City of London Livery Companies Commission. Report; Volume 4. Originally published by Eyre and Spottiswoode, London, 1884.
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Mr. HARE'S REPORT ON THE VINTNERS' COMPANY.
In pursuance of a Minute of the Board of the 29th of May 1863, I have inquired into the condition and circumstances of the following charities under the management of the Vintners' 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 latter is uncertain in numbers, but the quorum is 13. The average number of members is about 20. The liverymen now on the list are 246, including the members of the court. There is a privilege of all the free vintners, vintners by service or patrimony, to sell wine throughout the Kingdom without a license from the Board of Inland Revenue or magistrates, under the old construction of ports and port towns. The number of freemen, not liverymen, known to the clerk, is 273, and there may be about 50 more. The title of the Company is "The Master, Wardens, and Freemen, and Commonalty of the Mystery of Vintners of the City of London."
Guy Shuldham, by his will of the 7th November 1446, gave to the Company lands and tenements in the parishes of St. Martin, Vintry, and St. James, Garlickhithe, London, on condition that the said Company and their successors, the great hall, with the kitchen and house for coals, and a pantry and buttery, and a void piece of land called the Yard, with the well in the same, and the apparell to the same well belonging, and also a parlour above leaded and a house called the countinghouse, being parcels of the said lands with the appurtenances, for ever after his decease, put, convert, and conserve to the proper use of the said master, wardens, and commonalty, paying for the same with the money of the common box, 6s. 8d.
And he directed that the Company should grant the 13 little mansions to 13 poor men or women without rent; and to let the residue of the said lands and tenements, and pay to the 13 poor people 4s. 4d. each yearly.
The history of the site of these buildings is dated in the Report of the Commissioners of Inquiry (vol. 8, p. 380). A portion of it before the Fire of London seems to have been appropriated to the Hall of the Company occupying nearly the site of the present hall at the foot of Southwark Bridge on the Thames Street side. After the Fire the premises described as the little mansions, which were supposed to be only rooms in a large building, were not reconstructed on the same site but on a plot of land purchased by the Company, adjoining the Trinity Almshouses in the Mile End Road. These almshouses were re-built about 60 years ago, mainly from a bequest from Mr. Kenton, one of the Company, and his executors. The almshouses, as described by the Commissioners of Inquiry, consist of 12 small houses, six on each of two sides of a square, with a chapel at the side opposite the entrance. Each house has an outer door, with a parlour and bed-room on the same floor, and a cellar or kitchen below.
An information was filed on the 16th December 1833, which was amended by successive orders of the 29th July 1834 and the 24th January 1835, and as amended was by the Attorney-General at the relation of George Everitt and William Everitt, against the Vintners' Company, stating the gift by Guy Shuldham, and the subsequent transactions, and praying that it might be declared that the said Vintners' Company took and acquired the lands and tenements devised by G. Shuldham, except so much as was appropriated to the use of the Company as a hall or otherwise, the residue of said lands and tenements distinguished from so much thereof as then constituted the buildings therein mentioned and specified. And that the said Company then held the same, subject to a charitable trust, and not absolutely to their own use, and that the said Company, for the time being, in respect of the said lands so vested in them, were chargeable, not merely with the obligation of supporting almshouses for the relief of 13 poor almspeople, and of applying the yearly sum of 4s. 4d. for the maintenance of each of such poor, but that they were liable for, and chargeable with, the whole of the rents of such residue of said lands and tenements as were applicable to a charitable use.
The bill also prayed that the Company might be charged in account with the moneys received from Mr. Kenton and his executor for the relief of the almshouses, and might account for the surplus rents, profits, and receipts on taking the account.
The Company put in their answer to the original and amended bills, and certain proceedings took place with reference to the competency of the relators, and orders were made for the inspection by the relators of the books and documents of the Company. In January 1836, it was proposed to the Company by Messrs. Yates and Turner, the solicitors to the relators, that a decree should be made charging the Company with the maintenance of the almshouses, "in as ample, effectual, and beneficial a manner as they were then maintained." This the Company refused to consent to. In Hilary Term, 1839, a subpœna to rejoin was served, but no further proceedings were taken, nor was the information ever dismissed.
The almshouses are occupied by 12 women. The widows of liverymen are preferred to freemen, and then the widows of freemen, but it was opened to the widows of freemen in consequence of widows of liverymen not being sufficient in number. They are not generally elected under the age of 60.
Benjamin Kenton, who died in 1802, by his will (date not stated), gave 2,050l. to the Company; a competent part thereof to be laid out in rebuilding the almshouses, and directed that what remained should, together with a further sum of 200l. be placed out at interest and applied (after deducting 2l. 2s. a year for a sermon) amongst the poor women of the almshouses.
The Company, however, charge themselves with the annual sum of 12l. 12s., which is divided in 12 equal sums and given to the 12 almspeople on the day fixed on for the commemoration of the donor. They also pay 2l. 2s. a year for a sermon in the parish church of Stepney, preached by a clergyman named by the master, usually the rector; the rector receiving the fee.
—Flower gave to the almswomen 5l. a year for a dinner and 5l. a year for coals. The Company charge themselves with 10l. a year, which is applied to the benefit of the almspeople, in respect of this gift.
Mrs. Gale, by her will (date not known), gave to the Company 100l. to be lent to two young men at 4l. per cent., and directed that with part of it two loads of charcoal should be bought, and the overplus be divided in August among the almsfolk.
The capital of this fund had not, at the last inquiry,
been lent out for a long period, if ever. An information
was subsequently filed against the Company at the
relation of Thomas Gabriel Bottomley and Hugh
Coppendal, against the Vintners' Charity, stating the
and praying that the charitable bequests aforesaid for loans and all other, if any, like bequests might be established, and that the due performances of the said trusts might be enforced and secured for the future; and then, if necessary, some proper scheme might be named for that purpose, and that proper accounts might be directed to be taken of the aforesaid moneys, and of the manner in which the same had from time to time been applied.
The Company put in their answer stating that after diligent inquiries made by their clerk respecting the said moneys, that all traces of the same appear to have been lost about the year 1654, but whether such moneys were lost by inability of persons to whom they were lent and their sureties to repay the same, or whether they were mixed up and blended with the general funds of the Company they were unable to trace, and verily believed the same could not be traced; but the defendants were willing to admit that the bequests of Gale, Mallowes, and Hawkins, of 100l., 150l., and 40l. had been at some time or other mixed up and blended with the funds of the Company, and though they had no trace of the 50l. given by Bullock, yet they admitted the same was received and had been so mixed up and blended.
The sum of 4l. a year is charged by the Company upon their funds, and forms part of the sum appropriated for the benefit of the almswomen. It is a portion of a gift of 5l. 5s. given to each almswoman on the 31st July.
Richard Jacob, by his will in 1609, charged his lands in Eastcheap with 13 nobles (4l. 6s. 8d.) yearly for the poor almspeople. The Company hold the lands in Eastcheap except a part which has been taken for city improvements.
The capital of this gift was included in the information filed against the Charity and mentioned in my report on Gale's Gift. It is not in any specific investment. The sum of 5l. a year is part of the sum of 63l. given to the almspeople in July. (See my report on Gale's Gift.)
The rent paid by Messrs. Barclay is 930l. In consequence of the increase of income of the Lombard Street property a committee of the Company has lately presented the following report to the court, which has been approved.
"The special committee appointed to consider and recommend to the court what augmentation should be made to the gifts to the poor of the Company in consequence of the increased rental of the Lombard Street property beg to report the present payments, viz.:—
"The 12 widows in the almshouses are paid a monthly allowance of 2l. in addition to various other gifts, making a total of 40l. 7s. 10d. each per annum, and to the matron an additional 8l. 8s. per annum, and a liveryman's widow without an almshouse is paid 10s. per week, making 26l. per annum.
"We, your committee, considering the very great increase that has taken place in the sums voted for temporary relief in anticipation of the increased rental, recommend that at least 200l. thereof should be reserved for this mode of relief, and if the court should consider that amount sufficient, we would then recommend that the permanent allowances should be augmented as follows:
12 almswomen to have an addition of 5s. per month to their allowance, the income being raised from 40l. 7s. 10d. to 43l. 7s. 10d. all of which we respectfully submit to the consideration of the court."
In addition to the periodical payments mentioned in the foregoing report, there are various sums given annually by votes of court to casual applicants; these in the year 1862 were 209l. 10s. This is an increasing claim upon the Company.
The moneys appropriated for the poor of the several classes above mentioned, and which may be regarded as paid from Mervayle's Charity, so far as that will extend, are therefore upwards of 1,200l., being a surplus of 300l. beyond the income.
Stephen Skydmore, by his will of the 20th March 1584, gave all his lands and tenements in Blackfriars to the Company on trust to pay to each of 17 parishes in and near the City of London 20s. for fuel in the month of October.
|To St. Stephen, Coleman Street, parish, for bread||1||12||0|
|To the poor of the Company||1||0||0|
|To the City of Cork||24||0||0|
Paul Hawkins, by his will of the 21st June 1600, directed his executrix to pay to the Company 40l., to be lent to a young man, for the delivery yearly of one load of good charcoal for the poor of the Company, and 2s. to the clerk.
|To the parish of St. Clement Danes||4||0||0|
|To the poor of St. Andrew Hubbard||2||0||0|
|To Bridewell Hospital||3||0||0|
|To Christ's Hospital||2||0||0|
|To Bartholomew's Hospital||2||0||0|
|To St. Thomas' Hospital||3||0||0|
|To the poor almspeople of the Company||4||6||8|
This part of the subject of the suit is mentioned under Gale's Gift. There is no account of the investment of the fund. The 20s. a year is added to the distribution to the poor, and returned in the accounts of the Company with Mervayle's Gift.
The sum of 2l. 10s. is added in the Company's account to Mervayle's Gift, and may be considered as included in what is given by the Company to their poor, which far exceeds the produce of the Charity Estates.
At a special court of assistants of the Company held on the 4th July 1839, the renter warden reported that Mr. Alderman Lucas, then master of the Company for the second time, had paid into the hands of the renter warden 500l.; the interest to be annually distributed to the almswomen inmates of the almshouses. It was resolved that the said 500l. should be invested and kept separate from the said charity funds of the Company, by the title of Alderman Lucas' Gift, that so great an act of beneficence might be held in perpetual remembrance by the members of the Vintners' Company.
John Henry Peacock, by his will of the 14th May 1849, gave to the Company 500l., and directed the dividends thereof for ever, to be paid and applied to and for the use and benefit of the widows of decayed liverymen, inhabitants of the almshouses at Mile End, belonging to the said Company, at such times and in such proportions and manner as the trustees or other officers for the time being of the said almshouses should see fit.
This fund is composed of a gift of 2,000l. by Mr. Kenton (as stated in the report on his Charity) for the use of the Company, but which was applied by them to the benefit of the decayed members to which various subsequent donations of other members have been added, the respective names and amounts of which will appear in the annexed table.