Some apprenticeships were organised by the overseers of the poor in a parish in order to enable a poor child to provide for himself and his family in future years. These documents may be found in the parish chest and can often give a little more information than expected.
For example, an apprentice indenture, dated 12th January 1772, found in the Down Hatherley records, relates to young William Gibbs and informs us that William was the son of the late John Gibbs who was a labourer from the hamlet of Wotton, and that his mother was Dorothy who was then married to John Finch of Wotton, also a labourer. William was being apprenticed to John Blanch who was a cordwainer in Down Hatherley.
Many years later, on 28th February 1801, William Gibbs was declaring to the overseers that George Piff of Down Hatherley had his apprenticeship indenture. No reason was given for why he did not have it himself.
A week later, William Gibbs was examined by the authorities – presumably he had become dependent on the parish for some reason. In his examination on 4th March 1801, he declared that he had been born in the hamlet of Wotton in the parish of St Mary de Lode and, about 27 years before, had been apprenticed to John Blanch of Down Hatherley, cordwainer, with whom he had served 5 years. This qualified William for settlement in Down Hatherley and therefore to support from the parish.
On 6th March 1801, the overseers of Down Hatherley were ordered to pay William Gibbs the vast sum of 3 shillings per week.