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I spent the day in a Jacobean almshouse. It was a work trip, so no Uncle B.

The almshouse was founded in 1609 by a member of the wealthy Sackville family. It was originally built to house 30 needy oldies with a connection to East Grinstead.

The way it was explained to me, the poorest workers had housing for as long as they could work (see tied cottages). When they couldn’t do the job any more, they were kicked out and became homeless. Mostly men, apparently, as the women could carry on longer in less physically demanding jobs.

Alms houses were built for them by the wealthy as an act of devotion. This one was written into the will of Robert Sackville, Earl of Dorset.

For the inmates, it was a life lived along strict lines. If they misbehaved or broke the rules, they were fined (imagine how little they had pay with). This is the lockbox they put the coins in. It had three locks, two you can see and one on the top that you can’t, opened by the warden and his two assistants.

July 2, 2024 — 7:51 pm
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