Passage of the Settlement Acts at the Restoration

In 1662 Parliament passed the Poor Relief Act 1662, otherwise known at the Settlement Acts, to deal with the question of where someone was considered “settled.” If a poor person was settled in a parish, that parish (defined as an area with its own priest, each parish collected taxes) was obligated to provide “Poor Relief.”

Here is a list from The Victorian Web which legally made people “settled”:

  • be born into a parish where the parents had a settlement
  • up to 1662, live in a parish for more than three years; after 1662 a person could be removed within 40 days of arrival…
  • be hired continually by a settled resident for more than a year and a day…
  • hold parish office
  • rent property worth more than £10 p.a. OR pay taxes on a property worth more than £10 p.a.
  • have married into the parish
  • previously have received poor relief in that parish
  • have served a full seven-year apprenticeship to a settled resident

After the Settlement Acts, folks only had to live somewhere for 40 days, but during that period they could be removed if any local complained. This encouraged poor folks to move to the areas with the best poor relief. The Poor Relief Act also stated that people could travel to another parish if they had a certificate from the minister of the parish. If they had this certificate and needed poor relief the home parish would pay for their return and poor relief. This Act encouraged poor folks to move, but limited the ability to do so.


Bloy, Marjie. “The 1662 Settlement Act.” The Victorian Web. The Victorian Web, 12 Nov. 2002. Web. 11 Jan. 2016 <>.

‘Charles II, 1662: An Act for the better Releife of the Poore of this Kingdom.’ Statutes of the Realm: Volume 5, 1628-80. Ed. John Raithby. s.l: Great Britain Record Commission, 1819. 401-405. British History Online. Web. 11 January 2016.

“Poor Relief Act 1662.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Jan. 2013. Web. 11 Jan. 2016.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *