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The average annual poor-rate expenditure for the period 1833-35 had been £16,889 or 17s.1d. Initially, the new Lexden and Winstree Union retained parish workhouse premises at Dedham, Langham, Copford and Wivenhoe, until a new central union workhouse could be erected.

In 1726, a cottage at the east side of the Colchester Road was converted to become Wivenhoe's parish workhouse. The population falling within the union at the 1831 census had been 19,811 — with parishes ranging in size from Mount Bures (population 262) to Brightlingsea (1,784).

Wormingford's parish workhouse was a house at the south side of Bures Road. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 38 in number, representing its 35 constituent parishes as listed below (figures in brackets indicate numbers of Guardians if more than one): County of Essex: Abberton, Aldham, West Bergholt, Birch, Boxted, Brightlingsea (2), Mount Bures, Chappel, Copford, Dedham (2), East Donyland, Easthorpe, Fingringhoe, Fordham, Great Harksley [Horkesley], Little Horksley [Horkesley], Langenhoe, Langham, Layer-de-la-Hay, Layer Breton, Layer Marney, Mark's Tey, East Mersea, West Mersea, Peldon, Salcott [Salcot], Stanway, Great Tey, Little Tey, Virley, Wakes Colne, Great Wigborough, Little Wigborough, Wivenhoe (2), Wormingford.

The Lexden and Winstree Poor Law Union was formed on 1st February 1836.

This feature was occasionally found elsewhere, for example in the Thingoe and Romford Union workhouses.