Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Previous section
Welfare Payments

Surveying wounds

After drafting this written application, petitioners were required to travel to the County Court where their stories were told. Wounds were inspected and surgeon’s certificates, proving the medical basis for their claims, examined.

Three replica surgeon tools neatly laid out on a table. A saw, knife and pulling pliers.
Replica Surgeon tools

A successful petitioner might be offered a one-off lump sum payment or an annual pension. 

Local reputations were crucial to success, and many petitions included lists of neighbours prepared to support the truth of the petitioner’s claims. But the neighbourhood was not only a place of collaboration and support.  Neighbourly relations were deeply affected by the limitations on who could and could not claim, and records of neighbours denouncing one another show how the everyday politics of the parish were drawn into national affairs.