The Demise of The Vestry Council 1894

For many centuries the social and financial affairs of St. Keverne resided in the hands of a small group of people drawn from the Church Vestry, local gentry and the more affluent farmers and tradesmen. It was their duty to maintain law and order, repair roads and provide extremely elementary education for the children. But above all to look after the destitute and needy of the Parish. The finance for all of this was raised by a tax, levied upon local people who were in the position to pay. The rising population and the return of destitute soldiers from the war with France put an ever increasing burden upon the local people.

Central Government had for some years become aware of this and it was to become more and more involved in affairs in the county. The industrial revolution and all its social problems was to hasten this involvement. By 1849 Central Government were subsidising local education throughout the country to the sum of £900,000.

In 1862 Highways Boards were formed and by 1888 the responsibility for main roads lay in the hands of the County. Though many, many secondary roads were not tarmaced until the 1930's. In 1840 Central establishments for the poor and sick was to lift the burden from local Parishes. 'Helston Union' was built and set up at this time. We know it today as Meneage Hospital. So after a length of time going back to the early Middle Ages, the burden of authority was finally lifted in 1894 from the shoulders of the Church Vestry Council.