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A wealthy person might bequeath money for the setting up of some almshouses in the hope that the residents might then regularly pray for his soul.(See also Infirmary.) An early form of disciplinary institution dating back to the 16th century.In addition to its function of a gaol for the rogue, it might also include a workhouse for the poor, hospital for the old, and industrial school for the young.In the 1840s, there was a public scandal when it was discovered that malnourished inmates at Andover workhouse had been fighting over scraps of rotting meat left on some bones they were supposed to be crushing. It was intended to provide interesting and useful occupation such as knitting, embroidery or lace-making for non-able-bodied workhouse inmates who spent long hours confined to bed or in day rooms.
Training in the various crafts was provided by outside volunteers and the costs were initially borne by Lady Brabazon.
Later used more generally as an informal term for a paupers' or famine graveyard, especially associated with workhouse burial grounds.