Rogues, Vagabonds and Paupers

Ref: C2224267

Using case studies and copied original documents, we will investigate the effects of government legislation and changing social attitudes on the lives of the homeless, the destitute and the poor working man and his family from the Black Death to the start of Victorian workhouses. Course topics include the House of Correction, the Parish Workhouse, the role of the Overseers of the Poor and the impact of the Act of Settlement. We finish with the introduction of the Victorian Union Workhouse in 1834 and consider how the new regime would affect the homeless, vagrants and working poor of England & Wales.

Course aim

To investigate how government legislation & social attitudes affected the lives of vagrants, the homeless and the working man and his family during the period 1340-1840.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is for beginners

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • List the major legislation affecting the poor law during the period 1340 -1834
  • Explain the different roles of the House of Correction, the Parish Poor House and a House of Industry.
  • Describe how the law of settlement might affect a poor man and his family
  • Discuss and compare poverty issues from earlier times with those of today.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning
  • The tutor will send handouts and worksheets by email (for those with internet access) prior to the session. There will be paired and small group discussion and evaluation activities.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • The tutor will bring a book box as a lending library for the duration of the course, for student's use.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here
  • The tutor will provide a handout at the end of the course listing places to visit and further reading as well as the weekly web-links pages providing links to relevant websites for the topics covered in the lectures.

Download full course outline

Rogues, Vagabonds and Paupers Course Outline


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
Visa Credit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Debit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Electron payments supported by RBS WorldPay Mastercard payments supported by RBS WorldPay Maestro payments supported by RBS WorldPay JCB payments supported by RBS WorldPay Solo payments supported by RBS WorldPay
RBS WorldPay Payments Processing