For the parish of Chardstock, two overseers were chosen to serve for one year at a vestry meeting usually held in late April/early May to administer the Poor Law for the ensuing year. They received no payments for this work (other than expenses), nor any recompense for loss of earnings.They were empowered to raise taxes by a levy or rate on holders of land (details of which are shown separately on the website under Poor Rate) in order to meet demands for poor relief.

Their duties included deciding the merits of claims for poor relief, which could involve determining whether the person was chargeable to the parish. Payments covered regular weekly payments for the long term sick, old or incapacitated, individual or short term payments for parishioners in need or sick, payments for base born children and, from its opening in 1789, payment for all goods and services for the workhouse. A significant part of the work involved travelling to obtain the signatures on certificates and attending quarter sessions to argue a case.