Henry Giles, by deed of 1575, left two cottages and
about 5 acres of land on the west of
the Onagar-Blackmore road in trust
for an annual distribution to the poor.
In 1834 the two cottages were used as five almshouses
whose inmates were appointed by the overseer. (fn. 85) The
parish then paid no rent and the trustees did not repair
the cottages. The land was let for £7 5s., which was
distributed at Christmas in shares varying from 3s. to
5s. according to the size of families. In 1841 the lord
of the manor supplemented the endowment by a small
piece of waste land between the cottages and the road.
He also rebuilt and enlarged the cottages in 1860. (fn. 86)
Part of the property, including one of the five cottages,
has been sold since 1931. In 1951 the stock held was
£155. In 1952 the total rents received were £28 1s. 2d.
Most of this was spent on repairs, the cottages being in
poor condition; £1 was given away in relief.
Giles Charity Cottages are a group of five two-story
houses in red brick with pilasters on the outer angles,
pantile roofs, pierced ornamental barge-boards to the
end gables and porches, diagonal chimney-stacks, and
'Gothic' casements. The pantiles were substituted for
thatch about 20 years ago. (fn. 87) On the north-east end
wall of the block is a stone slab inscribed: 'The gift of
Henry Giles to Stondon parish 1574. Enlarged and
repaired 1860.' The repairs of 1860 seem to have con-
stituted an almost complete rebuilding, but the central
cottage is said to contain timbers from the earlier house.
Before 1860 the cottages were apparently weatherboarded and tarred buildings and known as Black
Cottages. There is some doubt whether they were the
original cottages. (fn. 88)
Before 1684 Mrs. Alice Thomlinson left £1 10s. a
year, issuing from Braintrees Farm in Hatfield Broad
Oak, to buy waistcoats for six poor widows of Stondon
Massey. In 1834 the churchwarden gave equal shares
of money to all the poor widows each March. Under
the 1892 Scheme which was framed for this and Giles's
Charity the income was to be spent on relief in money.
The rent was not paid in 1952; in 1951 the whole
amount was given to one widow.
The Bell Rope Charity is described above (see
Canon E. H. L. Reeve, formerly rector, by will
proved 1936 left legacies of £600 and £750, subject
to two life interests, for the repair of the church and
for the immediate repair of the Giles Almshouses.
These charities had not yet come into effect in 1953.
Rep. Com. Char. (Essex), H.C. 216,
pp. 245-6 (1835), xxi (1); Char. Com. files; Reeve, Stondon Massey, 110-17.
||See Parish Government and Poor Relief.
Kelly's Dir. Essex (1878).
||Inf. from an occupant.
||Reeve, Stondon Massey, 113.