Skip to content


Page 2227 is taken from the poor book dated 1730 to 1769 and documents an agreement made in 1754 on how apprentices would be assigned and who would pay for them. The document was dated 28th February 1754. A major part of poor laws was that people should work for their living were possible. This included teaching poor children a trade so they could support themselves. In practice they were used as cheap labour, perhaps worse, partly because there were no vacancies for more skilled tradesmen so there was an element of work creation involved. There are numerous records for people being paid for the apprentices or poor children they were responsible for and a number of people paid a fine rather than accept responsibility for an apprentice.
This page, and the subsequent pages, are significant because they identify the local agreement made in Chewton Mendip and also provides a matrix of who was responsible for which estate in 1754. Page 2228 is the next in the sequence up to 2232 which includes the list of people who signed the original agreement.
The matrix was updated for 30 or 40 years but some of these additions are difficult to read and some names of the apprentices allocated are squeezed in between the lines. Some of the allocation of apprentices can be verified by comparing the records listed in the pages of the accounts that deal with the years when the apprentice was allocated to the estate.   The allocation of apprentices seem to follow a time sequence so the first apprentices were allocated to the estates at the beginning of the list. Other record show they modified the agreement so the lots were drawn to see which estate had to take responsibility for the apprentices.
The use of 40 shillings (£2) as the unit of value was not an arbitrary one. It was defined in Tudor times as the level which defied a ‘substantial’ person who was responsible for supporting the poor. 40 shillings was worth substantially less by the 18th century and many rate payers became recipients themselves.
The 40 shilling units do not match exactly the rateable value of the properties and the properties are often just described as “… for his how estate…” but comparisons can be made with other records to suggest which state is involved. Some of the names of the people are still something of a mystery. The family names of Addely and Milsom listed in unit 2 are not mentioned elsewhere neither is Fowles in unit 3.
The transcribed text is in italic.
At a Vestry , general meeting held the 28th day of February 1754, at the Parish Church in Chewton in the County of Somerset for the placing and Binding poor children as apprentices; it was agreed upon by most of the inhabitants and parishioners who were then and there present, and have hereunto subscribed their names_______________________
Firstly that all the estates within the said parish of Chewton here under mentioned and each of their respective values fixed and there ascertaining the same being divided into 50 parts or divisions, each and every such part or division being valued at 40s a year, or thereabouts; is hereby agreed upon to take one apprentice and that in such course and order as they are managed and connected in the following list_________________________
Secondly, every apprentices placed out, to be bound to the greatest estate except otherwise agreed upon by the parties concerned and the others to pay his, hers or their proportional share or to have to the person to whom the apprentice shall be bound (that is to say) after the rate of two shillings for every pound according to the several valuations hereto mentioned.______________________
And it is further agreed that if any person or persons will not pay such his, hers or their share part or parts to the person to whom the apprentice is bound; upon such refusal one other Apprentice shall be immediately bound to the person refusing; and a reasonable allowance to be made out of the parish stock to the person who takes the first apprentice as compensation for what he should have received from the said refuser.
3, The Forty shillings to be given by the parish is t be paid to the person to whom the apprentice is bound.
No Parisoners name Value of Land Total Names of Estate Apprentices
1 Mr William Moore £18 for his whole estate took Peter Jenkins
Mr Thomas Dory £15 Tho Bendles Park Corner in the year 1788
and Ston Easton Field
John Bendle £7.50 For his whole estate.
2 Mr Millard & Addely £40 For Pt of ye Manor of Hasell Took John Dowling in the year 1756
Took Geo Milsom 1790 £40
Mr William Hunt £27 For Sperrings Took Jacob Holbrook
Ditto £15 For the Gore Georges and In the year 1754
3 Took Betty Fowles in the year 1788 £42 Pound Close
4 Mr John Culliford 24 10 For his whole estate
Mr James Walker 8 Took Jas Jones in the year 1788 Took Tho Bath
Wim Parsons 7 10 For the Inn In the Year 1755
Recvd of Mr Walker & Wm Parsons 40
their ? sum of money
whereby they are discharged of this
appentice by Mr John Culliford
Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: