City of London Livery Companies Commission. Report; Volume 4. Originally published by Eyre and Spottiswoode, London, 1884.
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TO THE CHARITY COMMISSIONERS FOR ENGLAND AND WALES.
In pursuance of a Minute of the Board of the 13th day of November, 1860, I have inquired into the condition and circumstances of the Charities under the management of the Mercers' Company of the City of London, and I have stated in the Report under the head of each specific endowment the result of my investigation.
The title of this Company is "The Wardens and Commonalty of the Mystery of Mercers of the City of London."
The Company consists of four wardens, the senior of whom is called master warden, the next upper warden, the next house warden, and the fourth renter warden. The senior warden vacates his office every year, and is supplied by the next in rotation. The renter warden is elected annually by the Court of Assistants. The Court of Assistants are composed of 30 or 40, according as the wardens are or are not included in the number. The present number of assistants is 31. They elect the members to fill the vacancies in their body from the livery. The liverymen are called (except in a few cases) by the court from the freemen to take up their livery. A person becomes free of the Company by patrimony, servitude, or by honorary election. Patrimony admits all the children of freemen. Servitude must be by seven years actual servitude to a freeman in any business.
The Court of Assistants is divided into the working court and the nominal court, as some members for special causes are excluded from voting in the court, and are not summoned.
There is no person carrying on the trade of mercer on the list of the company.
Courts are generally held four times a year, at which all the Company is summoned, and there are occasionally extraordinary general courts.
John Bancks conveyed to Sir Baptist Hicks and others by an indenture of the 12th May 1619 a messuage and appurtenances in Holloway, Middlesex, and also three crofts, containing 6 acres on trust to pay the rents after the grantor's death to the Mercers Company, who should for ever dispose of all the same as follows:—
And the said John Bancks also by his will gave 200l. to be lent to young men of the Company yearly from five years to five years for ever at the rate of 53s. 4d. yearly for every 100l. (and not 3l. per cent., as stated in the report of the Commissioners of Inquiry, Vol. 6, page 307). The Company seem erroneously to have admitted in their answer in the suit hereafter referred to, a liability to 3l. per cent. instead of 2l. 13s. 4d.
The payment to Christ's Hospital was purchased by the Company under the Acts for the redemption of the land tax in the year 1811.
The Company at the time of the Report of the Commissioners of Inquiry was in the habit of applying no more than 17l. per annum to charitable purposes; although the income of the estate had considerably increased. The Commissioners observed that the case appeared to stand in the same circumstances as Sir Thomas Bennett's Charity, and that the excess ought to be disposed of amongst the different objects of the charity. An information was filed on the 21st December 1821 in the Court of Exchequer by Sir Robert Gifford, Knight, then Attorney General against the Mercer's Company and the trustees of the estate, praying that it might be declared that the said Company were mere trustees for the distribution of the income of the Charity estate, and that an account might be taken of the rents and profits of the said Charity estates received by the said Company since 1816, and of the application thereof, and that they might answer and pay what should appear to have been received by them beyond what they had applied to the purposes of the said charity, and that an account might be likewise taken of the interest accruing from the sum of 200l. bequeathed as aforesaid and that the said Company might pay into court in trust in the cause what should be found to have been received by them in respect thereof from such time as the court should think fit to direct and that it might be referred to the master to approve of a scheme for the due application of the arrears of the said rents and interest of all future income arising from the said estate and the said sum of 200l., and that in the meantime, if necessary, a receiver might be appointed of the rents and profits of the said estate with all usual powers, and that such further and other directions and orders might be given for the due administration of the funds of the said Charity as the nature of the case might require.
The cause came on to be heard on the 27th April 1826, and on the 30th May 1826 the Lord Chief Baron declared the company to be trustees of the rents and of the augmented income of the said estate and of the interest of the said 200l., and that the surplus rents and interest after answering the several payments of the deed of 12th May 1619 were applicable to the same purposes as the said J. Bancks directed the rents of such estate to be applied to by same deed, without prejudice, nevertheless, to the question how far the Company were entitled to partake of the said increased rents with reference to their share in the said original rent given them by the said deed, and directed accounts to be taken of the said rents accordingly. And it was referred to the master to take an account of the 200l. directed by the will to be lent to young men as therein mentioned and to receive proposals from the Attorney General and the defendants for the application of the surplus rents of the estate in question and of the interest of the 200l. and to tax the costs.
The Company appealed to the House of Lords and the judgment on the appeal was pronounced on the 16th July, 1828, affirming the decree in the Court below; on the principle which had been laid down in the case of Bennett's Charity. The Master made his report on the 25th July 1831, and found that the company had possessed and received for rents and profits of the Charity estate and for interest accrued on the said 200l., from the 21st December 1821, to the 30th May 1826, the date of the decree the several sums mentioned in the first schedule thereto annexed, amounting in all to 404l. 10s. 0d., and allowing thereout payments to the amount of 53l. 16s. 4d., the Master charged the Company with 350l. 13s. 8d. in their hands on balance of rents of the said estate, and for interest on the said 200l., but such balance was insufficient to pay the costs of the said decree and order respectively directed to be taxed and paid out of the funds that should be reported due from the company arising from the increased rents of the estates in question.
And he found that the annuity of 5l. to Christ's Hospital in the year 1811 was purchased by the Company from the hospital under the authority of certain Acts of Parliament for the redemption of the land tax, and such purchase money was paid by the company out of the funds then in their hands which had arisen from the rents of the said charity estate.
And he approved of the following scheme for the future application of the surplus or increased rents of the estate in question and the interest of the 200l., according to the purposes pointed out by the said deed of 12th May 1619.
That the following annual salaries or stipends shall be paid out of the increased rents and profits of the said estate and the interest of 200l., viz.:
That after payment of the said annual sums and all outgoings charged on the said estate and all proper charges for managing the estates and collection of the rent (such charges not exceeding 4 per cent. on the clear rental) the residue of the rents and interest, with the addition thereto of the annual sum of 5l. thereinafter directed to be retained out of the proportion of the residue thereinafter allotted to Christ's Hospital shall be divided into seven equal parts.
That five of such seven parts shall be paid yearly to the treasurer of Christ's Hospital (after retaining thereout the annual sum of 5l., the amount originally allotted by the donor to Christ's Hospital, and by them sold in 1811 to the Company) to be applied by the governors of the hospital to the purposes pointed out in the schedule to the indenture of the 12th May 1619 if practicable or expedient, and if the same shall be found not to be practicable or expedient, then to be applied to the general purposes of the hospital.
That one other of such seventh parts shall be yearly paid to the Company of Barbers, and laid out by the master wardens and assistants of the said company in the purchase of good warm woollen coats and cloaks and other articles of wearing apparel or bedding, and beef and bread, to be distributed in the manner directed by the said J. Bancks on the 11th May yearly to such number of poor householders or widows of the said lastmentioned Company as in the discretion of that Company shall be deemed proper. But nevertheless the said master, wardens, and assistants are to be at liberty in cases of emergency and where it shall appear that a small pecuniary assistance would be usefully bestowed, to make such donation in money as to them shall be deemed necessary, such donation not to exceed 20s.; and in no case shall any person enjoy the benefit of this charity that shall be in receipt of parochial relief.
That the remaining seventh part shall be applied towards providing for the charges of a dinner every year for such of the Master, Wardens, and Court of Assistants of the Mercers Company as shall with the assistance of the clerk and beadle view the state of reparation of the said charity estate and give notice for the amendment of the defaults thereof.
That the said Company of Mercers shall use all due diligence and endeavours by means of public advertisements or otherwise, to lend out the said 200l. to such persons and on such terms as are pointed out by the said J. Bancks in his will, and that the interest to arise by such loans shall be applied together with the rents of the said estates, as before directed.
That distinct accounts shall be kept of the receipt and expenditure in respect of the Charity, and such accounts shall be audited once a year, and when so audited signed by the wardens of the Court of Assistants of the Company.
That the estate and premises belonging to the said Charity shall be duly and properly managed and let to the best advantage at the most improved annual rent under the superintendence of the said Company of Mercers or their officers.
The court by its decree of the 21st November 1831 confirmed the master's report, and ordered that the said Charities be respectively carried on and the rents of the estates in question and the interest of the 200l. be applied after the costs of the suit should have been provided for according to the proposal approved by the said master, and the master was directed to carry on the account and to tax the costs and report in what manner it would be for the benefit of the charity the same should be provided for. The master, by his further report of the 15th July 1883 found a balance in the Company's hands of 478l. 1s. 4d. on account of the rent and interest of the 200l., making with the former sum 828l. 15s. 0d., and the master thereby certified that he had taxed the costs at 1,288l. 7s, 1d., and found that 459l. 12s. 1d. remained to be provided. And the master found that the Company were trustees of Sir Thomas Bennett's Charity, and that in the cause in the Court (Exchequer) relating thereto the surplus rents of the estate were apportioned, and thereof a sum of 508l. 11s. 2d. was apportioned to that branch of Sir T. Bennett's Charity, which was for the benefit of poor prisoners confined for debt in the two Compters and Ludgate sides of the Debtors' Prison in Whitecross Street, and the said sum of 508l. 11s. 2d. was under the last-mentioned order on further directions to be invested by the defendants so that the investment might be applied in augmentation of that branch of the said Charity. And he found that the said 508l. 11s. 2d. had been invested by the Company in the purchase of 575l. 9s. 2d. Consols. And he further certified that a report of E. Driver, surveyor, as to the annual value of the estates had been laid before him, and he was of opinion that it would be for the benefit of the said Charity of J. Bancks, and prejudicial to the aforesaid branch of Sir T. Bennett's Charity, that the said Company should by sale of the whole or a competent part of the said 575l. 9s. 2d. Consols raise and advance so much money as should be required for discharging the remaining costs of the suit on the security of the said Charity estate and the said 200l., and that they should be at liberty out of the surplus rents of the said estate and interest of the 200l. which should remain after discharging the necessary outgoings and making such payments for charitable purposes as had been hitherto made in respect of the said J. Banck's Charity, to apply and retain to themselves, as trustees of Sir T. Bennett's Charity from time to time until the transfer and appropriation to that Charity as after proposed, such halfyearly sums as would have accrued due for dividends on the said amount of the Consols so to be sold as aforesaid, and that the defendants should from time to time invest on a separate account the remainder of such rents and profits and interest in the purchase of like annuities and should in like manner invest the dividends to accrue due thereon so as to accumulate the same until by those means a sum in like Bank Annuities should be raised equal to the amount of the said Bank Annuities so to be sold as aforesaid, which sum should then be transferred or appropriated to the aforesaid Charity of Sir T. Bennett in discharge of the amount of Bank annuities so to be sold as aforesaid for discharging the remaining costs of the suit as aforesaid.
This has been accordingly done as stated in the Report of Sir Thomas Bennett's Charity.
The 200l. is not now lent by the Company, nor is this sum included in the scheme for the Loan Charities elsewhere set forth.
The Company have continued to pay the increased allowances under the scheme, notwithstanding the estate has for several years fallen short of the necessary amount. The balance has, therefore, been accumulating against the estate since the year 1856. The management expenses appear to be very heavy. The charges on the estate for the solicitor and surveyor have been in the last four years, as follows:
There have been, I am informed, negotiations between the solicitor and the neighbouring proprietor and arrangements for laying out the ground for building, which is the explanation afforded of the very high professional charges on so small an estate in the absence of any complication of tenancy. The other payments are insurance 1l. 10s. a year, and the property tax, and a little rent charge of 1s.
The disbursements on account of the Charity are annually 39l. 18s. 0d., being 29l. 8s. 0d. for the seven sermons, the preacher being nominated by the house warden. The renter warden 4l. 10s. 0d., chaplain 1l. 10s. 0d., clerk 2l. 5s. 0d., beadle 0l. 15s. 0d., and the chapel keeper 1l. 10s. 0d. The payments have been kept up notwitstanding the deficiency of the estate in the expectation that the property will at an early day produce an improved rental sufficient to reimburse the balance advanced by the Company. At the end of the year 1860 the Charity was debited in the books of the Company the sum of 150l. 2s. 8d. (fn. 1)
Sir Thomas Bennett's Charity.
Sir Thomas Bennett, by bargain and sale of the 17th January 1616, granted to trustees the Rectory of Kirton, Lincolnshire, and by a deed of the same date it was declared that the said bargain and sale was made upon trust, that the Mercers' Company should receive the rent of 150l. then reserved thereupon, and all other rents, issues, and profits of the same, and should thereout make the following payments:
The schedule to the deed contains directions for filling up the trustees from time to time, and that if the rents and profits should fall the Company should make proportionable abatement in the payments.
On the enclosure of the commons in Kirton, allotments on common land, making together 593a. 1r. 27p. were made to the Mercers Company in lieu of tithes. It appears that the Company held also as a part of the rectory, a messuage and cottage and 3 or 4 acres of land making about 601a. 0r. 0p., and also certain fields occupied by the vicar of Kirton.
There appears, after the enclosure, to have been a large expenditure on the erection of a dwelling-house and farm buildings on the glebe estate. This expenditure was made by William Watson, in consideration of the lease hereinafter referred to, which was surrendered in 1816 in consideration of an annuity of 400l. per annum.
The Commissioners of Inquiry (Vol. 6, p. 305) advert to the residue of the income after the specific payments therein contained, being carried to the Company's general account, and express their opinion that the increase of income should be applied proportionably to the charitable purposes and that it might be necessary to apply for the direction of the Court of Chancery.
It appears that in or as of Hilary Term, 1824, the Attorney General filed an information in the Court of Exchequer against the Company and the trustees of the estate, praying a declaration that the Company were mere trustees for the distribution of the rents, &c. to be paid over to them by the trustees among the objects of the said charitable foundation, and that the whole of such rents ought to be applied accordingly as well as the dividends of the stock which had arisen from the accumulation of a part of the funds; and if the whole amount of such payments could not be properly so applied, that the same ought to be applied to other objects of charity as near as might be to the objects pointed out by the founder, or that it might be declared that the surplus rents and dividends ought to be applied to such purposes as His Majesty by his sign manual should be pleased to appoint, or as the Court should direct, and that the usual accounts should be taken, and that if necessary it should be referred to the Master to approve of a scheme for the application of the arrears and of the future rents and profits of the said premises and of the dividends of the stock purchased with the said accumulations.
The cause came on to be heard on the 27th April 1826, and judgment was given by the Lord Chief Baron on the 30th May 1826, whereby the Company was declared to be trustees of the rents and of the augmented rents of the said estates, and that the surplus rents after answering the several payments directed to be made by the deed of the 17th January 1616 were applicable to such purposes as Sir Thomas Bennett had pointed out and directed the rents of such estates to be applied as directed by the said deed of 17th January 1616, without prejudice nevertheless to the question how far the Company were entitled to share in the said increased rents with reference to their share in the said original rent of 150l. given to the Company by the said deed of 17th January 1616, and his Lordship directed accounts to be taken of the said rents accordingly.
From this decree, the Company appealed to the House of Lords, assigning specifically the following reasons.
First.—Because the donor had given the estate absolutely in use to the appellants and by the declaration of trusts he had imposed on them the obligation of making certain specific annual payments out of the rents, which at the time of the gift did not amount to the annual produce of the estates; therefore, instead of there being any ground of implication that the donor intended to dedicate the whole usufruct of the land to charitable purposes, on the contrary, the direct conclusion of the law is, that there is no such intention, and the Court of Equity cannot imply a further intention because the subject relates to public Charity.
Secondly.—Because the appellants were the express objects of the donor's regard; and as one of the purposes he had in view in making the gift is declared to be to manifest his love and affection to his brethren the freemen of the Mercers Company, it may be reasonably concluded that he intended to effect this purpose by giving to the appellants the surplus rents which should remain after the purposes particularly specified were answered.
Thirdly.—Because in conferring the trust the donor made the appellants liable to responsibilities in respect of the rent reserved to the Crown, and otherwise, and must therefore be understood to have intended the appellants to receive any benefit which might remain after they had fully performed the trusts particularly declared.
The judgment of the House of Lords was delivered on the 16th July 1828, when the Lord Chancellor after stating the case and the arguments before him; concluded as follows:—
"I have gone further into detail than I should otherwise have done, because it has been contended at the Bar that to confirm the decision of the Chief Baron would be to overrule the decision of the case of the Attorney General v. The Corporation of Bristol. The principle of that decision is that which I have stated, that if there is a part of the sum unappropriated it is a circumstance which the Courts of Justice, and particularly in that case, have considered as an evidence of the intention of the donor as to what should take place with respect to any future increase of that sum, but it is only evidence of the intention, and I apprehend the circumstances to which I have adverted are in this case sufficient to rebut any inference of such an intention arising from the nonapplication of the small fractional sum to which I have adverted. I was extremely desirous of knowing what the opinion of the learned Lord by whom that case of Bristol had been decided was. That noble Lord has looked into the decision in this case, and he does not consider it at all inconsistent with the decision of that case. On the contrary, he agrees with me in opinion that the decision of the Court below is perfectly correct. Under these circumstances I should propose to your Lordships that the judgment be affirmed."
The case then went back to the Court of Exchequer, and the Master of that Court made his report of the 15th July 1831, having set forth in the third schedule thereto a scheme of which he approved as a fit and proper proposal for the application of the surplus or increased rents of the estate, and this report was confirmed by the order of the Court on the 21st November 1831.
The scheme thus approved of is as follows:—
That the following sums shall be annually paid out of the yearly rents and profits of the estate, viz.,
That, after making the foregoing payments, and paying the insurance of the premises, and also the necessary charges attending the management of the estate and collection of the rent (such charges not exceeding four per cent. on the clear rental), the residue of the said rents, with the addition thereto of the annual sum of 20l. hereinafter directed to be retained out of the proportion of the residue hereinafter allowed to Christ's Hospital, shall be divided into 18 parts.
That three of the 18 parts shall be yearly paid to the mayor, burgesses, and commonalty of Wallingford, to be by them distributed among 15 of the most deserving poor and aged men and women of the said borough and town (not receiving parochial relief), such poor persons to be chosen and appointed by the said mayor, &c., and to continue to receive the benefits of the said charity during their good behaviour.
That three other of such 18 parts shall be divided amongst four of the most deserving poor brethren of the said Company of Mercers who shall have obtained their freedom by service or patrimony, such poor brethren to be appointed at the General Court of the Company as soon as conveniently may be after any vacancy shall happen, of which meeting of the Court due notice shall be given, and such poor brethren, when nominated, are to enjoy the benefits of the Charity during their good behaviour and the pleasure of the said Court.
That four other of such 18 parts, together with the interest of the stock now standing in the books of the Governors and Company of the Bank of England in the name of the Mercers Company, and belonging to the account of the poor prisoners of this charity, shall be applied yearly in the procuring of the discharge of the greatest number of the most deserving poor prisoners confined for debt in the said two Compters and Ludgate sides of the Debtors Prison in Whitecross Street as to the Wardens of the Company shall seem practicable, so that not more than 10l. shall be applied for them for the release of any individual, but if any object should appear to the Wardens to be deserving of being relieved, and whose discharge could be obtained on payment of a sum not exceeding 20l., then with the consent of the Court of Assistants of the Company to be signified by an entry in the book of the Charity, stating the particular circumstances of the case, the said Wardens may apply such sum accordingly.
That two other of such 18 parts shall be applied annually by the Wardens in the purchase of good woollen clothing, shoes, stockings, shirts, and such like to be distributed by them to such poor persons in the city of London as in their discretion shall be deemed the most deserving and requiring such relief.
That three other of such 18 parts, after retaining thereout the annual sum of 20l., being the amount originally allotted by the donor to Christ's Hospital, and by them sold in 1811 under the Land Tax Redemption Acts to the Company, shall be paid annually to the Treasurer and Governors of Christ's Hospital, to be by them applied in the relief of the poor children in such Hospital.
That the remaining three of such 18 parts shall be retained by the said Company towards a dinner for the wardens, assistants, and livery at their hall, yearly, on Saint Andrew's day or on such other day as to the Company should seem meet.
That in the distribution of the Charity by the Wardens preference shall in all cases be given to the most deserving of such persons as have never received parochial relief or have been the longest without having received such relief, and in no case is any part of the said Charity to be given to any, that at the time shall be in the receipt of parochial relief, or who shall have been in such receipt, and shall for the purpose of enabling them to receive the benefit of the Charity colourably, or for a short time only have ceased to receive such parochial relief.
That distinct accounts shall be kept of the receipt and expenditure in respect of this Charity, and such accounts shall be audited once a year, and when so audited signed by the Wardens and three of the Court of Assistants of the Company.
That the estate and premises belonging to the Charity shall be duly managed, and let and made productive to the best advantage under the superintendence of the Company or their officers.
By a further report of the 7th August 1833, made under the said order of November 1831, the monies in hand after taking the account to that time, amounting to 2,288l. 10s. 2d. were apportioned in manner following.
The sum of 381l. 8s. 4d. being three eighteenths to be retained by the Company to their own use; the sum of 381l. 8s. 4d. other three eighteenths to the poor persons of the borough of Wallingford; the sum of 381l. 8s. 4d. other three eighteenths for the benefit of four poor brethren of the Company; the sum of 508l. 11s. 2d. being four other of the eighteenths for poor prisoners in London; the sum of 254l. 5s. 8d. other two eighteenths for the distribution of clothing for poor persons in the city of London; and the sum of 381l. 8s. 4d. being the other three eighteenths for the benefit of Christ's Hospital.
The sum of 508l. 11s. 2d. appropriated for the four eighteenths of the poor prisoners in London, was invested in 575l. 9s. 2d. consols, producing 17l. 5s. 3d. per annum, which was carried to the account of that branch of the Charity until it was disposed of under the decree in Banck's Charity (see the report on that charity). It was replaced on the 18th November 1848, and now forms part of the 2,000l. consols hereinafter mentioned as belonging to that branch of the Charity.
The income of the estate at present is as follows:
The sums apportioned by the Court of Exchequer as above stated:
In 1835 a valuation of 598a. 2r. 0p. of the farm at a rental of 1,044l. 7s. 6d. was made by Mr. John Joseph Allnot, a surveyor of reputation in the county of Berks. This survey was made on behalf of the borough of Wallingford. It was stated in this report to consist of—
The charges on the estate are,—
In 1860 the distribution was,—
distributable according to the scheme in aliquot shares of one eighteenth. The average amount of one eighteenth share is therefore 39l. 13s. 4d.
The three eighteenth share of the borough of Walling ford is remitted to the Treasurer of the Charity Trustees, together with the dividends on the stock appropriated to this branch of the Charity, amounting to 12l. 19s. annually.
The three eighteenth to the poor mercers is divided amongst four freemen. In 1859 they received 32l. 12s each which included the dividends on the 431l. 11s. 9d. stock, apportioned to that account.
The four eighteenth to the prisoners is not wholly expended in any year. The sum appropriated
The Governor of Whitecross Street Prison (Colone Hicks) delivers an account of prisoners for debt, whom he supposes to be objects of the Charity, to the Com pany, generally the debt not exceeding 5l., but on some occasions 10l., and the sum granted by the Company is paid to him, the governor of the prisoners.
The accumulations on this account on the 31st December 1860, were as follows:
The Clothing of the Poor in London.
The two eighteenths applicable to this purpose is placed in the hands of the Renter Warden. In the last two or three years about 50l. has been laid out in flannels and calicos which are made into bundles of ten yards of calico and seven yards of flannel, and the bundles are distributed by the Renter Warden upon his own knowledge or the recommendations of others. The rest is given away in money to persons known or recommended to him in the same manner.
The vicarage of Kirton is considered to be worth about 400l. per annum. There is a good parsonage house which has been lately rebuilt by the aid of Queen Anne's Bounty, and about four acres of glebe land. The present vicar, the Rev. William Ludlow, was presented by the Company in 1845. He is nominated by the General Court of the Company. A question was suggested before me on behalf of the borough of Wallingford, whether the advowson was not a trust which in conformity with the practice adopted in other cases, should be made available by sale or otherwise for the benefit of the objects of the Charity? On this point I referred the parties to the Board.
Mr. J. K. Hedges, a solicitor of Wallingford, and clerk to the Charity Trustees there, attended my inquiry at the Mercer's Hall, and furnished me with an account showing the several amounts received by that borough for the last 20 years, which account I annex to my Report.
Sir Thomas Bennett's Charity.
Peter Blundell, by his will 9th June, 1599, gave to the Company 150l. to purchase lands and houses, and pay 40s. yearly to the poor of Bedlam, and the residue to be so employed and bestowed as the Wardens of the said mystery for the time being for ever shall have and take the benefit thereof for their labour and pains in and about the establishing and yearly paying of the said 40s. yearly for ever as aforesaid." And he gave the Company by his said will 200l. The Company laid out the 350l. in the purchase of property in Cornhill, which has been taken for the New Royal Exchange. It is now represented by 9,511l. 9s. 6d. Consols in the Court of Chancery, 2l. a year is paid to Bethlehem Hospital, and three-sevenths of the remainder is paid to the Master and Wardens, and the residue is carried to the Company's account.
Lady Joan Bradbury's Charity.
Dame Joan Bradbury, (being authorised by Letters Patent) by an indenture tripartite of the 2nd March 1523, declared the uses of a conveyance of the 12th of May in the 8th year of the Reign of King Henry 8th, which conveyed 29 acres of land in Marylebone, 20 acres of land, 40 acres of meadow and 60 acres of pasture in the Town of Westminster, and the parish of St. Giles' and Saint Martin's-in-the-Fields (a portion of which now remains vested in the Mercers Company and forms the Bradbury Estate, in the table of such lands) partly for 30s. a year, to be distributed in coals to and among the poor householders and inhabitants of the parish of St. Stephen, Coleman, within 12 days before or after Christmas in every year.
The greater portion of the rents of this large estate are by the foundation deed directed to be applied in the maintenance of services for the souls referred to in the deed. I do not find that any steps have been taken on behalf of the Crown, under the Statute of Edward the 6th, but it is possible that this estate may be comprised in the grant to the various companies made in the reign of Edward the 6th, and confirmed by the statute of James 1st mentioned in my report on the Fishmonger's Company's Charities.
It appears that the estates which are in Westminster and are very extensive, now produce a rental of 8,709l. 10s. a year.
The sum of 30s. a year is paid to the Churchwardens of St. Stephen's, Coleman Street, and a further sum of 16s. 8d. to the officer of the Company, to the Master and Wardens 15s. 8d., to the Clerk 1s. 8d., making together 2l. 6s. 8d.
Viscount Campden's Exhibitions.
The Viscount Campden prior to 1685 devised as follows:—
Whereas I have an estate of inheritance in fee farm after the decease of the Earl of Northumberland, in a certain portion of tithes arising within the territories and hamlets of Woodhorne, Seaton, Wytherington, Creswell, Horton alias Horneton, Hirst, Errington, and Linton, all which premises were parcel of the Rectory of Woodhorne in the County of Northumberland, and late were parcel of the lands and possessions of the late Monastery of Tinmouth in the said county.
And after giving one moiety to the Church of Hampstead in the County of Middlesex, he gave the other moiety of the said tithes to the said Company for the better maintenance of such scholar and scholars as from time to time for ever from and after the death of the said Earl of Northumberland should be preferred from Paul's School to Trinity College in Cambridge; and when such scholar and scholars should come to better preferment from Trinity College, then his will was that such other scholar or scholars of Paul's School that be fitting to be preferred to Trinity College aforesaid should have the benefit of his gift. And his will was that the fee farm rent reserved to his Majesty and his successors should, after the death of the said Earl of Northumberland, for ever be satisfied and paid unto his Majesty, his heirs and successors, equally out of the profits of the said tithes by those that should enjoy the benefit of the surplusage of the said tithes.
The tithes are collected by a receiver in Northumberland, who is appointed by the Company. The amount of the gross receipt in 1860 was 457l. 19s. 10d., out of which there was paid for taxes and collection 89l. 5d., leaving a balance of 368l. 19s. 5d. for the Campden Exchequer Fund for that year.
The accumulations of capital on the fund are now represented by 20,000l. reduced 3l. per cent. annuities, and 1,000l. 3l. per cent. consolidated annuities, producing together 630l. annual dividend, making a total net receipt for 1860 of 998l. 19s. 5d. Of this sum 820l. was paid for exhibitions. There were eight exhibitioners, namely—
|F. M. Williams||100|
|W. D. Sweeting||80|
|T. W. Spurling||100|
|W. M. Deane||80|
The exhibitions are held for four years, and all of them must be given to scholars of St. Paul's School who proceed to Trinity College, Cambridge.
The election is the result of examinations at the school. The annual exhibition varies from 80l. to 120l. It depends on the recommendation of the examiners.
Lady Campden's Charity.
Elizabeth Viscountess Campden bequeathed to the Mercers Company, if they would take the same, and if not, to the Company of the Merchant Tailors, by her will of the 14th February 1642, the sum of 3,100l. to purchase the inheritance of two church livings, parsonages, or rectories in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, or Durham, to be in the gift of the Mercers Company, and she also gave to the Company the further sum of 1,000l. to be lent to eight young men gratis, together with a legacy to the Company, if they should undertake the things required.
Church Living Fund.
In execution of the first direction of the testatrix, the Company in the time of the Commonwealth, instead of purchasing church livings, established two lectureships, one at Grantham, and another at Wakefield. In 1804 an arrear of 931l. 5s. 0d. had accrued owing to a vacancy of the Grantham Lectureship. This was added to the 3,100l., the amount of the original gift, which had theretofore been made a charge on the Company's estates under the deed of 1699, as represented by 150l. a year, part of the 548l. 1s. 0d. a year secured by that deed. This made together 4,031l. 5s. 0d., from which was deducted 17l. 9s. 6d. for law charges, leaving 4,013l. 15s. 6d. The Company does not appear to have invested this sum in any separate form for many years. The first distinct investment on this account appears to have been on the 23rd January 1824, when 5,975l. cash was laid out in 6,666l. 13s. 4d. 3l. per cent. consols so as to produce an exact dividend of 200l. That investment continued until the 29th May 1838, when the Company purchased 4,095l. 13s. 10d. consols with the sum of 4,013l. 15s. 6d. cash, being the amount due to the charity estate on the account settled in 1804. The larger investment then ceased to be treated in the books of the Company as the fund of the Charity, the investment itself having been made, not as a binding appropriation or as the produce of money really belonging to the Charity, but merely as an arrangement of convenience. Taking the Charity in 1804 to be entitled to the sum of 4,013l. 15s. 6d. as ascertained in that year, the interest thereof at five per cent. would be about 200l. a year, and it appears that by order of the Court of the Company of the 20th December 1804, each of the two lectureships was increased from 75l. to 100l. per annum, which has ever since been paid, the lectureship having always been kept full, and during any vacancies in the regular appointments the duty is supplied by other clergymen, who are remunerated on the same scale. As the dividends of the stock purchased in 1838 amount to no more than 122l. 17s. 4d. a year, the Company have since that time made up the annual sum of 200l. by a payment of 77l. 2s. 8d. out of their own income.
Upon the present extent of the liability of the Company in respect of these lectureships, it may be a question whether the 4,013l. 15s. 6d. should not be treated as if invested as it ought to have been in 1804, and at the price of consols at that day it would probably have produced at least sufficient to pay the full sum of 200l. a year, and it may be a question therefore whether in order fully to satisfy the claim of the Charity, a sufficient amount of stock ought not to be provided to make up the 200l. a year, and in fact whether the 6,666l. 13s. 4d. should not be substantially restored. I do not know whether it may be fairly assumed that the Company has admitted this liability by paying annually 200l.
A purchase of a tithe-rent on lands in East Rainton and Houghton-le-Spring, in the county of Durham, producing a gross income of 134l., and net 120l., for which 2,700l. is demanded, with a portion of this Charity fund, has been approved of by the Company.
The Company have been always under the impression that they are not at liberty to purchase an advowson or church living. The directions of the will are:—
"To purchase the inheritance of two church livings parsonages or rectories, called appropriations or impropriations of 100l. a year or more to either of them, if the said sum would reach unto it, the same to be in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, or the Bishopric of Durham if convenient, if not, in some other places or counties where either of the said Companies should best fit themselves with such livings to be purchased, and find most want of preaching ministers. And that the same church livings or appropriations so purchased should be by one of the said Companies from time to time successively after their wonted customs of election by most votes at their general courts, conferred upon two worthy ministers respectively that had taken the degree of Master of Arts at the least, and should be under the age of 27 years during such terms, and in such manner, and with such provisions, that if they or either of them should prove non-residents, or have any other benefit or church living with cure of souls besides, or should so neglect their charge or otherwise misbehave themselves, that the said Company should think fit to remove them; that then the said Wardens and Commonalty and their successors should and might remove, displace, and dismiss them or either of them out of the said appropriations, or either of them, and elect others according to their discretions."
Under this the Company have considered themselves confined to the purchase of a tithe-rentcharge arising out of or coming within the description of a rectory, living, or parsonage, " anciently appropriated to some abbey, monastery, or religious house or houses now commonly called appropriations or impropriations of 100l. a year or more to either of them."
I cannot conceive that this is the correct construction of the gift. The testatrix connects the locality of the charge with the Ministerial wants, which would be a matter of no importance if a tithe-rentcharge arising in one locality could be bought, and the income appropriated to the performance of duties in another. When the proposed net income of 120l. a year from the Houghton-le-Spring tithes shall be purchased, it is contemplated that it may be dealt with in one of two ways, either that the Company shall receive the rentcharge of 120l. a year in Durham, and pay it over to the lecturer at Grantham, or, direct the lecturer of Grantham to collect it himself. The result appears to me to be almost absurd. It is due, however, to the Company to say that they have been advised by somewhat high authority.
The Company in 1821 took the opinion of Sir Anthony Hart, who said, "I am of opinion that the Trustees cannot lay out the fund in the purchase of any spiritual benefice; an advowson impropriate is a mere lay fee, and the rents and profits may be held and used as those of any other real estate. Consequently the trustees, by having the authority to withhold the rents and profits, from any lecturer who may neglect his duty or misconduct himself will thereby effectually enable themselves to operate his removal. But if the fund should be laid out in the purchase of an advowson, the lecturer must be presented and become the parson of the parish from which he could not be removed by the authority of the trustees, nor could the lectureships be removed to any other place; the trust would then cease, and the estate would be merely subject to the ecclesiastical law of the land."
The difficulty which appeared to Sir Anthony Hart as an objection to the purchase of an advowson that the incumbent could not be removed for the causes referred to in the will, may be obviated by a resignation bond. There is nothing in the provisions of the will which require that if the ministers should prove non-residents, or have any other benefice or cure, or otherwise neglect their charge or misbehave themselves, they shall be removed, which is in any respect simoniacal. Such a clause is in aid of, rather than contrary to, ecclesiastical law as well as policy; its legality is supported by express decision (Bagshaw v. Bosseley 4, T. R. 78, and see Burns Ecclesiastical Law, Vol. 3, p. 633). and it is wholly unaffected by the Statute on the subject of Resignation bonds.
It is plain that the method of dealing with the bequest advised and adopted is subject to the greater difficulty that the Company have no absolute power of appointment of their nominee to the spiritual care of any parish or district whatever. This is exemplified in fact by the refusal of the pulpit at Wakefield to their lecturer.
The lecturer at Wakefield preaches at one of the district churches, and delivers a lecture on each Sunday. The rector of the parish Church refused to admit the lecturer appointed by the Company. The lecturer at Grantham preaches in the parish church, he is the curate appointed by the rector, some arrangement of ministerial duty having been made under the authority of the Bishop.
The sum of 1,000l., which by the Report of the Commissioners of Inquiry (Vol. 6, p. 317) did not appear to have been lent according to the will, was the subject of a suit in the Court of Chancery by the Attorney General, at the relation of John Kemble Chapman, against the Mercers' Company. The result of which was that the Company were ordered to account for the sum of 1,000l. and interest at 5l. per cent. for 20 years, and that a scheme was settled for the further appropriation and administration of the 2,000l. and subsequent interest with which the Company was thus charged. I subjoin copies of the decrees and also of the scheme.
The costs amounted to 379l. 15s. 9d., of which the Company bore 239l. 5s. 3d. and the remainder, 140l. 10s. 6d., was paid out of the Charity fund, which reduced the 2,000l. to 1,859l. 9s. 6d. The balance, or the greater part thereof, has been subsequently lent at various times in sums of 500l. without interest pursuant to the scheme.
The present borrowers are:—
They are members of the Company, and are on the Livery. There are few members not on the Livery, and none who would be proper borrowers. It has not been the habit to publish the advertisements, as the Company have considered the application sufficient without that publicity, and it is obvious that a perpetual course of advertisements must exhaust the fund. The accounts have not been passed before the master, as such a disbursement would still more rapidly have extinguished the fund.
Since the suit a sum of 5l. 14s. has been expended on advertisements, and 58l. 7s. 5d. in law costs (partly for taking the opinion of the Court on the nature of the securities), thus reducing the capital fund to 1,801l. 2s. 1d. The loans above stated amount to 1,600l., and the balance in hand therefore is now (January 1861) 201l. 2s. 1d.
Robert Chertsey devised to the Mercers' Company, by his will 1st April 1555, certain property in St. James, Garlickhithe, conditioned to pay to three poor householders free of the Company 7d. a week each. The Company pay 4l. 11s. a year to three poor freemen of the Company. They are persons who receive other pensions from the Company, or are otherwise benefited. One of the persons is an under-beadle or labourer at the Hall.
Mrs. Catherine Clarke having paid to the Company 240l., the Company by indenture of 20th June 1611, covenanted to pay 12l. a year to the vicar, churchwardens, and overseers of Harrow, Middlesex, for 12 of the poor inhabitants. The fund has been increased by the amount of 124l. 2s. 3l. per cent. consols, produced from arrears, standing to the account of the Company, the dividends on which are 3l. 14s. 5d. The annual sum of 15l. 14s. 5d. is paid on the receipt of the vestry clerk of the parish of Harrow.
Collier's School at Horsham, Sussex.
Richard Collier by his will of the 23rd January 1532 directed that his messuage called the Sonne in our Lady-le-Bow, London, should be sold and the money employed in building a house to keep a free school at Horsham, for 60 scholars, and the master to have a salary of 10l. a year, and the usher 10 marks (6l. 13s. 4d.) to be admitted by the vicar and churchwardens and eight honest men of the parish; and the testator willed that the poor people of the same parish and next about the same should be preferred, and that the vicar and churchwardens should present the said master and usher to the Mercers' Company, and the wardens were to pay the salaries of the master and usher, and the said wardens and Company to have for their performance of the same the house called the Keay, with the appurtenances in Cheapside, in the parish of St. Pancras, in the ward of Cheap, to be made sure to the said Company for evermore paying that afore-recited. And the wardens to have 20s. yearly for their painstaking, and more to be taken out of the same when it should be needful to see such reparations as should be meet to be done. And if the said wardens refuse the said house for the premises aforesaid, then the testator willed that the vicar and churchwardens of Horsham aforesaid should receive the rents that the wardens aforesaid should have done and the residue and overplus of the same more than the charge of the schoolhouse by them to be received yearly to be bestowed in the reparations of the said messuage on the maintenance of highways about the said town and parish of Horsham where as it should be needful so that it should be not passing 6 miles from the said parish.
In addition to the foregoing devise the Will of Richard Collier contains the following residuary gift:
"Also if both my said children decease as aforesaid or they come to their lawful age and without lawful issue of their body or bodies Then I will that all the residue of my lands and tenements not before bequeathed that I have or any other to my use within the realm of England That the Mercers' Company make sale thereof at as good a price according as it is in value to good consciences And the fourth part of the money thereof amounting to be reserved to the said Company to their Charity Box to bear out the charges of such as fallen in decay within the same Company to be in poverty and feeble according to the discretion of the said wardens to pray for my soul and for brethren's souls of the said Company Also I will that the other three parts that so come of the lands aforesaid be in the custody of the said Company and within the space of 3 years to be bestowed on the highways most needful within 8 miles of the city of London at the discretion of the wardens so that it be not done of a singular mind that one of the said wardens may have more to any way where they may have any land lying or any other cause of partiality but indifferently where most need of indifferency to be done on the North East and West side of the city and none thereof on the South side of the city or Thames and also to be taken out and paid of the said 3 parts of money aforesaid for the said expenses of the year £4 for a banquet for the wardens and assistants to devise as is aforesaid what is to be done for the year following in the making of the said highways and to see the accompt of that is past."
It does not appear that the Company took any estate under this residuary devise. The Commissioners of Inquiry mention (vol. 2. page 168) that in 1749 there was a claim made on the part of the parish of Horsham in respect of a fund supposed to be applicable under the will for the repairs of the highways, upon which the Company took the opinion of the Attorney and Solicitor General of that day, who were of opinion that the Company, subject to the claim of the school, was entitled to any surplus of the estate in their hands. I have not seen the documents on this subject, but as stated by the Commissioners of Inquiry they would seem to show that the Company possessed nothing under the residuary clause; and at this day they have no knowledge of any estate but that which is stated below, and which is described in their books as the "Collier and Mallory Estate," the Mallory Estate (or one fifth) having always from the commencement of the account been held by the Company subject to no Charitable Trust.
The present estate falling under the endowment is as follows:—
The four fifths of this sum applicable for Collier's endowment is 580l. 16s. The amount carried to the account of Collier's Estate in the year ending 31st December 1860 was 520l. 17s.
The management expenses are deducted from the gross amount of the rent, and the balance is then divided into the five aliquot shares of which the Charity is entitled to four.
The general management of the estate includes the following expenses. (1860):—
This left 651l. 1s. 4d. for division between the estate, of which four fifths (or 520l. 17s.) was, in 1860, carried to the account of Collier's Estate and the school.
The ordinary disbursements on the school, are (1860):—
On the 31st December 1860 a sum of 726l. 6s. 6d. was due to the Charity Estate. The fund is thus separately accounted for, notwithstanding the claim of the Company as absolutely entitled to the residue.
In the year 1811 there appears to have been a suit at the relation of the Company, the object of which was to settle a scheme for the government and regulation of the said school, and the appointment of the Master and Usher, and for settling their salaries, and that a reference might be made to one of the Masters of the Court to approve of such scheme, and that proper persons might be appointed by the Court to be trustees of the schoolhouse and premises, and that the legal estate in the same might be conveyed or vested in such trustees, and the possession of such house and premises be delivered to such persons as Master and Usher of the said school as the Court should approve.
In this suit the Master by his report of the 12th August 1812 certified that he had approved of the following scheme:—
Scheme.—That the said school should consist of 60 scholars to be selected by the vicar and churchwardens and schoolwardens of Horsham, from the poor people in especial of the said parish and the next about the said parish, and they to be preferred to the said school, that notwithstanding of the said parish of Horsham, none should be refused likely to learn, and that the parents of the said scholars be at no charge for their learning or for pens, ink, or paper, or books, or other requisites or for admission.
That scholars be admitted from the age of eight years and be permitted to remain until the age of 14 years.
That the qualifications for the admission of children to the school be to have a perfect knowledge of the alphabet, but that preference be given to the best reader.
That the scholars be taught reading, writing, and arithmetic, and the principles of religion, and sent to be catechised in the church at the usual season attended by a proper person, also that any number of boys at the discretion of the schoolmasters be also taught the Latin language.
That the hours of attendance in the school be from 9 till 12 in the morning, and from 2 till 4 in the afternoon during the winter half, and 2 till 5 in the summer, and that both at Christmas and Midsummer four weeks holidays and no more be allowed, also two afternoons in the week besides six whole days in the year, the times of such vacations and holidays to be fixed by the master who shall teach the boys assisted by the usher in such manner as the master shall require, but the master shall himself be answerable for teaching Latin to such as shall be appointed by the Schoolwardens and in the principles of religion, and that as so large a number of 60 scholars will require the full exertion of two teachers, the personal attendance of both master and usher in the school is indispensable during school hours.
That the master and usher shall send back any boy who shall not appear with clean hands and face, and hair well combed, or not decently dressed, and if such boy will not return so cleaned and dressed within a reasonable time he shall receive moderate correction, and if ungovernable he shall be reported to the Schoolwardens who shall have power further to punish or dismiss him as they shall think proper, and to the intent that the Schoolwardens may know how the boys conduct themselves, a book shall be kept of their daily attendance wherein the name of each boy shall be daily written on his entrance into school and the hour of his coming, against which the master and usher shall make remarks as they shall think proper.
That an account be regularly kept by the Master of the books, pens, ink, slates, and other requisites for the said school, taking care that there be no waste in order that such accounts may be transmitted yearly to the Mercers' Company, signed by the schoolwardens.
That the vicar, churchwardens, and parishioners in vestry assembled, at which eight parishioners at least shall be present at the time the churchwardens are chosen, do yearly appoint two parishioners to be schoolwardens, whose names shall be transmitted yearly to the Mercers' Company by the Master.
That the Mercers' Company having allowed a gratuity of 100l. per annum to the Master during pleasure in addition to the salary of 10l. allowed by the testator's will, and to the usher a gratuity of 60l. per annum during pleasure, in addition to the salary of 10 marks allowed by the will, the said Master did recommend the said Mercers' Company to continue to allow a gratuity of 100l. per annum during pleasure, and 66l. 13s. 4d. per annum during pleasure in addition to the salaries allowed by the said will.
That the master and usher should have and enjoy the houses and all the premises attached thereto, in the same manner as the master and usher have heretofore enjoyed the same.
That the boys should be permitted to play in the ground called the Croft as heretofore, and that it should not be let out to hire.
That neither the schoolmaster nor usher should teach any other scholars to the detriment of the said school, or whereby the scholars may be neglected, nor should the said schoolmaster or usher be suffered to execute his office by deputy except in case of sickness or other extreme necessity; and that the master and usher should give their personal attendance in the school during the whole time of school hours.
That the school should be under the direction and management of the said vicar, churchwardens, and schoolwardens for the time being, and of the relators the Mercers' Company, and that they should have full power and authority from time to time to make such rules and orders for the government of the said school as they in their discretion should think proper, and as should appear most likely to promote the intention of the testator and the benefit of the objects of the said Charity and from time to time to vary and alter all such rules and orders, or to revoke the same as occasion should require.
By the decree on further directions, made apparently in the year 1813, but with the date of which I have not been furnished, the Court ordered that the said Master's Report should be confirmed, and that the scheme for managing the said school and for carrying into effect the charitable intention of the said testator be carried into execution.
It appears that some further inquiries were then directed, but which do not appear to be now material.
The Rev. J. F. Hodgson, the vicar, attended my inquiry, and gave me information as to the state of the school and the educational condition of the parish.
The master and usher are appointed by the local governors for the time being assisted by eight of the parishioners of Horsham, appointed by the vestry. The local governors are the vicar, the three churchwardens, and two inhabitants appointed by the parish annually, at Easter, when the churchwardens are chosen. The appointment is subject to the approval of the Mercers' Company.
The present Master is Mr. William Pirie, who was appointed about the year 1822. He is now nearly 70 years of age.
The present usher is Richard Cragg, appointed about five years ago.
The number of boys in the school is now and has since 1857 been 80. All of them are admitted and educated free of expense. No private or pay pupils are taken. At the last examination (May 1861) when there were 20 vacancies, 94 candidates from the parish of Horsham applied for admission.
The course of instruction in the school is reading, writing, and arithmetic, and some encouragement is given to drawing, but without any regular instruction in it. The boys are either the children of the poor or poor tradesmen, and have very rarely and never of late years desired to be taught Latin.
The population of Horsham, is about 6,600, and has National schools for boys and girls, and British schools. These are supported by school pence, subscriptions, and sermon. It appears in fact that this foundation school supplies only the place of a National school. There are more boys in the National school, but they are said to be younger. There is said to be a certain prestige about the school which induces the scholars to stay a little longer than in the National school. The two schools operate as a lower and upper school.
There is no examination except at the will of the master who generally invites the vicar and local governors twice a year, to attend the examination which the master himself conducts. The vicar hears the Catechism of the children in Lent; but he is not perfectly satisfied with the religious instruction at other times. He considers that the school should be subject to regular inspection and examination by independent examiners.
It is also stated that it is hurtful to the school that the boys should be compelled to leave at 14 years of age, as instances have been found in which they have been compelled to proceed to other schools.
The school has been the subject of a correspondence with the Board (see file 1,148); in the result of which the Commissioners inquired the grounds upon which the Mercers' Company rested their claim to the surplus income of the Charity estate.
To this the Mercers' Company replied that they rested their claim to the residue of the estate (after providing for all the wants of the school) upon the will of the founder, as also upon the decree of the Court of Chancery of the 5th April 1813, which did not question the fact.
With reference to the suit referred to it should be observed that it was an information filed at the relation of the Mercers' Company for the purpose of obtaining the directions of the Court in the government of the Charity, and no adverse question was therefore likely to be raised.
I append a correspondence I have had with the vicar, as the result of some verbal suggestions which were made at the inquiry, with reference to an extension of the benefits of this institution.
Dauntsey's School and Almshouse Charity.
Alderman William Dauntsey, by his will, 10th March 1542, directed his executors to purchase certain land at West Lavington, Wilts, and to cause a house called a Church house, and a house for a school to be kept in, and eight chambers to be built on the same; that the said schoolhouse to be for children to be taught therein. One of the said chambers for the schoolmaster, five of the said chambers for five poor aged and impotent men, and the two remaining for two honest, aged poor women. And the testator gave all his messuages, &c. to the Mercers' Company, to pay to the schoolmaster 10l. a year and to each of the almspeople 10s. 10d. a quarter.
The establishment of the Charity on the footing designed by the testator is witnessed by a Deed of the 20th October 1583, made between the brother and heir and one of the executors of the founder, and the Company; and the Company thereby covenant, in consideration of the devised property upon which they had entered, to uphold the schoolhouse and chambers, and to pay the schoolmaster his yearly stipend, and the bedesmen and bedeswomen their stipends and wages according to the will, and the heir of the founder covenants with the Company for their quiet enjoyment of the devised premises on the due performance of such conditions.
It appears that on the 20th March 1633 a decree was made in the Court of Chancery in a suit by Sir John Danvers and his wife (that lady claiming as heiress of Alderman Dauntsey) against the Company, whereby it was ordered, apparently by consent, that the Company should pay 100l. to Sir John Danvers for repairing and enlarging the school and almshouse, and thenceforth pay 60l. per annum for the maintenance of the schoolmaster, almsmen, and almswomen, and it was thereby ordered and decreed by consent that the said Master, Wardens, and Commonalty, and their successors, in consideration of the premises, should for ever peaceably and quietly hold and enjoy all such messuages, lands, &c. as were theretofore given, devised, or limited by the said Alderman Dauntsey, or by his direction to the said Master and Wardens, without any claim or demand of the said Petitioners or either of them or of any other persons claiming by, from, or under them. And it was ordered that the said Master, Wardens, and Commonalty having of their own pious inclination advanced the charitable use to a far greater proportion and yearly stipend and allowance than had been formerly paid should not from thenceforth be further questioned by the said plaintiffs or their heirs touching the same; but thereof or of any further increase be for ever freely acquitted and discharged: the said plaintiffs nevertheless hoping that if any extraordinary improvement should thereafter be made of the said messuages and land devised as aforesaid, the said Master, Wardens, and Commonalty and their successors being of such integrity and piety that being likewise entrusted by the said will, out of their due respect to charity and justice, they would not fail to enlarge the said allowance in case any such extraordinary improvement should be as aforesaid.
The estate devised by the Company under this devise consists of the property in Gracechurch Street, Corbet Court, St. Peter's Alley, New Cannon Street, Watling Place, and Queen Street, called the Dauntsey Estate, and producing altogether an income of 1,462l. 10s. per annum.
The payments made to the almsmen and almswomen, which at the time of the Reports of the Commissioners of Inquiry (Vol. 6, p. 288) were 5s. each per week and 13s. 4d. each quarterly, and 110l. per annum for the schoolmaster, were in 1842 increased to 8s. per week. The schoolmaster's stipend was also from time to time increased, and has for some years past received an annual sum of 170l. from stipend and gratuities, the limits of each of which do not appear very clearly defined. The schoolmaster also is allowed 50l. per annum for an usher, 15l. per annum for coals, and the whole amount of his rates and taxes, which in 1859 amounted to 23l. 14s. 1d. The school and almshouses are insured at the sum of 3,300l., and the premium on this amount is 7l. 17s.
The schoolmaster's allowance on the whole therefore appears to be :—
|23||14||1||" rates and taxes.|
The present schoolmaster is the Reverend Edward Wilton, who was appointed on the 25th June 1832.
The usher is unknown to the Mercers' Company, nor are they acquainted with the state of the school or with the almspeople.
The number of the almspeople was increased in the year 1831 from 7 to 10.
The almspeople now receive 8s. per week, and 3l. per year for clothing each person, making altogether 238l.
In the year 1839 the Company, in addition to the other payments, granted to the Reverend E. Wilton a sum of 75l. for the outfit of his son for India.
The whole fund (except for insurance) is remitted to the schoolmaster, and is applied by him. The Company receive no vouchers except as showing payments in taxes.
I append the communication I have received from the Reverend E. Wilton in reply to my inquiries as to the condition of the institution.
The Honourable Elizabeth Fermor, by her will of the 8th August 1704, directed that a sum of 1,000l. should be laid out in the purchase of lands of the largest and most durable income, of which income 10l. should be applied to the benefit of a free school, to be taught within the parish of Fairford, in Gloucestershire, and that her uncle, Samuel Barker, Esquire, and his heirs should for ever have the nomination of a person to teach 20 poor children at a time, inhabitants of Fairford aforesaid, to read English and write, for which the person so teaching should have the yearly sum of 10l. And she gave the residue of the said yearly income to a minister to preach every Sunday afternoon, and if he be not the minister of Fairford, then 5l. to the said minister for permitting him to preach. And if he should not be permitted so to preach, then the bequest for preaching to go to the use of the poor widows in Lady Mico's Almshouses at Stepney. And if the yearly profits should exceed 50l., then such overplus should go to the said poor widows.
The 1,000l. is stated to have been invested in the year 1718 by order of the Court of Chancery in the purchase of an estate called Chaceley Hole, in the parish of Chaceley, in the county of Worcester.
The Mercers' Company, as trustees of Lady Mico's Almshouses at Stepney, appear to have been in 1817, for the first time, made acquainted with the bequest. The rent of the farm, which had been originally 52l., was raised gradually to 140l., which it had reached in 1811, and the rent had been apportioned between the vicar and master of the school. The estate consists, it is stated by the Commissioners of Inquiry, of "an ancient farmhouse and buildings and several parcels of land containing 91a. 3r. 34p." (Vol. 6, page 318). I do not find that the Company have any later particulars respecting it. It appears, however, that much has been expended since 1840 in repairs and improvements on the property, for I find the following items of charge in the accounts rendered by the agent of Mr. Raymond Barker, who acts as the trustee of the estate, under the deeds (I presume) of the 24th and 25th June 1718. I cannot understand that any conveyance has been subsequently executed by which Mr. Barker has been appointed trustee, and as it is scarcely probable that the estate has descended to him as heir-at-law, up to this time, it is likely that the legal estate is outstanding.
The funds for the earlier repairs were obtained by loan from the Gloster Bank, on which interest was paid, and which loan was gradually reduced by the excess of rents.
The balances received by the Company were:
The Gift for this purpose of education at Fairford seems to have been always understood as being only of one annual sum of 10l. I have not had any copy of the instrument itself, nor has any such copy been found amongst the papers of the Company. On the purchase of the estate in 1718, a rentcharge of 25s. per annum was reserved to one Nicholas Smithsend and his heirs, and this rentcharge appears, so far back as the accounts can be traced, to be added to the 10l. paid to the schoolmaster, making his annual sum 11l. 5s. I cannot ascertain the origin of this addition, otherwise then as above stated. The school and the other charities of Fairford were the subject of an inquiry by Mr. Simons, to whose Report (4th November 1856), I beg to refer.
A sum of 40l. a year has been annually allowed to the lecturer, in respect of what is described in the accounts as an "Evening Lecture," and after deducting land tax and income tax (no commission being charged), th balance has been paid to the Company as above stated.
The Company do not interfere with the letting of the estate. It is according to the accounts rendered, let to a Mr. Lane, at 110l. a year. Mr. Trinder (the agent of Mr. Barker) states in his letter to the Company, that the house is greatly out of repair, and that repairs to the extent of 30l. have been ordered. It will be seen in the Report on Lady Mico's Almshouses that, the Company in fact, provide all the deficiency for the maintenance of that institution, and therefore, any failure of diminution of productiveness in the Chaceley estate is purely to the loss of the Company. The excess of payments are not in any case carried in as charges against the Charity.
Richard Fishborne by his will 30th March 1625, bequeathed to the Company,
I. 500l. to purchase lands and hereditaments of the clear yearly value of 25l., for a sermon in the Mercers' chapel, on the first Sunday in Michaelmas Term, and on every Sunday following (except at Christmas) until the first Sunday in Lent, 20s. for each sermon, and to the keeper of the said chapel 40s.; also
II. A further sum of 2,800l. to purchase two or more rectories in Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, or some other Northern County to be in the Gift of the Company; also
III. A further sum of 1,000l. to be lent to five young men of the Company gratis on bond; also
IV. A sum of 1,000l. to purchase lands and hereditaments of the yearly value of 50l.
|For a weekly lecture at St. Bartholomew, Royal Exchange||25||0||0|
|To the poor of the parish||20||0||0|
|" second warden||4||0||0|
|" clerk of Company||1||0||0|
V. Also a further sum of 420l. to purchase lands of the yearly value of 21l.
VI. Also a further sum of 300l. to defray the costs of suits at law to arise about such purchases as aforesaid.
VII. Also a further sum of 1,000l. to purchase lands of the yearly value of 50l. to be distributed in clothing to 30 poor brethren of the Company or their widows: and
VIII. Also a further sum of 2,000l. to purchase lands of the yearly value of 100l. for good and charitable uses in Huntingdon.
The whole of the sums were received by the Company from the estate of the testator, with as it appears a small surplus. The endowments are divisible into three classes:—
First.—Those directed to be applied as a loan fund and to discharge the expense of suits at law and which have therefore no specific local application, (Nos. III. and VI.) in the above list.
Second.—The sum to be employed in the purchase of church livings, viz., 2,800l. (No. II.)
Third.—The monies directed to be invested in lands for various other objects above stated (Nos. I., IV., V., VII., VIII.).
First Class.—The sum of 1,000 (III.) is part of the subject of the Report on the "Money Legacies for Loans" and is dealt with under the decree of the 7th March 1833 therein stated. The 300l. (VI.) for law suits appears to have been absorbed in the funds of the Company, unless it can be considered as part of the 345l. 4s. 6d. mentioned below (No. 2).
The Church Livings. (II.)
Second Class.—It will be convenient here to state the terms of this endowment more fully. The founder bequeathed to the said Wardens and Commonalty 2,800l. therewith to purchase two or more parsonages, rectories, or church livings anciently appropriated to some abbey, monastery, or religious house or houses, commonly called impropriations, the same to be in Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, or some other northern county or counties, where the said Company of Mercers should best fit themselves with such a purchase and find most want of preaching the Word of God to be; and the same church livings or impropriations so purchased, his will was should be from time to time successively for ever by the said Company after their wonted custom of elections by most votes at their general meeting conferred, bestowed, and conveyed upon two or more ministers respectively for such term and in such manner and with such provision as that if they should prove non-resident or have any other benefice or church living besides, then the said Wardens should remove, displace, dismiss, and eject them out of the said impropriations or any of them, and elect and place another or others in his or their room according to their good discretion. And the testator entreated the said Wardens that they would be careful to make choice of such as be well known to be honest, discreet, and learned men fearing God and painful in their ministry that by their life and doctrine they might win many souls to Christ Jesus. And although testator hoped that said 2,800l. would purchase such church livings or impropriations to the value of 200l. a year or thereabouts, yet because his confidence was that the Company would husband it to the best for the performance of his good intent therein, his meaning was not to enjoin them to a precise yearly value nor that they should bestow the whole sum, but that they fit the purchases to the money bequeathed as well as conveniently they might, reserving in their hands sufficient to defray the charge of travail, counsel and conveyances incident about such purchases.
It appears that the Company in the years 1628 and 1631, purchased impropriate rectories and church livings in several counties, in which purchases they laid out the whole of the sum of 2,800l., and a further sum of 345l. 4s. 6d., making together 3,145l. 4s. 6d. (See the Report of the Commissioners of Inquiry, Vol. 6, p. 308). These purchases comprised the advowsons of the rectories of Canwick and Reepham in Lincolnshire, and the tithes of several parishes in Northumberland. I describe the purchases in Lincolnshire to be advowsons, as it appears that the Company have the right of presentation to those parishes, although it is said that upon the presentation it is the habit of the Company to grant a lease of the tithes to the Vicar during his incumbency; this implying that he takes the vicarage in one right and the tithes in another. The tithes in the Northumberland parishes are appropriated as to some of them to the support of a lectureship in the parish of Hexham, and as to the remainder to a lectureship in the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed.
1. The Rectory of Reepham, or Repham, Lincolnshire. —This living is filled by the presentation of the Company, who (as stated by the clerk of the Company) have no knowledge of its value, except that which is shown by the clergy list, in which it is stated to be 176l. a year with a population of 368 persons. The Reverend J. Jones, the present rector, was presented in 1853.
2. The Rectory of Canwick, in Lincolnshire.—The Company also present to this living, the same observations applying as to the last. The present rector is the Reverend G. Quilter, who was appointed in 1818. The living appears in the clergy list of the value of 231l. a year, with a population of 213 persons.
3. Hexham Lectureship.—The Company appoint a lecturer at Hexham, in the county of Northumberland, who is bound by the terms of the appointment to deliver a lecture in the afternoon of Sundays in the parish church (with the leave of the rector), and also to perform duty twice a month on alternate Sundays at the Church of St. John, Lee, when the duty is not performed by the clergyman of that parish, and alternately on Sundays in the morning at the Chapels of Bingfield and St. Oswald, and an afternoon service; and a sermon at each of the above chapels on those Sundays when the morning duty is not performed. He receives the tithes of Swinbourne, Kepwick, Errington, Bingfield and Colwell in the county of Northumberland. The present lecturer is the Reverend C. Lee, who was appointed in 1825. The value of the lectureship was:
I annex to this report (documents Nos. 1, 2, and 3) letters from the incumbent of Hexham and from the lecturer, showing that the former, with the spiritual charge of 6,000 persons, is provided with an income of no more than 130l. a year, whilst the present value of the lectureship derived from the tithes of the several parishes above-named is 563l. 7s. 8d. It would be desirable that the Company should put themselves in communication with the Bishop of the diocese, and obtain the benefit of his advice in the reappropriation of these ecclesiastical rights and duties in which I should think the public benefit might well be reconciled with the perfect integrity of the powers and patronage of the Company.
4. The Berwick Lectureship.—The Company also appoint a lecturer for the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed. He receives the tithes of Chillerton and Binisford in the county of Northumberland. His duty is, "to perform divine service, and preach in person in the church of Berwick-upon-Tweed, in the forenoon of every Thursday, and it is provided by his appointment that in the event of a new church or chapel to be built in Berwick, the lecturer shall if required by the present Court, for the greater benefit of the interests of the established religion, take upon himself the duty of the new church or chapel, upon such conditions as the Court shall appoint, or vacate the lectureship." The present lecturer is the Rev. William Procter, who was appointed in 1824.
In this case also I annex several documents numbered respectively 5, 6, 7, and 8.
The moneys directed to be invested in land for other permanent objects (I., IV., V., VII., and VIII.). These several sums, viz.:
were in 1630 invested in the purchase of a manor and estate at Chalgrave in Bedfordshire.
The Company appropriate the net rents, not amongst all the above charities or charitable objects, the bequests to which constitute the purchase money, but amongst the several endowments distinguished above as I., IV., VII., and VIII., and Mrs. Robinson's Exhibition Charity; and having appropriated so much of the net income as corresponds with the several portions of the purchase money received from these sources, they carry the surplus to the Company's account, subject only to the specific payments for the other charitable purposes. The late Commissioners of Inquiry approved this arrangement, for they say, "as these benefactions were donations of money given merely to secure specific annual payments, the Company deem themselves (and we think justly) entitled to all the benefits of the security in which they have invested them beyond the amount of those annual payments, which are only to be considered as charges on the estate."
I should have thought that where the gifts were vested in the Company on charitable trusts the objects of the trust would have been entitled to the income produced by the investment whatever that income might be.
I proceed, however, to state the actual division of the produce, taking the year 1860, of which the rents and charges are above given.
The proportion of the Chalgrave net rent, in respect of this 500l. was 49l. 3s. 3d. The sum is divided unequally amongst about ten different clergymen and the chaplain. The chaplain receives 5l. 13s. 4d. a year. the chapel keeper 2l. 13s. 4d., the clerk of the chapel 1l., making for these the fixed charges of 9l. 6s. 8d. annually. The sermons preached in the Mercers' chapel are 16 in number. The attendance of hearers is very irregular and uncertain. The intention to preach the sermon is previously advertised. Some of the sermons are on week days, and others on Sundays. The preachers are nominated by the House Warden for the time being.
IV.—The Parish of St. Bartholomew.
The proportion of the Chalgrave rent in 1860 was 98l. 6s. 5d. This was divided as follows:—
There was at the time of the last inquiry a sum of 577l. 10s. 3d. Consols standing to the account of this parish arising from arrears, the dividends of which were added to the rent. In 1822 a sum of 2,096l. 7s. 11d. was laid out on the repairs and rebuilding of the Chalgrave farmhouse and offices. This disbursement was charged directly, according to their shares, to the different charities interested. The 577l. 10s. 3d. stock belonging to this portion of the charitable objects was sold out and produced 472l. 17s. 6d. cash. The St. Bartholomew share of the expense of the repairs was 413l. 11s. 8d. A balance of 59l. 5s. 10d. was paid to the parish in cash in October 1827.
VII.—The Clothing of Poor Mercers. (1,000l.)
The proportion of the Chalgrave rent applicable to this purpose is 98l. 6s. 5d.
This is distributed in money at Easter as equally as possible amongst 30 poor brethren or widows or daughters of freemen. The fund in 1860 afforded 3l. 15s. 7d. or 3l. 15s. 8d. a piece. The recipients are selected or approved by the Master and Wardens.
VIII.—The Huntingdon Benefaction (2,000l.)
The proportion of the Chalgrave rent applicable for the benefit of the town of Huntingdon was 196l. 12s. 10d. Of this there was paid—
|To the Lecturer of Huntingdon, the Rev. J. Burke, who is appointed by the Company||60||0||0|
|The residue is remitted to the Mayor of Huntingdon for charitable uses||136||12||10|
The Company is not supplied with any account of this distribution by the local authorities.
There was at the time of the last inquiry a sum of 2,000l. consols to the credit of this branch of the endowments arising from arrears, and which had formed part of a larger sum part of which had been sold for the redemption of the land tax.
The sum of 2,000l. was sold out in 1822 for application towards the expenses of the repairs and improvements on the Chalgrave estate, as before stated. It produced a sum of 1,637l. 10s. cash, and it appears that the share of this Charity of these expenses was 827l. 3s. 3d. A balance of 857l. 9s. 6d. was on the 15th June 1824 paid over to the Corporation of Huntingdon. I do not understand the grounds of the appropriation. The lecturer appears to have enjoyed his moiety of the dividends, and would, therefore, on the same principle, be entitled to the moiety of the capital, but unless some division of the fund afterwards took place in the town of Huntingdon (into which I have at present no means of inquiry), the appropriation of the balance of the proceeds of the stock appears to have been made in prejudice of the rights of the lecturer.
The Reverend F. G. Vesey, Rector of All Saints, Huntingdon, attended at the office of the Charity Commission, and informed me that a service is performed by the lecturer, and a lecture delivered in each of the two churches on alternate Sundays. The lecturer is blind, and reads the service from the raised books printed for the use of the blind. There are now two full services in both churches in Huntingdon, on every Sunday, and the incumbents are of opinion that the lectureship has ceased to be necessary or useful, and that being only an appropriation of part of a fund to be applied to good and charitable purposes it might with great benefit, on the first vacancy in the office of lecturer, be applied to the purposes of church education. I have received the following letter from the Reverend J. W. Burke, the lecturer.
"Sir, April 16th, 1861.
"In reply to your communication of the 12th instant, I have to inform you that the duty which I perform in the town of Huntingdon, is as follows: In Saint Mary's Church I preach once a fortnight on the Sunday evening, taking the whole service the first Sunday evening of every month that comes in rotation for my lecture. In All Saints Church, I have, as lecturer, a full service once a fortnight on the Sunday afternoon. In addition to this I voluntarily take an afternoon service every other fortnight, so that I officiate every Sunday afternoon in this church.
"It does not appear to me that any permanent advantage would be likely to accrue from any other assignment of the lecturer's duties, as the Huntingdon benefices are of very small value.
"I have, &c. &c.
"J. W. Burke."
The proportion of the rent distributed in manner aforesaid, with that applied for Mrs. Robinson's Exhibitions, amounting together to 491l. 12s. 1d., leaves a sum of 153l. 7s. 6d., which is claimed by the Company, as charged only with 55l. 6s. 8d. per annum in respect of the other charitable gifts. (See my Reports on Lady Margaret North's, Lady Elizabeth Martin's, Mrs. Catherine Clarke's, Sir Henry Rowe's, and Sir Ralph Warren's Charities). (fn. 2)
The Charities of Sir Thomas Gresham.
Sir Thomas Gresham, by his will, 5th July 1575, gave one moiety of the Royal Exchange and all pawnshops, messuages, &c. adjoining the same to the Corporation of London for four lectures of divinity, astronomy, music, and geometry, 50l a-piece, and also to pay 53l. 6s. 8d. yearly unto eight almsfolks, and 50l. a year to the poor prisoners.
And he gave the other moiety to the Mercers' Company for three lectures of law, physic, and rhetoric, 50l. each; for four dinners in Mercers' Hall 100l., and to the Hospitals of Christ, St. Bartholomew, Bethlem, Southwark, and the Poultry Compter, 50l.
These endowments were the subject of an inquiry by Mr. Martin in 1856, and to his report of the 13th February 1857 I beg to refer.
Lady Gresham's Gift.
Dame Isabell Gresham devised to the Company certain premises (now in Gresham Street and Milk Street) to the intent that they should yearly bestow 9l. 10s. to poor householders of the parishes of St. Lawrence Jewry, St. Mary Aldermanbury, and St. Vedast Foster, out of which the Renter Warden to retain 6s. 8d., and the clerk 3s. 4d. The sum of 3l. a year is annually paid to the vestry clerk of St. Lawrence Jewry, the like sum to the vestry clerk of St. Mary Aldermanbury, and the like sum to the vestry clerk of St. Vedast Foster, and the 10s. is paid to the two officers of the Company.
Hungerford's Apprenticing Charity.
Dame Margaret Hungerford, by her will of the 23rd January 1671, bequeathed to the Mercers Company 1,000l. to be kept by the Company as a stock, and the produce bestowed in binding out apprentices, boys from Wiltshire or Gloucestershire to be preferred.
The Commissioners of Inquiry (vol. 6, page 319) state, that the Company, under a decree of the Court of Chancery of the 6th March 1675, are directed to pay 30l. a year on account of this benefaction. They add that this was or was supposed to be charged on the Henry the Eighth's estate. It will be seen, by my Report on the Money Legacy Charities, that the Henry the Eighth estate is charged with these Charities, and this must, I presume, be treated as an additional charge thereon, although I cannot find any deed defining the particular portion of the property; that, however, is probably unimportant, as the liability is fully admitted.
In addition to the 30l. a year there is an accumulation of arrears, invested in 400l. consols, and producing 12l. a year, making 42l. a year.
No advertisements are published in the counties of Gloucester and Wilts, but many applications are received every year from all parts of those counties, and the Company endeavour to select the case of the greatest poverty and destitution, or the largest families with the smallest means.
I append the copy of the petition and the circular which accompanies it, which is sent to all persons applying for the printed forms and for particulars.
There are at present nine applications for the three premiums of this year. The Company allow 14l. for each boy. They are all bound for seven years, and according to the indentures are to be taken into the master's house, but that condition is believed, in many cases, to be varied by arrangements with the parents; but no variation of that nature is permitted with the sanction of the Company. (fn. 3)
Lady Elizabeth Martin's Gift.
Lady Elizabeth Martin by her will, 6th October 1581, gave to the Company 100l. to be lent to two young men, paying in respect thereof yearly 6l. 13s. 4d. as follows:
|To the churchwardens of St. Antholin for bread||5||4||0|
|Clerk of that parish||0||6||0|
|To the preachers||0||10||0|
|To the Wardens of Company||0||13||4|
To this endowment is added the interest on the arrears, amounting to 69l. 5s. 2d. 3l. per cent. consols, producing 2l. 1s. 7d. dividends, making for the parish 8l. 1s. 7d. a year which is paid annually to the churchwardens.
The wardens are credited with the 13s. 4d.
This sum of 100l. was invested as part of the purchase money of the Chalgrave estate, and it appears to me that it is entitled to a sixty-fifth share of the rent, which would increase the amount from 6l. to about 10l. 10s., or about 4l. 10s. more yearly.