Girton: Charities for the poor

A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 9, Chesterton, Northstowe, and Papworth Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1989.

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'Girton: Charities for the poor', in A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 9, Chesterton, Northstowe, and Papworth Hundreds, (London, 1989) pp. 129. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/cambs/vol9/p129 [accessed 18 April 2024]

CHARITIES FOR THE POOR

In 1521 William Collyn devised a house, apparently then ruinous, and 15 a. to pay the king's tax upon Girton, whenever levied, for its poor. (fn. 1) In 1525 the churchwardens bought 5 a. in Oakington. (fn. 2) From those and similar bequests and purchases the parish had by 1611 acquired lands comprising c. 12 a. in Oakington, Westwick, and Madingley, and in Girton itself 54 a., including 6½ a. of closes. In 1813 32½; a. east of the road to Cambridge were allotted for the arable. (fn. 3) By 1735 a third of the income was assigned to church repairs, the rest going primarily to assist the poor, (fn. 4) whose share yielded £20 in 1728, (fn. 5) and £23 by 1785, mostly carried to the poor rate. (fn. 6) By 1807 a row of five tenements, called poorhouses or almshouses, let rent free to paupers, stood on part of the former Camping close. (fn. 7) About 1837 the poor's share of the £44 income, c. £32, was given in coal in proportion to the size of their families. The land itself, then occupied by one large farmer, was claimed by the poor as allotments: 26½ a. were so let by 1841. (fn. 8) The poor-law union sold the almshouses to Miss A. M. Cotton in 1848. (fn. 9)

Some £38 was distributed yearly in fuel c. 1860, (fn. 10) as was £60 c. 1910. (fn. 11) By then £400 of accumulated income had been invested, while the Girton land, including half the church's former share, was mostly still let as allotments. (fn. 12) Although the income fell in the 1920s to c. £40, the number of beneficiaries rose from 100 to 170. From 1936 only £24 was spent yearly on coal, distribution of which apparently ceased after the early 1940s, the balance being used to repay a loan of £540 raised to build two almshouses, completed c. 1938, for aged poor people. (fn. 13) In 1966, when the total income was £65, c. £1,700 was spent on building two more bungalows. The almshouse rents, almost doubled after 1970 to over £400 a year by the late 1970s, covered their maintenance. Those of the allotments, raised from £49 in 1955 to £475 by c. 1980, when much of the land was let to one man, provided in the 1960s £50-60, by 1980 c. £200 for Christmas gifts to old people and donations to a pensioners' club, much income being accumulated. (fn. 14)

Footnotes

  • 1. B.L. Add. MS. 5861, f. 82v.; cf. P.R.O., C 1/418, no. 6.
  • 2. C.U.L., Queens' Coll. Mun., Box 5, Dd. 2, ct. roll 17 Hen. VIII.
  • 3. 1611 conveyance noted in C.R.O., P 77/25/11; cf. ibid. Q/RDz 7, p. 23; C.U.L., E.D.R., H 1/Girton 1615; 31st Rep. Com. Char. 120.
  • 4. C.R.O., P 77/25/1, 3, 4.
  • 5. C.U.L., E.D.R., B 8/1, f. 15.
  • 6. Ibid. B 7/1, p. 41; Char. Don. i. 92-3.
  • 7. C.U.L., E.D.R, C 1/4.
  • 8. 31st Rep. Com. Char. 120-1; C.U.L., E.D.R., G, tithe award 1841.
  • 9. Char. Com. files, vol. 31, p. 119, addenda.
  • 10. Char. Digest Cambs. 1863-4, 392-3.
  • 11. 60 C.R.O., R 54/25/28, accts. 1911 at Jan. 1912.
  • 12. Ibid. accts. 1913 at Mar. 1914; Char. Com. files, order 1910.
  • 13. C.R.O., R 54/25/1A, p. 11; R 54/25/4, accts. 1936 and later.
  • 14. Char. Com. files.