Boxworth: Charities for the poor

Page 280

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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Charities for the poor

By the early 18th century (fn. 1) Boxworth had a parish stock reckoned at £40 in 1728 and c. £44 later, derived from bequests for the poor since the 1630s. They included £2 and £10 from the rectors John Boys (d. 1644) and James Duport (d. 1679), £10 from Sir John Cutts (d. 1670), (fn. 2) perhaps paid over c. 1690, and £12 from local men, including in the 1660s Mr. Shewer and Edward Cuthbert, after whom the charity was later named. By the 1780s and until after 1837, the stock, reduced to £35, was deposited with the lord of the manor, and the interest at 4 per cent given in bread. The farmer Robert Underwood (d. 1792) left £10 for the same purpose. The income fell by 8s. between 1815 and the 1830s to £2 6s. 8d., which a Thornhill tenant then gave indiscriminately every four years. By 1860 it was only £1 9s., given in cash, (fn. 3) as was the £3 12s. income in the 1960s. Two rectors' widows, Catherine Thornhill by will proved 1876 and Emma Frances Smith by will proved 1928 left £100 and £200 respectively, to provide coal for the poor at Christmas, Mrs. Smith giving preference to widows. The income, c. £12, was still given in coal in the mid 20th century. (fn. 4)


  • 1. Acct. to 1837 derived from B.L. Add. MS. 5809, f. 142 (citing par. reg.); C.U.L., E.D.R., B 8/1, f. 3v.; Char. Don. i. 92-3; Poor Law Abstract, 1818, 31; Rep. H.L. Cttee. on Poor Laws, 323; 31st Rep. Com. Char. 247.
  • 2. His will, P.R.O., PROB 11/333, f. 41, says £5.
  • 3. Char. Digest Cambs. 1863-4, 374-5.
  • 4. Char. Com. files.