A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 4, the Rape of Chichester. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1953.
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This large parish, containing 4,179 acres, mostly good corn-land, is bounded on the east by the Bremere Rife and on the south by the Broad Rife, dividing it from Selsey (q.v.). Into this latter rife runs another small stream which forms the western boundary of the parish as far north as Easton Farm. The church and village lie in the north of the parish at the junction of a number of roads and lanes. Of these one runs west to Highleigh; another north by Streetend (perhaps the terminus of the Roman road south from Chichester) to Sidlesham Common; a third east to Chalder Farm; and another south to the former ferry to Selsey. Parallel to this last, to the west of it, a road runs from Highleigh past Keynor and Ham Farm to Oakhurst.
Just to the east of the road to the ferry, on an inlet of Wythering, or Pagham, Harbour, stood Sidlesham Mill. There are several references to the bishop's mill in the manorial custumal of 1275; (fn. 1) it is marked on the survey of the Sussex Coast prepared in 1587 against the coming of the Spanish Armada, with the comment—'unto whiche a Barcke of 40 tonne may flete'; (fn. 2) in 1535 it was farmed for the considerable sum of £3 6s. 8d., (fn. 3) and it was included in various later transfers of the manor. In 1755 Woodruffe Drinkwater of Chichester built a great tide-mill on the site, with three water-wheels, and eight pair of stones, capable of grinding a load of corn in an hour. This fine building was put out of action by the reclamation of Pagham Harbour in 1876 and was pulled down for the sake of its bricks during the First World War. (fn. 4)
In the immediate neighbourhood of the mill was 'the New Haven'. This was probably formed by an inroad of the sea before 1278 when the name of Cyprian de la Newehavene occurs, (fn. 5) after which date references to it as a port are fairly frequent. (fn. 6) It may have been in connexion with this development that Bishop Stephen de Bersted (1262–7) established a 'new township of Wardur', (fn. 7) to encourage which he granted that the tenants should have their land freehold at 14d. the acre and should be free of toll in all his fairs and markets. (fn. 8) There is no later evidence of this settlement; but perhaps the 'free court of Newehavene' held every three weeks in Sidlesham in the 14th century (fn. 9) may be connected with it.
Early in the 17th century some 60 acres of 'the sheep common' were inclosed by Sir John Chapman as tenant of Thomas Stoughton, who complained that the land, which was worth 10s. the acre as pasture, since it had been ploughed was only worth 6s. 8d. (fn. 10) In 1792 some 230 acres of waste at Almodington Green on the west and Sidlesham Common in the north of the parish were inclosed. (fn. 11)
In 1935 the Land Settlement Association bought Keynor Farm and other land in the parish for small-holdings for unemployed men from the 'Special Areas' of Northumberland, Durham, and South Wales. Some 130 holdings, each of 4 to 5 acres with a house and such buildings as greenhouses and piggeries, have been successfully established. (fn. 12)
The parish has a number of scattered farm-houses, &c., but none is of great importance. Many old barns have survived while the houses themselves have often been rebuilt or completely renovated. Thatched roofs are common. There is no village of any great size. The largest groups of buildings are near the parish church, at Pagham Harbour about a mile to the south, and at Highleigh about ¾ mile to the south-west of the church.
At the first, on the south side of Church Lane east of the Anchor Inn and west of the church, are four picturesque thatched cottages with walls of brick or stone, all of late-17th-century date. Another on the north side of the road is earlier. The south front is of stone with brick dressings but the ends show some early-17th-century framing. Two or three houses on the main road from Chichester to Selsey, north and south of the inn, are also probably 17th-century; they have brick or stone walls and thatched roofs.
The group by Pagham Harbour are mostly 18th-century buildings. The Crab and Lobster Inn (fn. 13) may be earlier. It has plastered walls and a tiled roof. A thatched cottage nearly opposite to it, facing south, has a stone rubble front inscribed [V?]XIC 1738, but the east and back walls have some early-17th-century timber-framing; inside are open-timbered ceilings and a wide fire-place to the central chimney-stack.
At Highleigh the Pound Inn retains some late-17th-century work in stone and brick, and a thatched cottage south of it is probably of the same period. Brook Cottage farther south was a late-16th-century timber-framed farm-house, but its east front has been refaced with red brick. The north end of framing has a triangular-headed doorway and there is another inside. It has original open-timbered ceilings. The wide fireplace has been reduced.
Near a modern farm-house south-east of the church is an ancient timber-framed and thatched barn, and Mapsons Farm, north of Highleigh, a tall brick house of the 18th or 19th century, has a similar barn. A thatched cottage of red brick, west of it, bears the initials M/RH and date 1711, another farther west G/RE and 1717.
Keynor Farm, south of Highleigh, 1 mile south-west of the church is an early-18th-century house with colour-washed brick walls. A 17th-century thatched cottage 5/8 mile south-west of it on the west side of the Earnley road has walls mainly of stone and flint rubble, with a little original timber-framing to the upper story and a central chimney-stack.
Easton Farm, ½ mile farther west, is a 17th-century house but much altered; over the fire-place in the west wall was a carved stone which was removed and now lies loose in the front garden. It is dated 163(7?) and is carved with an achievement of arms; the shield bears the arms, ermine a chief with three scallops (for Taylor) quartering a lion between three spear-heads or arrowheads. (fn. 14) The carving is cut on the outer face of the jamb of a 15th-century window-jamb from some unknown source.
A thatched cottage nearby, with cobble walls, has a 17th-century central chimney-stack, and another farther west at Almodington has end chimney-stacks. Poplars Farm, north of the last on the east side of the Birdham road, of c. 1630, has colour-washed brick walls and a thatched roof; its central chimney-stack has reduced wide fire-places.
Oakhurst Farm, 2 miles south-south-west of the church, is a plaster-fronted house of the 18th century or perhaps of earlier date. Stapeley's Farm Cottages, about 250 yards farther west (three tenements), is a building of c. 1600. The east front is largely of timber-framing with brick infilling, but about two-thirds of the lower story is of flint rubble which may be earlier. This part has a central chimney-stack with a wide fireplace and a rebated shaft above the thatched roof. The middle room has an open-timbered ceiling. The north end wall and back are also of framing. Over the southernmost doorway of the three in the front are reset two pieces of 15th-century cusped panelling from a screen or a pew.
Greatham Farm, nearly 3 miles south-south-west of the church and about ½ mile from the sea, is an 18th-or early-19th-century house of red brick with slate roofs, but near it is a fine barn of six 15-ft. bays of timber-framing with an aisle and a thatched roof. A small thatched house with brick walls on the west side of the road leading up to it is of the late 17th century.
Sidlesham was one of the places given by Cædwalla in a charter dated 683 to Bishop Wilfrid as endowment for the monastery of Selsey. (fn. 15) A further 3 cassatos there were given in 714 by Nunna, King of the South Saxons, to Beadufrid and the brethren at Selsey. (fn. 16) The manor of SIDLESHAM (disguised in the Domesday record as 'Filleicham') was held in 1086 by the Bishop of Chichester in demesne and assessed at 12 hides. Of this Gilbert held 3 hides, Rozelin 1 hide, and Ulf 1 hide. (fn. 17) A detailed custumal of the manor was drawn up in 1275, (fn. 18) from which there appear to have been between 60 and 70 villein and cottier households; and the terrier of the bishop's manors compiled in 1327 shows that the three-field system of cultivation was in use, (fn. 19) Sidlesham proper having 227 statutory acres and Ham (see below) 141. In 1535 the demesne lands were farmed by John Sawkyn for £12. (fn. 20) The manor remained with the bishops until 1560, (fn. 21) when Queen Elizabeth acquired it by an exchange more profitable to the Crown than to the see. In 1588 the manor, mill, and advowson of Sidlesham and the manor of Ham were granted to Sir Moyle Finch and Sir Thomas Henneage. They sold the site of the manor in 1590 to George Green, who had succeeded his father Thomas as lessee of it; and in 1594 Finch conveyed his interest to Henneage, who in 1600 sold the lordship to Adrian Stoughton. (fn. 22) Adrian died in 1614 and left the manor to his wife Mary for twelve years for the bringing up of his younger children. (fn. 23) Adrian's son and heir Thomas Stoughton died in 1626, having settled on himself and his wife Jane Garton the manor of Sidlesham and Ham Farm in this parish. (fn. 24) By his will he left to his mother Mary for fifteen years the 'manor' of Ham, excepting two mills under one roof, which she was to sell; she was to pay the rent due to the king and certain annuities. (fn. 25) The manor of Sidlesham was acquired by William Styant, husband of one of the six sisters and coheirs of Thomas Stoughton. He died in 1640, leaving a son Thomas, then under 16 years of age. (fn. 26) The guardianship of Thomas and his lands was assigned to Sir Henry Compton. (fn. 27) Thomas was still a minor when he died in 1644, his heir being Thomas Phillips, (fn. 28) who with his wife Mary in 1665 sold it to William Styant, (fn. 29) presumably the William who was son of the above-named William Styant by his second wife. He in 1671 conveyed it to Richard Farrington of Chichester. (fn. 30) The manor passed to the heirs of this Sir Richard Farrington, the descendants of his sisters Anne wife of William Vinall and Grisel wife of Barnham Dobell, (fn. 31) who held it jointly (fn. 32) until 1742. In that year a partition of the Farrington estates was made by which the manor of Sidlesham and a yearly rent charge of £60 out of Ham farm, as well as the house and farm of Easton, with some 400 acres of land, were assigned to Robert Bull, grandson of Elizabeth one of the two daughters of Anne Vinall, with ultimate reversion to William Dobell. (fn. 33) After the death of Robert Bull in 1775 the manor was sold to the Rev. Charles Smith, who sold it in 1795 to John Winter; from him it passed in 1801 to Messrs. Johnson, Price, and Freeland of Chichester. It was held in 1835 by John Price and after his death in 1845 by his representatives. From 1875 to 1893 it was held by Mary Blagden Gruggen, widow; then by Miss Emma Gruggen and Mrs. Frances Elizabeth Malim; and since 1919 by Miss Mary Charlotte Malim. (fn. 34)
The actual site of the manor of Sidlesham, as we have seen, was sold to George Greene, and he sold it to John Cawley, who held it at his death in 1621. (fn. 35) His son William Cawley probably sold it to William Holland, whose daughter and heir Frances married John Ashburnham, (fn. 36) as in 1640 John and Frances conveyed the site of the manor with 236 acres of land to Anne Relfe, widow, and Anne her daughter. (fn. 37)
The grants from the Crown had been made subject to a fee farm rent of £57 11s. 10½d., of which £14 2s. was chargeable on the manor and rectory of Sidlesham and the remainder on the manor of Ham, a mill, and 30 acres of woodland. This rent was sold to Laurence Whitaker and Henry Price in 1618 and they sold it in 1633 to Samuel Goldsmith and Francis his son. In 1700 a later Samuel Goldsmith sold his reversion to Sir Thomas Cuddon, chamberlain of the City of London, (fn. 38) and in 1786 his great-granddaughters and their husbands, Daniel Shilfox and Anne, and John Sutton and Elizabeth Henrietta, conveyed it to James Piggott, (fn. 39) who had bought the manor of Ham from Sir George Cornewall, bart. of Moccas (Hereford). (fn. 40)
The history of the manor of HAM is confused and obscure. An estate in Ham called indifferently a 'manor' and a 'farm' was held and conveyed with the manor of Sidlesham (see above). In 1327 Hamme contained 141 acres of arable, compared with 227 acres in Sidlesham. (fn. 41) In 1299 1 hide in Sidlesham 'formerly of Hamo de Hamme' was held of the bishop by William Dawtrey, (fn. 42) who seems to have acquired it from William de Selkedene. (fn. 43) In 1397 John Okehurst did homage for 'lands at Hamme formerly Dawtrey', (fn. 44) and in 1419 William Walton and Cecily his wife conveyed to William Okehurst, Cecily's son, 'the manor called Hamme' to hold during her life at a rent of £4. (fn. 45) An Okehurst heiress married Thomas Barttelot, ancestor of the Barttelots of Sidlesham and Earnley, (fn. 46) and in 1501 Joan widow of Edward Barttelot renounced all claim to the 'chief mansion place' and lands in Ham in favour of Edward's eldest son John. (fn. 47) In 1558 Edward Barttelot conveyed these lands to John Caryll, (fn. 48) and lands in Okehurst and Ham were among those forfeited by John Caryll, recusant, in 1630. (fn. 49) Meanwhile, in 1580, 'the manor' of Ham was held on lease from the Crown by Robert Stanney, (fn. 50) from whose family it passed to William Styant. His son George, glass-seller of London, sold Ham Farm in 1701 to the Earl of Scarborough, whose son sold it in 1727 to Claudius Amyand, whose successor in 1776 left it to Sir George Cornewall, bart. He sold it to Sir John Carter, and he to James Pigott. (fn. 51)
KEYNOR was held of the honor of Halnaker and was one of the places in which the 12 fees of that honor lay in 1275. (fn. 52) In 1329 and 1336 one knight's fee of the honor lay in Keynor and Westhampnett, (fn. 53) and at the partition of the fees of Edmund St. John in 1349 John de St. Philibert and Margaret his wife received ¼ fee in Keynor. (fn. 54) The manor seems to have been held at the end of the 12th century by Geoffrey de Colevile, who gave to Boxgrove Priory the tithes of his demesnes at Keynor, excepting ⅓ of the tithes, which belonged to the church of Sidlesham. (fn. 55) The grant was confirmed by Robert de Colevile, probably his son. This Sir Robert had, by his first wife Julian, a daughter Alice and a son John, and by his second wife Lucy two sons, Roger and Guy. (fn. 56) William de Colevile (son of John) and Alice his wife in 1262 acquired land in Keynor which Lucy widow of Robert had held, (fn. 57) but in 1304 John de Kynore and Isabel his wife sold the manor of Keynor to William Paynel and Margaret. (fn. 58) In 1316 Richard 'Dummer' held the fee, (fn. 59) and in 1320 Thomas son of Thomas de Dunmere (by his guardian) impleaded Nicholas de Eye of Upton and Maud his wife (niece and heir of William Paynel) to warrant ⅓ of the manor of Keynor, which Edward St. John and Eve his wife (formerly second wife of William Paynel) were claiming. (fn. 60) This Thomas de Dunmere in 1338 sold the manor to Henry Whysh, (fn. 61) who in that year had a grant of free warren in his demesne lands of Keynor. (fn. 62) He died in 1347, holding the ¼ fee of the heirs of Edmund St. John, and his widow Katherine had dower; (fn. 63) his son Henry was then only 17, and custody of his lands during his nonage was granted to Mr. John Lecche. (fn. 64) In 1356 the manor was settled on Henry Whysh and his wife Alice; (fn. 65) he died in 1384 (fn. 66) and the history of the manor during the next 200 years is obscure but it apparently descended in the same family, as in 1568 Roger and William Henshawe and Anne Huysshe, widow, conveyed the manor to Ralph Scrope. (fn. 67) In 1572 Ralph Scrope of Hambledon (Bucks.) died seised of the manor of Keynor, held of the Marquess of Winchester (representative of the St. Johns), which he had settled in 1570 on his eldest son Adrian. (fn. 68) In 1611 Sir Adrian Scrope sold the manor to Thomas Bennett, (fn. 69) and it remained in this family until 1682, when Sir Levin Bennett, bart., sold it to John Comber and Thomas Miller. (fn. 70) It is found in 1736 in the hands of Joseph and Richard Marlott, (fn. 71) sons of John Marlott, who had inherited it under the will of John Farrington, son-in-law of Sir Thomas Miller; and they sold it in 1740 to John Farhill, who shortly afterwards sold it to Hutchins Williams. (fn. 72) In 1788 his nephew William Peere Williams and Henrietta his wife sold it to William Fowler and John Drew. (fn. 73) The latter in 1791 sold parts of the estate to William Challen of Apuldram, (fn. 74) and it is probable that the manorial rights lapsed.
The small reputed manor of SHOTFORD consisted of some 70 acres lying to the west of the millpond. It was part of the endowment of the prebend of Hurst, which was held from 1628 by Joseph Henshaw. At the Restoration he was appointed Dean and Precentor of Chichester and retained the prebend until he was made Bishop of Peterborough in 1663. (fn. 75) In 1717 his great-nephew Philip Henshaw was lord of the manor of Shotford, and he so continued until his death in 1753; his son Thomas held it until at least 1779, and presumably until 1783, when he died without issue. (fn. 76) From 1806 to 1821 William Borrer occurs as lord of the manor, followed by John Borrer, 1843–66, and Henry Hall Borrer from 1870 to 1909, when he died. The manor was then acquired by Ernest Henry Blaker. (fn. 77)
The two prebends of Sidlesham and Highleigh drew most of their endowments from this parish; the Tithe Award of 1848 gives the value of the tithes of the former prebend on 224 acres as worth £110, and those of Highleigh, from over 3,000 acres, as £1,005.
Although Easton is referred to as a manor in 1470 when Rose Farnfold, one daughter and coheir of Agnes formerly wife of Richard Farnfold, conveyed land there to John Stanney, (fn. 78) and again in 1552 when the estate was settled on William Stanney, (fn. 79) it was pretty clearly no more than a farm. From the Stanneys it passed to the Taylors and in 1668 to Richard Farrington, so becoming attached to the manorial estate of Sidlesham. (fn. 80)
The church of ST. MARY (fn. 81) stands east of the Chichester-Selsey road; it is built of rubble with ashlar dressings, some minor repairs and the porch are of brick; the roofs are tiled. At the end of the 12th century there was begun a church with chancel, crossing, transepts flanked with eastern aisles or chapels; some years later this was continued by an aisled nave; the tower is of doubtful date, but may be as late as the later 16th century, with older dressed stones reused. Subsequently, perhaps in the 17th century, (fn. 82) the chancel and eastern aisles of the transept were demolished; a north porch was added in about the 18th. A vestry west of the north aisle was built in the 19th, replacing one east of the north transept; this is shown in a drawing of the early 19th century, (fn. 83) and may have been part of the earlier building, but has since been destroyed.
The present chancel (formerly the crossing) has an east window of composite origin; the head is that of a 15th-century window of three trefoil-headed lights under normal Perpendicular tracery; this is placed directly on the stonework of a square-headed window of three lights with uncusped pointed arch heads; the rear-arch is pointed; on the outside the window is surmounted by a gable in brickwork; this evidently took its present form when the former chancel was demolished. The recess of the east window is lined with panelling with pilasters and elliptical arches, having a classical pediment on the east side; this serves as the reredos. The west arch of the crossing, the wall above which is shown in a drawing of c. 1800, was, it appears, removed in 1814. (fn. 84) The sides of the chancel are completely open to the transepts, the roof being carried over by beams at eaves level. The roof is modern, and has two tie-beams; it is ceiled in plaster under the rafters and collars.
The north transept has in its east wall the remains of an arcade of two bays, now blocked, once opening into the eastern aisle. The northern arch is pointed, of two moulded orders; of the southern only the spring remains; the intervening pier is cylindrical with moulded cap and base, the form of the responds cannot now be determined. In the north wall are two lancet windows with depressed segmental rear-arches; in the west wall is a pointed arch of two chamfered orders opening into the nave aisle, the inner order rests on a corbel, the abacus of which is continued as an impost on to the square respond which supports the outer. In the east wall of the south transept are visible remains of one arch like those in the north, but of smaller span; no pier or respond details are traceable. This work is all of c. 1200. South of the arch is a wide window with pointed head and external hood-mould, perhaps 14th-century, from which the tracery and mullions have been removed. Next to this is a piscina with pointed head, perhaps 14th-century. Beyond this is a lancet window, like those of the north transept, now blocked; a similar lancet, also blocked, is in the west wall. Two others (glazed) in the south wall have heads almost, if not quite, semicircular and pointed rear-arches; these four are all of c. 1200. Both transepts have flat plaster ceilings.
Both nave arcades are of three bays and have pointed arches of two orders, the inner chamfered, the outer lightly moulded; they rest on cylindrical piers with moulded caps and bases; the responds have the form of half-piers; this work is of c. 1220. The tower arch (possibly of brick plastered) is of one order, a plain four-centred arch resting on square responds without imposts; it is likely that this was originally the opening into a ringing chamber whose floor has now been removed, and that a second arch spanned the opening at a lower level; this work is coeval with the tower. The roof (perhaps 13th-century) is in five bays with tie-beams, principals, and curved, short struts; above collar level it is ceiled in plaster.
The north aisle has a square-headed window of three lights with wooden frame, replacing a blocked 13th-century lancet window, traces of which are visible outside; next is the north door, square-headed in a wooden frame, and then another window like the eastern one but a little higher; these are perhaps 18th-century. (fn. 85) In the west wall is a plain doorway with single-order pointed arch and wooden frame, coeval with the modern vestry it leads to. The lean-to roof is ceiled in plaster under the rafters.
The south aisle has a window resembling those of the north over traces of a blocked lancet; above this in the roof is a modern dormer window of four lights. The south doorway, now blocked, was a plain pointed arch of one order without imposts, the rear-arch is segmental; west of this is a blocked lancet with pointed rear-arch; like the doorway, it is of the 13th century; over it is a second modern dormer window. In the west wall is another 13th-century lancet like the last, but glazed. The roof resembles that of the north aisle.
At each west corner of the tower is a diagonal buttress of three stages with sloping offsets. The west doorway (blocked) has a plain pointed arch with hoodmould resting on jambs without imposts; above it a face, perhaps once the terminal of a hood-mould, is built into the wall; the rear-arch is four-centred; the outer stonework may be that of the 13th-century west door of the nave reused, the inner is coeval with the tower. On each side of the door is a small plain square-headed window, now blocked, of doubtful date. Access to the upper stages of the tower is by a stone newel staircase in the south-east corner, reached by a doorway with plain four-centred arched head. The next stage (the former ringing-chamber whose floor has been removed) has on the west side a window of three uncusped lights surmounted by three quatrefoils, the mullions and head are modern, the external arch and (pointed) rear-arch ancient. The next stage has on the west side a single-light window with pointed head the moulding of which is continued on to the jambs, of doubtful date and probably reused; the uppermost stage has two-light windows on the north and west, and single-light windows on the south and east, sides, all mainly in plastered brickwork with some reused stones. A cornice, battlement, and pyramidal roof complete the tower.
The vestry (19th-century) has in the north wall a three-light window with pointed head and wooden frame, in the west wall a doorway with pointed arch, now blocked, and in the south a fire-place. The porch, of brick and probably 18th-century, has blank side walls and a north doorway with square head and wooden frame.
In the chancel is a brass candelabrum of about the 18th century. Part of the north transept is railed off by a wrought-iron railing of about the same date. The font (early-13th-century) has a square basin carved with stylized floral design; this rests on four small shafts with moulded caps and bases and one large one without either.
There are two bells; (fn. 86) one is uninscribed, the other (c. 1390) bears the inscription—PER QVOS FVNDATVR IACOBVS PRECIBVS TVEATVR.
The communion plate (fn. 87) includes a cup given in 1620 and a paten of 1830.
The rectory of Sidlesham was a prebend of Chichester Cathedral; it was valued at £30 in 1291, (fn. 88) when the vicarage was rated at £8. In 1535 the prebend was worth only £13 6s. 8d. clear and the vicarage was still of the gross value of £8. (fn. 89) The advowson of the vicarage remained with the prebendary until it passed, under the Act of 1840, to the bishop.
Bishop Stephen de Bersted in 1287 founded and endowed a chantry in Sidlesham church. (fn. 90) This was still in the gift of the bishop at the beginning of the 16th century (fn. 91) but has not been traced later. A brotherhood of the Holy Rood is mentioned in a will of 1544 (fn. 92) and at the time of its suppression in 1548 had property worth 13s. 4d. (fn. 93)
There was also a brotherhood of St. Peter at Easton, (fn. 94) where a 'chapel' is mentioned in wills of 1461 and 1525, and a 'church' in others of 1531 and 1533. (fn. 95) Beyond these bequests nothing is known of it.
William Rusbridge by will dated 30 November 1871 bequeathed £100, the income to be applied by the vicar and churchwardens of Sidlesham in providing a dinner on Christmas Day or some other day for 14 old men of the parish. The testator directed that in the event of the income being more than sufficient to provide such dinners the trustees should distribute the surplus amongst old women of the parish. The annual income of the charity amounts to £2 9s.
Dame Elizabeth Puckering's charity founded by her will in 1652, is governed by a scheme established by an Order of the High Court of Justice dated 13 February 1834. The scheme appointed a body of trustees to administer the charity and directed the income to be applied as to 1 moiety in the maintenance of five poor widows of the age of 50 years and upwards, and as to the other moiety towards the putting forth of four fatherless children as apprentices; and that the objects of the charity should be selected at the discretion of the trustees without restriction as to any parish or place. The annual income of the charity amounts to £130 approximately.