A History of the County of Leicestershire: Volume 5, Gartree Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1964.
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Welham lies four miles north-east of Market Harborough on the north side of the River Welland which here divides Leicestershire from Northamptonshire. The civil parish, 1,143 a. in area, extends north-westwards from the village, which is close to the river, to the top of Langton Caudle, which is over 450 ft. above sea level. The greater part of the land is covered with alluvium and boulder clay and overlies the Lower Lias clays. There are Middle Lias and Marlstone beds on the slopes of Langton Caudle. A considerable proportion of the land is under pasture. Part of Langton Caudle in Thorpe Langton parish was transferred to Welham in 1885. (fn. 1) Since 1931 Welham has been united with the parish of Great Bowden, which is separated from it by Thorpe Langton to the south. (fn. 2)
In the north-west of the parish the boundary with Stonton Wyville follows the line of a track across Langton Caudle from Thorpe Langton. The boundary on the other three sides of the parish is partly formed by water: on the east by a small tributary of the Welland, on the south by the Welland itself, and on the west, with Thorpe Langton, by the stream which flows southwards from Rolleston. In 1545 a Thorpe Langton man contended that the boundary between the two parishes did not 'in all places' coincide with the course of the stream (then known as the 'Water of Lyppyng' or 'Lyffyng') and that land called variously 'Pendyng', 'Peyldyng', or 'Pellyng Holm', lying to the east of the stream, and grounds called 'Overcaldwell' and 'Nethercaldwell' were in fact part of Thorpe Langton field. (fn. 3)
The first known bridge across the river at Welham was erected in 1678 (fn. 4) at private expense for the use of the residents of Welham old hall. It was very narrow and high in the middle, and consisted of two stone arches with a low parapet only a foot above the road. In the early 18th century it was reserved for private use and traffic was obliged to use the ford on the west side of the bridge, except in times of frost and flood; in the middle of the century the ford became choked with mud and the bridge was opened. The bridge was used so frequently by heavy carts of grain and coal from Northamptonshire to Leicester, which were compelled to lock their wheels in order to travel safely down its steep incline, that by the beginning of the 19th century it was in danger of collapse. In 1810 the counties of Leicester and Northampton jointly built a new bridge of four arches designed by Joseph Vinrace of Ashby-de-la-Zouch; it was entirely in brick, except the coping stones of the parapet, and had a more gradual incline and a wider carriage-way. (fn. 5) This structure was destroyed by floods in 1880 and a third bridge was built to replace it. (fn. 6) This, the present bridge, is of stone and has three arches, the central one spanning the river.
The road which crosses the river by this bridge runs from Weston by Welland (Northants.), a mile to the south-east. In Weston, the road crosses the railway line from Market Harborough to Peterborough and its branch line through Hallaton; the latter, opened in 1879, (fn. 7) crosses the south-east tip of Welham parish, but Welham sidings lie in Thorpe Langton parish. (fn. 8) The northern end of the bridge across the river opens at right angles into the main village street which runs parallel with the river. In the 18th and 19th centuries travellers could compare the prospect from the bridge with that of a Dutch town, because on the south side of the main street was a canal in which the houses were reflected. (fn. 9) The origin of the canal is not known. Traces of it could still be seen in 1958 on the east side of the village. The main street runs westwards into an ancient road or drover's way to Great Bowden. From the north side of the main street and at right angles to it run two roads, that at the east end to Cranoe and that at the west to Thorpe Langton.
The only buildings on the south side of the main street, all to the west of the bridge, are the church, the manor-house, and the former Rectory. These buildings probably occupy the site of the medieval village which apparently lay to the south of the churchyard. The manor-house received its name after 1854 when W. W. Tailby (d. 1914) acquired the manor of Welham; it had previously been a farmstead belonging to the Tailby family. (fn. 10) The manor-house is a long two-story ironstone structure with slate roof dating from the late 18th century. The stone boundary walls fronting the road and bounding the churchyard on its west side are work of an earlier period and may have been garden walls of the former manor-house or old hall, a building the exact site of which is not known but which is said to have stood near the river on the south side of the canal. (fn. 11) The garden walls have copings formed by projecting layers of ironstone slate in a pyramidal arrangement and capped by moulded ironstone rubble and are probably work of the mid-17th century. A stone ovolo-moulded jamb to a destroyed gate survives in the wall midway between the churchyard and the present manor-house, and there was a second plainer gate. In the 17th century the old hall was a large house, the residence of the Halford family. In 1666 and 1670 William Halford (d. 1682) was assessed for 15 hearths. (fn. 12) His mother Mary Halford had married secondly Sir John Norwich (d. 1661) of Brampton (Northants.) and did not die until about 1693. (fn. 13) It is believed that members of the Norwich family resided in the old hall at Welham and that they may have met the cost of the bridge across the Welland which was erected in 1678. (fn. 14)
The remainder of the village, on the north side of the main street, is the result of a complete rebuilding carried out c. 1720 by Francis Edwards (d. 1729), lord of the manor. (fn. 15) In the negotiations which preceded the passage of the Act for repairing the road from Market Harborough to Loughborough via Leicester, (fn. 16) he put forward an alternative proposal for turnpiking the old Gartree road from Leicester to Cranoe and then bringing a new road across the River Welland at Welham to join it, thus diverting the main London road from Market Harborough. A coaching inn, modelled on the 'Red Lion' at Northampton, was to have been the chief feature of the new village. During its building the old hall to the south of the canal was burnt down. When his scheme was poorly received, Edwards converted the inn into a manor-house in which, although it was unfinished, he lived for a while. (fn. 17) This new hall was pulled down by G. A. Edwards (d. 1773) about 1762. (fn. 18) The pasture, surrounded by a high brick wall, which occupies the western half of the north side of the street, was formerly the gardens surrounding the hall. The wall fronting Main Street has blue vitrified headers and limestone dressings and a central gateway with limestone panelled piers.
Of the 13 houses described by Nichols as 'built in brick in a regular manner', the 'Old Red Lion' is the least altered. It is a large two-storied red-brick house with vitrified headers and a dressed stone plinth. The slate roof, which is high and hipped on all sides, has sprocketted eaves with two tall axial chimney stacks. One original window is preserved in the rear elevation, and internally there are wide, open fire-places. The northerly cottages in a long range west of the inn incorporate earlier work than 1700, and the gabled cottage against the road has brick copings and was originally thatched. Further west are two Council houses built in 1937, and The Grange, which is of similar date and construction to the inn and has a rear kitchen wing with exposed ceiling joists and a wide fire-place.
In the north-west of the parish is Welham Lodge, the only outlying farm, which dates from the early 19th century. It is a tall three-story red-brick house with later side and rear additions. The front porch is also added. It is said to have been built by a member of the Tailby family and used as a shooting lodge. (fn. 19)
The recorded population of Welham in 1086 was 16. (fn. 20) Nine persons paid the subsidy in 1332. (fn. 21) There were 23 households in 1563 and 86 communicants in 1603. (fn. 22) There were 21 households in 1670, and 44 communicants in 1676, (fn. 23) but at the beginning of the 18th century there were only 10 or 12 families. (fn. 24) In 1798 there were 14 inhabited houses and 56 inhabitants. (fn. 25) The population has steadily declined from 78 in 1801 to 40 in 1951. (fn. 26)
There were two demesne tenants holding land in Welham in 1086: Gilbert held 6 carucates of Robert de Buci, (fn. 27) and one carucate of the Countess Judith which was then waste; (fn. 28) and Osbern held 2 carucates of the Archbishop of York. (fn. 29) By 1125, when the church of Welham was included in Richard Basset's endowment of Launde Priory, (fn. 30) the fee held under Robert de Buci in 1086 had come into the hands of the Bassets of Weldon (Northants.). (fn. 31) Ralph Basset (d. c. 1127), (fn. 32) father of Richard (d. c. 1154), was probably the first tenant. About 1130 6½ carucates in Welham were held by Richard Basset and 2 carucates by Henry de Port, who also held land at Tur Langton under the Archbishop of York. (fn. 33) In 1279 there were 7 carucates in Welham, of which 5 were held of the king in chief and 2 of the Archbishop of York. (fn. 34) The whole lordship was then apparently held by the Basset family.
Ralph Basset (d. 1258) leased his manor of WELHAM to John, Earl of Lincoln (d. 1240), for the years 1237 to 1250. (fn. 35) Richard Basset (d. 1276), Ralph's son and heir, enfeoffed his younger brother Thomas (d. 1291) with the manor to be held by his descendants. (fn. 36) Thomas Basset had a son Thomas, who on his father's death was a minor in the custody of the executors of Ralph Basset (d. 1291), son and heir of Richard (d. 1276). (fn. 37) Another or perhaps the same Thomas Basset was taxed for ¼ knight's fee in Welham in 1346. (fn. 38)
By 1400 the manor had reverted to the senior branch of the Bassets of Weldon, of whom Richard Basset (d. 1400) was last in the male line. (fn. 39) His heirs were John Knyvet and John Aylesbury, the sons of two sisters of his grandfather Ralph Basset, who had entered Launde Priory in 1368. Welham became part of the inheritance of the former, a son of Sir John Knyvet (d. 1381), Chancellor 1372–7. (fn. 40) Sir Edward Seymour died in 1422 seised of the manor which he held of the barony of Weldon by right of his wife Joan. (fn. 41) Their granddaughter Elizabeth (d. 1446), the wife of Thomas Berkeley (d. 1443), was succeeded by her son Thomas Berkeley, then only two or three years of age. During his minority the profits were paid to Elizabeth Berkeley. (fn. 42)
Nothing further is known of the descent until 1529, when John Asshe appears to have been lord of the manor of Welham. (fn. 43) In 1551 he or another John Asshe conveyed the manor to William Halford who was a servant to Edward Griffin (d. 1569), of Dingley (Northants.), Attorney-General. (fn. 44) The manor remained in the hands of the Halford family until 1713 when Sir James Halford, Bt., (fn. 45) conveyed it to Edmund Skynner, a London haberdasher, and his son Edmund, who appear to have held a previous mortgage on the property. (fn. 46) Edmund Skynner of Wishingford (Worcs.) in 1717 sold the manor to Francis Edwards (d. 1729), the fourth son of Robert Edwards, former Rector of Kibworth Beauchamp. (fn. 47)
Mary (d. 1743), the daughter of Francis Edwards, bore an illegitimate child by Lord Anne Hamilton which was christened Gerard-Anne Edwards (d. 1773). This child succeeded to his mother's property at Welham and married in 1754 Jane, sister and heir of Henry, 6th Earl of Gainsborough (d. 1798). (fn. 48) Their son Gerard Noel Edwards, afterwards Sir Gerard Noel Noel, Bt. (d. 1838), in 1798 inherited Exton Park and the Noel estates in Rutland. He married Diana, Baroness Barham (d. 1823), and was succeeded by his son Charles Noel Noel, who in 1841 was created Earl of Gainsborough. (fn. 49) The latter in 1854 sold the manor of Welham to William Ward Tailby (1825–1914) of Skeffington Hall who already owned a small estate in the parish (see below). (fn. 50) He was succeeded by his nephew T. M. J. Tailby (b. 1862). (fn. 51) In 1936 G. W. A. Tailby of Skeffington Hall was lord of the manor. (fn. 52)
In the mid-16th century some property in Welham was attached to the Chaworth manor in Medbourne belonging to the Payne family. (fn. 53) William Serjeant (d. c. 1780) owned an estate in Welham worth £50 a year. (fn. 54) From the middle of the 18th century the Tailby family owned a small estate in Welham, based apparently on the large farmstead immediately west of the church. (fn. 55) Mary, the daughter of Bryan Ward of Hallaton, married William Tailby (1744–1829) of Welham. (fn. 56) Their sons William and John were cousins of John Tailby of Slawston, the antiquary. (fn. 57) William's son William Ward Tailby (1825–1914) bought the manor of Welham in 1854.
Licences to alienate lands and rents in Welham to Launde Priory were granted in 1334 to Robert, Vicar of Loddington, (fn. 58) in 1345 to Thomas Founneshore, Vicar of Welham, (fn. 59) and in 1350 to John Whythed and two others. (fn. 60) In 1355 the priory was licensed to grant £10 yearly from the rents of its lands in Welham and elsewhere to increase the endowment of a chantry founded by the will of Henry de Chaddesden, late Archdeacon of Leicester, in the chapel of Chaddesden (Derbys.). (fn. 61) In 1342 a place called Baneholm was judged to be the waste of Welham held in common by its two lords, Thomas Basset and the Prior of Launde. (fn. 62) In 1346 the prior was assessed for 1/8 knight's fee in Welham as part of the fee of the Archbishop of York. (fn. 63)
After the Dissolution two grants were made of property in Welham formerly belonging to Launde Priory. In 1552 two messuages with gardens and other lands leased to William Chambers were granted to Edward, Lord Clinton, later Earl of Lincoln, and Henry Herdson of London. (fn. 64) In 1553 three messuages and land leased to John Chambre and William Hopkin were granted to James Greenwood and Dunstan Clarke of Market Harborough. (fn. 65) The latter sold them to William Halford, lord of the manor of Welham. (fn. 66)
Archil had 2 ploughs in Welham before the Conquest and Earl Ralph of Hereford (d. 1057) five. Their holdings, which were then worth 4s. and 8s., had passed to the Archbishop of York and Robert de Buci in 1086 and had increased in value to 20s. and 25s. respectively. On the latter's fee there were then 4 ploughs, 2 in demesne and 2 belonging to 7 villeins and a priest; on the former's fee 3 ploughs, one in demesne with 3 serfs and 2 belonging to 4 villeins and a bordar. (fn. 67) The waste held by Gilbert of the Countess Judith was worth 3s. in 1086. (fn. 68)
Little is known about the medieval village which appears to have been on a site south of the churchyard, between the church and the River Welland. It is possible that throughout the 13th and early 14th centuries the Basset family, who were lords of the manor, were resident in the village (fn. 69) though a manor-house is only mentioned for the first time in the inquisition upon the death of Sir Edward Seymour (d. 1422). It was then described as containing a chamber, a kitchen, a stable, and a dovehouse. (fn. 70)
The parish appears to have been inclosed by agreement in the earlier 17th century by which time almost all the land had been acquired by the Halford family. When William Halford (d. 1577) purchased the manor in 1551 it comprised inter alia 7 messuages, 7 tofts, 500 a. of arable and 600 a. of meadow and pasture, and he also purchased four other pieces of property, including 60 a. of arable and 60 a. of meadow and pasture which had belonged to Launde Priory. (fn. 71) The evidence from glebe terriers suggests that inclosure took place between 1601 and 1606 (fn. 72) and the depopulation returns of 1607 describe several instances of inclosure in Welham at the same period: since 1597 William Halford (d. 1628), the earlier Halford's grandson and heir, had taken away the land from a farm-house and converted 110 a. from tillage to pasture; 16 a. had been converted by William Fawke; and 5 a. had been converted since 1604 by the vicar, Thomas Loseby. (fn. 73) These measures evidently did not go unopposed: in 1607, the LordLieutenant raised armed men in Leicester to suppress a riot against inclosures at Welham, but their services were apparently not required and the crowd was dispersed. (fn. 74)
In 1754 the marriage settlement of Lady Jane Noel who married Gerard-Anne Edwards, then lord of the manor, included the manor and impropriate rectory with 11 cottages and closes totalling 275 a., and 'Swanshouse' with 13 a. and closes totalling 229 a. (fn. 75) 'Swanshouse' has not been identified but may be connected with the 'Nether Lodge' or 'Welham Lodge', an isolated farm-house with fields in the north-west corner of the parish. (fn. 76) On the high ground of Langton Caudle west of the lodge William Serjeant erected c. 1750 another isolated farm-house which was called from its curious plan and inaccessible position 'Serjeant's Folly'. (fn. 77)
Up to the end of the 18th century only a few scattered pieces of evidence survive which have any bearing on land-use in the parish. A total of 60 a. of meadow was recorded in 1086 and 80 a. in 1284–5. (fn. 78) In 1342 the land called 'le Holm' or 'Baneholm' was said to lie open as common pasture from 3 May to 11 November with the stint for each yardlander fixed at 8 'great beasts'. In the intervening months it was claimed by Thomas Basset of Weldon as his and his ancestors' severalty, to be used for agistment. (fn. 79) Land called 'le Mares', comprising 10½ a. of meadow, is first mentioned in the late 14th and early 15th centuries. (fn. 80) According to the inquisition post mortem of William Halford (d. 1577), summarizing the transactions whereby the greater part of the parish came into his hands, the amount of meadow and pasture exceeded that of arable by about 100 a. (fn. 81) Evidence of conversion of arable land to pasture has already been mentioned.
In 1798 it was reported that the greater part of an area of about 1,000 a. was 'very good pasture' (fn. 82) and this account is confirmed by the crop returns of 1801 which stated that the parish contained a mere 18¼ a. of arable and that these were 'only casual'. Another 50 a. were under woad and the rest consisted of 'very high rich grazing land'. The rotation followed was that of two years' ploughing for woad and three more for wheat, oats, and barley before the land was laid down again for pasture. (fn. 83) Throughout the 19th and in the 20th century the recorded occupations of the inhabitants have been almost exclusively those of farmer and grazier. (fn. 84)
Surviving parish documents include churchwardens' accounts from 1705 to 1818 and from 1821 onwards. (fn. 87) There was apparently no workhouse in Welham, and in 1802–3 the money was spent largely in out-relief to 17 children. (fn. 88) After 1836 Welham was included in the Market Harborough Union. (fn. 89)
There was a priest in Welham in 1086. (fn. 90) Richard Basset included the church of Welham in the endowment of Launde Priory which he founded before 1125. (fn. 91) By 1220 a vicarage had been ordained with all tithes except those of corn, hay, and the mill. (fn. 92) About 1220 the parishes of Glooston and Cranoe still brought their dead for burial at Welham. (fn. 93) The vicarage of Welham was united with that of Great Bowden in 1931. (fn. 94) In 1957 the incumbent of the united benefice of Great Bowden with Welham lived at Great Bowden. (fn. 95)
The rectory and advowson of Welham remained the property of Launde Priory from 1125 until the Dissolution. (fn. 96) The rectory came into the hands of the Halford family and was thus attached to the lordship of the manor. (fn. 97) The advowson was granted by the Crown in 1558 to the Bishop of Lincoln, (fn. 98) but he appears never to have made a presentation. At the next vacancy in 1560 the Crown presented William Wetherley. (fn. 99) The Crown remined patron of the church until 1931 when the benefice was united with Great Bowden. It was then decided that thenceforward the Bishop of Leicester, patron of Great Bowden, should present every first and third turn, and the Lord Chancellor every second turn. (fn. 100)
The church of Welham was valued at 5 marks in 1217 and 1254 (fn. 101) and at 11 marks in 1291. (fn. 102) The rectory and tithes were leased by the Crown in 1575 for 21 years at an annual rent of £8 13s. 4d. In 1650 the rectory was thought to be worth £50. (fn. 103) The value of the vicarage in 1291 was £2 13s. 4d. (fn. 104) In 1535 the vicarage was valued at £6 3s., (fn. 105) and in 1552 the sum of 25s. was added, which represented the tithes in the neighbouring parish of Weston (Northants.) which had been paid to Launde Priory. (fn. 106) The vicarage in 1650 was thought to be worth £20, but the incumbent soon after 1660 was seeking legal advice to enforce the payment of tithes. There had apparently been a composition for tithes made between the vicar and the lord of the manor about 1600. (fn. 107) At the beginning of the 18th century the vicarage was worth £72 14s. (fn. 108) Edward Griffin, Rector of Dingley (Northants.), Vicar of Great Bowden and Vicar of Welham, 1787–1840, described the parsonage house as 'more than sufficient for the residence of a clergyman possessed only of the vicarage of Welham'. He thought the income too little to permit much hospitality. (fn. 109) About 1700 the vicar's glebe consisted of 30 a. laid out in 4 closes. The composi tion of 4d. an acre for tithes then brought in £17 a year. (fn. 110) In 1844 the vicar had 42 a. of glebe and received £105 in compensation for all small tithes. (fn. 111) The vicarage was worth £234 a year in 1867. (fn. 112)
The former Rectory, at the south-east corner of the churchyard, is a stone building of two stories dating in part from the late 18th century. There are two distinct sections: the western half of the house is of rubble, the eastern of finer jointed ironstone. In Nichols's time the Rectory was a longer building with a thatched roof. (fn. 113)
J. H. Hill (1809–86), Rector of Cranoe and author of a History of the Gartree Hundred, was Vicar of Welham from 1841 until his death. (fn. 114)
The church of ST. ANDREW consists of nave, chancel, west tower, and north chapel. The chapel, in the form of a transept, houses the monuments and burial vault of the Edwards family. The entrance to the church is through a west door in the tower. The tower is of limestone ashlar but elsewhere the masonry is of ironstone with limestone dressings.
The lower rubble courses of both nave walls may date from the 13th century and there is evidence that a former chancel was of the early 14th century (see below). In general, however, the church was reconstructed in the 15th century when the nave walls were raised, clerestory windows inserted, and the west tower built. A straight joint in the north wall of the nave probably indicates the site of a former doorway. The tall three-light nave windows, two to each wall, are square-headed and are of the later 14th or early 15th century. Only one, the easternmost window on the south side, is unrestored.
The 15th-century tower has diagonal buttresses and is of four stages, each stage being marked by a horizontal string; it terminates in a shallow parapet behind which is a low pyramidal roof. There is a tall transomed two-light belfry window with cusped tracery on each face; a smaller window above the west doorway has no transom. Internally the tower arch of two chamfered orders has half-round responds with moulded capitals and bases.
At the beginning of the 18th century, probably c. 1720, (fn. 115) the chancel was completely demolished and the east end of the church rebuilt on the line of the former chancel arch. A new pointed east window behind the altar had leaded lights and no tracery. The nave walls were repaired, the angles being finished with limestone quoins; these still survive at the west end. Outside the church on the site of the former chancel a burial vault for the Edwards family was excavated. Above it a monument was erected to Francis Edwards (d. 1729) by his daughter Mary. It consisted of a marble tomb placed on four wide steps and surmounted by a tall obelisk carrying a marble urn. It stood within a small enclosure, paved with marble slabs and fenced with an iron palisado, with four large urns on pedestals in the corners. (fn. 116) The monument became so badly damaged by exposure to the weather that in 1809 Sir Gerard Noel Noel, grandson of Mary Edwards, ordered it to be dismantled and repaired, and a new transeptal chapel to be built on the north side of the nave for its accommodation. Sparrow, the Stamford mason who was charged with repairing the monument, was also employed to build the chapel, which was completed in 1810. (fn. 117) Access to the chapel was provided by an arch in the north wall of the nave. At the same time the Edwards family vault was moved to the new chapel; in excavating the old vault on the site of the former chancel a large piece of masonry about 6 ft. square had been discovered. (fn. 118) The entire monument, except the iron palisado, was re-erected in the new chapel. Around the base of the tomb are commemorative panels to Mary Edwards (d. 1743), Lady Jane Edwards (d. 1811), and Gerard-Anne Edwards (d. 1773). A further panel, inserted in 1921, is to the memory of Sir Gerard Noel Noel (d. 1838).
The whole church was restored and a new chancel was built between 1868 and 1870 by Goddards of Leicester. (fn. 119) During this work a silver coin of Edward II was discovered under 'a foundation stone of the ancient chancel arch'. (fn. 120) The restoration included new pine roofs for both chancel and nave; corbels for the earlier nave roof remain on the east face of the tower. At the same time the nave windows were restored and a new Perpendicular window inserted in the north wall of the chapel.
New furniture provided by Francis Edwards c. 1720 included a carved reredos of Norway oak with Corinthian pilasters, and a similarly fashioned altar rail. At the end of the 18th century the seating, reading desk, and pulpit were of deal, and at the west end of the nave a gallery intended to accommodate the servants of the hall remained. The church was re-pewed in 1868–70. The five-sided pulpit at the east end of the nave, whose wooden panels have traceried heads, dates from the 15th century; the low base is of much later origin. The small shallowbowled octagonal font and wooden cover are of the early 18th century. The base of the tower contains a royal arms of George III dated 1778 and a charity board of 1804.
There are two bells: (i) 1604, for William Halford, perhaps by Toby Norris of Stamford; (fn. 121) (ii) probably mid-15th century, carrying two distinctive marks illustrated by Nichols. (fn. 122) There was formerly a third bell, cracked about 1820 and removed from the church. (fn. 123) There was a clock in the tower by the late 18th century. (fn. 124) The church plate includes a silver cup and silver cover paten with a foot, both of about 1575. (fn. 125) The registers begin in 1695 and are complete from that date.
The house of Richard Marshall in Welham was licensed as a meeting-place for Protestant dissenters in 1824. (fn. 126) Another building was licensed as a chapel in 1845 on the application of Richard Marshall, Henry Gamble, and others; it was occupied by William Draycott of Foston. (fn. 127)
In 1758 Richard Bryan paid £58 to Gerard-Anne Edwards (d. 1773) as trustee of the money belonging to the poor of Welham. Of this sum £13 16s. represented the gift of Lady Halford to the poor at an unknown date, £40 the gift of Mr. Williams for the distribution of bread in the church every Sunday, and £4 4s. a gift to the poor at Christmas from an unknown person. (fn. 128) Thenceforward the Edwardses, Noels, and earls of Gainsborough, as successive lords of the manor, held the capital and paid yearly 5 per cent. interest, £2 18s., in accordance with the wishes of the three donors. In 1786, 1837, and 1862–3 it was spent in the distribution of bread. (fn. 129)
By the inclosure award, dated 1794, of the adjoining parish of Slawston, the parish of Welham received 1 r. 20 p. for the Welham clock estate and 3 r. 35 p. for the town estate. In 1837 these two plots were let to the vicar for £2 2s. which was added to the church rates and applied to general church purposes. (fn. 132) In 1862–3 the rent of £2 17s. 6d. was spent on fuel for heating the church (fn. 133) but in 1920 both plots of land were sold and the proceeds invested. (fn. 134)
By 1929 all the above charities were administered by the same trustees who distributed both coal and bread and made payments to keep the church clock in repair. The last distribution of coal and bread was made in 1952. Since that date it appears that an annual interest of £12 has been shared amongst 6 poor people in doles. (fn. 135)