Annex to Chapter 3

Ref 1

Return to text


This indenture witnesseth that Joseph Webb by the consent of his father William Webb of the parish of Beoley in the county of Worcester, Papermaker doth put himself Apprentice to James Holyoake of the parish of Tardebigge in the county of Worcester, papermaker.
to learn his Art and with him after the Manner of an Apprentice to serve from the day of the date of there presents unto the full End and Term of seven years from thence next following to be fully compleat and ended. During which term the said Apprentice his master faithfully shall serve, his Secrets keep, his lawful commands every where gladly do. He shall do no Damage to his said Master nor see to be done of others but to his Power shall let or forthwith give Warning to his said Master of the same. He shall not waste the Goods of his said Master nor lend them unlawfully to any. He shall not commit fornication nor contract Matrimony within the said term . He shall not play at Cards, Dice, Tables or any other unlawful Games whereby his said Master may have any loss. With his own Goods or others during the said Term without Licence of his said Master he shall neither buy nor sell. He shall not haunt Taverns or Play houses nor absent himself from his said Master's service day or night unlawfully but in all things as a faithful Apprentice he shall behave himself towards his said Master during the said Term and the said James Holyoake in consideration of the work …………
his said apprentice in the Art of Mystery of a papermaker which he useth by the best Means that he can shall teach and instruct or cause to be taught and instructed. Finding unto the said Apprentice sufficient Meat, Drink, Washing, Lodging and all other Necessaries during the said Term including wearing Apparell of all sorts and one new suit of apparell at the end of the said Term .......

And for the true Performance of all and every the said Covenants and Agreements either of the said Parties bindeth himself unto the other by these Presents In Witness whereof the Parties above named to these Indentures interchangeably have put their Hands and Seals the third Day of September in the Twenty fifth year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the third by the Grace of God of Great Britain France and Ireland King Defender of the Faith and in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty five.

N. B. The Indenture Covenant or Contract must bear date the day it is executed and what Money or other thing is given or Contracted forwith the Clerk or Apprentice must be inserted in words at Length and the Duty paid to the Stamp Office in London or within the weekly Bills of Mortality within One Month after the Execution and if in the country and out of the said Bills of Mortality within five months to a Distributor of the Stamps or his substitute otherwise the Indenture will be void the Master or Mistress forfeit fifty pounds and another Penalty and the Apprentice be disabled to follow his trade or be made free.

(signed) Joseph Webb
William Webb

Transcriber's note:
Words in italics are filled in by hand, the rest being a pro forma.There is a confusing lack of punctuation, which has been guessed at where possible, to assist the reader. The last section (N.B.) is in a smaller size text. Both signatures are confident, in a good flourishing hand.
"Presents" refers to the witnesses, who signed on the reverse, as follows:
Sealed and delivered being first duly stamped in the presence of us
(signed) Eliz Guardner W Guardner

Ref 2

Return to text

Documents held at Worcester Record Office show that in November 1796 a meeting was held at the Guildhall in Worcester to enact the requirements of the recently passed Act of Parliament for the raising of men and notices were subsequently published in Berrows Worcester Journal and The Worcester Herald to publicise this.

Each Hundred had to provide a list of houses and numbers of men of suitable age to be found there. Beoley lay within Upper Pershore Hundred and was noted to have 22 houses. Taken together with the village of Martin Hussingtree, which had 10 houses, a total of 7 men could be counted. Tardebigge and Redditch lay within Upper Halfshire Hundred. Redditch had 51 houses and Tardebigge / Webheath had 20, but this does not seem to have resulted in many suitable candidates. (The Hundred was a division of the shire, which was of great importance in Saxon and Norman times. There was a Hundred Court presided over by the Hundred Reeve acting on behalf of the King. Initially a Hundred literally meant a group of 100 houses, but later came to be a more general area within the shire)

Ref 3

Return to text
Prize Money
Around that time a 74 canon ship would have cost £36,000 to build and on its capture the Admiralty would pay out £20,000. The Division of Spoils Act (1708) meant that the Crown renounced its claim to a share in the bounty and it could be divided into eight parts:
The Commander was entitled to one eighth (even if he had not been present at the time of capture).
The Captain in command at the time of the seizure of the vessel was entitled to three eighths.
The officers shared one eighth between them, and the lower officers likewise.
The crew (up to about 600 men) shared the remaining two eighths between them. This would mean that a crew member might receive just over £8, some half a year's pay for an Able Seaman (the equivalent of two years' pay for a ploughman). The captain would receive £7,500 from the above example.

Ref 4

Return to text

On a vessel such as HMS Victory (for example), life below decks was extremely cramped. The men (referred to as the People) hung their hammocks on the two lower gun decks, where the head-room was about five feet, but where smaller guns were fitted less than five feet was the norm. 14 inches was allowed for each hammock, but as they worked in two watches, with one always on duty, this was effectively 28 inches.

The guns mattered more than anything, and even the Admiral shared his tiny sleeping cabin with a 12-pounder. On a frigate, which was built for speed, there were no guns on the lower deck, giving much more living space.

The food was fairly standard no matter what the type of ship - ships biscuit, usually full of weevils, salt pork or beef and mushy peas. On some vessels, cattle were kept in the lower decks, to be slaughtered on a regular basis, but this must have led to a deterioration in the general conditions below decks. The sailor often ate off a square wooden platter, and this accounts for the origin of the phrase "a square meal", as does the expression "on the fiddle" - the fiddle was the rim of this platter, so if it was more than half full there had obviously been some underhand deal to enable someone to have more than their fair share.

A British frigate could carry a full six months' of provisions and this included a gallon of beer per day per man or the equivalent "grog" (half a pint of strong rum mixed with three parts of water). The beer ration was therefore eight pints and to be "one over the eight" meant that a man had illegally acquired part of another man's ration. Although the conditions seem harsh, it was no more than a farm labourer endured, and at least the sailor had three "square" meals a day, plenty of alcohol and companionship, and a warm place to sleep. Soldiers, (for example in Wellington's army), often had to march for days without food and sleep on the bare ground, even in winter, so the sailor may have had the better deal.

I am indebted to Anthony Blackmore for some of these details taken from his book "Rum, Sodomy and the Lash - life in Nelson's Navy". (IBSN 0-9543674-0-5; sold exclusively in aid of charities)