Groups or "families" of pauper children lived in 'villages' of purpose-built houses often set along a street or around a green.Each house would have a house 'parent' looking after twenty or thirty children.In the autumn of 1830, agricultural labourers across southern England protested against low wages, expensive food, and the growing mechanization of farms.Threatening letters sent to land-owners and farmers were signed 'Swing' — the supposed, although probably fictitious, leader of the protests.
The badge, in red or blue cloth, consisted of the letter "P" together with the initial letter of the parish, for example "AP" for Ampthill parish.
Workhouses were amongst the rioters' targets — on 22nd November, a mob assailed the Selborne parish workhouse, turned out the occupants, burned or smashed the fittings and furniture, and pulled off the roof.
The following day, an even larger mob, including the Selborne rioters, did the same to the workhouse at nearby Headley.
Later used more generally as an informal term for a paupers' or famine graveyard, especially associated with workhouse burial grounds.
In recent years, there has been a growing campaign to protect bully's acre sites from redevelopment.