Maidstone Union Workhouse Records

             Identifying Staplehurst People




  Births and Baptisms The data is extracts of only those entries which are said to be 'of Staplehurst' for the years 1838 - 1906  
  Burials Burials for 1840 to 1915 recorded in the Maidstone Union records for those 'of Staplehurst' people.  
  Creed Register Includes religious creed, admission & discharge dates and next of kin information for some of the data covering years 1886 to 1906 for 'of Staplehurst' people.  

Note that the data in this site contains an extract of only those records pertaining to Staplehurst people which is a very small portion of the Maidstone Union records.

Until 1838, Staplehurst had maintained a workhouse within the village. Like other villages, the Staplehurst workhouse was expensive to maintain in a relatively small village. The Poor Law Amendment Act 1834, which banished outdoor relief and forced the poor on relief into workhouses, allowed parishes to club together and form a union with the objective of providing facilities on a larger scale more economically.

Staplehurst joined the Maidstone Union which consisted of the Maidstone, Staplehurst, Bearsted, Boughton Monchelsea, Barming, East Farleigh, West Farleigh, Hunton, Linton, Loose, Marden, Nettlested, Otham, Teston and Yalding.

The Maidstone Union Workhouse was constructed in 1836 on the Heath Road at Coxheath south of Maidstone town. The design was based on Sir Francis Head's Plan of a Rural Workhouse for 500 Persons published by the Poor Law Commissioners the previous year.
The web site ‘The Workhouse’ contains maps and photos of the workhouse.

The Workhouse included a chapel where baptisms and burials took place. Of the surviving records, Staplehurst people are a very small portion of the total.

The birth and baptisms are mostly, but not all, of illegitimate children. But not all illegitimate children were born and baptised in the workhouse as a quick look through the Staplehurst register will demonstrate. There are 3 books; one is Registers of Births covering 1838 to 1842; the second is Baptism in the Maidstone Union Chapel from 1842 to 1870 and the third is a Register of Births from 1870 to 1906.

The burials contain more entries and it is important to note that one of the burial registers is missing. The book covering the period 1857 to 1886 is not in the archives and assumed lost.
For the poor, the workhouse was the only medical facility available to them, and many of the old and infirm who could not support themselves ended their days in the workhouse.