The regulation of poor migrants increasingly became a problem for local governments in eighteenth-century West Flanders and Flandres Maritime. Conflicts arose about which parish migrants should address for requesting poor relief. Migrants moreover physically moved over the boundaries of the different national French and Flemish legislative systems. This article will analyse how local parishes dealt with these problems in practice by focusing on a local agreement: the Concordat of Ypres of 1750. This Concordat offers an abundance of archival material and provides a unique insight into the practices of settlement and poor relief in continental Ancien Régime Europe. The aim of the article is to understand how out-parish relief functioned within the agreement. With that aim in mind, I will analyse, inter alia, the micro practices of how out-parish relief was paid (for example, removal or out-parish relief), how it reached the poor and, more importantly, how the number, expenses on and spread of out-parish poor evolved through the years. This article strengthens the claim that extensive relief practices were not unique to England and Wales. It also provides further insights into the relations between rural and urban areas (as most migration and settlement literature had either an urban or a rural focus) and sheds light on the differences of interests between local and central administrations.
- Out-parish relief
- Rural history