Theydon Garnon: Charities

Pages 274-275

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

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(fn. 1) In 1861 the Charity Commission held an inquiry into the complex affairs of the charities of Epping and Theydon Garnon. This revealed that six of the eleven existing charities were in practice managed together. Two schemes were made following this inquiry, which were designed to give legal sanction to this arrangement and to make it more efficient. The first scheme, made in 1863, dealt with Baker's and Reynolds's Charities. A year later another scheme was made for Archer's, Winstanley's, Mrs. Kirwan's, and Lady Fitzwilliam's Charities. Both these schemes dealt only with the appointment, &c., of trustees, leaving the trusts unchanged. In 1898 the separation of the ecclesiastical and non-ecclesiastical charities under the Local Government Act of 1894 created three new charities: John Baker's, John Reynolds's, and Elizabeth Cain's ecclesiastical charities. There were already two other ecclesiastical charities, Rogers's and Black's. Another scheme of 1901 provided for the management of all the charities except Baker's and Reynolds's church charities and Black's Charity. It regulated the use of all funds applicable to the benefit of the poor: other purposes were left untouched. Money for the poor was to be spent on stipends for inmates of Lady Fitzwilliam's almshouses, the support of coal or clothing clubs or other institutions for the benefit of the industrious poor of the parish, or in gifts in kind to the poor. The income of Winstanley's, Archer's, Lady Fitzwilliam's, Mrs. Kirwan's, and Hylard's Charities, Elizabeth Cain's non-ecclesiastical charity, and half the income of Baker's and Reynolds's non-ecclesiastical charities, amounting in all to £115 3s. 8d., was spent in 1952 as follows: after the payment of expenses £8 was given to the provident club and £6 to the school boot club; £42 was spent on Christmas presents, and £44 4s. 10d. was given to Baker's Educational Foundation.

According to an inscription in the church John Hylard, alderman of London, gave £50 at an unknown date to the poor of Theydon Garnon. The money was used to buy two houses. In 1834 the original property was supposed to have been sold and replaced by two cottages inhabited by paupers put there by the parish overseer. In 1862 the cottages were in bad repair; they had no endowment and were occupied rent free. The parish successfully resisted attempts to include this charity in the scheme made in 1864. In 1898 the cottages were occupied by two widows and an annual donation was received from Baker's Charity. After the sale of Lady Fitzwilliam's almshouses (see below) in 1904 their endowment was to be applied to the support of Hylard's Charity. In 1947 the property, which was in Coopersale Street, was sold for £55. The income from this is spent with that of the other charities for the poor.

Baker's or Stonard's Charity was founded by the will of John Baker of Epping, dated 1518. He directed that the profits of his lands called Stonard's were to be used for the care of the highways between Harlow and London and for other charitable works. The profits of the wood from part of the property were to be given alternately for the use of the churches of Epping and Theydon Garnon. Part of the property was sold in 1864-5 for £3,347 and other small pieces of land were sold at various times so that by 1951 the endowment consisted of £2,145 in stock as well as Stonard's Farm in Theydon Garnon and Epping.

In 1637 a decree was made by the Commissioners of Charitable Uses regulating the charity, which had apparently been mismanaged. A Chancery decree was also made concerning it before 1651. Between 1814 and 1842 the income was spent on bread and meat for the poor, which was distributed on the Sunday before Christmas. (fn. 2) In 1834 the income from rents was £107, of which Theydon Garnon received £15 15s. In addition £300 stock was held at that time for Theydon Garnon, chiefly comprising profits from wood. The income from this was used to apprentice the sons of parishioners. Other profits from wood were received in 1805, 1806, and 1822 and were spent on repairing and beautifying the church. In 1861 a donation was given to the parish school and the gifts for apprenticing had been abandoned. In 1952 the Theydon Garnon moiety of the charity's income from rents and dividends was £68 16s. 6d.

When the ecclesiastical portion of the charity was split off, the stock held in respect of it was divided between the two parishes. The Theydon Garnon holding is now £793 15s. 7d. which is paid into the church expenses account.

Thomas Winstanley, by will dated 1570, left all his lands in North Weald Bassett in trust to pay 40s. a year to the poor of Theydon Garnon. The property consisted of a house and small pasture called Baker's (later Bulle's). In 1923-4 it was sold for £310, which was invested in stock.

Between 1570 and 1834 the rent rose from £2 to £12. It was generally distributed to the poor in small sums, (fn. 3) apparently of cash, until 1834 when it was spent on food with Baker's Charity. In 1952 the income was £12 5s. 10d., which was spent with that of the other charities for the poor.

In 1834 a tablet in the church recorded a gift made in 1584 by Henry Archer, who gave to the poor a rent charge of £2 to be distributed every Whit-Sunday. It issued from the Coopersale House estate (see above, Manors) and in 1834 was distributed with Baker's Charity. The charge was redeemed in 1911 for £80 stock which in 1952 produced £2.

Anne Sidney, Lady Fitzwilliam, by will proved 1602, directed that an almshouse should be built in Theydon Garnon and a rent charge purchased to give four poor widows 12d. a week each. The almshouses were duly built and an annuity of £12 bought which issued from an estate in Stoke Doyle (Northants.). (fn. 4) In 1834 the almshouses were in good repair and were occupied by four old widows who received, in addition to their stipends, 1 guinea every Christmas. In 1862 three out of the four inmates received poor relief. By 1895 it was becoming difficult to find occupants because of the dilapidated condition of the almshouses and their distance from the village. Eventually in 1923 the land and buildings, then rented as two cottages, were sold for £310 which was invested and produced an income of £10 10s. 8d. in 1952. The almshouse building, which still survives, is a low red-brick range dating from the 17th century. The original four dwellings each consisted of one ground-floor room and a small attic. There are now only two doorways to the front. The brass plates on the doors are comparatively modern. The attics are lighted by casements in the gable-ends and by two small dormers at the back. There are two cruciform chimneys, set diagonally. The brickwork has been much patched and the woodwork in general has been renewed.

John Reynolds, by deed dated 1647, left land in Theydon Garnon in trust for the benefit of Epping and Theydon Garnon. For Theydon Garnon £4 a year was to be paid to the best-behaved poor, 20s. to the preacher of a sermon on 3 November, and 5s. to the sexton. The surplus was to be shared between the poor of the two parishes. In 1861 the property was sold for £840, which was invested in stock. In 1834 the Theydon Garnon share of the £15 rent was spent with Baker's Charity. In 1861 £1 and 5s. went to the sermon and the sexton and £7 15s. to the poor in bread and money. In 1952 the Theydon Garnon moiety of the income was £10 5s. 8d.

In 1898 the ecclesiastical part of the charity was separated from the rest and was to receive £1 5s. a year from the Baker and Reynolds non-ecclesiastical charities, to be spent as before. In 1952 the payments were duly made.

Richard Rogers, by will proved 1794, left £100 in trust to repair his family vault and tomb in the church. The charity was not mentioned in the 1835 Report, but in 1862 the dividend of £3 was spent in accordance with the trusts. The dividends were not received for some years in the late 19th century. In 1933 the income of £3 was spent on the maintenance of the tomb and vault.

Elizabeth Cain, by codicil to her will proved 1835, left £100 for the repair and painting of her tomb; any surplus was to go to poor widows in the parish. It was said in 1862 that the tomb was repaired and painted every three or four years and that the surplus was distributed. The stock was held with that of Rogers's Charity and the dividends were similarly lost for some years before 1898. In 1952 the whole income of £2 10s. was spent on the poor, since the tomb, the care of which is now a separate ecclesiastical charity, was in good repair.

Mrs. Kirwan, by will proved in or after 1847, left £200 free of legacy duty in trust for a yearly distribution to the poor of Coopersale. It was apparently originally the gift of her husband, Clement Kirwan. In 1862 the income was spent with that of Baker's Charity. In 1952 the income was £7 1s.

In 1790 the Revd. Thomas Abdy, the lord of the manor, provided 2½ acres of waste of the manor on which the parish officers were to grow potatoes to be sold to the poor at a price sufficient to cover the costs. The parishioners were to maintain the land as a garden for the use of the poor. The arrangement was, however, found burdensome to the parish and Abdy substituted a yearly gift of 100 loaves of bread, and, later, of £2 in cash. The charity lapsed, however, after his death.

William Black, by deed of 1793, gave an annuity of 40s. issuing from his house, The Grove, to be distributed on Sundays to communicants. In 1834 the payment was made at Christmas, but from 1904 the rector declined to distribute the charity money, since he looked upon it as a bribe to take the sacrament. Instead the money was given away to the poor in tea and beef. The annuity has not apparently been receive since 1915 and is now presumed to be lost.


  • 1. Unless otherwise stated all information in this section is from Rep. Com. Char. (Essex), H.C. 216, pp. 247-50, 253-5, (1835), xxi (1), and Char. Com. files.
  • 2. E.R.O., D/P 152/25/2.
  • 3. E.R.O., D/P 152/25/1.
  • 4. For copies of demand notes sent to the owners of the estate c. 1780 see E.R.O., D/P 152/12/6 and 152/8/1.