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Boone Society

Workhouse in Devon, Exeter, England, c. 1670

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George Boone II was born near Exeter (Stoke Canon Church) in 1666.

This story tells what life was like at that time.

An early workhouse was erected in Exeter in the 1670’s as a result of a bequest of the Canon John Bury. Who left the sum of forty pounds per annum so that “All ye poore people of the Parish that should be able to work should be maintained therein and kept to work.”

In 1697, Exeter was one of the first places in England to be incorporated under a special Act of Parliament to administer to its own poor relief.

The Act created “a Corporation to continue forever to consist of the Mayor and Alderman and of forty other persons to be chosen out of the honestest and the discreetest inhabitants of the four Wards or Quarters to be elected by the votes of the Inhabitants paying twopence per week, or more, in his own right, for and towardsthe relief of the Poor.”

The preamble to the Act reads:

“Whereas it is found by experience, that the Poor in the City of Exon do daily multiply, and Idleness and Debauchery amongst the meaner sort doth greatly increase for the want of Workhouses to set them to work, and a sufficient Authority to compel them thereto, as well to the charge of the charitable and honest citizens of the City, as the great distress of the poor themselves;  for which sufficient redress hath not yet been provided.”


Members may also purchase copies of Olde English documents that the Boone Society has accumulated showing dates of his baptism, marriage, burial of his parents and baptism of some of his children by contacting Barbara Spears Pipek  at