Memorial CXVII: Townsend's Lectureship

Memorials of the Guild of Merchant Taylors of the Fraternity of St. John the Baptist in the City of London. Originally published by Harrison, London, 1875.

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'Memorial CXVII: Townsend's Lectureship', in Memorials of the Guild of Merchant Taylors of the Fraternity of St. John the Baptist in the City of London, ed. C M Clode( London, 1875), British History Online [accessed 20 July 2024].

'Memorial CXVII: Townsend's Lectureship', in Memorials of the Guild of Merchant Taylors of the Fraternity of St. John the Baptist in the City of London. Edited by C M Clode( London, 1875), British History Online, accessed July 20, 2024,

"Memorial CXVII: Townsend's Lectureship". Memorials of the Guild of Merchant Taylors of the Fraternity of St. John the Baptist in the City of London. Ed. C M Clode(London, 1875), , British History Online. Web. 20 July 2024.


Thomas Townsend, by Will, dated 16th May 1789, granted to the master and wardens of the Merchant Tailors Company a leasehold house in Old Broad-street, and all the profits and advantages therefrom, to hold to them and their successors for ever, after the decease of his wife, upon trust, to apply the rent thereof towards the establishment and continuance of religion and morality, by supporting an evening lecturer in the parishchurch of St. Michael, Crooked-lane, on the Thursday evening, at six, throughout the year, beginning at six, or between six and seven, except in passion-week, when it might be on Friday evening instead, but optional in the elected; and the election of a fit and proper person to read the prayers of the Church of England, and preach, to be with the said master and wardens, or a majority of them; but if equal, the senior member of the court of assistants to give the casting vote, and the choice to be made in June, every third year; and no rector or vicar to be elected, nor any one person twice, or twice three years in succession; and that the duty should not be done by deputy, except in case of illness or great emergency, with certain directions in case of the death of the elected before the expiration of three years, for supplying the vacancy in manner therein particularly mentioned; the appointment to take place in the June after testator's death, or so soon after as might be; and the said testator directed that the rents and profits should be applied as follows: five-tenths, free of deduction, to the clergy man; two-tenths to the parish-clerk for finding candles, and his attendance; one-tenth towards a fund for renewing the lease of the premises and all expenses; one-tenth to the master and wardens for their trouble; 40s. out of which should be allowed to the clerk of the company to keep an account of all the transactions, payments, and receipts, in separate books, intitled, "Townsend's Bequests"; and the remaining one-tenth to be divided between the parishes of St. Michael, Crooked-lane, if the lecture should be established there, if not to such other parish where it might be established, and St. Benet Fink, towards defraying the poors rates of the said parishes for ever; and after the continuance of the lecture for 100 years, the premises and profits were left by the said testator for the company of Merchant Tailors for ever, to do therewith what they thought proper, except the one tenth between the parish where the lecture was to be read and St. Benet Fink.

Susannah Townsend, by Will, dated the 28th July 1810, gave the company 200l. per annum Long Annuities, to be appropriated for the use of the lecture directed by the will of her late husband, instead of the house in Old Broad-street, the bequest of such house being void by the statute of Mortmain.

The Company accepted this bequest of Mrs. Townsend under the trusts of Mr. Townsend's will, but it became necessary, for many reasons, to carry into effect the above wills by a suit in Chancery, under which, by a decree, dated 15th December 1813, the 200l. a year Long Annuities were sold, and after repaying the company the legacy-duty, and discharging the costs of the suit, the surplus was in virtue of the same decree invested in the purchase of 4,525l. three per cent. Reduced Annuities, now standing in the company's name, the interest of which, amounting to 135l. 15s. per annum, is applied under the same decree as follows, viz.:—

£ s. d.
To the lecturer at St. Magnus, London Bridge 75 8 4
To the parish-clerk of ditto 30 3 4
To the churchwardens of St. Michael 7 10 10
To the churchwardens of St. Benet Fink 7 10 10
To the master, wardens, and clerk of the company 15 1 8
£135 15 0

By an Act of Parliament (1 Will. 4, c. 3, Local and Personal) passed on 11th March 1831, for making approaches to London Bridge, the lecture theretofore given in the parish church of St. Michael, Crooked-lane (then about to be pulled down), was transferred to the church of St. Magnus, London Bridge, and has accordingly been held there since then.