This chapter explores how quickly formal welfare provision spread across rural England in the years after the Elizabethan statutes. It then discusses the mechanics of collection in those parishes where assessments, rates, and pensions were introduced, before moving on to investigate the nature and scale of parish provision, and especially the balance between cash pensions, payments in kind, and occasional relief. The chapter also considers the possibility that there was a distinctive ecology of poor relief, in which the nature of the problem of poverty, and of the responses adopted to ameliorate it, varied across different social and economic settings.
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