Canterbury: Charitable benefactions

Pages 199-205

The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 11. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1800.

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SIR THOMAS WHITE, alderman of London, gave 100l. to be paid by the chamberlain of the city of Bristol, at Merchant-Taylor's hall, in London, once in twenty-four years, for the profit of young beginners, freemen and traders in this city, to be lent out to them in parcels of 25l. to each poor freeman, for the space of ten years, without interest; they to give their own bond, and such other security as the court of burghmote should think proper and sufficient; to repay the same, after that time was expired, into the chamber of the city, to be lent out again for the same intent and purpose. (fn. 1)

Mr. JOHN WHITFIELD, gent. of this city, by his will in 1687, gave 150l. to be lent out to poor tradesmen, freement of this city, in parcels of 25l. each, gratis, for five years and no longer, nor twice to any one man; upon such security as the house of burghmote should order, direct and approve of, and so to be lent out and taken for ever; and when any sum of 25l. should be repaid into the chamberlain's hands. he should give notice at the next court of burghmote after the payment, that it might be known for some other freeman to petition for it; and the chamberlain or town clerk should give a note to the executors of the testator, or inform them how, and to whom the money was lent; and that once in three or four years, such persons as should have the freehold and inheritance of the messuage, wherein he then lived, might have liberty to inspect the securities given for the said money, and once in five years might present two persons, such as he or they should think fit, to have two of the said 25l. gratis, giving security as aforesaid, and to be in like manner approved. (fn. 2)

THOMAS PARAMORE, esq. of Monkton, by his will in 1637, gave his messuage called the Fleur-de-luce, in Canterbury, to his nephew Thomas Paramore, on condition, that he paid to the mayor and aldermen of the same 100l. the same to be lent to five poor shopkeepers of this city, freely; and he willed, that whosoever should borrow the sum of 20l. parcel of the same, should put in good security to the mayor and aldermen, to repay the same at the end of five years, which said poor shopkeepers should, with the consent of the mayor and aldermen, be appointed by his said nephew during his life, and afterwards by the house of burghmote, or the major part of them for ever. (fn. 3)

MR. EDWARD JOHNSON, ribbon-weaver, by his last will in 1677, gave 100l. to be disposed of at the discretion of the mayor and chamberlain, for the time being, and the two eldest aldermen, to ten poor tradesmen, freemen of this city; that is to say, to each 10l. a piece, to remain in their hands for the space of ten years, without paying interest, they giving good security for the repayment of it at the end of that term, and so to continue and remain to be disposed of in the same manner, from time to time for ever.

MR. HENRY ROBINSON gave into the hands of the chamberlain of this city, the sum of 100l. to the intent, that as often as the interest of it should amount to the sum of 5l. it might be employed in setting up some honest young man, who was born in the city, and who had served seven years apprenticeship to some trade in it, having been bound thereto by the churchwardens and overseers of some parish within the city, towards the stocking and setting him up in his said trade; the young man to be from time to time chosen and nominated by the mayor, recorder, and aldermen of the city, of which the mayor and recorder always to be one; and that the name of such young man at the time of payment of the said 5l should be entered and registered in a book, kept by the chamberlain, and he to account once every year to the mayor, recorder, and aldermen: and whoever should receive the said money, should enter into bond with one or more securities to be approved of by the mayor, recorder and aldermen, in the penalty of 10l, to be paid to the chamberlain, for the repayment of the said money, in case that he should give over or leave off his trade within two years after his receiving it. Provided, that no young man answering the above description, should apply for the said 5l. then it might be given to any other young man born in the city, who had served his apprenticeship to some trade in the same, he giving the same security. (fn. 4)

MR. JOHN WATSON, alderman of this city, by his last will in 1633, gave two tenements, once John Winter's, at the iron cross, being at the four vent way between St. Margaret's and Castle street, (fn. 5) which had been given to superstitious uses, and had been purchased by him of the crown, having escheated to it, (fn. 6) and likewise a small piece of meadow land in St. Mildred's, to the mayor and commonalty and their successors for ever, as seossees in trust, to the use of the poor inhabitants of the city of Canterbury, for them to employ the whole rents and profits and of the land and tenements, for the buying and providing yearly for ever, ruslet cloths, to make cloaths for the aforesaid poor, aged, decrepid and impotent persons, inhabiting in the several parishes of the said city; to be delivered to them on the feast of St. Andrew yearly, to cloath the poor of three parishes every year by turn and course; beginning with the parishes of St. Margaret, St. Mildred, and St. Mary Bredin, and so on through the city, as the will at large directed. The poor persons to be above the age of fifty years, and to be at the election and nomination of the mayor and four of the eldest aldermen for ever; and his will and desire was, that the chamberlain should have full power to demise and let the premises by writings under his hand and seal for three years, and so on for the like term for ever, for the utmost value or yearly rent without any fine; and that he should receive the rents, provide the cloaths, and account yearly for the sums received and disbursed to the mayor and four of the eldest aldermen, upon the first Thursday in the month of December yearly for ever; and that 6s. 8d. should be paid to the mayor and aldermen for their pains in it; and 10s. to the chamberlain for his pains about the business and affairs aforesaid, and for taking care that the tenements were kept in good repair.

MR. AVERY SABINE, an alderman of this city, by his will in 1649, gave an annuity, or rent charge of 20l. per annum for certain charitable uses; of which ten marcs were to be paid yearly to the use of Kingsbridge hospital, and the remainder to cloath ten poor people in the city of Canterbury, on the feast of St. Andrew, yearly; the overplus to be laid out in the charges of renewing the seossment, or to be divided between the poor people of this city, in manner as by the will is more fully expressed; and he vested all his lands in Monkton in Thanet, in seossees for the discharge of this trust, and ordered that when the major part of them should be deceased, the seossment to be from time to time renewed.

MR. JOHN COGAN, by his will proved in 1657, among other charities, gave the lands and tenements, which he had lately purchased, being in or near the parishes of St. Mildred and St. Mary Castle, in or near the city of Canterbury, and in or near Thanington, of the yearly value of 35l. which he hoped, within the space of ten years more, would be of an improved value of 10l. more, which he had bought and intended to dispose of, for the encouragement of maid servants to stay and continue for the space of six or seven years together; he therefore willed and devised to any such three maid servants, as should dwell and inhabit freely and without compulsion or restraint, with any master or mistress, not being their kindred, within the city of Canterbury, for the space of six or seven years together, without shifting them of their service during the said term, upon certificate, by such master or mistress, of such service done by any such maid servant, to be made to his executors, or the survivor of them, and after their decease, to the mayor and recorder of the city of Canterbury, and three or more of the said aldermen, for the time being, that there has been paid to such maid servant or maid servants, not exceeding 50s. a year, given by their masters or mistresses, the sum of 5l. a piece, of lawful money of England, and the overplus and surplusage, the tenements being kept in good reparations, he willed should be employed and laid out by his executors, and the survivor of them during their lives, and after their decease by the mayor, recorder and three of the antient aldermen of the city, for the payment of the cloathing of six fatherless maiden children, from the age of six years to the age of 21 years; each of them to have a petticoat and waistcoat of coloured kersey, garnished with two statute laces, and one pair of shoes, and one pair of stockings, provided for them, to have them against the 25th day of December, commonly called Christmas-day, and so to go through the city of Canterbury, from parish to parish, as the said overplus and surplusage would reach and extend unto, for ever; but the rent of this estate has been so much improved, that the number of children clothed, has, of late years been upwards of sixty, and extended every year to all the parishes throughout the city. (fn. 7)

MRS. MARY MASTERS, spinster, of Canterbury, by a codicil to her will in 1716, gave the sum of 5l. per annum, to all and several the hospitals, but not mentioning where the hospitals were; and her personal estate too being deficient in the payment of her legacies, the payment of them was withheld by her heir and executor, Sir Harcourt Masters, (fn. 8) and this causing a suit of litigation, the cause was heard before Sir Joseph Jekill, the master of the rolls, in Easter term 1718: when the court determined, among other matters in the will and codicil, that, as to the 5l. per annum to all and every the hospitals, it appearing, that the testatrix lived in Canterbury, for many years, and died there, and that she had taken notice by her will, of two Canterbury hospitals by name; this charity was held not to be void for the uncertainty, but to have been intended for all the hospitals in Canterbury, but not as was expressed, to the hospital a mile out of Canterbury, viz. at Harbledown, though founded by the same archbishop of Canterbury, and governed by the same statutes; and this the court decreed, notwithstanding it was objected, that they ought not to go out of the words of the will, and confine the general words all hospitals, to those in Canterbury; and the court did this the rather, because these charities if they prevailed would be perpetuities of 5l. per annum, and by that means create a deficiency, and consequently in a great part defeat the rest of the will, as to plain legacies in favour of those which were doubtful. Sir Harcourt Masters, the heir and executor abovementioned, was one of the directors of the South Sea Company, in the fatal year 1720, whose estates were vested by act of parliament in trustees, for the benefit of the sufferers in that general calamity. In consequence of which, about the year 1737, the money which had been paid by the trustees of the director's forfeited estates, out of the estates of Sir Harcourt Masters, on account of the above annuities, was laid out in the purchase of 163l. 16s. 3d. old south sea annuities, which in 1740 stood in the names of John Lynch, D. D. and John Knowler, esq. the latter of whom received the interest from time to time, and paid one sixth to the hospital of St. John; another sixth to that of Eastbridge; another sixth to that of Maynard; another sixth to that of Jesus; another sixth to that of Smith; and the remaining sixth to that of Cogan.

On the decease of Dr. Lynch, John Knowler, esq. being the surviving trustee, he, upon June 16, 1761, being present in burghmote, proposed to transfer the said 163l. 16s. 3d. to the mayor and commonalty of the city of Canterbury, as trustees for the said hospitals; which proposal being accepted by the court, he transferred that sum to them accordingly, for the above purpose.


  • 1. There was an indenture made between the mayor, &c. of Bristol, the president and college of St. John, in Oxford, of the said Sir Thomas White's foundation, and the warden of the Merchant Taylor's Company, in London, dated July I, 1560, for the better performance of this gift, in common with the like to the Merchant Taylor's Company, and other towns, with a forseiture upon Bristol, in default of payment, and non-delivery of any of the sums to any of the cities or towns therein mentioned, contrary to the tenor thereof; all which forfeitures were to be to the use of the president and scholars of St. John's, provided if the rents decayed, so that the payments could not be made, the same should cease, till that decay ceased, and in such case the president and fellows of St. John's, should pay out of the forfeitures to them happening, such money as the city of Bristol neglescted to pay to the towns to which the default was made—that two persons should be chosen, one by the mayor of Bristol, and the other by the president and fellows aforesaid, who should make a survey every twenty years, whether the money was employed in the towns, according to the devise; which if neglected, the town which made default, should lose the benefit of any further receipt, and some other town should have the same. There is in the city chest, the copy of a deed dated in 1566, relating to Sir Thomas White's gift.
  • 2. In his will, he desired that the 150l. as aforesaid might be mentioned on his monument in St. Mary Magdalen's church, in Canterbury. that the same might not be forgotten; and by his will he appointed that the fire engine then in St. Margaret's church, and the buckets there, should remain there for the service of the town, and that there should be paid yearly out of the messuage in St. Margaret's wherein he dwelt, the sum of 20s. half yearly, into the hands of the churchwardens of St. Margaret's, to be disposed of as hereafiter mentioned; and he ordered that his other fire engine of wood, which he had invented, should remain to the parish of St. Mary Magdalen, if they would accept of it and provide some fit place to set it in; and also 5l. to buy buckers to hang up in that church; and if not accepted there, then to the parish of St. George. And as to the 20s. per annum above-mentioned, he ordered that 2s. 6d. of it should be paid to the respective clerks of the parishes where the engines should sland, for their care in looking after them.—10s. to be given to some poor men of the city, to be chosen by the churchwardens of either parish, five out of each parish to play the engines once a year, or oftener if they pleased, that the use of them might be known; and the other 5s. to lie in stock in the hands of the churchwardens of St. Margaret's for the amending and repairing the said engines and buckets; but if they should not be so exercised, then the 10s. to be put into the stock with the 5s. per annum, and the account of it to be kept in the parish books of St. Margaret's.
  • 3. This will is in Prerog. off. Cant.
  • 4. In the city chest is an indenture dated in 1642, concerning this gift of Mr. Robinson.
  • 5. Late in the occupation of Mr. Edward Scudamore, but now let in separate tenements.
  • 6. See Battely's Somner, p. 169.
  • 7. See his bequest of his house, &c. called Cogan's hospital, before.
  • 8. She was the daughter of his father's elder brother.