The ancient parish of Barking: Charities

A History of the County of Essex: Volume 5. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1966.

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'The ancient parish of Barking: Charities', in A History of the County of Essex: Volume 5, (London, 1966) pp. 233-235. British History Online [accessed 24 April 2024]

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Under the Barking Workhouse Act of 1786 the directors of the poor were given control over all parochial charities for the poor in general, and these they were able to apply in aid of the rates. The almshouse charities, and charities for doles of bread and for restricted groups of the poor, were not affected. When Barking was included in the Romford Union, in 1836, the directors lost their control of the so-called donation account, which was allowed to accumulate. In 1860, after years of controversy, an allotment of the income from the donation account was made between Barking, Ilford, and Barkingside. A scheme of 1898 established the Barking and Ilford United Charities, and regulated the application of the charities, assigning particular funds or proportions of funds to the civil parishes of Barking and Ilford (which had been separated in 1888). (fn. 2) Information on the administration of the charities in the 18th and 19th centuries is recorded in the vestry minutes. (fn. 3)

Charities controlled by the Directors of the Poor.

Alice Leonard, by will dated 1566, directed that 'if the holding of 2 yearly obits which she had appointed by indenture dated 1 Philip and Mary . . . should be forbidden by law, the sum of £4 given for the obits should yearly be bestowed amongst the poor parishioners of the two parishes of St. Nicholas Olave [London] and Barking in Essex'. The rentcharge was regularly received until redeemed in 1896 for £80 stock. Barking and Ilford United Charities received £2 interest in 1956.

William Nutbrowne (d. 1596) left a rent-charge of £6 13s. 4d. from which £6 was for the churchwardens, and 13s. 4d. for the vicar for a sermon. The income was paid to the churchwardens' donation account after 1786. In 1893 £5 17s. was received by Barking general charities, but for long no special sermon had been preached. In 1955 a net sum of £6 9s. represented two years' income to the united charities.

Sir James Cambell, by will dated 1641, bequeathed to the poor £100 which was laid out in land known as Poor's Piece, yielding 45s. a year. In 1834 the rent was £24, of which half went to the donation account and half on doles of bread. In 1921 the land was sold and the proceeds invested in stock producing £62 in 1956.

Sir Thomas Fanshawe, lord of Barking manor, in 1662 conveyed to the churchwardens and other trustees the market-house and other property connected with the market. After certain outgoings the remainder of the profits and rents were to go to the churchwardens and overseers, 1/5 for such aged, impotent poor as the donor, his heirs or assigns occupying Jenkins should appoint, and 4/5 for the relief of the poor. The property was leased in 1839 for £20 a year. In 1949, part of the property was sold for £15,000, and the income of the charity rose from £41 5s. to £656 in 1956.

Sir Thomas Fanshawe, in 1679, also gave for the relief of the poor 5 acres called Cotlands, which had been copyhold land held for the use of the poor. The land was sold in 1898 for £1,115. In 1956 the income on £1,010 stock was £25 5s. (fn. 4)

Thomas Collett, by will dated 1738, left £100 to the poor for bread. The endowment produced £3 12s. interest for the united charities in 1956.

In 1741 Jonathan and Thomas Collett gave £210 to buy land, the rents to be used to buy bread weekly for the poor. The land was sold in 1872 and the proceeds, £1,615, invested in stock. In 1956 the united charities received £40. (fn. 5)

Almshouse charities.

John Wilde, by will dated 1614, gave to the poor one tenement with appurtenances for the churchwardens to install two of the most ancient and poor, without rent. In 1835 there was an almshouse of four rooms in East Street, otherwise called Bull Street. Repairs were paid for out of the donation account. An almshouse existed at the south end of East Street until 1879 when the site was sold for £225 and two more tenements were erected the following year on the site of other almshouses ¼ mile north in East Street. These had been built in 1861 on the site of an old house believed to have been left to the parish by an unnamed lady. Seven in number, of two tenements each, they were built mainly by voluntary contributions; an additional £300 was provided from the accumulated charities fund. This fund added £150 to the proceeds of the sale of Wilde's almshouse to build the new one in 1880. From the rest of the fund £594 was invested in stock as an almshouse endowment fund for Barking (excluding Ilford). In 1893 the condition of the almshouses was reported as unsatisfactory, and 17 of the 22 inmates were on parish relief. Barking Urban District Council contributed towards the cost of sanitary improvements in 1908. In 1956 the endowment fund produced £15 a year, and there was a reserve fund of £1,322. In 1963 new almshouses were built in Church Road, and the old ones were sold. (fn. 6) The new block contains 18 flats, a warden's flat, and a recreation room. Occupants are from both Barking and Ilford.

Elizabeth Hughes, by will proved 1872, gave £50 for coal for the inmates of the almshouses. (fn. 7)

The almshouses known as Ilford Hospital originated as a leper hospital in the 12th century. Its history is described elsewhere. (fn. 8)

The Hospital of St. Laurence, Barking, which existed early in the 16th century, was apparently an almshouse for women, connected with the abbey. (fn. 9) There are no later references to this, unless it is to be identified with the almshouse in East Street left by the unnamed lady. (fn. 10)

Charities for the poor of Ilford.

Hon. Robert Bertie, by will proved 1701, gave an annuity of £3 towards apprenticing poor boys of Great Ilford ward. In 1956 £1 14s., the income on £60 stock, went to Ilford charities.

The funds of the Christmas Charity originated in the share of the donation account monies assumed to be Ilford's. In 1860 £215 of the accumulated fund was apportioned to Ilford and £72 to Barkingside. In 1893 the Christmas Charity consisted of £267 stock and the £6 interest on it was administered by the Ilford overseers together with Ilford's share of the general charities.

Margaret Hall, by will proved 1847, gave £100 for the poor of St. Mary's parish. The £113 stock yielded £2 16s. to the Ilford branch of the united charities in 1956.

By ancient custom each poor widow within Hainault Forest received from the Crown on Easter Monday a load of wood or 8s. in lieu. (fn. 11) When the forest was disafforested in 1851 £413 was invested to provide doles of fuel for poor widows of those parts of the parish formerly in the forest. The stock produced £10 in 1956.

John Wade, by will proved 1859, gave £100 stock for doles to 6 poor widows. In 1956 the interest was £2 10s.

Charles Thomas Holcombe, by will proved 1870, gave £360 stock for doles of bread to the poor of St. Mary's parish. In 1956 £9 interest was received.

Under the will of Jane Philpot, proved 1888, £168 stock was invested for doles to 12 poor persons. The stock yielded £4 4s. in 1956.

Sir Frederick Wise, by will proved 1928, gave £500 for the benefit of the poor in Ilford. The Wise Holiday Fund was created, and the interest from investments was paid to the Ilford charities account. (fn. 12)

Other charities for the poor.

William Pownsett, by deed dated 1594, gave a rent-charge of 13s. 4d. for annual distribution to the poor. Doles were distributed in 1862, but in 1893 the vicar and his predecessor denied all knowledge of the charity.

The Hon. Robert Bertie, by will proved 1701, gave a rent-charge of £3 for bread for the poor. In 1956 the net value of the rent-charge, £1 13s., formed part of the united charities.

Ann, widow of Thomas Nepton, by deed of 1728, gave to the Poulterers' Company of London property out of which to distribute £40 a year to the industrious poor of Barking not already on relief. Before 1890 and after 1900 Barking and Ilford shared the income equally. In 1956 £40 was received from the Poulterers' Company.

Joseph Dent, a shipwright, by will proved 1726, devised to the poor 20s. a year for bread. The rentcharge of £1 was apportioned in 1857, and was paid to the united charities in 1955.

James Hayes of Blackfriars, by will proved 1821, gave £4,000 stock, half the income to be spent upon six poor householders of Barking not receiving poor-relief and half for six poor persons whether householders or not. In 1900 a Scheme divided the income, £100, equally between Barking and Ilford branches of the united charities. In 1956 six persons received £10 each.

Edward Smith Biggs, by will proved 1833, gave £200 for bread and coal for the poor. The income, £5 in 1956, was paid to the united charities. (fn. 13)

James Wetherill, by will proved 1879, gave £100 stock to relieve poor fishermen or their wives and children with sums of 2s. In 1956 £2 10s. was paid to the united charities.

Frank Dale Harwood, by will proved 1898, gave £392 stock for poor widows of Barking. In 1956 £11 15s. was received by Barking general charities.

Henry Copland, by will proved 1922, devised property in Barking and Ilford, subject to various life interests, to provide for distributions among married couples of 60 years or more. In 1955 the income, from stock, was £313, distributed mostly in gifts of £2.

Harriet Morgan Trocke, by will proved 1937, gave £888 stock for coal or blankets for the poor, on condition that certain graves were kept in repair; otherwise the money was to go to the Royal London Ophthalmic Hospital. In 1964 the income was about £30. (fn. 14)

Frederick Joseph Brand, by will proved 1940, gave £100 stock for the deserving poor of St. Margaret's parish. (fn. 15)

Charities relating to education, nonconformity, and the Ilford reading room are described elsewhere. (fn. 16)


  • 1. This section is based on notes compiled by Mrs. Florence Goodall.
  • 2. Char. Com. Files, 65829.
  • 3. Oxley, Barking Vestry, 116.
  • 4. 8th Rep. Com. Char. H.C. 13, p. 279 (1823), viii; 29th Rep. Com. Char. H.C. 216, pp. 114–18 (1835), xxi (1); Char. Com. Files, 54812, 65829, 66929, 85655.
  • 5. 29th Rep. Com. Char. 120; Char. Com. Files 227 65820.
  • 6. The Times, 15 Sept. 1961, with photograph; and 5 Oct. 1961; inf. from Town Clerk.
  • 7. 29th Rep. Com. Char. 121–2; Char. Com. Files, 227, 65829, 85655.
  • 8. V.C.H. Essex, ii. 186–8; p. 228 in the present volume.
  • 9. E.R. xliv. 128.
  • 10. The abbess of Barking was often referred to as 'the Lady'.
  • 11. Cf. W. Fisher, Forest of Essex, 263.
  • 12. 29th Rep. Com. Char. 118–19; Char. Com. Files, 227, 65829, 108814.
  • 13. 8th Rep. Com. Char. 347; 29th Rep. Com. Char. 119–23; Char. Com. Files, 227, 65829, 71701.
  • 14. Inf. from Mr. K. Glenny.
  • 15. Char. Com. Files, 227, 65829.
  • 16. See pp. 190, 232, 246.