On 18 MAY 1778, a Removal Order was served on my 5th Great Grandfather THOMAS BLANDON, DRUMMER in the Western Battalion Militia of Suffolk. Thomas, Mary, his wife, and their children Mary, Elizabeth, Ann, Thomas & Susannah were ordered removed from St. James, Bury St. Edmunds and sent to Wenhaston. [Source: Removal Order FC189/G4/14. Suffolk, Ipswich Branch, WENHASTON PARISH RECORDS Date: 1778]
The basis for Removal Orders was the fact that each parish was responsible for any poor citizens. If a person or their family was too much of a drain on the parish resources, they could toss them out and have them sent back to their parish of birth.
If a person entered a parish in which he did not have official settlement, and if it seemed likely he might become chargeable to the new parish, then an examination would be made by the justices or parish overseers. From this examination on oath, the justices would determine if that person had the means to sustain himself and, if not, which was that person's parish of settlement. As a result of the examination the intruder would then either be allowed to stay, or would be removed by a Removal Order.
|Chelsea Pensioner Thomas Blandon|
Removal Orders would often take a person or a family back to a place of settlement miles across the country, sometimes to a parish they had only known briefly as a small child. It was not uncommon for a husband and wife to have their children taken from them, each being removed to separate scattered parishes.
In Thomas' case, he and his wife and 5 children ages 1 to 13, were sent back to Wenhaston where Thomas was born. So far no records have turned up to indicate how the family fared, but 9 years later, in 1787, Thomas was pensioned out of the Army, having served 28 years as a Drummer. This entitled him, as a Chelsea Pensioner, to receive a small amount of money. I wish I knew what happened to Thomas and his wife Mary Jackson but I've not found any more records for them.