Prior to 1834 paupers were the responsibility of the Parish overseers, who often paid a pension for the pauper to continue living at home. In 1834 Poor Law Unions were formed which constructed work houses. Conditions in the workhouse were very harsh, and the pensions for paupers living at home became highly restricted. For example – someone breaking their leg would get a pension for just 5 weeks. Inhabitants listed as Pauper in the census returns would have had a Poor Law record. The bulk of Flintshire detached was covered by the Ellesmere Poor Law Union. From 1854 the bordering parts of south Cheshire became part of the Whitchurch Poor Law Union with its workhouse as the present hospital building in Claypit Street. Most records for Poor Law Unions were pulped and used for recycled paper in WWII, to drop on Germany as propaganda leaflets. Any surviving records will be in the Shrewsbury Records Office.
The north-western part of Flintshire detached was covered by the Wrexham Poor Law Union. The 400-bed workhouse constructed in 1838 contained a high proportion of single mothers and their children.
The only surviving records of most Poor Law Unions are the Census Returns.