In the parishes on high Dartmoor, for example, jobbing labourers and itinerant craftsmen appear to have gone about their business much as before, moving around from place to place seeking work were they could find it, and lodging with others for a few weeks here and there whilst they completed longer contracts.Indeed, it is fair to suggest that the rural ecomony in many places would have ground to a halt if overseers everywhere had strictly applied the laws of the day.
But in my own research experience the broad generalisation that the act immobilised the poor has been demonstrated to have not been so.
At least, not in the more isolated rural districts of Devon.
The little parish of Buckland in the Moor is a case in point.
The parish often had to call on outside labour for skilled work such as extensive building and renovation work, thatching jobs, the grinding and installation of new millstones, and so on.
And, of course, the laws of settlement & removal were universal throughout the whole country, and were applied equally rigorously everywhere. Tate had this to say on the subject - 'Meanwhile it had become almost impossible for the poor working labourer to move at all'.
This is because the act empowered overseers everywhere to evict non-settled strangers, even those who had found work and were therefore not claiming poor relief, merely on the premise that they 'might in the future become chargeable' to the poor rates.