A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1923.
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The manor of WINDSOR (UNDEROURE) is mentioned in 1291, when it belonged to Reading Abbey. (fn. 1) It probably included the land lying between Windsor and Eton north-west of the castle, (fn. 2) extending down to the Thames. It seems to have originally belonged to one Geoffrey Purcell, and to have been given by the Empress Maud to Reading Abbey in the reign of Henry I. This grant and another which gave the abbey a second hide of land in Windsor were confirmed by Stephen and by Richard I. (fn. 3) The manor remained with Reading Abbey until the date of the Dissolution, (fn. 4) when it was granted to Thomas Ward, from whose successor Richard Ward it was purchased by the corporation in 1539. (fn. 5) The manor was confirmed to the town in 1604, subject to a quit-rent of £4 5s. 2¼d. (fn. 6)
The 'manor-house of Underore,' which stood at the foot of the Hundred Steps, was let at a rent of £1 yearly in 1638–9. (fn. 7) A wooden pile in the Thames known as the Abbot's Pile, which can only be seen when the river is low, was one of the boundaries of the manor of 'Underoure.' (fn. 8)
A manor of NEW WINDSOR is often mentioned in connexion with that of Old Windsor (q.v.), the descent of which it has always followed. (fn. 9)
There were several mills in Windsor, the earliest being the king's mill in Windsor Park. (fn. 10) The chamberlain of Reading apparently owned a mill in Windsor in the 13th century. (fn. 11) The mills owned by the corporation stood nearly opposite Eton College, and were usually let out on lease. In 1628 they were rebuilt. (fn. 12)
The church of ST. JOHN BAPTIST consists of a chancel with an apsidal termination, north and south vestries, nave, north and south aisles, and a west tower with large vestibules on either side having staircases rising to a gallery which extends along the west end of the nave and over the aisles; the bottom stage of the tower is used as the principal entrance vestibule.
The present church was rebuilt in 1822, though the chancel and vestries were again rebuilt in 1871, and modern tracery has been inserted into all of the windows of the aisles and the galleries over. The chancel is in 14th-century Gothic style with an open timber roof covered with slates. The walls are externally faced with a 'quarry faced' granite with freestone dressings. The older part of the church is built in the 'Perpendicular' manner of the period.
The oldest monuments in the church are two small stone tablets placed one above the other in the west wall of the north entrance vestibule. They are very much worn and are incised with small black-letter inscriptions, now almost illegible. The upper one is to William Canon, Mayor of Windsor, who died in the first year of Henry VIII, Elizabeth his wife and their children; the lower one to Harry Wigge, who died in the fifth year of Henry VIII. On the east wall of the south aisle is a bas-relief marble tablet to Edgar Jobson and Eleanor his wife, with their six sons and four daughters. The man and five of his sons are kneeling at a prayer desk, while on the opposite side are the female figures similarly praying; below the desk is a chrisom child. There is no date on the monument, which is of early 17th-century type.
On the north wall of the tower is an elaborate mural tablet of marble to Nazareth daughter of Robert Harris of Reading, who married firstly Richard Vaughan, citizen and clothworker of London, by whom she had one son and three daughters; secondly, Zephaniah Sayers, citizen and haberdasher of London, by whom she had three daughters' thirdly, James Pagett, baron of the Exchequer, whom she survived twenty-eight years. She, 'desiring to lye here intombed with her 2d. husband,' died 22 July 1666, aged eighty-eight. The inscription is set between two three-quarter Doric columns of black marble with white marble capitals and bases supporting an entablature of the same material having a broken curved pediment within which are the busts of Nazareth and her second husband Zephaniah Sayers.
On the west wall of the north entrance vestibule is a black and white marble tablet to Rebecca youngest daughter of Sir George Southcot of Dartmouth. She died in 1642, aged twenty. The monument was erected by Richard Braham, who married Susanna, her elder sister. Above the inscription is a bust of the lady set under a broken pediment, in which is placed a lozenge with the arms of Southcot. On the same wall is a mural tablet to Edith Bostock, widow of William Bostock of New Windsor, daughter of Besils Fettiplace of Besselsleigh in Berks., who died on 17 June 1643.
On the west wall of the north aisle is a black and white marble tablet to John Hichmore of Aylesford in Kent and Clifford's Inn, filacer of the court of Common Pleas, who died on 6 March 1656, aged sixty-five, leaving a son Charles and other issue by his wife Joan daughter of Charles Sunnybanke. Below the inscription is an impaled shield of arms, evidently repainted.
On the west wall of the north vestibule is a mural monument to Matthew Day, five times Mayor of Windsor, who by his wife Mary Dowdeswell had six sons and as many daughters. He died 28 December 1661, aged eighty-seven. His wife, who survived him and is commemorated on the same monument, died 29 August 1667, aged eighty-seven. On either side of the inscription are marble pilasters supporting a broken pediment in which is a shield of his arms.
On the east wall of the north vestibule is a small black marble tablet to the memory of Elizabeth wife of Thomas Howell, vicar of West Horsley in Surrey, who died in the fifth year of Charles I. On the same tablet are also commemorated his mother, Martha the wife of John Whistler of Windsor, her brother Knollys and her sister Dorothy.
On the east wall of the south entrance vestibule is a small black and white marble tablet to Mary daughter of Alexander Baker and wife of John Dugdale, eldest son of William Dugdale of Blyth Hall in Shustoke, Warwickshire, who died in childbed, 9 January 1670, and was buried hard by with her two children Elizabeth and John and her mother Elizabeth, the daughter of Thomas Farrer of Harrold in Bedfordshire. Above is a shield with the arms of Dugdale impaling Baker.
On the west wall of the nave, to the south of the principal entrance, is a small marble tablet erected by Penelope, his only surviving child and wife of Robert Lytton, to the memory of her father, Alexander Baker of Windsor, who died 4 August 1685.
On the north wall of the north aisle at the west end is a white marble tablet to Hartgill Baron, clerk of the Privy Seal, and secretary to Prince Rupert, who died 30 November 1673, to his children Hartgill, Penelope and Lucy, and his wife Anne daughter of Philip Barret of Hampstead in Middlesex, who died 22 February 1687.
On the south wall of the south porch is a white marble tablet to John Topham, who died 8 December 1692, aged sixty-three, erected by Richard his son and heir. Below the staircase on the south wall of the north vestibule is a memorial tablet to Lucy wife of John Heming, who died 28 August 1699, aged forty-three, and to John Heming, who died in 1704, aged forty-seven.
On the south wall of the tower is a large marble monument by P. Scheemakers to Topham Foot, who died in the twenty-third year of his age, August 1712. Above a laudatory inscription is his bust set in an architectural frame and surmounted by his arms, a cheveron between three martlets.
On the east wall of the south vestibule is a mural monument to Richard Hale, physician to Bethlehem and Bridewell Hospitals. He died in 1728, and was buried in the church; his sepulchral slab is in the floor of the vestibule.
Against the west wall of the north vestibule is an elaborate marble monument by Scheemakers to Thomas Reeve, lord chief justice. He married Arabella daughter of John Topham and widow of Samuel Foot, and died in 1736, at the age of sixty-five. On the top of the monument are the busts of Reeve and his wife, while on either side are amorini; the figure on the left holds an oval plaque, on which is represented the figure of Justice.
Over the staircase on the south wall of the north vestibule is a large and elaborate mural monument of 17th-century date. The inscription once on the central panel is now quite illegible; the heraldry, however, proves it to be the memorial of Richard Braham, who died 2 March 1618, aged thirty-three, and his daughter-in-law Susanna Braham. It is in black and reddish-coloured marble. On either side of the panel are draped female figures standing on pedestals and supporting an entablature surmounted by smaller figures, while in the centre is a small panel on which is a shield of Braham quartering Palmer. On the pedestals below the side figures are shields, Braham impaling Southcott, while the consoles supporting the pedestals are charged with the Braham arms.
The floors of the western vestibule are paved with old tomb slabs, most of which appear to be of 18th-century date, although the inscriptions are in the majority of cases quite illegible. The pavement round the outside of the building is formed of similar material, the old church having served as a quarry. In the pavement to the south-west corner of the church are set four mediaeval slabs. Two have matrices for brass crosses, one has a matrix for a border, while the fourth shows evidence of having had small shields set in the corners.
Over the gallery at the west end of the nave is a large picture of the Last Supper. It was presented to the church by George III in 1788, having previously been used as an altar-piece in St. George's Chapel, where it was discovered behind the wainscot in one of the chantries in 1707.
There is a ring of eight bells: the treble is inscribed, 'The Gift of the Honourable Samuel Marsham Esq., cofferer to Queen Anne 1711'; the second and third are by Richard Phelps, 1711 and 1730; the fourth and sixth by T. Mears, 1824 and 1822; the fifth by John Eldridge, 1711; the seventh, originally dated 1730, was recast by T. Mears in 1822 and is inscribed:
The communion plate consists of a silver-gilt chalice of 1573, another of 1629, inscribed, 'The Poore widdow Gappers mite'; two large silver-gilt flagons of 1635, given by Mrs. Joan Sunnibank in 1640; a silver-gilt paten of 1637, given by John Worsopp and Elizabeth his wife; another given to the Rev. W. C. Cotton, M.A., by the ladies of New Windsor, and dedicated to the service of the church in 1842; a silver-gilt almsdish of 1732, given by Mrs. Arabella Reeve; two silver chalices of 1777, the cups of which are ornamented with a raised design of strawberry leaves and fruit, while the stem takes the form of an intertwining vine; a modern plated chalice and paten and eight white-metal alms-dishes, four of which are dated 1800, but the other four are more modern.
The registers previous to 1812 are as follows: (i) all entries 1559 to 1696; (ii) 1696 to 1702; (iii) baptisms and burials 1702 to 1792, marriages 1702 to 1754; (iv) baptisms and burials 1792 to 1812; (v) marriages 1754 to 1784; (vi) marriages 1784 to 1801; (vii) marriages 1801 to 1812.
The royal chapel of ALL SAINTS, Frances Street, consists of a chancel with a royal pew on the south, north transept with a vestry, nave, a south aisle, south porch and a west bell gable, in which are two bells. The chapel was erected in the year 1868, and is built in 14th-century style with ashlar facings to the walls. It serves as a chapel of ease to the parish church.
There is no mention of a church at New Windsor until the 12th century. The new settlement which had grown up under the walls of the castle probably at first formed part of the parish of Clewer. It is not possible to ascertain the exact date at which a church was built at New Windsor, but by 1189–90 it had outstripped in importance the church at Old Windsor, for in that year Richard I granted 'the church of St. John the Baptist at New Windsor with its chapel of Old Windsor' to the abbey of Holy Cross, Waltham. (fn. 13) This grant was confirmed by Henry III in 1226–7. (fn. 14) A few years later, in 1232, the king directed that tithes from the royal garden should be paid to Windsor Church. (fn. 15)
It is strange that the church of Windsor is not mentioned by name in the valuation of 1291, but it has been suggested that the entry of £13 6s. 8d. for 'the church of Waltham Abbey' represents the churches of New and Old Windsor, both of which belonged to that house. (fn. 16)
The sanctuary enjoyed by this church is mentioned in 1309, when certain refugees from Windsor gaol were recaptured, certain of them being 'slain and beheaded.' By the king's order the survivors were released from prison and taken back to the churchyard. (fn. 17)
At the Dissolution the advowson of the church of Windsor passed with the other possessions of Waltham Abbey to the Crown, with which it has since remained. (fn. 20) The rectory and rectory manor were valued at £17 yearly in 1540, and the profits of the manor court were 13s. 5d. (fn. 21) The rectory and rectory manor were granted out on lease by the Crown together with the rectory of Old Windsor (q.v.) and both rectories afterwards followed the same descent. (fn. 22)
From 15th and 16th-century wills and from other sources it appears that there were many altars in the church besides the high altar. The gild or brotherhood of the holy and undivided Trinity had its altar; a will of 1503 mentions the altars of our Lady of Pity and of St. Clement. Among the lights in the church were the Rood Light, the lights of St. Thomas, St. Clement, St. Stephen, St. Catherine, St. Anthony, St. James, St. George, St. Cornelius, and 'St. Mary Assumptions,' each with its two wardens. (fn. 23)
The chantry belonging to the gild of Holy Trinity is mentioned first in 1428, when two keepers were appointed. (fn. 24) An obit was kept on Trinity Sunday and a requiem mass was sung on the following day 'for the sowles of all the brethren and sisters of the Trinity brotherhood there.' (fn. 25) Various gifts were made to this chantry by burgesses of Windsor. Thus in 1455 Richard Smith gave half a piece of arable land situated near 'Spittleborne.'
According to the report of the chantry commission, however, the fraternity or gild of the Holy Trinity was founded by Oliver King, Bishop of Bath and Wells, and one of the secretaries of Henry VII, together with the Dean of St. George's Chapel and the mayor of the borough, under licence from Henry VII. The object of the fraternity was to support a chantry in the parish church for the souls of the inhabitants of the town; five obits were to be sung yearly and alms were to be distributed to the poor. At the date of the dissolution of the chantries this fraternity owned land and tenements in Windsor valued at £19 4s. 4d. yearly. The priest's stipend was £7 6s. 8d., and he taught a grammar school, 'wherof that town hathe great need.' Alms to the poor amounted to 41s. 6d. per annum. In addition the fraternity undertook the repair of certain bridges, 'Swaines Bridge, Tayntershuche Woode Bridge, and Frogmore Bridge.' It was reported that the town contained 900 or more house-holders, and as the vicarage was only worth £8 a year a suggestion was made that part of the income of the fraternity should be annexed to the vicarage. (fn. 26)
A petition presented to King James as patron of the living, that a canonry in St. George's Chapel should be annexed to the vicarage of New Windsor, owing to its poverty, having failed, Charles I granted it a fellowship in Eton College. The vicar now receives an annuity from the capitular funds of St. George's. (fn. 27)
On every alternate Sunday morning, when there was no sermon at the parish church, the congregation were accustomed after morning prayer to go up to St. George's Chapel to listen to the sermon there. Allusions to this custom are often found. (fn. 28)
The parish church was plundered by the Cromwellian soldiers, and the new organ was taken down and sold for the price of the metal and wood of which it was built. The church plate escaped, as it had been sent by the churchwardens for safe custody to the gildhall.
During the early years of the 19th century the fabric of the parish church was in need of constant repair. In 1815 it was reported that 'all the external parts of the church were in a very dilapidated state, including the Tower and Belfry.' Extensive repairs were undertaken, but several surveyors declared that it was impossible to maintain the existing structure, and in 1818 it was decided that the church must be rebuilt. (fn. 29) Thus the old structure was pulled down, the first stone of the present church being laid in 1820. (fn. 30) The new building was opened in 1822; £5,000 of the whole cost of £14,000 was raised by subscription, the remainder was borrowed on the security of the rates and was not paid off until 1839. (fn. 31)
The places of worship belonging to Nonconformist bodies are the Roman Catholic church of St. Edward in the Alma Road, the Wesleyan Methodist chapel, also in Alma Road, built in 1876–7, the Congregational chapel in William Street (1832), two Baptist chapels in Victoria Street (1838) and in Adelaide Square (1881), the Primitive Methodist chapel in Denmark Street, and the two chapels of the Brethren, one in Sheet Street and the other in St. Leonard's Road.
The municipal charities are administered under the provisions of a scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 27 November 1903. The trustees thereby appointed are directed (clause 28) to apply the income of Thomas Alden's charity (deed, 1604), amounting to £31 13s. 8d., being the dividends on £1,267 15s. 9d. consols (with the official trustees), for the benefit of deserving and necessitous persons resident in the borough, in donations in aid of the funds of any dispensary, convalescent home, or any institution in which children suffering from any bodily infirmity are taught a trade or employment.
By clause 29 of the scheme the almshouse buildings in Victoria Street and the Park Street Charity, together with the charities of Thomas Brotherton and sixteen others (including the Sheet Street almshouses and Sewell's almshouses) of old foundation, (fn. 32) and the following charities of recent foundation, namely, Sir John Elley's, by will proved in the P.C.C. 1839; William Hanson's, by will proved 1867; Robert Blunt's, by will proved 1874; James Griffin's, by will proved 1881; Letitia Hamilton Hibbert's, by will proved 1888; Sarah Wells's, by will 1874; together with the charity of Mary Atkins Newton, by will proved 1901, were consolidated under the title of the Municipal Almshouse Charity.
The trust funds of the several charities consist of sums of stock held by the official trustees, amounting in the aggregate to £11,334 11s. 2d. consols and £400 India 3½ per cent. stock and £148 11s. India 3 per cent. stock, producing in dividends £302 4s. a year, which, with the rents, &c., of real estate, make a gross income of £445 11s. a year, which is made applicable (clauses 33 and 34) in the payment of stipends at the rate of not less than 5s. and not more than 10s. a week to the almspeople, the full number of whom is limited to twenty-four.
By clause 47 of the scheme the income of the charity of Phoebe Thomas, (fn. 33) amounting to £130 12s., being the annual dividends on £4,875 14s. 11d. consols and on £290 18s. 2d. India 3 per cents. (with the official trustees), is made applicable for the benefit of deserving and necessitous widows of not less than fifty years of age bona fide resident in the borough and members of the Church of England.
The remaining charities dealt with by the scheme are those of John Heaver, Archbishop Laud and Theodore Randue, (fn. 34) the annual income from which, consisting of £187 5s. received from the official trustees in respect of dividends on consols, India 3 per cents. and railway stocks held by them, and £45 17s. 7d. receipts from rents, &c., of real estate, is directed (clause 48) to be applied as to £120 in marriage portions, apprenticeship fees for boys, and in gratuities to young men who have faithfully served their apprenticeships. Subject thereto the trustees are to apply the income of the same charity (clause 49) in the advancement of the education of children attending or who have attended public elementary schools, by prizes, rewards and exhibitions.
By an order of the Charity Commissioners of 15 June 1906 the charity of Sarah Bullen, by will 1839, trust fund, £33 7s. 8d. consols, and that of Elizabeth Frances Wood, codicil to will 1854, trust fund, £100 5s. consols, were placed under the administration of the trustees of the municipal charities, the income to be applied towards providing medical attendance or a nurse for the inmates of the almshouses.
The sums of stock are held by the official trustees, who also hold a sum of £3,773 6s. 8d. consols (formerly new 3 per cents.), transferred to them in 1884 in consideration of the redemption by His Majesty's Treasury of a sum of £113 4s., representing various royal grants for the benefit of the church and poor. The annual dividends, now amounting, owing to reduction of interest on the stock, to £94 6s. 8d., are also remitted to the trustees of the municipal charities, by whom one moiety is applied for the benefit of the poor and the other moiety paid to the churchwardens for application in the cleaning, lighting, &c., of the parish church.
The parochial charities under the administration of the vicar and churchwardens are regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners of 11 January 1887, and comprise the charities of Thomas Needham, founded by will 1 August 1603, whereby two tenements near the church gate, subsequently known as the Ship Inn, and one in Peascod Street, were devised to the vicar and churchwardens, the rents thereof to be distributed every Sunday morning to twelve poor persons not inhabiting almshouses. The Ship Inn is now let at £55 a year, and the property in Peascod Street was by an order of the Charity Commissioners of 6 February 1906 sold in consideration of a perpetual rent-charge of £35 per annum.
Arabella Reeve, by will proved in the P.C.C. 1732, consisting of annuities of £11 charged on a house on the west side of the High Street, of which £6 is applicable for the benefit of six poor widows, being lame or blind, born and living in Windsor, and £5 in the distribution of one shilling's worth of bread to 100 poor people on 20 May yearly.
Barbara Jordan, by will proved 1730, trust fund, £1,817 19s. 8d. consols, arising from sale in 1884 of land at Brentford, in Ealing, taken by the London and South Western Railway Co., the income, which amounts to £45 9s., to be distributed annually on St. Thomas's Day equally among three ancient maidens born and residing in New Windsor.
Richard Topham, by will proved in the P.C.C. 28 April 1737, trust fund, £266 13s. 4d. consols, arising from the redemption in 1884 by Her Majesty's Treasury of an annuity of £8 charged by the donor on certain premises, which became the property of the Crown, of which £6 was applicable at Christmas in sums of 10s. each to twelve poor housekeepers and £2 among four almspeople.
In 1906–7 a sum of £56 1s. 5d. was applied weekly throughout the year in bread, donations for the convalescent hospital, coal club, towards nursing expenses, and subscription for the Church Lads' Brigade.
Robert Challoner, D. D., who died in 1621, by his will charged certain property in East Oakley, Fyfield and Bray with £6 a year for twelve of the godliest poor to be chosen by the Dean of Windsor, the mayor and the vicar, to each of the said poor 10s. The rent-charge was subject to deduction of 15s. 6d. for land tax.
In 1679 John Carey, by deed in satisfaction of a gift of £100 by his then late wife, Mrs. Catherine Carey, settled a yearly rent-charge of £6 issuing out of his inn and premises called the 'Catherine Wheel' at Colnbrook in Stanwell, Middlesex, to be payable yearly on St. Thomas's Day, for distribution amongst six of the poorest widows in New Windsor.
Trust for the minor canons and other officials connected with St. George's Chapel.
—The Rev. Thomas Cleaver, by his will proved in the P.C.C. 11 July 1729, demised to trustees a farm in Hamsey, Sussex, and directed that the rents and profits thereof should be equally divided among the petty canons of the chapel, with 20s. extra for the elected steward, subject to annual payments of 20s. each to the sexton and bellringer, 30s. for a supper, £6 for widows of such officials, 20s. for poor most constant in attendance at prayers, or failing them, amongst poor families, and £4 yearly to the charity school.
In 1905 the farm was sold in consideration of the transfer to the official trustees of £3,068 9s. 10d. consols, out of which a sum of £160 consols was set aside to provide £4 yearly under the title of 'Cleaver's Educational Foundation for the Charity School.' In 1906 and 1907 the balance of the stock, together with £355 18s. 4d. consols, arising from sale of land to the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, was sold out and the proceeds invested in the purchase of ground rents amounting to £105 a year, secured by long leases of property in Overcliff Road, Lewisham. By an order of the Charity Commissioners of 19 October 1906 the Minor Canons of St. George's Chapel were appointed to be the administering trustees.
J. Chariott, by will proved in 1848, bequeathed a legacy to trustees, represented by £15,037 12s. 2d. consols, for charitable purposes, with a wide discretion as to the objects. In June 1906 the consols were sold out and the proceeds invested in the purchase of £3,000 Great Western Railway 5 per cent. stock, £3,000 New Zealand 3½ per cent. stock, £2,000 Hong Kong 3½ per cent. stock, £1,276 19s. Middlesex County 3 per cent. stock and £3,000 Reading Corporation 3 per cent. stock, producing a gross yearly income of £453 6s. 2d.
In 1907 £200 was paid to the treasurer of Chariott's almshouses (founded by deed 1863) for current expenses and repairs, £25 to the Windsor British schools, £55 to the deacons of William Street Chapel, £20 to the Sunday school and £70 to six poor members of the same chapel, £12 10s. to the Fyfield Mission and £25 premiums on apprenticeships.
For Mrs. Mary Barker's charity see article on Schools. (fn. 35)
The land belonging to the trust has been sold and the proceeds invested in consols, with the official trustees, of which one-third, i.e. £531 10s. 8d. consols, is held in trust for the share of New Windsor.
The charity school, now known as the Windsor Royal Free and Industrial Schools. (fn. 36)
—A sum of £5,603 9s. 4d. consols was held by the official trustees in trust for this school, of which £40 consols (part thereof) was by an order of 17 May 1904 directed to be carried to a separate account in satisfaction of £1 a year applicable for bread in respect of George Pyle's eleemosynary charity (deed 1713); also £248 15s. consols, representing a legacy by will of James Griffin proved in 1881 (see also charity of Rev. Thomas Cleaver).
The Ladies' School, established by subscription in 1784.
—The official trustees also hold a sum of £1,844 6s. 11d. consols arising from subscriptions, the dividends, amounting to £46 2s., to be applied in giving a free education in National schools to twenty girls, who out of the same funds are clothed and receive an outfit of £2 10s. for domestic service on leaving.
Other charities for educational purposes.
The several sums of stock were held by the official trustees, who also held £158 6s. 5d. consols in trust for the National school, belonging to the charities of Ann Weal, by will 1827, and two other donors. In 1894, however, a sum of £400 consols was sold out for effecting improvements in the National school, subject to replacement. The amount so replaced in April 1908 was £297 8s. 5d. consols.
In 1822 the Rev. G. Champagne by deed (inter alia) gave to the vicar and canons of Windsor a sum of £255 0s. 2d. consols, the income to be paid to the vicar and curate, to be applied by them in gifts of clothes or books for boys and girls attending the National school for progress in religious knowledge upon result of examination.