Poor Law: Board of Guardians

Workhouses were first established by an Act of 1723. In 1782 Gilbert's Act enabled rural parishes to combine to form unions, and to set up reformed, or 'proper' workhouses. In 1834 the Poor Law Amendment Act established boards of guardians to manage poor relief over groups of parishes in poor law unions.


The links below lead to PDF documents.

Poor Law Union 

Brecon (Ref: B/G/BR)

Builth (Ref: B/G/BU)

Crickhowell (Ref: B/G/CR)

Hay (Ref: B/G/HA)

See also Brecknock Poor Law Union B/D/BM/A7: Brecon Museum Transfer: Notebook kept by Dr Lucas as Medical Superintendent, during the Brecon cholera epidemic, 1854, includes minutes of the Board of Guardians;

Crickhowell Union see B/D/DAV  


The links below lead to PDF documents.

Poor Law Union

Montgomery and Pool (Ref: M/G/A)

Forden (Ref: M/G/F)

Llanfyllin (Ref: M/G/B)

Machynlleth (Ref: M/G/M)

Newtown and Llanidloes (Ref: M/G/N)

* Newtown and Llanidloes Union see also M/H/3 and M/H/4; Llanfyllin Union see P/CD/CE

The Montgomery and Pool Union was a voluntary union, set up following Gilbert's Act of 1782, and was succeeded by the Forden Union in 1870.  The other unions were compulsorily set up by the Act of 1834


The links below lead to PDF documents.

Poor Law Union

Knighton (Ref: R/G/A)

Presteigne (Ref: R/G/B)

Rhayader (Ref: R/G/C)

* Knighton: deeds relating to workhouse property see R/DX/4

Additional Information

At first the Poor Law Commission had overall responsibility for the system, but in 1847 it was replaced by the Poor Law Board. In 1871 the Local Government Board was set up with a remit which included the Poor Law. The Public Health Act of 1872 created urban and rural sanitary authorities (which in 1894 became urban and rural district councils, q.v.).

Boards of guardians, unions and workhouses were abolished following the Local Government Act of 1929, and their powers passed to the county councils through the Public Assistance Committees and departments (see county councils). The Poor Law system was finally abolished in 1948.


Certain records may be subject to restricted access. Please contact Powys Archives for more details.