Knapwell: Charities for the poor

Page 339

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

Robert Collin c. 1666 and William Pamplin c. 1678 bequeathed rent charges for the poor of 10s. each and Abraham Pamplin left the interest on £10, yielding another 10s. At inclosure in 1776 Abraham's £10 was spent on fencing the 1½ a. allotted for the town lands. (fn. 1) Until the 1920s (fn. 2) they were occupied by the lord of the manor, whose farms also owed the £1 rent charge. From the 1880s that land with the adjoining exhausted 2-a. gravel pit, whose herbage had at inclosure been destined for the poor, (fn. 3) was let for c. £5. Half went until 1910 to the highway rates but from 1920 the whole rent of £3 5s. went to the poor. The rent charges were lost c. 1950. The land, whose rent rose to £24 by 1975, was sold in 1977 to the occupier of the surrounding Coldharbour farm.

William Squire by will proved 1826 left for the poor of Knapwell £200 (£180 net), invested to yield c. £5. In 1837 c. £4 of it was given in coal, the rest with the rent charges and town land rents of 13s. 6d. in small doles to poor families. In the 1860s £5 of the total charity income of £7 went on coal, the rest on clothing. In the 1880s the whole of £9 10s. was given in coal, but by 1910 as in 1960 all went in doles. A Scheme of 1975, superseding one of 1882, combined the town lands with Squire's bequest as the Knapwell Relief in Need charity. About 1980 the income on its invested capital, almost £300 a year, was again mostly given in fuel.


  • 1. C.U.L., E.D.R., B 8/1, f. 20v.; B 7/1, p. 102; Char. Don. i. 94-5; cf. C.R.O., Q/RDz 1, p. 315.
  • 2. Rest of section based on 31st Rep. Com. Char. 251-2; Char. Digest Cambs. 1863-4, 396-7; Char. Com. files; cf. C.R.O., P 102/28/1.
  • 3. Cf. Knapwell Incl. Act, 15 Geo. III, c. 75 (Priv. Act), p. 6.