The Obligation to Support the Widow: Settlement, the New Poor Law and the Scottish Local State
Although the New Poor Law was passed by the Westminster Parliament, it was implemented at the most-local level through newly established parochial boards. By tracing the case of a Paisley widow in need of poor relief through the changing landscape of the Scottish Poor Law in the 1850s, this article analyzes the changing interpretation of the law regarding widows’ settlements and highlights the interplay between local bodies and higher courts in interpreting the law. Individual experience and practice in localities worked together to create a national system that reflected Scottish understandings of gender, marriage, and independence.
This article has been accepted for publication in the May 2015 issue of the Journal of Scottish Historical Studies, published by Edinburgh University Press: https://www.euppublishing.com/doi/abs/10.3366/jshs.2015.0140