BERRIEW IN STUART TIMES (Continued from Vol. 72. 1984) D. W. SMITH. B.A. PART II. PAUPERS AND YEOMEN POVERTY AND PROSPERITY When we come to consider the part played by the common people in the life of Berriew in the seventeenth century, we must avoid thinking only of the yeomen or farmers and remember that we know very little of the life of the casual workers below the yeoman level. Sometimes we meet them as 'paupers', living or dying, but usually we can easily ignore their existence. It is very difficult even to estimate how many such workers were present in the population. There were enough of the really poverty-stricken to give rise to a classification of the poor into the 'deserving poor', by impotency (old, orphaned or disabled) or by casualty (wounded soldiers or those temporarily disabled by sickness or accident) and the 'undeserving poor', the thriftless and the sturdy beggars. This problem is only part of a wider situation. In view of the disturbed nature of the middle part of the century it is understandable that local records are sparse in fact during the period of the Civil War and the Commonwealth we have very little of local import concerning the common people. It is all the more strange to find the long will of Humphrey Jones of Garthmyl in 1652/3 shewing no sign of the troubles plaguing the nation no indication, for example, that the vicar had been deprived of his living. Reverting to our poor, the full power of the English state seems to have been invoked against them throughout the reigns of the late Tudors and the Stuarts. Pre-occupation with the fear that the labour available would be insufficient to meet the needs of farming and industrial develop- ment appears to evidence itself in measures of coercion which followed one another as normal constituents of public policy during this period. The ordinances which had been imposed following the labour shortage caused by the Black Death in the middle of the fourteenth century were re-imposed and extended. One result was that the real wages of workers fell by half between the accession of Edward VI (1547) and the Civil War. Examples of this legislation and the consequent actions are almost too many and painful to relate. A statute of Edward VI decreed that anyone refusing to labour 'should be branded with a red-hot iron on his breast' and 'should be adjudged the slaves for two years of any person who should inform against such idler'. Elizabeth provided that begging should be punishable by burning through the gristle of the right ear but a modification in 1597 mitigated this punishment to one of being stripped naked to the waist and whipped until bloody. A statute in 1563 imposed a penalty often days imprisonment or a fine on employers who paid wages above the prescribed level but twenty-one days imprisonment on a worker who accepted such a wage. Justices were empowered to fix rates of wages and an act of James I in 1604 extended this to all workmen and workwomen. There was legislation at the end of Elizabeth's reign giving power to fix minimum as well as maximum wages and another act of 1604 imposed a fine on clothiers who 'shall not pay so much or so great wages as shall be appointed'. These powers to fix wages were the main cause of the fall in real wages mentioned above: in Wiltshire, where research has given us a wealth of information, we learn that wages had not risen for the