Wivenhoe: Charities for the poor

A History of the County of Essex: Volume 10, Lexden Hundred (Part) Including Dedham, Earls Colne and Wivenhoe. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2001.

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'Wivenhoe: Charities for the poor', A History of the County of Essex: Volume 10, Lexden Hundred (Part) Including Dedham, Earls Colne and Wivenhoe, (London, 2001), pp. 294-295. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/essex/vol10/pp294-295 [accessed 21 June 2024].

. "Wivenhoe: Charities for the poor", in A History of the County of Essex: Volume 10, Lexden Hundred (Part) Including Dedham, Earls Colne and Wivenhoe, (London, 2001) 294-295. British History Online, accessed June 21, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/essex/vol10/pp294-295.

. "Wivenhoe: Charities for the poor", A History of the County of Essex: Volume 10, Lexden Hundred (Part) Including Dedham, Earls Colne and Wivenhoe, (London, 2001). 294-295. British History Online. Web. 21 June 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/essex/vol10/pp294-295.


Jonathan Feedham, by will proved 1718, bequeathed to the rector and churchwardens £50 to invest in land for the benefit of poor sailors or their widows. (fn. 1) In 1752 c. 3 a. of land at Wivenhoe heath was bought and the yearly rent of £2 10s. was used to buy material for gowns. In the early 19th century an average of eight people a year received clothes or material. As the rent of the field rose towards the middle of the century, so the number of beneficiaries increased until 1867 when 51 women and 17 men each received an average of 3 yd. of flannel; after that date the rent fell and the number of beneficiaries decreased. (fn. 2) In 1973 the field was sold for £41,000 for residential development; in 1974 Feedham's Charity Trust, formed to administer the funds, built seven almshouses on land in Vanessa Drive for the poor of Wivenhoe with preference given to retired sailors or widows of sailors. (fn. 3)

William Sandford, by will proved 1831, left 50s. a year charged on a farm at Fingringhoe to buy bread for 10 poor communicants. (fn. 4) His brother, Benjamin Sandford, by his will proved 1840, left 50s. yearly, charged on oyster layings, for coals for 50 poor widows or other aged persons. In 1859 the charges were redeemed and the capital invested; regular distributions were made during the later 19th century. (fn. 5) The combined income of £6 was distributed in 1965, but payment appears thereafter to have lapsed. (fn. 6)

Dr. C. W. Mason, by will proved 1883, be- queathed £300 to the poor; the interest appears to have been paid into a fund for the sick and poor during the 1920s, and distributions made in money, food, and coal. (fn. 7) M. B. Brown of New York had spent some years in Wivenhoe and had regularly contributed to the relief of the poor; on his death in 1926 his legatees gave £500 to the same cause. (fn. 8) Theodore Pim, by will proved 1929, gave £1,000 for the poor. (fn. 9) All three charities were distributed between 1943 and 1953. (fn. 10) Alice Helen Egerton-Green, by will proved 1960, gave £100 for the aged poor. Before 1965 the four charities were amalgamated as the Charity of Alice Helen Egerton-Green and Others. £83 was distributed to the needy in 1974, but apparently no payments were made thereafter. (fn. 11)

By indenture dated 1872 Mary Ann Sanford (Sandford) conveyed to trustees land in Rebow Road for six almshouses for single women or widows, preferably sailors' widows. She en- dowed the houses, called Mary Ann Sanford's Almshouses, with £102 a year for repair, up- keep, and weekly stipends of 6s., the surplus to be used for general help to the poor. During her lifetime she selected the occupants. Kezia Hines, her sister, by will proved 1885, gave £500 to the trustees of the almshouses to be used at their discretion. (fn. 12) Residents contributed to the upkeep of the houses after 1959. Colchester borough council gave a loan to help with the modernization of the houses in 1988, and has also given regular grants for improvements to be made. (fn. 13)

Mrs. Cock, by her will dated 1744, left a yearly rent-charge of £2 to benefit eight widows; by 1836 the beneficiaries included unmarried women. The charge may have been paid in 1863 but appears to have been lost shortly afterwards, presumably because payment of the £2 was not legally enforceable. (fn. 14) Robert Kempton, by will proved 1749, gave £10 for the poor; (fn. 15) the charity was paying 10s. a year in 1787 (fn. 16) but no further record has been found. Thomas Goodwin, a former rector, by his will proved in 1749, charged a house and land called Woodhewers in St. Osyth with 50s. to be distributed to five widows to buy gowns. The charity had been lost by 1836. (fn. 17)


  • 1. 32nd Rep. Com. Char. p. 651.
  • 2. E.R.O., D/P 277/13/1, 277/25/23.
  • 3. Inf. from the trustees; Char. Com. file.
  • 4. 32nd Rep. Com. Char. p. 651.
  • 5. E.R.O., D/DU 542/10; ibid. D/P 277/13/1, 277/5/4.
  • 6. Char. Com. file.
  • 7. E.R.O., D/P 277/5/5.
  • 8. Char. Com. Unrep. Vol. 263, p. 515.
  • 9. Char. Com. Unrep. Vol. 245, p. 393; E.R.O., D/P 277/5/6.
  • 10. E.R.O., D/P 277/29/2.
  • 11. Char. Com. file.
  • 12. Char. Com. Unrep. Vol. 82, p. 246.
  • 13. Char. Com. file.
  • 14. 32nd Rep. Com. Char. p. 651; White's Dir. Essex (1863), 145.
  • 15. E.R.O., D/ACR 303, f. 15.
  • 16. Ibid. Q/RSr 1; 32nd Rep. Com. Char. p. 652.
  • 17. 32nd Rep. Com. Char. p. 652.