Overseers, together with Churchwardens, were empowered to build houses for the poor and levy rates on Stroud inhabitants to provide necessary funds for poor relief.
In 1724, the parish appointed Thomas Poole of Minchinhampton, a joiner, to construct a 16 bay Workhouse, to be built in Silver Street. The paupers who lived here were usually employed in one of the branches of the cloth industry. However, the cyclical nature of employment meant that numbers and costs fluctuated, and in times of depression the poor relief costs were substantial. In the 1820s, the cost was around £2000 per annum. Part of this money went to the Workhouse and the rest went on occasional and weekly payments to people who lived in their own houses, and who were in financial distress.