In the 16th century a distinction was made between the ‘poor’ and the ‘deserving poor’. In general terms, the ‘deserving poor’ were members of one’s own Church community who lived properly and dressed properly and avoided gambling and promiscuity. These persons were granted Church aid. The ‘poor’, i.e., unworthy beggars and members of another faith weren’t.
The unworthy sort were ‘shown the door’, so to speak, at the tip of the whip (as this delightful woodcut from the era shows) –
Tagged: 'deserving poor'