In medieval times public provision for the poor was organised by local parishes, which collected donations in the form of tithes for redistribution, a process controlled and organised by ecclesiastics in each parish. Lack of central regulation left this system open to abuse, and, as distrust of prelacy mounted surrounding the dissolution of the monasteries in 1536, and the Church of England was restructured, this system was reformed. The first preliminary Poor Law was passed in 1536, obliging parish members to contribute to the fund. Legislation was passed in 1563 which transformed the donation into a legal obligation, and a subsequent act passed in 1572 further …
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Editors. "Act for relief of poor". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 May 2005
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=19, accessed 24 June 2017.]