I have often wondered when an emigrant turns into an immigrant. At what stage of the journey from one place to another does the change occur. I am sure that some people leave home and in the brief time of their journey they have become what they believe to be typical citizens of their chosen country. There are however others who have no wish to change and never do so. A similar situation arises between town and village dwellers that change their homes. Some arrive at their destination determined to discard all trace of their former life style whilst others seek to continue their ways of life regardless of the changing circumstances. The present situation concerning asylum seekers, refugees, and people seeking to develop their lives in new lands is well known.
Historically things were very different, whilst people with useful skills were welcome people who could not support themselves were not. Each town or village had to provide for the poor but this was done with some reluctance. Two people were chosen to be the overseers of the poor and they administered funds collected from an assessment upon the occupiers of land. The village only provided for those people who were born there and so had right of residence. Strangers could come into the village to work but they had to have a certificate from their own village acknowledging their right to live in that village. If such people became unable to work to support themselves they were sent back to their own village. In many places this resulted in terrible hardship. The sick and the dying were transported over great distances in appalling conditions as horse and farm cart took them back to their own village. There is a record of one of these certificates for someone coming to Goxhill and it appears to have been a serious matter.
Lincolnshire To ye Church Wardens
Overseers of ye Poor
Lindsey To witt of ye Parish of Goxhill
In ye County Aforesaid
I John Osgerby Sole Churchwarden and Sole Over Seer of ye Poor of ye Parish of North Kelsey in ye parts and
County Aforesaid Do hereby Own and Acknowledge Godard Stamp In His Wife and Family to be Inhabitants legally Settled in our said parish of North Kelsey.__________
In Witness whereof I have Hereunto Set my Hand and Seal the Ninth day of September In ye year of our Lord One thousand Seven hundred and Fifty Seven
John Osgerby Church Warden and Overseer James Jackson Godard Stamp Sen.
Lincolnshire We Whose Names are
Hereunto Set and Subscribed
Lindsey To witt two of Majestys of ye panel for
Ye parts and County Aforesaid
Do Allow of this Certificate and hereby Certify that Goddard Stamp Sen one of ye
Subscribing Witnesses to ye above Written Certificate Made Oath before Us that he did see Ye Said Church Warden and Overseer of ye poor and of ye Parish of North Kelsey Sign and Seal the same and that the Names of ye said James Jackson and Godard Stamp Sen Are Severally and Respectively of their own Hand Writing Subscribed as Witnesses to ye said Certificate
Dated ye Ninth day of September in ye year of our Lord One thousand Seven hundred and Fifty Seven.
Se Atkinson Jno Uppelby
Ten years later the Christian name of Mr Stamp is recorded as Gothard he worked at harvest and earned £3 7s 10d and was paid the high rate of 10d per day for day work. He is known to have rented a cottage in Goxhill in 1769 and 1772 but there is no record thereafter.
Fortunately there is no longer a need for a certificate to show the place of origin of people who come to live in the village. No longer are the sick and dying returned to the home of their birth. Which is just as well because finding the traditional transport could be just a little difficult.