City of London Livery Companies Commission. Report; Volume 4. Originally published by Eyre and Spottiswoode, London, 1884.
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In pursuance of a Minute of the Board of the 2nd February 1863, I have inquired into the condition and circumstances of the following Charities under the management of the Grocers' 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.
Distribution to the Poor Members of the Company.
The third class consists of a similar class of persons, but whose circumstances do not, in the judgment of the Court, require or entitle them to an equal amount of assistance. They are about 23 in number, and receive generally 12l. a year.
In addition to the persons who are thus classed, there are certain liverymen and widows of liverymen to whom larger gifts are made, varying from 100l. a year to 30l. a year. At present there are 18 of this extra class of recipients.
The gifts of the Company to the poor members, in various ways, from 1852 to 1856 inclusive, was 7,827l. 19s., averaging about 1,565l. per annum, and from 1857 to 1861 inclusive, 11,327l., averaging 2,265l. per annum. Since 1861 the average has increased.
In addition to these gifts to the members of the Company, the Company distributes to public institutions and charities large sums as occasion arises. From 1852 to 1861 a sum of 10,151l. was given in such donations.
The property thus devised consists of a warehouse, abutting on St. Antholin's Churchyard, Budge Row, let to Millington and Hutton, assignees of Wm. Leschalles, on lease for 21 years from Michaelmas 1845, at a rent of 125l. 17s.
Sir Henry Kebyll by his will of the 20th March 1514, gave to the Company two messuages in St. Mary-leBow, and two messuages and appurtenances in St. Margaret, Lothbury, and also a great messuage in the Parish of St. Peter-le-Poor, and a piece of ground in St. Olave's, Old Jewry, subject to certain superstitious uses, and then to pay weekly to seven poor men of the Company 3s. 6d., to each 6d.
This portion of the fund and that which is included in the Gifts of Penefather, Lady Conway, Richard Phillips, Edward Turville, John Grove, John Wardall, and Lady Middleton, amount to 56l. 15s. 4d. a year, and are classed in the Company's books under the head of revived Charities.
I presume that the residue of the estate was a part of the purchase made by the City Companies of the estates devised for superstitious uses, and which was confirmed by Act of Parliament, 4 James 1st (see my Report on the Fishmongers' Company).
Sir William Butler's Gift.
Sir William Butler, by his will of the 6th August 1529, gave to the Company his messuage in Thames Street, and two messuages, five cottages, and garden in the parish of St. Michael Bassishaw, and three shops in Tower Street, and a quit-rent of 12s. for certain superstitious uses.
|For the poor of Biddenham||20s.|
|For the poor of St. Mildred, Poultry, for coal||12s.|
The Company pay 3l. a year on the receipt of the churchwardens of Biddenham for the use of that parish. I have suggested that the receipt of the minister and churchwarden should be required to join in giving the receipt, or that the minister should certify who are the churchwardens.
Sir John Peche's Gift.
By an indenture of the 20th June 1533, between the Bishop of Rochester of the first part, the abbess of the Minories without Aldgate of the second part, and the Company of the third part, reciting that John Peche had paid to the Company 500l. for certain obits, alms, and other works of piety, the Company covenanted to keep a yearly obit in the church of Lullingstone, and distribute 30s. to priests and clerks, and in alms to the poor there.
The Company appear to have appropriated 1l. 6s. 8d. a year as a gift to the poor of Lullingstone in respect of the share of the 30s. a year in which they were to participate with the priests and clerks at the obit, and this sum, with the payments above enumerated, make up 9l. 4s. a year, which is paid annually to Sir Percy H. Dyke, of Lullingstone, and by his direction distributed to the poor of the parish in bread and money.
The 20s. a year to the prisons, and other gifts to prisoners, have not been regularly paid for a considerable time. On the 29th December last the sum of 10s. was paid to Mr. Temple, of the Guildhall. There is at present a fund of 126l. in hand applicable to prisoners on this and other charitable accounts.
The Free Grammar School at Oundle, Northamptonshire.
Sir William Laxton, by a codicil to his will of the 27th July 1556, being minded to erect a free grammar school at Oundle in the house, late the guild or fraternity house at Oundle, such school to be called "The Free Grammar School of Sir William Laxton, Knight and Alderman of London," and to have an almshouse for seven poor men at Oundle; and having agreed with the Company, and set out to them certain lands in London, gave to the said Company all his messuages and hereditaments in St. Swithin's, Sherborne Lane, St. Nicholas Lane, Abchurch Lane, and Eastcheap, on condition that they should make suit to the King and Queen for the Fraternity House, to be employed for the school and almshouses, and provide a schoolmaster at 18l. a year, and an usher at 6l. 13s. 4d. a year, and pay to each of the almsmen 34s. 8d. yearly.
By a decree of the Commissioners of Charitable Uses dated 3rd September 1686, reciting that the jurors found that the Company did think fit to augment the several charitable payments to 102l. 16s., and that they were willing in future to pay 82l. 16s., and that their estate should be charged with the arrears, it was ordered that the whole estates of the Company should stand charged accordingly, and 20 years was given to them for payment.
|Women to attend them||5||4||0|
The state of this Charity at the time of the last inquiry is set forth in the Report of the Commissioners (vol. 6, p. 268). After that inquiry, and in the year 1841, an information was filed in the name of the Attorney-General, at the relation of several of the inhabitants of Oundle, praying that an account might be taken, under the direction of the Court, of certain property devised to the Grocers' Company, and to have a declaration, that all the rents, issues, and profits of those messuages, together with the dividends of a certain sum of stock were applicable and ought to be applied to the support of a school which was founded and established as a grammar school at Oundle, and the maintenance of a schoolmaster and usher. And it prayed also that the decree of the Charity Commissioners made upon the inquisition of 1686, being contrary to the intention of the donor, might under the 43rd Elizabeth, cap. 4, sect. 10, be altered or varied according to equity and the true intent and meaning of the testator.
The information came on to be heard before Lord Langdale, the Master of the Rolls, on the 18th of January 1845. His Lordship held that the Company must be considered bound to pay the increased sums specified in the decree of the Commissioners of Charitable Uses in 1686, as upon that understanding they had then obtained an extension of time. As to the claim of this Charity for the entire rents of the estate, his Lordship said the argument for the information stood thus:—
"It is said the Charity may not be entitled to the whole of this fund; yet it turns out that the present fixed payments are not sufficient to maintain a proper school, or to pay the salaries of the schoolmaster and usher of a grammar school; then as it was clearly the intention of the testator that a grammar school should be maintained, that purpose ought not to fail by the accident of these fixed salaries turning out in the course of time to be insufficient for the purpose."
"That the Court may, therefore, consider, in the first instance, what would be a proper sum to pay for the maintenance of such a grammar school as would effectually answer the intention which the testator had in view, and that may be a sum very considerably larger than that which he allowed, and that sum being ascertained, then by the authority of the Grammar School Act it may be applied in the maintenance of a school affording the general instruction pointed out by that Act."
"This might be very well, provided you were not encroaching upon a revenue which, according to the construction which, it appears to me, ought to be put on this codicil, belongs as private property to this Company. If the testator has fixed on certain salaries which fail to provide for the fulfilment of his intentions, no doubt it is very much to be regretted, but you cannot, at the expense of the Company to whom the testator has given a beneficial interest, take that interest from them upon the notion that the testator, if he had thought better of the matter, would have assigned a larger sum to the Charity, or upon the notion that the Legislature has interfered as against the interests of that party to provide a school where there may be a larger instruction."
The information was, therefore, dismissed with costs, and no appeal was made against the decision; but it appears that in January 1850, an attempt was made to lay the case before the then Charity Commissioners to obtain their interference for the purpose of opening the question anew. This application does not appear to have been attended with any result.
The case of this school was brought before this Commission by the Vicar of Oundle in a communication addressed to the Board on the 30th December 1856, to which I find the Board replied by a letter of the 2nd March 1857 (File 1,138), stating to the effect that the Grocer's Company could not be called upon to render any account of their general receipts or expenditure in respect of the property, or any other account than a credit on one side sufficient to meet the charges, and on the other side a debit of the payments they actually make.
The return rendered to this Commission is in conformity with the above rule. The Company debit themselves with a rentcharge arising from messuages, lands, &c. in St. Swithin's, at London Stone, Sherborne Lane, Nicholas Lane, Abchurch Lane, Candlewick Street, and Eastcheap, London (to which should be added the White Hart Inn, at Oundle), amounting in the whole to 82l. 16s. 0d. a year, apportioned according to the decree of the Commissioners of Charitable Uses in 1686, thus:—
|The seven almsmen||41||12||0|
|" repairs of the school house||1||4||0|
|7th December 1861||438||6||9|
|31st May 1862||435||15||10|
which includes the master's and the second master's salaries, which are regulated by a capitation fee on a certain number of boys, and a fixed salary; including also the rates and taxes and repairs. Sums of nearly the same amount have been appropriated by the Company for the purposes of the school for several years past.
" The number of boys in the school is 132. The average age, 13. The course of instruction, all the branches of a liberal English education; the classics, mathematics, and French, for which latter, the only fee (except 1l. entrance fee), of 2l. a year is charged, and which fee is charged to prevent injury to the National and British Schools in Oundle, and the only payment for books and stationery amounting to an average of 2l. per annum.
There are six almsmen, five of whom receive six shillings a week, and one one seven shillings a week, in addition to Sunday dinners, washing, fuel, clothing, and medicines. The almsmen are appointed by the resident committee at Oundle, who are nominated by the Company.
In addition to the above charges the Company have established from their own funds during the pleasure of the court, three exhibitions of 50l. to be held for four years, at either of the two English Universities, for boys of the Oundle School.
Upon this representation the only observation to be made, is that the Company claim the "White Hart Inn" as their own property, and not subject to the trust, and I have no evidence that it is part of the charity estates.
These tenements are said to have been situated in Canwick or Cannon Street, and to have been destroyed in the fire of London; and it is remarkable that no subsequent mention has been made of the premises or of the site, except that in an index to the book of wills of the Company, of the date 1762, as the Commissioners of Inquiry state (vol. 6., p. 270), there is a note that the Charity of Sir William Laxton for the Free Grammar School of Oundle has had credit for the Cannon Street property of this donor.
|To four poor scholars of Cambridge 5l. each||20l.|
|To four poor scholars of Oxford 5l. each||20l.|
hoping that they would prefer some of her own kindred to such scholarship, being fit for the same, before strangers, and the residue of the profits to be disposed to such good uses as the Corporation should think convenient.
The Company also receive 15l. 14s. 5d. from the Haberdasher's Company, a fee farm rent, after deducting land and income tax, supposed to represent the house in Steyning Lane, which stood on part of the site of Haberdasher's Hall.
I do not find that any legal construction of the gift of the residue to "good uses" has ever been obtained. It is right however, to refer to the greatly increased exhibitions given by the Company, and the large amount distributed to charitable and for other purposes.
It should be observed that with regard to exhibitions alone, taking the entire present income of the Charity, together with 5 per cent. on the capital of the gifts of Mary Robinson, Bayning and Cocke, the annual produce would be 656l. a year, whilst (if we include the Oundle Exhibition) the annual fund appropriated to such objects amounts to 650l., and if we add to this the payments from scholars of the City of London School, the fund dedicated to exhibitions is 770l. a year, exclusive of other specific charges for that purpose.
The exhibitions at Cambridge under this bequest are no longer limited to two, as at the last inquiry the Company debited this trust to pay eight exhibitions which they have raised to 25l. per annum each, four at Oxford, and four at Cambridge. They have also added eight other exhibitions, four to each University, of the like annual value, in respect of Robinson's and (I suppose) Bayning's and Cocke's Gift, although the two latter are not recognised in the books of the Company.
The Company have also voluntarily founded two exhibitions of 50l. a year, for the students of the City of London School, when at either of the two Universities, and they also educate at the City of London School, free of expense, six children, sons of freemen or liverymen, at a cost to the Company of about 120l. a year—about 10l. a year each for school fees, and 10l. a year each for the mid-day meals provided for the boys coming from a distance.
Mary Robinson's Gifts.
The capital sum of 500l. was apparently not laid out in land, nor does it appear to be specifically invested, and must, I presume, be regarded as a charge on the general estates of the Company, subject to the same observations as I have made in my report on Lambert and Stiles' Gifts (page 6).
The Company pay altogether 16 exhibitions of 25l. each to under-graduates of the two universities, Eight of these are attributed to Backhouse's Gift, and the remainder to this endowment, or to the voluntary liberality of the Company.
Bayning's and Cocke's Gifts.
The Commissioners of Inquiry, not finding these endowments in the inquisition, and finding no trace of them in the books of the Company, conjectured "that they had never been received by the Company." It may, perhaps, be difficult to discharge the Company by this supposition, but I must refer to my reports (pp. 3 and 4) on Backhouse's and Robinson's Charities, showing that the Company have founded 16 exhibitions of 25l. a year each, and two of 50l. a year each, thus far exceeding the liability which these particular donations would impose.
Lady Slaney's Gift to West Wickham.
Walwyn's Free School at Colwall.
|To the Grocer's Company for visiting school||5|
|To St. Martin Orgar parish, in coals to the poor||5|
The investment directed by the testator does not appear to have taken place, but in lieu thereof, the Company have been charged, by arrangement, with a rentcharge of 30l. per annum, for the Colwall schoolmaster, and 5l. a year for the parish of St. Martin Orgar.
The Company do not limit themselves to the amount of the rentcharge, but they pay the head master 30l. a year, who occupies moreover a house in the parish belonging to the Company, in which he lives rent free.
The second master at present is Mr. Miller; he is not in orders, and the Company pay him an annual stipend of 70l. a year, and as a testimony of their satisfaction with his conduct of the school the Company two years ago made him a present of 50l.
The Rev. R. O. Carter informs me that the average number of boys has been 62, and that the course of instruction embraces English, mathematics, geography, history, &c., and that the present condition of the school is satisfactory.
|Towards the maintenance of a schoolmaster, in Topcliffe, Yorkshire||16|
There is no account of the investment of this fund, but the Company pay annually a sum of 16l. in halfyearly payments to the chairman of the feoffees of the school at Topcliffe, the Rev. H. A. Hawkins.
In answer to an application addressed to this gentleman as to the present state of the school, I was informed that there is a very good schoolmaster, that the average number of boys attending is 50, from the age of 7 to 15, that they are taught reading, writing, arithmetic, and history, that one or two learn Latin, and that the school is going on in a satisfactory manner.
William Pennefather, by his will of the 26th January 1636, gave to the Company 233l. 6s. 8d. for the purchasing of land of the value of 11l. 13s. 4d., to be paid to seven poor almspeople, 1l. 13s. 4d. each.
Lady Conway's Gift.
Catherine Viscountess Conway, by her will of the 29th March 1637, gave to the Company 200l. on trust, to pay 10l. to the parish of Acton, for bread to 20 of the poor on every Sunday, and 12d. a week for teaching six poor children, 10l.
The Commissioners appear also to have charged the Company with 8s. a year, in respect of a gift of 8l. by Mary Harrison, the executrix of Lady Conway, but no mention of this now appears in the books of the Company.
Lady Middleton's Gift.
Dame Ann Middleton, by her will of the 20th May 1645, gave the rectory and tythes of Forden, county of Montgomery, and a fee farm rent of 27l. out of the rectory of Austell, Cornwall, both of the value of 107l. a year, to the said Company to dispose of the same as follows:—
And by a codicil she directed her executor to settle and convey to the officiating minister of Forden a yearly pension of 30l. out of the tythes of said rectory of Forden, which was to cease if the Parliament should settle upon him any competent maintenance.
The Commissioners of Inquiry remark (Vol. 6, p. 275) that the gift of 40l. a year to the poor prisoners had been reduced to 10l. probably under the power given to the executor to dedicate the 30l. a year to the officiating minister at Forden.
The application of this income, after the appropriation of the 30l. a year to the minister at Forden, 5l. to the parish of Westham, and 10l. to the account of poor prisoners (see Sir J. Peche's Gift) is as follows:—
Together with occasional gifts of a similar sum to unsuccessful candidates in advanced years, which in 1862 amounted to 75l. In the 10 years from 1852 to 1861 the sum given amongst clergymen's widows amounted to 3,370l.
|To pay to St. Botolph, Billingsgate, for lighting the north-east corner of St. Botolph's church at night||4||0||0|
|To the parish of East Greenwich for bread||6||10||0|
|To the parish of St. Botolph||4||0||0|
|To the parish of East Greenwich||6||10||0|
|To the parish of Bishopstone, Wilts||16||0||0|
|To the parish of St. Hearne, Cornwall||8||0||0|
The Company is in possession of the property in Milton Street, in the parish of St. Giles, Cripplegate, devised by this will, and out of the income they pay annually 55l. to the vicar and churchwardens of the parish of Penrith. The 5l. a year to Christ's Hospital was purchased by the Company some years ago.
The vicar of Penrith informs me that there is an average attendance of 50 scholars at the girls' school, who are supposed to be free, but that some few pay weekly pence for extras, and that the ages are from 6 to 13 years.
Box's School, Witney, Oxfordshire.
By an Act passed in the 15th Charles 2nd (1675), reciting that Henry Box had erected a large free school with a fair house standing on two acres of ground in Witney, and by his will declared his intention to settle the said premises and a rentcharge of 50l. out of lands in Longworth Parish, Berks, it was enacted that there should ever thereafter be a free grammar school for the instruction of children and youth, and that there should be one master and one usher, and that the Grocers' Company should be the governors thereof.
And by an indenture of the 19th July 1670, between Mary Box, the widow, and Ralph Box, the son and heir, of the one part, and the said Company of the other part, reciting that the said Mary Box had paid to the Company 286l. for settling the rentcharge thereinafter mentioned, the said Mary Box, for the better maintenance of the said school, and the said Ralph Box, in consideration of the said 286l. paid him by the Company, granted and confirmed to the said Company a yearly rent of 13l. issuing out of tenements in Longworth, viz.:—
The Commissioners of Inquiry (Vol. 32, Part 2, p. 699) report the condition of this school, and that the Grocers' Company had expended in repairs and improvements of the school premises 761l. 19s. 9d. up to the year 1837, against which they were charged, apparently on account of a vacancy in the office of usher, with 518l. 6s. 6d., leaving a balance of payments over receipts of the sum of 243l. 13s. 3d. It would seem, however, that the balance thus stated was less by nearly 30l. than the real excess of the Company's payments. In 1861 the Company expended a further sum of 244l. in repairs of the school-house.
The Rev. Henry Gregory, the present head master, receives the rentcharge of 63l. from the Longworth estate, and transmits annually 3l. to the Grocers' Company, with his report on the condition of the school.
The Commissioners of Inquiry (Vol. 6, p. 278) notice the fact, that the 10l. a year for the preparation sermon at St. Stephen's, Walbrook, was not included in the decree of the Commissioners of Charitable Uses, and had not been paid, the remaining uses are still upheld, and the sums paid as follows:—
Sir Thomas Middleton's, or Richard Phillips', Gift.
The Company possess property in Thames Street, Nos. 225 and 226, which is supposed to have been the subject of his devise, and they charge themselves with 7l. a year, which forms part of the distribution amongst the poor of the Company, classed as one of the revived Charities (see Sir Henry Kebyll's Charity).
John Saunders by will (date not known) gave to the Company 210l., for apprenticing a boy, in Upton Warren, Stoke Prior, or Chaddesley Corbet, Worcestershire, for 10l. a year, but if not performed to them, then the same to be paid to Christ's Hospital.
In December 1831 a petition was presented under Sir J. Romilly's Act, on behalf of the parish of Upton Warren, upon which an order was made, in February 1832, referring it to the Master to take an account of the arrears of the annuity of 10l. accrued since 1794, and directing the Company after the payment of costs to pay the balance into Court.
There was an appeal against this order, on the part of Christ's Hospital, by whom the arrears were claimed and in April 1833 such appeal was dismissed, but the costs of all parties were ordered to be paid out of the fund. The Master found the arrears to amount to 380l., and the costs to 359l. 12s. 6d., leaving a balance of 20l. 7s. 6d. There does not appear to be any further report.
Lambert and Stiles' Gifts.
The capital sum of 200l. given by these donors does not exist in any specific investment, but it is secured in the real estate of the Company comprised in the inquisition and decree of the Commissioners of Charitable Uses, of the 27th August 1686, mentioned in the report of the Commissioners of Inquiry (Vol. 6, p. 265). The decree directed a conveyance to 12 trustees to secure the legacies to charities and the arrears. It does not, however, appear that the estate of the trustees has been kept on foot by any successive conveyance, and the Company hold their estates in their corporate character independent of any trust.
I have requested Mr. Ruck, the clerk of the Company, to furnish me with a statement of the situation, and present rental of the property charged, being the course which I adopted in the case of the Mercers' Company, whose general estates were charged by a deed and Act of Parliament with the payment of the income of Charitable funds which had been expended by the Company. The Grocers' Company, however, decline to exhibit any statement of their property not specifically charged by the respective founders of the charities. It has not been an uncommon circumstance in the ease of the other City Companies, that Charitable funds given to them are not found at present set apart in any definite form of investment, whilst the Company generally admit their liability, and pay the interest or dividends from their general property. There can be no doubt that in the case of these ancient, wealthy, and liberal bodies, the funds are practically secure, and I have therefore not thought it necessary to insist of any account being furnished to me of the mortgaged estate, nor to do more than thus submit the circumstances to the Board.
The 12l. a year is distributed annually to five of the City wards, in rotation, 20 recipients being nominated by the aldermen of the respective five wards on forms sent to them by the Company, and those nominated apply at the hall of the Grocers' Company, and receive 12s. each.
The places called Harp Alley, and Lilley Alley, in the parish of St. Dunstan's-in-the-East, are stated in the report of the Commissioners of Inquiry (vol. 6. P. 278), not to be in existence, and the 200 faggots given to that parish out of the produce of this fund, not to have been included in the decree of the Commissioners of Charitable Uses in 1686. The sum of 1l. 4s. is paid annually to the churchwardens of St. Mildred, Poultry, in respect of the 200 faggots given to the poor of that parish.
Francis Tirrell, by his will, (date not known) gave to the Company 1000 marks (666l. 13s. 4d.) to remain as a stock in Grocers' Hall, to the intent that the Company should provide with the increase thereof 40 chaldron of coals, whereof 26 to be given at Christmas to the poor of the parishes of St. Giles, Cripplegate, St. Sepulchre, St. Olave, Southwark, St. Mary Magdalen, Bermondsey, and St. Botolph, Aldgate, viz., to St. Mary Magdalen, Bermondsey, 6 chaldron, and to each of the other parishes 5 chaldron, and the rest of the coals for the poor of the Company:—
|To the churchwardens of St. Mary Magdalen, Bermondsey||6|
|Do. St. Botolph, Aldgate||5|
|Do. St. Olave, Southwark||5|
|Do. St. Sepulchre||5|
|Do. St. Giles, Cripplegate||5|
Lady Slaney's Fund for the Purchase of Impropriations.
Dame Margaret Slaney, by her will of the 20th October 1607, gave to the Company 2,000l. to remain a perpetual stock for purchasing impropriated benefices, to bestow yearly some competent portion of the profits thereof in the maintenance of a learned preacher in the parish, retaining the estate of the benefice in their own hands until they had again made up the stock of 2,000l., and then, under advice of counsel, to disappropriate the benefice so that the full profits should thenceforth remain to the parson and his successors, and so to continue and employ the said 2,000l. for ever in purchasing and disappropriating in manner aforesaid; provided that the said parsonages or benefices so appropriated should be donative and not presentative, and be for ever freed from first fruits and tenths, and archbishops' and bishops' fees. And she directed that no appropriated benefice should be purchased where the vicarage was worth 80l. a year, and that bonds should be taken from the ministers appointed, to resign if they accepted any other benefice, or were non-resident 40 days a year without leave as therein mentioned.
By a covenant entered into with the executrixes of the testatrix, pursuant to a power in the will, it was agreed that Christ's Hospital should be allowed 6s. 8d. per cent. a year on the balance in the Company's hands; and by the decree of the Commissioners of Charitable Uses it was ordered that the Company should pay 50s. per cent. a year on the balance in their hands towards the increase of the stock.
Under a decree of the Court of Chancery of the 4th December 1761, it was declared that it was the best execution of the Charity that the Company should from time to time, as the fund would permit, purchase impropriations to which the right of patronage of the vicarage appertained, which vicarage the said Company might purchase to the amount of the gross annual sum, not exceeding 150l. a year, including the annual value of the said vicarage, and that such impropriation should be applied for the benefit of the vicar, as the court should after direct. And he ordered that the Company (having then in hand a stock far exceeding 2,000l.) should proceed to find out a purchase or purchases of such impropriation and patronage of the vicarage, but so as to retain in their hands at interest a capital sum of 2,000l. as a future fund, allowing interest for the same after the rate of 2l. 10s. per cent., the purchases when found out to be made with the approbation of the Master.
|1620.||Rectory of North Hill, in the county of Bedford value||400|
|1663.||Rectory of Allhallows, Steyning value||600|
|1762.||Rectory of Bucknall, Shropshire value||300|
|1786.||Rectory of Wyburgh, Devonshire value||250|
In 1818 and 1819 the Company expended out of the fund the sum of 1,180l. in repairing the parsonage at North Hill, and in 1856 a sum of 1,500l. was advanced to rebuild the farm buildings in the same grant where the income is derived from the farms belonging to the rectory. Sums of money are also frequently contributed to restorations and improvements of the churches of these benefices.
The Company have not, however, charged the fund with these advances, but given it credit for the sum of 4,102l. 19s. 11d. up to December 1862, upon which they paid the 6s. 8d. per cent. to Christ's Hospital and 50s. to the fund. They claim, however, the right of deducting the advances they have thus made for rebuilding the farms and the parsonage house. (fn. 1)
In the year 1833 an information was filed by the Attorney-General v. The Grocers' Company praying amongst other things that an account might be taken as against the Company of the sums received by them upon trusts for making loans to poor freemen of the Company, and that it might be referred to the Master to settle a scheme or schemes for the due application of the same sums.
"Though it may be very true that for a long series of years these Charities have not been called into action, yet it is not at all certain but that to-morrow there may be an application to the Company on behalf of the poor members of the Company for loans out of the aggregate sum of 4,620l., and the mere circumstance that there has not heretofore been any application, does not in my mind constitute any breach of trust with respect to the persons who are to be the lenders, because it is apparent there can be no loan unless some persons can borrow, and the reason the fund has not been applied is that no person has made any application to the Company to participate in any loan. Then there is no breach of trust, and there still is a subsisting charity, which may be exercised whenever parties may make application for it. My opinion is that the fund is not given to charity generally, and the fund is still subsisting as an available fund for the purpose of being doled out in the shape of loans to young members of the Company who may apply for it, and who of course are to take the loans at the discretion of the wardens and assistants of the Company."
It is not the habit to give any public notice of the existence of the fund in the newspapers or in the hall of the Company, but it is believed that the freemen of the Company are generally aware of the existence of the fund and their claims upon it.