Stondon Massey: Charities

Pages 248-249

A History of the County of Essex: Volume 4, Ongar Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1956.

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Henry Giles, by deed of 1575, left two cottages and about 5 acres of land on the west of the Onagar-Blackmore road in trust for an annual distribution to the poor. In 1834 the two cottages were used as five almshouses whose inmates were appointed by the overseer. (fn. 2) The parish then paid no rent and the trustees did not repair the cottages. The land was let for £7 5s., which was distributed at Christmas in shares varying from 3s. to 5s. according to the size of families. In 1841 the lord of the manor supplemented the endowment by a small piece of waste land between the cottages and the road. He also rebuilt and enlarged the cottages in 1860. (fn. 3) Part of the property, including one of the five cottages, has been sold since 1931. In 1951 the stock held was £155. In 1952 the total rents received were £28 1s. 2d. Most of this was spent on repairs, the cottages being in poor condition; £1 was given away in relief.

Giles Charity Cottages are a group of five two-story houses in red brick with pilasters on the outer angles, pantile roofs, pierced ornamental barge-boards to the end gables and porches, diagonal chimney-stacks, and 'Gothic' casements. The pantiles were substituted for thatch about 20 years ago. (fn. 4) On the north-east end wall of the block is a stone slab inscribed: 'The gift of Henry Giles to Stondon parish 1574. Enlarged and repaired 1860.' The repairs of 1860 seem to have con- stituted an almost complete rebuilding, but the central cottage is said to contain timbers from the earlier house. Before 1860 the cottages were apparently weatherboarded and tarred buildings and known as Black Cottages. There is some doubt whether they were the original cottages. (fn. 5)

Before 1684 Mrs. Alice Thomlinson left £1 10s. a year, issuing from Braintrees Farm in Hatfield Broad Oak, to buy waistcoats for six poor widows of Stondon Massey. In 1834 the churchwarden gave equal shares of money to all the poor widows each March. Under the 1892 Scheme which was framed for this and Giles's Charity the income was to be spent on relief in money. The rent was not paid in 1952; in 1951 the whole amount was given to one widow.

The Bell Rope Charity is described above (see Church).

Canon E. H. L. Reeve, formerly rector, by will proved 1936 left legacies of £600 and £750, subject to two life interests, for the repair of the church and for the immediate repair of the Giles Almshouses. These charities had not yet come into effect in 1953.


  • 1. Rep. Com. Char. (Essex), H.C. 216, pp. 245-6 (1835), xxi (1); Char. Com. files; Reeve, Stondon Massey, 110-17.
  • 2. See Parish Government and Poor Relief.
  • 3. Kelly's Dir. Essex (1878).
  • 4. Inf. from an occupant.
  • 5. Reeve, Stondon Massey, 113.