Neston Female Friendly Society – 1817 Rules and 1818 Amendment
18th January 1817. These articles were allowed by the magistrates present and a duplicate filed amongst the records of the County of Cheshire.
- This Society does declare that the only interest and purpose for which it is established or intended be for raising fund by voluntary subscriptions towards the support of the old, sick, lame and infirm members thereof and for other purposes hereafter mentioned.
- That the Society shall consist of the Female sex only and that no one shall be admitted a member who does not reside in the Parish of Neston or is affected with any distemper or of a sickly constitution or above the age of fifty except such as chuse to enter as honorary members in order to benefit the society.
- That any persons desirous of becoming a member shall deposit one shilling, be proposed at one meeting and be elected or rejected and if approved an additional sum of one shilling and sixpence be paid on admission.
- That the members meet between the hours of ten and eleven on the morning of the first Monday in each Month at which meeting each member shall pay to the stock as following viz. : if under twenty, sixpence: if above twenty and under twenty five, eight pence: if above twenty five and under thirty, nine pence: from thirty to thirty five, ten pence: if above thirty five and under forty, years, one shilling: if above forty and under forty six, one shilling and two pence: from forty six to fifty, one shilling and two pence, per month: and if any neglects to pay or send her contributions for three consecutive meetings who shall forfeit six pence to the stock and in default of paying her contribution for six months she shall be expelled. The register of their baptism or other satisfactory testimonials to be provided (honorary members excepted) at their admission.
- That all contributors of ten shillings and sixpence or upwards annually or benefactresses of five guineas (not proposing to receive benefits from the society) shall be considered as Honorary members and be admitted to any meeting.
- That three stewardesses, two of the honorary and one of the benefited members, be elected annually, the first meeting after Christmas Day and each stewardess, whether present or not when elected, shall on refusing to serve the office, forfeit six shillings and sixpence.
- That the Society box be kept in the Clubroom, and be provided with three locks and three keys: in which the cash, books, securities and papers belonging to the Society shall be deposited: one of which keys shall be kept by each Stewardess, who shall attend on every day of meeting, or if not able to attend shall send the key by a proper person being a member of the Society and the box shall not be opened except at the regular meetings unless two of the Stewardesses and three of the other members be present and when the money in the box shall amount to twenty pounds and upwards, the same, if it can be spared, shall be invested in the public funds
- That three gentlemen be appointed as Trustees, in whose name the money shall be placed in the public funds in trust for the Society, and who shall execute powers of attorney for receiving the dividends, or even the whole or part of the principal, as circumstances may require, and the Trustees shall not be accountable for involuntary losses nor one for the other, nor for the acts or defaults of each other, but each for himself alone.
- That each sick, after being one week unable to work, and who shall have duly contributed to the stock for two years, shall be entitled to receive four shillings weekly, on producing an order from the Surgeon, if she resides within five miles from Neston, or if more distant from other Medical Man, magistrate or clergyman of the Parish, such allowance to be continued six months if ill so long; if longer only two shillings and six pence and that a weekly allowance of two shillings and sixpence also be made to superannuated members.
- That on the decease of a member who shall have duly paid her Contributions, the following sum be paid to her legal representatives, viz.- if a member six years two pounds: eight years, four pounds: if ten years, six pounds, provided she shall have a child or children, born in lawful wedlock, or other relative dependent on her support, otherwise in no case more than two pounds; and on the birth of a child five shillings; and that every member on the death of a sister shall pay one shilling to the box.
- That if any member behave rudely and improper language, during the time of the meeting, for each offence she shall forfeit one shilling’ and that all questions shall be determined by the majority present, and in the case of an equal division, the Stewardess first named on the book shall have a casting vote;; and if any member wishes to propose any alteration for the good of the Society, she must do it on the day of the Annual Meeting, and any alteration of these rules to be approved by a magistrate at the Quarter Sessions.
- That in case any member has, or shall enter the Society as an Honorary Member, with an intent to benefit the Society and having paid her contribution for the space of ten years, shall, by any unforeseen illness, losses or misfortunes become so reduced in circumstances as to want assistance, she shall (if she chooses to claim it) be entitled to receive the weekly and other benefits, the same as her inferior sisterhood.
- That on the first day of June every year the members do meet at the Clubroom at ten o’clock in the morning and walk in orderly procession to the Church, where an appropriate sermon shall be preached, and at four in the evening of the same day, the members shall meet again when they shall drink tea together, for which each person shall pay one shilling and every member who does not attend shall forfeit sixpence to the fund; and be no otherwise dressed on that day than in stuff, printed linen or cotton gowns, on forfeiture of one shilling to the box, on which day the accounts shall be examined and passed.
- That a Secretary, resident in Neston, shall be chosen by a Majority of members to continue during pleasure, who shall be paid the sum of two guineas a year out of stock.
- That if any member of this Society be known to steal, or be of bad character, or have a child out of lawful wedlock she shall be expelled from the Society.
- Thatif any member shall be in violation of any articles, refuse to pay her forfeiture on demand by either of the Stewardesses, she shall be expelled.
- That Mr J. Cliffe be appointed Surgeon to this Society with a salary of fifteen pounds per annum to attend all the benefited members in case of sickness and to find them proper medicines and the salary shall be augmented in proportion to the increase in members.
- That as soon as the number of benefited members amounts to one hundred an additional salary of fifteen pounds be given to the Surgeon, for which he will agree to attend all cases of midwifery amongst the benefited married women of this Society at their own house within the distance prescribed by these articles and the Salary in this case also be augmented in proportion to the increase of the number of married women who become members.
- That when the number of members amounts to one hundred and Surgeons Salary raised to thirty pound per annum the five shillings allowed at the birth of each child shall no longer be paid. That sum having been intended towards the payment of the midwife for which there will then be no necessity.
- That all the members shall subscribe their names to these articles, which shall be kept in the box, and that each member shall have a printed copy thereof for which she shall pay three pence.
Frances Mary Ward
Anne Elizabeth Ward
Margaret Sophia Wilson
Mary E. Bond
Kitty ? Norris
Rebecca ? Parr
Mary or Nancy Cottrell
February 2nd 1818 at a meeting this day it was resolved by a majority of members then present, that Mr J. Cliffe, Surgeon to this Society be a allowed a salary of thirty pounds per annum to attend all sick members and likewise midwifery as specified in the aforementioned articles. The salary to commence from the first of January last.
Signed by Jack Hoskins, Justice of the Peace