Report on the Charities of the Vintners' Company

Pages 553-556

City of London Livery Companies Commission. Report; Volume 4. Originally published by Eyre and Spottiswoode, London, 1884.

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To the Charity Commissioners for England and Wales.

In pursuance of a Minute of the Board of the 29th of May 1863, I have inquired into the condition and circumstances of the following charities under the management of the Vintners' Company of the City of London, and I have stated in the report, under the head of each specific endowment, the result of my investigation:—

This Company is composed of— Master, Three Wardens, and Court of Assistants.

The latter is uncertain in numbers, but the quorum is 13. The average number of members is about 20. The liverymen now on the list are 246, including the members of the court. There is a privilege of all the free vintners, vintners by service or patrimony, to sell wine throughout the Kingdom without a license from the Board of Inland Revenue or magistrates, under the old construction of ports and port towns. The number of freemen, not liverymen, known to the clerk, is 273, and there may be about 50 more. The title of the Company is "The Master, Wardens, and Freemen, and Commonalty of the Mystery of Vintners of the City of London."

Vintners' Almshouses.—Shuldham's Gift.

Guy Shuldham, by his will of the 7th November 1446, gave to the Company lands and tenements in the parishes of St. Martin, Vintry, and St. James, Garlickhithe, London, on condition that the said Company and their successors, the great hall, with the kitchen and house for coals, and a pantry and buttery, and a void piece of land called the Yard, with the well in the same, and the apparell to the same well belonging, and also a parlour above leaded and a house called the countinghouse, being parcels of the said lands with the appurtenances, for ever after his decease, put, convert, and conserve to the proper use of the said master, wardens, and commonalty, paying for the same with the money of the common box, 6s. 8d.

And he directed that the Company should grant the 13 little mansions to 13 poor men or women without rent; and to let the residue of the said lands and tenements, and pay to the 13 poor people 4s. 4d. each yearly.

The history of the site of these buildings is dated in the Report of the Commissioners of Inquiry (vol. 8, p. 380). A portion of it before the Fire of London seems to have been appropriated to the Hall of the Company occupying nearly the site of the present hall at the foot of Southwark Bridge on the Thames Street side. After the Fire the premises described as the little mansions, which were supposed to be only rooms in a large building, were not reconstructed on the same site but on a plot of land purchased by the Company, adjoining the Trinity Almshouses in the Mile End Road. These almshouses were re-built about 60 years ago, mainly from a bequest from Mr. Kenton, one of the Company, and his executors. The almshouses, as described by the Commissioners of Inquiry, consist of 12 small houses, six on each of two sides of a square, with a chapel at the side opposite the entrance. Each house has an outer door, with a parlour and bed-room on the same floor, and a cellar or kitchen below.

An information was filed on the 16th December 1833, which was amended by successive orders of the 29th July 1834 and the 24th January 1835, and as amended was by the Attorney-General at the relation of George Everitt and William Everitt, against the Vintners' Company, stating the gift by Guy Shuldham, and the subsequent transactions, and praying that it might be declared that the said Vintners' Company took and acquired the lands and tenements devised by G. Shuldham, except so much as was appropriated to the use of the Company as a hall or otherwise, the residue of said lands and tenements distinguished from so much thereof as then constituted the buildings therein mentioned and specified. And that the said Company then held the same, subject to a charitable trust, and not absolutely to their own use, and that the said Company, for the time being, in respect of the said lands so vested in them, were chargeable, not merely with the obligation of supporting almshouses for the relief of 13 poor almspeople, and of applying the yearly sum of 4s. 4d. for the maintenance of each of such poor, but that they were liable for, and chargeable with, the whole of the rents of such residue of said lands and tenements as were applicable to a charitable use.

The bill also prayed that the Company might be charged in account with the moneys received from Mr. Kenton and his executor for the relief of the almshouses, and might account for the surplus rents, profits, and receipts on taking the account.

The Company put in their answer to the original and amended bills, and certain proceedings took place with reference to the competency of the relators, and orders were made for the inspection by the relators of the books and documents of the Company. In January 1836, it was proposed to the Company by Messrs. Yates and Turner, the solicitors to the relators, that a decree should be made charging the Company with the maintenance of the almshouses, "in as ample, effectual, and beneficial a manner as they were then maintained." This the Company refused to consent to. In Hilary Term, 1839, a subpœna to rejoin was served, but no further proceedings were taken, nor was the information ever dismissed.

The Company charge themselves with 2l. 16s. 4d. a year in respect of the penny a week with which the premises are charged.

The almshouses are occupied by 12 women. The widows of liverymen are preferred to freemen, and then the widows of freemen, but it was opened to the widows of freemen in consequence of widows of liverymen not being sufficient in number. They are not generally elected under the age of 60.

Each of the almswomen receives as follows:—

£ s. d.
Stipend of 2l. per month, which by an order of the court of assistants, of the 11th of June 1863, has been increased to 2l. 5s. per month 27 0 0
The Master's Gift (in October) 1 1 0
Kenton's Gift (in June) 1 1 0
The Consolidated Gift (in July) (mentioned in my report on Gale's Gift) 5 5 0
In lieu of the remains of the dinners of the Company in July and November 1 1 0
Pierpoint's Gift 0 10 0
Carried forward £35 18 0
Brought forward 35 18 0
Flower's Gift 0 8 4
Kennett's Gift 0 3 4
Tomlinson's Gift 0 5 0
From the poor box (contributed by persons who are elected on the court, apprentices taking up freedoms, &c., of which 2l. 2s. are paid at Midsummer, and 2l. 2s. at Christmas 4 4 0
Lucas' Gift 1 5 2
Peacock's Gift 1 4 0
43 7 10
Total 520 14 0
The matron (who is one of the almswomen receives, per quarter, 2l. 2s. 8 8 0
The chaplain (appointed by the Company, now a beneficed clergyman in the City, and a minor canon of St. Paul's). He performs duty in the chapel on Wednesdays, and attends the inmates 50 0 0
Gardener 4 0 0
£583 2 0

This is in addition to water and gas rates which are paid by the Company.

Kenton's Gift.

Benjamin Kenton, who died in 1802, by his will (date not stated), gave 2,050l. to the Company; a competent part thereof to be laid out in rebuilding the almshouses, and directed that what remained should, together with a further sum of 200l. be placed out at interest and applied (after deducting 2l. 2s. a year for a sermon) amongst the poor women of the almshouses.

The whole of the money received in respect of this bequest was expended in rebuilding the almshouses.

The Company, however, charge themselves with the annual sum of 12l. 12s., which is divided in 12 equal sums and given to the 12 almspeople on the day fixed on for the commemoration of the donor. They also pay 2l. 2s. a year for a sermon in the parish church of Stepney, preached by a clergyman named by the master, usually the rector; the rector receiving the fee.

The same testator gave the Company a sum of 2,000l. for their own use. This money the Company have voluntarily dedicated to a fund called "The Decayed Members' Fund."

Flower's Gift.

—Flower gave to the almswomen 5l. a year for a dinner and 5l. a year for coals. The Company charge themselves with 10l. a year, which is applied to the benefit of the almspeople, in respect of this gift.

Tomlinson's Gift.

—Tomlinson gave to the almswomen 3l. a year. This is annually continued to be applied for the almswomen.

Gale's Gift.

Mrs. Gale, by her will (date not known), gave to the Company 100l. to be lent to two young men at 4l. per cent., and directed that with part of it two loads of charcoal should be bought, and the overplus be divided in August among the almsfolk.

The capital of this fund had not, at the last inquiry, been lent out for a long period, if ever. An information was subsequently filed against the Company at the relation of Thomas Gabriel Bottomley and Hugh Coppendal, against the Vintners' Charity, stating the loan gifts,—
and praying that the charitable bequests aforesaid for loans and all other, if any, like bequests might be established, and that the due performances of the said trusts might be enforced and secured for the future; and then, if necessary, some proper scheme might be named for that purpose, and that proper accounts might be directed to be taken of the aforesaid moneys, and of the manner in which the same had from time to time been applied.

Mrs. Dale 100
Edward Mallows 150
Paul Hawkins 40
Thomas Bullock 50

The Company put in their answer stating that after diligent inquiries made by their clerk respecting the said moneys, that all traces of the same appear to have been lost about the year 1654, but whether such moneys were lost by inability of persons to whom they were lent and their sureties to repay the same, or whether they were mixed up and blended with the general funds of the Company they were unable to trace, and verily believed the same could not be traced; but the defendants were willing to admit that the bequests of Gale, Mallowes, and Hawkins, of 100l., 150l., and 40l. had been at some time or other mixed up and blended with the funds of the Company, and though they had no trace of the 50l. given by Bullock, yet they admitted the same was received and had been so mixed up and blended.

No further proceedings were taken in the suit.

The sum of 4l. a year is charged by the Company upon their funds, and forms part of the sum appropriated for the benefit of the almswomen. It is a portion of a gift of 5l. 5s. given to each almswoman on the 31st July.

The sum is made up as follows:—

£ s. d.
Flower's Gift 0 8 4
Hawkin's " 0 3 4
Gale's " 0 6 8
Mallowes' " 0 8 4
Shuldham's " 0 4 8
Jacob's " 0 7 3
Mervayle's " 3 6 5
£5 5 0

Jacob's Gift.

Richard Jacob, by his will in 1609, charged his lands in Eastcheap with 13 nobles (4l. 6s. 8d.) yearly for the poor almspeople. The Company hold the lands in Eastcheap except a part which has been taken for city improvements.

They apply annually this sum with the other sums for the benefit of the almspeople. (See my report on Gale's Gift.)

Mallowes' Gift.

Edward Mallowes, by will of the 5th September 1614, gave to the Company 150l. to be lent to three young men paying for same 5l. a year for the almspeople.

The capital of this gift was included in the information filed against the Charity and mentioned in my report on Gale's Gift. It is not in any specific investment. The sum of 5l. a year is part of the sum of 63l. given to the almspeople in July. (See my report on Gale's Gift.)

Pierpoint's Gift.

John Pierpoint, by will of the 1st June 1711, gave to the Company 105l. to pay 12 widows, in the Hospital, Mile End, 10s. apiece.

The sum is not held in any distinct state of investment, but the sum of 10s. apiece is paid to the almspeople in sums of 2s. 6d. per quarter.

Kennett's Gift.

Alderman Brackley Kennett, about 1780, gave 52l. 10s. to the Company to pay 2l. a year to the almswomen. The sum of 3s. 4d. each is paid the almswomen in July of each year.

Mervayle's Gift.

Richard Mervayle, by his will of the 5th April 1437, gave to the Company lands and tenements in Lombard Street in pure and perpetual alms to the sustentation and relief of poor people.

The property possessed by the Company under this devise is—

The freehold messuage and premises, No. 54, on the north side of Lombard Street, in the parish of St. Edmund the King, in the City of London. It has been recently let to Messrs. Barclay and Co., Bankers, on a building lease for a term of 99 years (under the sanction of the Board of the 9 June 1863) at a rent of 900

This is without the land tax which belongs to the Company, having been redeemed by their own moneys.

The rent paid by Messrs. Barclay is 930l. In consequence of the increase of income of the Lombard Street property a committee of the Company has lately presented the following report to the court, which has been approved.

"The special committee appointed to consider and recommend to the court what augmentation should be made to the gifts to the poor of the Company in consequence of the increased rental of the Lombard Street property beg to report the present payments, viz.:—

8 senior decayed members 30l. each per annum.

8 junior " " 24l. " "

16 widows on the quarterly poor list 12l. 12s. per annum.

8 3rd-class decayed members 12l. 12s. per annum.

26 quarterly poor, of whom 21 are widows and 5 freemen, 6l. 6s. per annum.

"The 12 widows in the almshouses are paid a monthly allowance of 2l. in addition to various other gifts, making a total of 40l. 7s. 10d. each per annum, and to the matron an additional 8l. 8s. per annum, and a liveryman's widow without an almshouse is paid 10s. per week, making 26l. per annum.

"The amount voted by the court for temporary relief has been of late very much increased, in addition to which the court have voted annuities to two ladies (widows of late members of the court).

"The total given in charity to members of the Company during the last year amounted to 1,620l.

"We, your committee, considering the very great increase that has taken place in the sums voted for temporary relief in anticipation of the increased rental, recommend that at least 200l. thereof should be reserved for this mode of relief, and if the court should consider that amount sufficient, we would then recommend that the permanent allowances should be augmented as follows:

8 senior decayed members 30l. to 36l. per annum.

8 junior " " 24l. to 30l. "

16 widows from 12l. 12s. to 14l. 14s. per annum.

8 3rd-class decayed members 12l. 12s. to 14l. 14s. per annum.

26 quarterly poor from 6l. 6s. to 10l. 10s. per annum.

12 almswomen to have an addition of 5s. per month to their allowance, the income being raised from 40l. 7s. 10d. to 43l. 7s. 10d. all of which we respectfully submit to the consideration of the court."

In addition to the periodical payments mentioned in the foregoing report, there are various sums given annually by votes of court to casual applicants; these in the year 1862 were 209l. 10s. This is an increasing claim upon the Company.

The total of these disbursements under the new arrangement will be as follows:—

£ s. d.
8 senior decayed members 288 0 0
8 jnuior " 240 0 0
16 widows 235 4 0
8 (third class) decayed members 117 12 0
26 quarterly poor 273 0 0
The almspeopel ( ) 397 9 0
£1,551 5 0
From this should be deducted the produce of the special fund called "The Decayed Members' Fund," of £8,237 14s. 9d. and £3,208 0s. 0d. Reduced Annuities £11,445 14s. 9d. 343 7 5
£1,207 17 7

The moneys appropriated for the poor of the several classes above mentioned, and which may be regarded as paid from Mervayle's Charity, so far as that will extend, are therefore upwards of 1,200l., being a surplus of 300l. beyond the income.

In addition to this there are 10 aged widows of members of the court who receive 60l. a year each, and the widow of a liveryman who receives 29l. a year.

Skydmore's Gift.

Stephen Skydmore, by his will of the 20th March 1584, gave all his lands and tenements in Blackfriars to the Company on trust to pay to each of 17 parishes in and near the City of London 20s. for fuel in the month of October.

£ s. d.
To St. Stephen, Coleman Street, parish, for bread 1 12 0
To the poor of the Company 1 0 0
To the City of Cork 24 0 0

The Company held the estate in Shoemaker's Row in Broadway, Blackfriars, in the parish of St. Ann, Blackfriars.

They pay the sum of 19l. 12s. a year over to the churchwardens of the City parishes mentioned in the devise, and to the Municipality of the City of Cork 24l. a year.

Buckle's Gift.

Cuthbert Buckle, by his will of the 20th June 1594, gave to the Company his lands and tenements in St. Mary-at-Hill and St. Dunstan-in-the-East parishes.

The Commissioners of Inquiry (volume 8, page 383) report that this devise had not apparently been accepted by the Company.

Nothing more is known of it.

Blundell's Gift.

Peter Blundell, by his will of the 9th June 1599, gave to the Company 150l., to purchase lands and pay thereout 40s. to the poor in Bridewell Hospital.

No account is found of any lands having been purchased; 2l. a year is paid to the treasurer of the hospital.

Hawkins' Gift.

Paul Hawkins, by his will of the 21st June 1600, directed his executrix to pay to the Company 40l., to be lent to a young man, for the delivery yearly of one load of good charcoal for the poor of the Company, and 2s. to the clerk.

This was one of the subjects of the information mentioned in my report of Gale's Gift. There is no account of any investment of the capital.

The supposed produce is paid in sums of 3s. 4d. each to the 12 almswomen in July of every year, forming part of the 5l. 5s. they then receive.

Jacob's Gift.

Richard Jacob, by his will of the 20th May 1609, gave to the Company all his houses in Eastcheap, to pay thereout,—

£ s. d.
To the parish of St. Clement Danes 4 0 0
To the poor of St. Andrew Hubbard 2 0 0
To Bridewell Hospital 3 0 0
To Christ's Hospital 2 0 0
To Bartholomew's Hospital 2 0 0
To St. Thomas' Hospital 3 0 0
To the poor almspeople of the Company 4 6 8

The property held by the Company under this devise has been referred to in my report of this donor as part of the Almshouses Charities.

The foregoing additional charges are paid to the churchwardens of the several parishes and treasurers of the hospitals.

Bullock's Gift.

Thomas Bullock, by his will of the 18th February 1632, gave to the Company 50l. to be lent to young men; they paying 20s. yearly for the relief of poor members of the Company.

This part of the subject of the suit is mentioned under Gale's Gift. There is no account of the investment of the fund. The 20s. a year is added to the distribution to the poor, and returned in the accounts of the Company with Mervayle's Gift.

Cox's Gift.

Thomas Cox, by his will (date not known), gave to the Company 50l., to distribute 50s. to poor widows.

The sum of 2l. 10s. is added in the Company's account to Mervayle's Gift, and may be considered as included in what is given by the Company to their poor, which far exceeds the produce of the Charity Estates.

Young's Gift.

Mrs. Winifred Young gave to the Company 50l. for their poor.

The sum of 3l. a year in respect of this donation is returned with Mervayle's Charity, as given to the poor, and it may be regarded as forming part of the surplus of the gift disposed of.

Stowell's Gift.

Richard Stowell gave to the Company 20l.; the interest to be paid to their poor. The Company account for 1l. a year as supposed to be derived from this source.

The Company give to the poor far more than the produce of the estates.

Bateman's Gift.

Thomas Bateman, in 1817, gave to the Company 100l. 3 per cent. Reduced Annuities; the dividends to be paid to decayed members thereof.

This forms part of the sum of 8,237l. 14s. 9d. 3 per cent. Reduced Annuities, set apart for the benefit of decayed members. (See Mervayle's Gift.)

Lucas' Gift.

At a special court of assistants of the Company held on the 4th July 1839, the renter warden reported that Mr. Alderman Lucas, then master of the Company for the second time, had paid into the hands of the renter warden 500l.; the interest to be annually distributed to the almswomen inmates of the almshouses. It was resolved that the said 500l. should be invested and kept separate from the said charity funds of the Company, by the title of Alderman Lucas' Gift, that so great an act of beneficence might be held in perpetual remembrance by the members of the Vintners' Company.

This money was invested in the purchase of 604l. 8s. New 2½ per cent. Annuities, which stands in the corporate name of the Company.

The dividend, amounting to 15l. 2s. 2d. a year, is divided equally amongst the 12 almswomen in the Mile End Almshouses.

Peacock's Gift.

John Henry Peacock, by his will of the 14th May 1849, gave to the Company 500l., and directed the dividends thereof for ever, to be paid and applied to and for the use and benefit of the widows of decayed liverymen, inhabitants of the almshouses at Mile End, belonging to the said Company, at such times and in such proportions and manner as the trustees or other officers for the time being of the said almshouses should see fit.

This money was invested in the purchase of 522l. 3s. 10d. New South Sea Annuities, since converted into 574l. 8s. 3d. New 2½ per cents.

The dividend, amounting to 14l. 7s. 2d. a year, is equally divided amongst the widows in the Mile End Almshouses.

Decayed Members' Fund.

This fund is composed of a gift of 2,000l. by Mr. Kenton (as stated in the report on his Charity) for the use of the Company, but which was applied by them to the benefit of the decayed members to which various subsequent donations of other members have been added, the respective names and amounts of which will appear in the annexed table.

The total sum now consists of 8,237l. 14s. 9d. Reduced 3l. per cent. Annuities.

A further sum of 3,208l. like stock, arising from the balances of the poor box, has been also considered as belonging to the above fund.

The dividends are distributed at the discretion of the court of the Company for the benefit of the class indicated by its title.

All which I submit to the Board.

Inspector of Charities.

15th December 1863.

Decayed Members' Fund.

(3 per cent. Reduced Annuities.)

£ s. d.
1808. A legacy of Benjamin Kenton, Esq., of 2,000l. produced in stock 3,383 6 8
1817. The gift of Thomas Bateman, Esq. (the father of the Company) 100 0 0
1823. John Leach, Esq. (a member of the court of assistants), a legacy of 500l. 523 11 2
1835. William Harrison, Esq. (a member of the court of assistants), a legacy of 100l. 99 8 11
1841. George Fournier, Esq. (a liveryman), a legacy of 200l. 202 5 0
1847. Edward Laforest, Esq. (a liveryman), a gift of fifty guineas 58 16 6
1849. John Kaye, Esq., a member of the court of assistants (High Sheriff of Bucks), a gift of 100 guineas 112 6 3
1849. Robert Gray, Esq. (a member of the court of assistants), a gift of fifty guineas 56 3 0
1859. A gift of two hundred and five pounds 212 19 9
Quarterage invested from time to time 3,488 17 9
£8,237 14 9