HC Deb 24 February 1890 vol 341 cc1008-9
MR. DAVID THOMAS (Merthyr Tydvil)

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board if his attention has been called to the action of the Rev. T. L. Davies and Sister Naomi, of the Church of England, in entering the Union Workhouse at Merthyr Tydvil, on 8th February last, without the knowledge of the master, and at a time when they had expressly been told it would be inconvenient for them to visit any of the inmates; whether it is true that they were found by the master at 8 o'clock on the morning of that day at the bedside of James Bennett, who was not dangerously ill at the time, with two lighted wax candles; and whether any person has a legal right to enter a workhouse without the permission of the Guardians, and in opposition to the authority of the master?


My attention had not been drawn to this matter before notice was given of the question; but I have since received communications from the Guardians and the rector of the parish on the subject. The fads appear to be substantially as given in the ques- tion, except that Mr. Davies, the clergyman who visited the workhouse, states that he had previously obtained the permission of the matron to attend at the workhouse at the time mentioned for the purpose of administering the Holy Communion to the inmate in question. Speaking generally, persons have no right to enter a workhouse without the permission of the Guardians; but the licensed minister of the religious persuasion of any inmate may at all times in the day, on the request of the inmate, visit t he workhouse to afford religious assistance to such inmate.