ALMSHOUSES (fn. 97)
The history of the hospital of St. Anthony and
St. Eligius, which was founded in 1361 and became
an almshouse, has been told elsewhere. (fn. 98)
King's College almshouses were founded by
Margaret Fawkener some time before 1473, at which
date Henry Clyff was the sole survivor of her
feoffees. The foundation was originally intended for
men as well as women, but Margaret Fawkener had
provided little or nothing for them beyond housing
and bedding. Presumably the inmates relied for their
other needs on charitable gifts. In 1473 Clyff made
over the enfeoffment to John Hogekyns, a fellow of
King's College, who managed the almshouses until
1504 or 1505 when he handed them over to the
College. The almshouses in School Lane, probably
the original site, were purchased by the University
in 1756–7 and demolished. By this date all the beneficiaries were women. A building belonging to the
College, in Queens' Lane between the back gate of
the 'Bull' and the corner of Old King's Lane, was
fitted up as new almshouses. The almshouses were
rebuilt about 1823, probably on the same site. By
this time the almswomen were receiving £4 a year
each from the College and the leavings of the scholars'
tables. These payments were increased and the right
to the leavings eventually commuted for a further
money payment. Some time after 1876 the almshouses themselves disappeared and the pensions of
the almswomen were increased correspondingly.
The rate was fixed in 1892 at 12s. weekly. These payments came to serve as pensions for old servants of
King's College, and when regular pensions were
introduced for all servants the alms payments were
allowed to die out. No new almswomen were appointed after 1919, and the last one received her last
payment in 1928. (fn. 99)
Queens' College almshouses were founded by
Andrew Dockett, President of the College, by his will
proved in 1485. They stood in Smallbridges (now
Silver) Street (fn. 1) and the number of almswomen inhabiting them increased from three at Dockett's
death to eight in 1676. The endowment was increased by later legacies from Presidents and others.
In 1836 the almshouses, whose site had been sold to
St. Catharine's, were rebuilt in Queens' Lane. One
of the new houses was sold to King's and the rest
were demolished in 1911. To replace them and the
allowances which Queens' had made to the inmates,
the College thereafter paid weekly pensions of 8s.
to eight women.
Caius College almshouses were founded about
1475 by Richard Ely. They stood in St. Michael's
(now Trinity) Lane, and were for three poor people
appointed by the College. (fn. 2) The endowment was
enlarged by Stephen Perse, and the ground and
buildings were sold to Trinity College in 1864 for
£200, lecture rooms being erected on the site. In
1865 the almshouses were rebuilt in St. Paul's Road,
and in 1955 were numbered 11, 12, and 13 in that
Matthew Stokys (d. 1591), Esquire Bedell, founded
three almshouses in King Street for six poor spinsters. (fn. 3) The endowment appears to have been lost by
1665, but the University paid a small stipend to the
inmates from 1696 until the almshouses were sold
in 1860. The proceeds of sale went to the almshouses
of St. Anthony and St. Eligius.
Stephen Perse (d. 1615) founded several important
charities including almshouses for six single persons
who were to come from certain parishes in Cambridge. The almspeople received allowances from
the endowments he left to Caius in trust for all his
charities. (fn. 4) The original almshouses built under
Perse's will on the corner of Downing Street and
Free School Lane were sold to the University in
1884 and new ones were built in Newnham Road.
Knight and Mortlock's almshouses were founded
by will of Elizabeth Knight (proved 1647). Legacies
from Elizabeth Knight's kinsmen increased the
stipends of the two widows and four spinsters who
were inmates. The almshouses were rebuilt in 1818
by Alderman William Mortlock who also, apparently,
looked after the charity generally and prevailed on
the Corporation as trustees to administer it in accordance with the trusts. Between 1880 and 1883 the
charity property at the corner of Jesus Lane and
King Street was rebuilt and the almshouses were
moved from the Jesus Lane to the King Street
side. These almshouses, together with those of
St. Anthony and St. Eligius, are now managed by the
Municipal Charities, and in 1951 the inmates of both
received £156 3s. 11d. altogether, which came partly
from the funds of other charities managed by the
Storey's almshouses were founded probably soon
after 1729 under the will of Edward Storey (d. between 1692 and 1712). They comprised three houses
in Northampton Street for four widows of clergymen
and houses adjoining them in Rowley's Yard for two
widows and four spinsters from certain Cambridge
parishes. The charity was endowed with considerable landed estates and its endowment was increased
by later legacies. In 1843 the clergy widows' almshouses were rebuilt in Mount Pleasant. They were
let from 1921 and the income from that part of the
charity was used to pay pensions to the widows of
clergymen: in 1952 £3,175 was divided between
54 widows. The widows' and maidens' almshouses
were also rebuilt in 1843, in Shelly Row. Much of
the charity's property has now been sold: its income
from rents and stocks was over £9,800 in 1952.
Since 1891 the surplus has been given to pensioners
with the same qualifications as the almspeople.
The Cambridge Victoria Friendly Societies Institution (fn. 5) was established in 1837 to provide homes
for elderly members. The present main building in
Victoria Road was begun in 1841 and four dwellings
were added in front in 1887. A legacy of 1895 was
used to build four more, called Miller's almshouses,
opposite the 1887 ones. A house was added on each
side of the gate under a legacy of 1927. One of these
has been used since 1931 by a nurse. In 1937 six new
dwellings were built.
The Royal Albert Benevolent Society was established in 1846 (fn. 6) for the same purpose. Its income has
also been increased by legacies. In 1888 there were
22 inmates and in 1952 there were 33.
Stephen Mansfield in 1891 founded four almshouses in South Terrace, giving the adjoining houses
as endowment. In 1951 rather more than the income
of £170 was spent on repairs.
Waters's almshouses were founded in 1914 by Mrs.
Adelaide Waters. They stand in Seymour Street and
are for six inmates, married couples counting as one,
from certain Cambridge parishes.
There are also two parish almshouses in Cambridge. Jackenett's almshouses were founded by
Thomas Jackenett in 1473 for the parish of St. Mary
the Great. Since 1899 they have also been available
for the poor of contiguous parishes. Until 1788 the
almshouses stood on the site adjoining the churchyard where Jackenett had built them. Then in very
bad repair, they were replaced by the present buildings in King Street, which were enlarged in 1832.
As late as 1668 the upper floor of the building was
let out to provide an income according to Jackenett's
instructions. This source of income was replaced by
later legacies and, in the early 19th century, by help
from the parish rates. At that time the almspeople,
all women, were chosen by the ratepayers and there
were hotly contested elections with many candidates.
In 1952 £122 12s. from various parish charities was
given to the eight almspeople.
Wray's almshouses in King Street were established
in 1634 under the will of Henry Wray (dated 1628).
They were for four widows and four widowers of
Holy Trinity parish. The income from stock and
land was nearly £1,600 in 1951.