Bisley: Charities for the poor

A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 11, Bisley and Longtree Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1976.

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'Bisley: Charities for the poor', in A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 11, Bisley and Longtree Hundreds, (London, 1976) pp. 40. British History Online [accessed 13 April 2024]


Lands belonging to Bisley parish were vested from ancient times in a body known as the Bisley feoffees. They covered 44 a. in 1608 (fn. 1) and included the estates called Sturmyes Court at Avenis and Stonehing at Brown's Hill. (fn. 2) The lands produced a rental of £35 in 1689, (fn. 3) rising by the late 18th century to c. £49, and by c. 1805, when leases for years determinable on lives were replaced by yearly tenures, to over £100. (fn. 4) In 1662 the feoffees agreed to allot £10 of their income to a schoolmaster and £2 to the parish clerk, and apply the residue to church maintenance and the relief of the poor, discontinuing another of the uses laid down by their trust deeds, the repair of highways and bridges; regulations drawn up for the administration of the charity included the appointment of one of their number each year to receive the rents and disburse the proceeds. (fn. 5) In 1826, and apparently from before 1750, the whole of the residue of the income beyond the payments to schoolmaster and clerk was being applied to church maintenance and equipment. (fn. 6) In 1972 the whole income was being used for church maintenance; most of the land had by then been sold. (fn. 7)

Thomas Butler (d. 1688), son of John Butler of Rookwood's Farm, gave a rent-charge of £1 10s.; £1 was for bread for the poor and 10s. for a sermon on Easter Monday but the whole was being expended on bread in the 1820s. (fn. 8) Samuel Allen, a cordwainer of Bisley (d. 1734), gave land in Bisley and King's Stanley for clothing 5 windows not maintained in the workhouse. (fn. 9) It was bringing in a rental of £6 2s. in 1785 and c. £11 in the 1820s when 10-15 widows were clothed. (fn. 10) Before 1779 Mary Barksdale gave £80 to which the parish added £29 and bought land; (fn. 11) the rental of £5 was being used to buy linen cloth in the 1780s, and calico in the 1820s when it had risen to c. £11. A sum of £60 given by William Wise was laid out on land before 1785 when it produced a rent of £3. In the 1820s it was used to buy calico. (fn. 12) Charles Ballinger of Chalford by will dated 1798 gave 2 shares in the Stroudwater canal, the dividends to be divided between Bisley and Chedworth parishes and the minister of France Meeting; in the 1820s c. £14 received by Bisley was used to buy woollen cloth. Theyer Townsend of Steanbridge by will dated 1801 gave £100 stock for bread; in 1826 the principal was taken out of stock and used with accumulations of the Ridler educational charity to buy land from which an annual rent of £4 was received. (fn. 13) John Harvey Ollney by will proved 1836 gave £320 stock for coal and blankets at Christmas; the c. £5 profits were applied from 1839. (fn. 14)

In 1957 the endowments of the Butler, Allen, Barksdale, Wise, Ballinger, Townsend, and Ollney charities, together with £30 stock acquired under the will of Isaac Woodfield dated 1859, £100 stock acquired under the will of John Paine proved 1874, £45 stock acquired under the will of W. K. Butcher proved 1887, £44 stock acquired under the will of Caleb Tanner proved 1902, and the endowment of the Ridler educational charity were amalgamated to form the Bisley Charities for the Poor. (fn. 15) In 1972 the annual income was c. £135 and was distributed in cash at Christmas. (fn. 16) Samuel Whiting (d. 1917) left £200 for the poor and the charity, administered by the trustees of Bisley Methodist church, was distributed in cash and goods at Christmas in the 1960s; from 1971, when the income was £8, it was administered with the Charities for the Poor. Margaret Sinkings (d. 1959) left £100 for charitable uses at the discretion of the vicar and churchwardens; the income was c. £7 in the early 1970s. (fn. 17)

Henry Ballinger of Skaiteshill, Chalford (d. 1855), left £600, to be invested in stock and the profits to be applied equally to the Chalford National school and to coal for the poor of Chalford ecclesiastical district. Elizabeth Webb Ballinger by will proved 1856 left £150 to be invested to provide blankets and warm clothing for aged inhabitants of Chalford, and Charles Ballinger of Chalford (d. 1884) gave £1,000 to be applied in the same way as Henry Ballinger's benefaction. A scheme of 1969 amalgamated the three charities and applied them to the general relief of the poor of Chalford by gifts in money or kind. In the early 1970s the income was c. £25. Thomas Davis of Chalford by deed of 1856 assigned £300 stock to trustees, the proceeds to be used after his death in 4 equal portions for the relief of those attending the Baptist chapels at Chalford, Eastcombe, Winstone, and Coberley. In 1972, when the Coberley chapel had closed, the £7 10s. income was used at the ministers' discretion among the other congregations. A benefaction of £100 stock was given by or in the memory of Mary Anna Clark (d. 1921) for needy members of France Congregational church; the income, c. £3, was being applied to elderly members of the church in the early 1970s. (fn. 18)


  • 1. E 315/394 ff. 82-3.
  • 2. Glos. R.O., P 47/OV 2/19.
  • 3. G.D.R., V 5/46T 6.
  • 4. G.D.R. vol. 381A, f. 24; 14th Rep. Com. Char. 57.
  • 5. Glos. R.O., D 2278/19.
  • 6. 14th Rep. Com. Char. 57; G.D.R. vol. 381A, f. 24.
  • 7. Ex inf. Mr. Sanders.
  • 8. Bigland, Glos. i. 196; 14th Rep. Com. Char. 59.
  • 9. Glos. R.O., D 873/T 13.
  • 10. Ibid. P 47/CH 1/1-2.
  • 11. Rudder, Glos. 293; 14th Rep. Com. Char. 59.
  • 12. Glos. R.O., P 47/CH 1/1-2.
  • 13. 14 th Rep. Com. Char. 60; Glos. R.O., P 47/CH 1/2.
  • 14. Glos. R.O., P 47/CH 1/2; Char. Com. files.
  • 15. Char. Com. files.
  • 16. Ex inf. Mr. Sanders; Glos. R.O., CH 21.
  • 17. Char. Com. files; Glos. R.O., CH 21.
  • 18. Ibid.; and for the Davis char., ex inf. Mr. Hammond.