The Tebworth Friendly Society

The Tebworth Friendly Society

Rules of the Society, circa 1750?

From Chalgrave records it would seem likely that the society was started around the mid to late 1700’s. I can see that a William Shaw was born 1735 died 1816 and William Buckingham, no birth date but died 1802. There is also a name Read who died in 1758 with no christian name and no date of birth. There is a  name Tearle handwritten in the front of the book. I can find a  Maria Tearle  born 1805, Mary born 1815 and Martha born 1827 all in Chalgrave  so it may have continued to be in operation into the mid 1800’s

The book of Rules of the society is written and decorated in beautiful hand script and you can see the whole scan in this PDF Unfortunately the ink has leached through from the back of some pages.

The rules to join were strict.:-

  • No one over 45,
  • No one who appears “sickly, lame or infirm.
  • No one remarkable for cursing, swearing, drunkenness, prophaning [sic] the lord’s day,
  • No one known to be prone to fighting or to be quarrelsome
  • No one known to have contracted the “foul disease”!

The payments were one shilling per month plus threepence “towards the discharge of the reckoning” [5p and 1.25p]. The benefits, after being a member for two years, were:-,

  • “if one fell sick or lame as to be disabled from supporting himself” would receive 1 shilling per day.
  • Any member “Past his Work” would receive 4 shillings per week [20p] for as long a time as such a member shall live. [Unless of course they becomes guilty of one of the offences above!]

The rules on the stewards were strict as well:-

  • The steward in charge of the money was given a key to the box.
  • If he did not attend the monthly meeting he had to pay 2s
  • If he lost the key it would be broken open at his expense and he would be expelled forthwith. How the box was kept secure was not defined!

I have to thank David Yirrell who was born in Buttercup Farm and now lives in Toddington  for allowing me to borrow and scan the book.

If anyone can throw any more light on this please make contact via a comment on the website

Ken Green

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