Rural History

Research Article

A Typology of Travellers: Migration, Justice, and Vagrancy in Warwickshire, 1670–1730

DAVID HITCHCOCKa1

a1 Department of History, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL David.Hitchcock@warwick.ac.uk

Abstract

This paper examines the relief of travellers in Warwickshire, England. By using an unusually rich set of Constables’ Accounts for the parish of Grandborough, it interrogates the relationship between charity, local justice, and both official and popular perceptions of migration. It argues that the large number of migrants who passed through rural parishes were categorised by the local constable according to cultural and discretionary criteria. This ‘typology’ of travellers determined the nature and extent of the relief they might receive and the actions that might be taken against them. Socially threatening migrants, such as poor pregnant women, the sick, and vagrants, also found themselves affected by this same ‘proscriptive calculation’, often to their detriment.