, 1901
aged 62 (42)
Offence: Absconded with the Union clothes and sent home from the cells for which the Guardians had to pay for his lodgings and food.
Punishment: 24 hours bread and water.
Sept 13, 1901
aged 62 (43)
Offence: Absconded over the garden hedge before breakfast and sent home by the police, 17th Inst. The Guardians had to pay 2/6 for his lodgings and food.
Punishment: 24 hours bread and water.

(Llandeilofawr Workhouse Punishment Book, 1878-1907, Carmarthenshire County Archive, Record Number: Abercennen 526)

The last entry, for March 4th 1907, is of two men fighting: Joe Powell, aged 77 and Lewis Edwards, 48, with the older man receiving cuts to the head. Their punishment? Withdrawal of their tobacco rations for two weeks! As ever, damage to property or defiance of authority results in greater punishment in our society than injury to people, at least in a world where the violent assault of an elderly man receives a lesser punishment than refusing to work or causing minor damage to property.

Register of Sickness and Mortality 1838-1849

Another of the documents preserved in the Carmarthenshire Archive Services is a much more sombre record indeed. The Register of Sickness and Mortality 1838-1849 is its title (record number: Abercennen 671) and it contains a record of all patients admitted to the workhouse hospital during this period. Just the first page of the entries for 1838 gives us a glimpse into this grim world:

Name Age Treated for
Thomas David 82 Ulcerated leg
Jemima Lewis - Inflamed eyes
Elizabeth Williams - Severe cold
Rachel Morgan 11 Intermittent headache
Hannah Bethel - Atrophy
Jane Howells 30 Ascites
David Jones 67 Cancer
Mary Jones 17 Idiot
Anne Jones 25 Consumption
Mary David 59 Distorted back
Elizabeth Jones 53 Scrofulous leg
David Davies 20 Scrofula
Catherine Davies 14 Scrofula
Thomas Griffiths 39 Declines
Mary Christmas 84 Anasarcous
William Rees - Ascites

Note: In the 19th century some diseases were given different names to those used today. Consumption is the modern tuberculosis, or TB. Ascites is the accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity, causing swelling. Scrofula is a disease with glandular swellings, probably a form of tuberculosis. Anasarcous means a general accumulation of fluid in various tissues and body cavities. Atrophy is a wasting away of the body through under-nourishment, ageing, or lack of use; becoming emaciated.

31st March 1930: The End?

On 31st March 1930 the administration of Llandeilofawr workhouse passed from the administration of the Poor Law Guardians and into the hands of Carmarthenshire County Council in the form of the Guardians Committee of the Public Assistance Committee of Carmarthenshire County Council. These Guardians were now elected county councillors responsible, in theory at least, to the electorate of the county. The Board of Guardians, in contrast, had been elected by local landowners and rate-payers, ie, property owners only, and brought all their social prejudices and attitudes with them.

For some time little changed at Llandeilo workhouse except the name but in time the building, like many other former workhouses throughout the UK, evolved into a more recognisable modern hospital, before it was finally demolished in the 1970s. A care home, Awel Towy (Towy Breeze) now stands on the site. (The hated Carmarthen Union workhouse at Penlan, Carmarthen, was used as an emergency hospital between c. 1941 and 1945; the hospital had an annex at Cilgwyn Llangadock, Carmarthenshire.)

On the occasion of the ending of the workhouse system, the Board of Guardians used the opportunity for a celebratory junket at the ratepayers' expense. "Llandilo Board of Guardians' Farewell" was how the Amman Valley Chronicle headlined the event in its edition of 3rd April 1930, continuing:

The members and officials of the Llandilofawr Board of Guardians met for the last time at the Union Board Room, Llandilo. On the commencement of business, those present left for Crescent Terrace, where a group photograph was take, and later they adjourned to the Gwili Restaurant, where a repast was provided.

After "Justice having been done to the inner man, and the tables cleared" the Guardians embarked on a lengthy round of self-congratulatory speeches. One retired Board member, a Reverend John Bevan, had misgivings about the passing of the workhouse system: "Commenting on the new system, he said he did not think it would be as humane as the old … instead of being an improvement, he was afraid it would be otherwise." Some people inhabit a different version of reality to the rest of us. Perhaps he was lamenting the loss of all those paid junkets now that his place on the Board of Guardians was no more; we'll never know.

The Reverend Bevan's claim that the Board of Guardians acted in a 'humane' manner during its lifetime doesn't quite hold up to closer scrutiny. Only four years earlier the Llandeilofawr Board of Guardians had acted quite inhumanely - and illegally - during the seven-month lockout of British miners that followed the failed nine-day general strike of 1926. In the south of Llandeilofawr's jurisdiction were the mining communities of the Amman valley, then part of the parish of Llandybie. By now Boards of Guardians, as well as overseeing workhouses, also paid out poor relief to claimants in the general community. The Ministry of Health had issued a circular stipulating that wives of strikers could claim 12 shillings poor relief plus four shillings for each child (the striking miners themselves could claim nothing). The Llandeilofawr Guardians, however, paid out only ten shillings and 2/6 respectively to families of striking miners in the Amman valley where, by the beginning of September 1926, a total of 1,165 people were in receipt of relief.

(Source: Guardians of the needy found wanting: a study in social division during the industrial crisis of 1926, David James Davies BA, Carmarthenshire Historian, 1982.

What happened next?

Local government structures are subject to change at a rate which can bewilder those of us who merely pay our council rates:

Abercennen (later a hospital) and Caeglas children's home, also in Ffairfach, were in Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire. In 1871, the Local Government Board Act established a central government department with responsibility for poor relief and public health. Medical duties and the care of children and the elderly were divided between the Ministry of Health, created in 1919, and the County Council Social Welfare Committee, by 1948. Before a new Social Services Committee was established under the Local Authority Social Services Act, the last meeting of the Health and Social Services Committee was held in January 1971. When the local government was reorganized in 1974, health functions were transferred to the Dyfed Area Health Authority.Carmarthenshire Archive Services

Sources

  • Carmarthenshire County Archive: Workhouse Punishment Book, 1878-1907 (Record Number: Abercennen 526).
  • Carmarthenshire County Archive: Register of Sickness and Mortality 1838-1849 (record number: Abercennen 671).
  • Carmarthenshire Archive Service
  • The Workhouse: The Story of an Institution
  • And they blessed Rebecca, Pat Molloy, Gomer Press, 1983.
  • Guardians of the needy found wanting: a study in social division during the industrial crisis of 1926, David James Davies BA, Carmarthenshire Historian, 1982.

Punishment Book Entries 1878-1907

Carmarthenshire County Archive
Workhouse Punishment Book, 1878-1907
Record Number: Abercennen 526

Note: Article 129 of the Poor Law Orders allows for the substitution of the inmates dinner with:

  • eight ounces of bread, or
  • one pound of cooked potatoes, or
  • boiled rice

and withdrawl of all butter, cheese, tea, sugar, or broth the inmate might otherwise receive for a period not exceeding 48 hours. Article 131 allows for confinement not exceeding 12 hours.

  1. Jan 17, 1878
    Mary Williams, aged 45
    Offence: Threatening to crumble an inmate's head, disobeying the Matron, and swearing at the Master with her fist in his face.
    Punishment: Placed in the Refractory cell until the assistance of a constable was obtained to have her removed to the Town cell. Opinion: Satisfactory
  2. Jan 19, 1878
    Mary Evans, aged 33
    Offence: Using abusive language to those who gave evidence against her friend Mary Williams (who was committed) and disobeying the officers.
    Punishment: Kept on bread and water for 24 hours when she promised not to do such a thing again
  3. May 15, 1879
    Salina Rees, aged 39
    Offence: Refusing to cleanse her person, work and insulting the Matron.
    Punishment: Applied Article 129 of the Poor Law Orders to her for 24 hours when a promise was made to mend her ways.
  4. June 21, 1878
    William Evans, aged 47
    Offence: Drunk and disorderly.
    Punishment: Applied Article 129 of the Poor Law Orders to him for 24 hours.
  5. June 26, 1878
    Selina Rees, aged 39
    Offence: Refusing to cease making a noise when the order was repeated and insulting the Master and Matron. Punishment: Gave her in custody of the police but did not press the charge so she was discharged with a caution.
  6. July 18. 1878
    Mary Evans, aged 33
    Offence: Swearing at the Assistant Matron and pitching a bucket after the Matron - also very noisy since admitted this time.
    Punishment: Substituted for dinner according to Article 129 of the Poor Law Orders (she then wept and confessed her guilt and promised to behave better in future).
  7. Jan 9, 1879
    William Evans, aged 48. Deaf and Dumb
    Offence: Refusing to work and threatening the Master and Porter.
    Punishment: Applied Article 129 of the Poor Law Orders for 48 hours to him.
  8. Feb 3, 1879
    William Evans, aged 48. Deaf and Dumb
    Offence: Refusing to work unless paid.
    Punishment: Applied Article 129 of the Poor Law Orders to him for 48 hours.
  9. Mar 27, 1879
    William Evans, aged 48. Deaf and Dumb.
    Offence: Refusing to work and threatening the Master.
    Punishment: Applied Article 129 of the Poor Law Orders to him for 48 hours.
  10. Apr 25, 1879
    William Evans, aged 48. Deaf and Dumb.
    Offence: Refusing to work and threatening and porter with his fists.
    Punishment: Applied Article 131 to him for two hours and substituted his dinner according to Article 129 of the Poor Law Orders.
  11. Aug 28, 1879
    William Evans, aged 48
    Offence: Used violence towards the Master and Porter, was also drunk the previous night by coming from the funeral and stole one of the Boys' caps and refusing returning it. The cap was afterwards found by a boy from the town.
    Punishment: Gave him in charge of the Police.
    Observation: He was committed to prison for 14 days.
  12. Nov 25, 1879
    William Evans, aged 48. Deaf and Dumb
    Offence: Threatening the Master and Matron with a hammer and broke one of the inmate's scissors in spite of them while asked not to do it, and to return it.
    Punishment: Articles 129 and 131 of the Poor Law Orders for 3 ½ hours towards him.
  13. Dec 15, 1879
    Mary Williams, aged 46 (Maesquarre)
    Offence: Refusing to cleanse her person and causing a noise and annoying the other inmates. (Constantly very obstreperous).
    Punishment: Article 131 of the Poor Law Orders for 5 hours towards her from 11 am till 4 pm.
    Observation: She behaved herself in a beastly manner and tore two panes of glass. D.M.
  14. Dec 16, 1879
    Mary Williams, aged 46 (Maesquarre)
    Offence: Refusing to cleanse her person etc.
    Punishment: Sent away for a Constable.
    Observation: She was committed to prison for 21 days. D.M.
  15. March 1, 1880
    John Jones, aged 15 ½
    Offence: Theft of a knife and hid it in the woodhouse and annoying the other inmates.
    Punishment: Applied Article 131 of the Poor Law Orders towards him from 9 am till 8 pm in the Receiving Room.
    Observation: He confessed and admitted the theft. D.M.
    • March 18, 1880
      (No case no.)
      William Evans, aged 49. Deaf and Dumb.
      Offence: Used his fists towards the old men and threatening the Master etc.
      Punishment: Applied Article 131 of the Poor Law Orders towards him from 9.15 am till 7.30 pm.
  16. May 14, 1880
    New discovery
    John Jones, aged 15 ½ years
    Offence: Intentionally tore a good pair of braces with a knife into divers parts and repeated theft of laces etc.
    Punishment: Applied Article 131 of the Poor Law Orders towards him from 9.30 am till 7.45 pm in the Receiving Room.
    Observation: Confessed his guilt. D.M.
  17. May 24, 1880
    David Jones, aged 13 ½
    Offence: Stole a book of the value of 6d and endeavouring to escape detection, burnt it. Repeated thefts committed by him.
    Punishment: Applied Article 131 of the Poor Law Codes towards him from 2.30 pm til 8.30 pm in the Receiving Room.
    Observation: Admitted the offence. D.M.
  18. July 10, 1880
    David Jones, aged 13 ½.
    One of the Bettws family that is in the house [Bettws is in the Ammanford area.]
    Offence: Cutting 4 of the Boys' best trousers with a knife. Also, a pinafore and a scarf were afterwards detected. Considerable damage committed by him in a few minutes.
    Punishment: Applied Article 129 of the Poor Law Codes for 48 hours and also Article 131.
    Observation: Admitted the offence. D.M.
  19. July 17, 1880
    David Jones, aged 13 ½. He is a terror with the children
    Offence: Tearing two of the Boys' best caps and threw them in the closet. Also threw some clothing through the window to the wet while the boys were sleeping and threw others through the ventilator to the Garret.
    Punishment: Applied Articles 129 and 131 of the Poor Law Orders for twelve hours towards him in the Receiving Room.
    Observation: Admitted the offences and brought most of the articles back. D.M.
  20. July 19, 1880
    David Jones, aged 13 ½.
    Offence: Throwing some of the children's clothing out through the window and others into the Garret while they were in bed.
    Punishment: Applied articles 129 and 131 of the Poor Law Codes for 12 hours to him. He began kicking and beating the door and was subsequently place in the straight (sic) jacket straps for about 3 hours which made him more quiet during the remainder of his confinement.
    Observation: Admitted the offence and returned the articles. D.M.
  21. July 22, 1880
    David Jones, aged 13 ½
    Offence: Throwing some of the other boys' clothing through the window after they had undress. Punishment: His father in charge of him at night at the Receiving Room.
    Observation: he is very closely watched or very likely more mischief would be committed by him. D.M.
  22. July 23, 1880
    David Jones, aged 13 ½
    Offence: Took some stones with him and placed them under his pillow and when the children were about asleep threw them through the window and broke a pane of glass.
    Punishment: Was placed in a straight jacket for about an hour and afterwards discharged until he slept.
    Observation: he wanted his brother to join him in jumping out of the window and run away.
  23. July 24, 1880
    David Jones, aged 13 ½
    Offence: Splitted open a pair of stockings at rising time and threw others through the window into the rain. Also, flung another pair of stockings into the closet and hit his brother with a stone on his head until the blood flowed.
    Punishment: His parents gave him a good thrashing.
    Observation: Incorrigible in a workhouse
  24. July 25, 1880
    David Jones, aged 13 ½
    Offence: Splitted a bed-sheet through the middle. No wearing apparel was left in the dormitory
  25. July 26, 1880
    David Jones, aged 13 ½
    Offence: Was discovered outside the Bedroom window with his feet on the front-door sill about jumping down. Had a sheet and counterpane with him.
  26. July 29, 1880
    David Jones, aged 13 ½
    Offence: Threw the Chamberware [chamber pot] through the window. It dashed to pieces. Also climbed on an idle bedstead until his life was in danger and tried Whide (?) himself there while the other boys were asleep.
    Opinion of the Guardians thereon: At a meeting of the Board of Guardians on 31st July 1880 it was resolved that proceedings be taken before the Magistrates for the purpose of putting the boy into Neath Reformatory
  27. Aug 1, 1880
    David Jones, aged 13 ½
    Offence: Tore a pinafore and a towel also a lead water pipe
  28. Aug 2, 1880
    David Jones, aged 13 ½
    Offence: Smashed two panes of glass with a piece of timber.
  29. Aug 4, 1880
    David Jones, aged 13 ½
    Offence: Removed the Brick-work and Grate in the Boys' day room.
    Punishment: Taken before the Magistrates Aug 7th 1880.
    Observations: He was committed to prison for a month and afterwards to two years in a Reformatory. D.M.
  30. Apr 7, 1881
    William Evans, aged49. Deaf and Dumb
    Offence: Assaulted an old man named John Harris and also broke his staff.
    Punishment: Applied Article 131 of the Poor Law Orders from 1 pm till 3 pm and also substituted his dinner according to Article 129.
  31. Aug 2, 1881
    William Evans, aged 50. Deaf and Dumb
    Offence: Refusing to do work and threatening the Master.
    Punishment: Applied Article 129 of the Poor Law Orders towards him for 48 hours.
  32. July 16, 1882.
    At 5 am.
    William Evans, aged 51. Deaf and Dumb
    Offence: Creating a noise in the ward when the inmates were in bed and refusing to leave the ward at the Master's request. At 9.15 am he locked or bolted himself in the Work Room, consequently the door had to be broke open where he attacked the Master and the men, who came to his assistance, with a hammer.
    Punishment: Substituted his breakfast according to Article 129 of the Poor Law Orders. Had to use force to get him out of the ward. He was placed in the Straight Jacket Straps until a policeman arrived to take him and charged. Was subsequently committed to few days in prison before J. N. Gwynne Hughes Esq.
  33. March 25, 1888
    William Evans, 55. Deaf and Dumb
    Offence: Refusing to work.
    Punishment: Applied Article 131 of the Poor Law Orders towards him for 48 hours.
  34. May ? 1888
    John Davies, aged 44 years
    Offence: Leaving the premises with the Union clothes without leave. Over the garden hedge.
    Punishment: Applied Article 129 of the Poor Law Orders towards him for 12 hours.
  35. 12 Jan, 1889
    David Davies, aged 50
    Offence: Drunk and disorderly and threatening an old man named James McLean.
    Punishment: Applied article 129 of the Poor Law Orders towards him for 48 hours.
  36. 10/15 June
    1889
    David Davies, aged 50
    Offence: Left the house on morning of Monday 10 June in workhouse clothes but did note return until Saturday 15 June in a drunken state and attempted to strike the master on his admission.
    Punishment: Applied article 129 of Poor Law Orders towards him for 48 hours.
  37. 24 Aug, 1895
    William Jones, aged 58 years
    Offence: Left the house about 9 am in the morning and at 12.40 in the yard of the White Horse was requested to go home. He did not take any notice and about 2 he was outside on the way leading to the Tramp Ward awaiting my arrival home from the Board when he attacked me with his fists and hit me and kicked me 3 times when on the ground. I got up at once and used my umbrella to defend myself and to each the front door to get out of his way and to call Assistance. But I had to throw off the umbrella and to defend myself the best way I could. He was rather drunk at the time.
    Punishment: Applied Article 131 to him for two hours and substituted his dinner on Monday according to Article 129 of the Poor Law Orders and also stopping his tobacco.
  38. 2 July, 1900
    Enoch Carlen, aged 70
    Offence: Left the House straight from Dinner and did not return till supper was over at 5.30 pm worse for drink and most abusive to the Master.
    Punishment: The weekly allowance of tobacco was stopped for 2 weeks.
  39. 14 July, 1900
    David Davies, aged 61
    Offence: Sent on a message to Trapp for a few bars of soap and did not return til Wednesday night, the worse for drink.
    Punishment: Applied Article 131 for twelve hours bread and water.
  40. 18 July, 1900
    Charles Culley, age 13, Bertie Culley, age 12, John Henry Richards, age 8
    Offence: These 3 boys instead of going to school absconded and walked to Llanelly where they were seen wandering about by the police and locked up. I went for them on Thursday 19th July.
    Punishment: Applied Article 129. The two Culleys received six strokes and John Henry Richards 2 strokes.
  41. 15 May, 1901
    David Davies, 62
    Offence: Absconded with the Union clothes and sent home by the police.
    Punishment: 12 hours bread and water and kept in the Receiving Room.
  42. 24 Aug, 1901
    David Davies, aged 62
    Offence: Absconded with the Union clothes and sent home from the cells for which the Guardians had to pay for his lodgings and food.
    Punishment: 24 hours bread and water.
  43. 13 Sept, 1901
    David Davies, aged 62
    Offence: Absconded over the garden hedge before breakfast and sent home by the police, 17th Inst. The Guardians had to pay 2/6 for his lodgings and food.
    Punishment: 24 hours bread and water.
  44. 26 Sept
    [no year
    written down]
    David Harries, age 63
    Offence: After been out from Thursday this man returned on Saturday, 28 Inst. Drunk and riotous using bad language towards the Master and Porter.
    Punishment: Applied Article 129 of the Poor Law Orders towards him for 12 hours.
  45. 17 Feb, 1904
    David Jones, age 73
    Offence: Refusing to work, constantly going out without leave - Swearing the Porter.
    Punishment: Applied Article 129 of the Poor Law Orders towards him from 11 am till 9 pm.
  46. Apr 4, 1904
    John Evans, age 53
    Offence: Drunk and Disorderly.
    Punishment: Applied Article 129 of the Poor Law Orders towards him from 3 pm till 7 am in the Receiving ward.
  47. May 28, 1904
    Elizabeth Jones, age 52
    Offence: Had few hours leave but did not return until 10 pm. Drunk and using abusive language towards other inmates and disobeying the Officers.
    Punishment: Applied Article 129 of the Poor Law Orders to her for 20 hours in the Receiving Room.
  48. Sept 23, 1904
    David Jones, age 73
    Offence: Constantly refusing to work when ordered to by the Master.
    Punishment: Applied Article 129 of the Poor Law Orders towards him from 4 pm till 9.40 am in the Receiving Room.
  49. Nov 14, 1904
    John Evans, age 62
    Offence: Drunk and using abusive language towards those who cam in contact on the public road - also bringing beer back with him to the house when requested to go to the receiving ward as he was not in a proper state through drink to go amongst the inmates in the day Room. He used violence towards the Master and constantly refusing to obey the Porter.
    Punishment: Gave him in custody of the Police at 5 pm. Was subsequently committed to fourteen days imprisonment before Dudley Drummond Esquire.
  50. Mar 4, 1907
    Joe Powell, age 77, and Lewis Edwards, age 48.
    Offence: I beg to report to the Board at 9 am two men were fighting in the day Room, both being of Quarrelsome nature. Powell received cut on head and had been laid up. These two men are constantly refusing to work when ordered by any officers.
    Punishment: The weekly allowance of tobacco being stopped this week and also shall do the same for next week.

The Punishment Book for Llandeilofawr Union Workhouse ends at this point.