noun[mass noun] British historical
Assistance given to very poor people not living in a workhouse.
- Although town records indicate that Bridgewater and Duxbury used out relief as the primary method of public assistance to the poor, each town also constructed or purchased a poor or workhouse after the 1750's.
- The records of the two towns, while providing basic information on the choice of supplementing out relief with a poorhouse, leave central questions unanswered.
- Rural poorhouses were often only temporary, coexisting with traditional forms of out relief and rarely achieved permanent or continuous usage.
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