My research will explore a number of aspects of the approach to dealing with the poor and disadvantaged, under both the old and new poor laws, in Cleobury Mortimer (in south Shropshire) and the surrounding parishes which eventually formed the Cleobury Mortimer Poor Law Union, by examining in detail the surviving parish and poor law records. Unlike other studies which have focused on the operation of the poor laws, the intention is to find out what it was like to be poor and disadvantaged and how a small, rural community, with very few ratepayers, dealt with the less fortunate. I plan to look at the effectiveness of the application of methods of relief and the extent to which the workhouse was a deterrent, patterns of migration and settlement, ways of dealing with the burden of illegitimate children, the makeup of the select vestry, and later, the guardians and - where records are available - the tolerance of the ratepayers. I am fortunate (!) in having thousands of extant records to pore over which makes my plan somewhat ambitious - it will no doubt change a bit as I go on, but it has a number of parallels in today’s world so becomes more and more interesting the more I learn.