The city of St Albans: Advowson and charities

A History of the County of Hertford: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.

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'The city of St Albans: Advowson and charities', in A History of the County of Hertford: Volume 2, (London, 1908) pp. 510-515. British History Online [accessed 20 April 2024]

In this section


The townsmen of St. Albans appear to have had rights in the abbey church at an early date and probably had their services in the nave of the Saxon church. When Paul de Caen, the first Norman abbot (1077–93), rebuilt the abbey church he appears to have provided for the wants of the lay folk by building the chapel of St. Andrew on the north of the nave. This chapel was rebuilt and enlarged in consequence of the alteration by Abbot John de Cella (1195–1214), and again rebuilt about 1454. St. Andrew's chapel served the same district as the present parish of St. Alban, formerly called St. Andrew's parish. The staff consisted of a vicar, usually called the warden, who took the lesser tithes, the abbot being rector. There were priests or chaplains to assist the vicar, varying in number from two at the beginning of the fifteenth century to four at the end of that century, one of whom was probably sub-warden. There were also a parish clerk and four parvi clerici or singing boys. The vicarage was in the gift of the abbot, who, in the sixteenth century, let it to farm, at first to an ecclesiastic, but later to a layman, the lessee having to provide a priest to serve the chapel and taking all the profits including the offerings of the parishioners. After the Dissolution this system proved unsatisfactory to the lessee, one of the local innkeepers, on account of the falling-off of the offerings. The last lease expired in 1550, when a chaplain was appointed to serve the cure.

There was an intimate connexion between the chapel of St. Andrew and the church of St. Peter, the vicar of the former being frequently warden of the gild of All Saints, whose services were held in the charnel chapel in St. Peter's churchyard. The churchyard of St. Andrew's chapel was closed in the fifteenth century, and the parishioners were buried in St. Peter's churchyard under a composition made between the parishioners of both parishes.

There were two gilds in St. Andrew's chapel; that of St. John the Baptist is first mentioned in 1485, and that of St. Katherine in 1491. (fn. 1)

When the king granted to Sir Richard Lee the site of the monastery he reserved to himself and his heirs the conventual church and the Lady chapel, (fn. 2) and in 1553 Edward VI sold the monastic church to the town as the parish church (fn. 3) in place of St. Andrew's chapel, which appears to have been demolished about this date. (fn. 4) The price paid according to the enrolment of the Letters Patent was £40, but according to other documents £400 and a fee-farm rent of £10, which was redeemed in 1684 for £200. (fn. 5) The new parish, which was to be called that of St. Alban, was to be coextensive with the old parish of St. Andrew, and the church was made into a rectory. By the same grant the advowson was given to the mayor and burgesses, who held the right of presentation (fn. 6) till 1835, when the Municipal Coporations Reform Act prohibited town councils to hold advowsons. (fn. 7) The patronage was therefore sold to the Rev. Dr. Nicholson, then the rector. (fn. 8) From him it passed in 1866–7 to the bishop of Rochester, (fn. 9) and was transferred to the bishop of St. Albans on the creation of that see. (fn. 10)

The rectorial tithes, which had belonged before the dissolution of St. Albans Abbey to the office of almoner of the abbey, were granted in 1568–9 to Sir Hugh Paulet and his wife Elizabeth, (fn. 11) and in 1781 they appear to have been held by Thomas Peacock.

In December of 1539 the monastery was surrendered to the king by Richard Boreman alias Stevenage, the last of its abbots. (fn. 12) In 1550 a grant was made to Sir Richard Lee of '3 acres of land on which the monastery of St Albans lately stood and all walls and buildings belonging, reserving always to the king and his heirs the church of the said late monastery and the chapel called 'Our Lady Chapell' and all the great Curtilage called 'le abbey Courte' and a barn and one smith's forge and all the Gatehouse. (fn. 13)

In 1551 Sir Richard Lee reconveyed his portion of the site to Boreman, the last abbot, (fn. 14) who granted it five years later (29 December, 1556) to Queen Mary, (fn. 15) the refoundation of the abbey being at this time in contemplation.

In 1564 Elizabeth granted to Christopher Smyth and Thomas Broughton the reversion of 'the house or building called le Priours Lodginge' and all houses belonging, all of which had been granted to Sir Richard Lee three years before for a term of twenty-one years. (fn. 16) This property included besides 'le Priours Lodginge, les newe Ordinances, le Librarie, le Farmary, le chapel, le longe dorter, le Chapter house, le Cloyster, le Reredorter, le lodging at one end and under le Reredorter, and one little le Cloyster, to the same le Reredorter adjoining, abutting on one end upon le Orryall and on the other upon le Fratrie, and all that le Orryall and one le Shedd, with all apple orchards, garden etc. containing 10 acres and also all those our lands on which divers ruined walls and Les Vaultz now are.' (fn. 17)

Twenty years later Anne Sadler, widow, granted 'le Priours Lodging' to Humphrey Coningsby and Mary his wife, which had been previously in the tenure of John Grace. Coningsby settled this property upon his son Thomas on his marriage, and he sold it after ten years to Garrett for £290. In 1608 Richard Garrett conveyed the Prior's House to Martha Mills of St. Albans, reserving to Ralph Pemberton all stones, bricks, tiles, &c. above ground and under ground. The next year Martha Mills sold the Prior's Lodging to Sir Thomas Pope Blount for £300, who sold it again, twenty-eight years later, to Jeremy Plumtree for £500. This sale included the hall, galleries, &c. and the abbey orchard excepting 'The Schoole House.' In 1651 Alban Plumtree, probably son of the above, leased this property to Thomas Cowley for 500 years, at a peppercorn rent. (fn. 18) The site was split up into various holdings. The abbey meadows, which comprise the greater part of it, now belong to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

There are the following Nonconformist chapels in St. Albans:—

The Old Presbyterian Chapel in Dagnal Street, now used as a store, is the oldest Nonconformist place of worship in St. Albans. It was last used for Unitarian services in 1894. It is a brick building belonging to the early years of the seventeenth century.

The Old Friends' Meeting House in Spencer Street, founded about 1721, which has a small graveyard behind it, is a plain brick building, and is now used by the Abbey Boys' Club.

The Baptist church in Dagnal Street, built in French Gothic style, of red brick and stone, was opened 7 July, 1885, replacing the old chapel which was erected in 1724. The architects were Messrs. Glover and Salter. There is an old graveyard surrounding it.

Spicer Street Congregational Church is a plain brick building, built by the Independents in 1811, after their separation from the Presbyterians in Dagnal Street and their migration to the old mill in Cotton Mill Lane, in 1797. On the building of Trinity church it became a Congregational Mission Church. There is a graveyard attached to it.

The Wesleyans had their first meeting place in St. Peter's Street, and the chapel in Dagnal Street, now the office of the Herts Advertiser, was built in 1841. The new church in Marlborough Road, of red brick and stone, designed by Messrs. Gordon Lowther and Gunton, was opened in 1898. Opposite the cemetery in the Hatfield Road another Wesleyan church, of corrugated iron, was opened in 1906, replacing a smaller temporary structure near the same, now used as a Liberal Club Room.

Bethel Baptist Chapel, in the Verulam Road, is a plain brick building, opened in 1853, and is held by the Particular Baptists.

St. Albans Tabernacle, in Victoria Street, belongs to the Baptists, and was opened 20 July, 1882. It is of brick with stone dressings, designed by Mr. D. Parkins.

Trinity Congregational Church, built of red brick and stone, with a lofty spire, is in the Beaconsfield Road. It was opened 8 October, 1903, and is the head quarters of the Congregation of Independents established in 1797.

The Wooden Room, in Lattimore Road, belonging to the Plymouth Brethren, was built by Mrs. Worley, of New Barns; opened 31 December, 1865.

In Sopwell Lane is a plain red-brick building, now used as a mission church in connexion with the Baptist church in Dagnal Street. It was built for the Primitive Methodists about the end of the eighteenth, or early in the nineteenth century.

The Society of Friends has since 1906 met for worship at Dear's Hotel, London Road.

The Primitive Methodists have during the last few months met at Dear's Hotel, London Road, and appointed a pastor, October, 1907.


For the early history of the grammar school see 12th Report (1864) of the Schools Inquiry Commissioners, p. 124. [See also article on 'Schools.']

In 1569 Richard Raynshaw by his will demised three cottages or tenements in Spicer Street and his house called the 'Vine,' next adjoining, upon trust that the mayor and burgesses should keep the same in repair and should nominate such honest poor persons as should seem most in need of charity to inhabit any of the said three tenements for ever, rent-free.

Trustees of this charity and of Thomas Lathberye's Charity, next mentioned, were appoined by Order of the Charity Commissioners of 12 January, 1900. The property of the charity now consists of almshouse site and buildings in hand, land at back let at 10s. a year, the 'Vine' public-house let for 14 years from 24 June, 1900 for £65, and £79 11s. 5d. consols. The almshouses contain ten rooms and are occupied by poor persons rent-free.

In 1579 Thomas Lathbury alias Lathberye by his will demised to the corporation two tenements—one situated in the market-place adjoining the Clock House, and the other in 'Dagenhall' Lane—to hold the same to the proper use and behoof of the poor people of the town of St. Albans. The property now consists of No. 35, Market Place let at £40 a year, No. 19, Dagnal Street, at £6 10s., and two cottages, Nos. 45 and 47, Spencer Street, let at £3 10s. a year. The income is applied in gifts of 6s. each to poor in the old borough area.

In 1712 Thomas Kentish by his will proved this date in the P.C.C. demised to trustees his farm in Campton and Meppershall, county Bedford, chargeable with 10s. a year by him given to the poor of the parish of Campton, upon trust to receive out of the rents £10 a year for their care and charges in execution of the trusts, and to apply the residue towards the maintenance, education, bringing up, and 'binding out apprentice four boys' of the name of Kentish (if such could be found), and if not four other boys of the testator's near relations.

The property and gross yearly income of the charity are now as follows:—Campton Bury Farm containing about 118 acres with farm-house and building let at £100 a year, and £800 consols with the official trustees arising from investment of unapplied income. For some years past the beneficiaries have been sent to the St. Albans Grammar School, the trustees paying the tuition fees and a reduced boarding fee. The income is insufficient to keep up the original number of four boys. By an order of 23 March, 1905, made under the Board of Education Act, 1890, the above-mentioned sum of £800 consols has been apportioned as to £780 consols for educational purposes and £20 consols for poor of Campton

In 1796 Mrs. Anne Horn by her will proved in the P.C.C. bequeathed one moiety of her residuary personal estate to be invested in the public funds, the dividends to be paid to the minister for the time being officiating at the Independent Meeting House in St. Albans, holding the religious tenets maintained in the Assembly's Catechism. The bequest is now (1906) represented by the sum of £1,420 1s. 5d. London County Consolidated Stock with the official trustees.

Cross Street Infant School was founded by Enoch Durant by deed dated 9 September, 1836, to be used as an infant school for children of both sexes residing in the borough or within three miles thereof irrespective of religious tenets. Under the authority of a scheme of the Board of Education of 4 March, 1903, the site and buildings were sold and the net proceeds invested in the purchase of £465 16s. 4d. consols, the dividends to be applied for prizes.

St. Albans and Mid-Herts Hospital and Dispensary.

—This institution originated in a free dispensary carried on by medical men of the town in a rented house, then in premises erected on a site adjoining Holywell Hill acquired in 1861. In 1887 1 a. or. 27 p., bounded on the south by Verulam Road, and on the east by Church Crescent, was purchased for £750 and new buildings erected thereon at a total cost of about £3,750, which was defrayed as to £910 from the proceeds of sale of the property near Holywell Hill and the remainder by means of subscriptions, collected for the purpose. A sum of £216 16s. consols arising from investment in 1873 of various donations and bequests unexpended is held by the official trustees, and the dividends are remitted to the treasurer for application in accordance with the trusts declared by deed of 17 December, 1873. Moreover a sum of £2,006 was subscribed for the purpose of providing the institution with the clear income of £100 a year apart from current subscriptions, and by a deed dated 24 February, 1871 (enrolled), Henry Meredith Townshend, in consideration of £2,006, conveyed to Rev. Marcus Richard Southwell and five others their heirs and assigns a piece of ground on the east side of a road called Wickersley Grove, Wandsworth Road, in the county of Surrey, with the fourteen messuages thereon, and another piece of ground on the west side of Wickersley Grove with the seven messuages thereon, subject to the several leases mentioned in the schedule thereto. The twenty-one houses are let under ten several leases for ninety-nine years from Michaelmas 1866 at rents amounting in the aggregate to £100 a year. The hospital buildings were enlarged and improved in 1899 at a cost of upwards of £1,800 provided by subscriptions.

The Sisters' Hospital.

—In 1893 Sir John Blundell Maple, kt., M.P., by deed (enrolled) voluntarily conveyed to the mayor, aldermen, and citizens of the city of St. Alban, acting for the Town Council as the urban sanitary authority for the said city, certain pieces of ground containing respectively 1 acre, 12 perches, and 23 perches, together with the hospital and other buildings then recently erected thereon by the said Sir J. B. Maple, to be known as 'The Sisters' Hospital,' to be used for the reception of persons, inhabitants of the said city and of its immediate neighbourhood, who might be suffering from infectious disease. The premises so conveyed are at the north-west end of the city and adjoin the union workhouse premises, and in consideration of a grant by the guardians of a right-of-way along a strip of land forming the eastern boundary of the workhouse premises pauper patients are admitted to the benefits of the hospital on payment by the guardians of £1 1s. for each week or part of a week.

The hospital is conducted as a hospital for infectious diseases in accordance with regulations made by the corporation under the powers of the deed of foundation and since varied under an agreement of 21 March, 1894, made between the corporation and the St. Albans Rural Sanitary Authority in exercise of the powers vested in those authorities by the Public Health Act, 1875. In 1900 the expenditure on the hospital amounted to £570, towards which £356 was contributed from the City Funds, and £197 from the Rural District Council.

In 1896 George Annesley by his will proved at this date directed his executors to invest £100 stock in the names of the authorities of St. Albans Free Library and Art Institution in Victoria Street to form a perpetual annuity of the dividends thereof.

A sum of £100 2½ per cent. annuities was purchased in the name of 'The Mayor, Aldermen, and Citizens of the city of St. Alban in the matter of the Municipal Corporations Act,' and the dividends are applied in the maintenance of two scholarships, each of the value of £1 5s. and tenable for two years at the St. Albans School of Science and Art, a municipal institution maintained by the corporation under the Public Libraries Act.

The Herts County Museum.

—By deed dated 14 June, 1898 (enrolled), the Right Hon. John Poyntz, Earl Spencer, K.G., out of his goodwill towards the corporation and inhabitants of St. Albans, and desiring to assist in the preservation of articles of interest either connected with the county of Hertford or brought from a distance, for the storing and exhibition of which a building was needed, conveyed to trustees in fee simple a parcel of land situated in the Hatfield Road, upon trust to allow the same to be used as the site for a county museum, but not for any other purpose, unless the consent in writing of the person who should be Earl Spencer for the then time being should have been previously obtained. In case of cesser of the user of such site as a public museum, the said land to revert to the donor or his heirs in fee simple. Upon the site so granted a museum was erected and was opened in November, 1899. The cost of the building and its fitting was met by public subscription supplemented by grants from the Herts County Council. With the consent of Lord Spencer the museum is used for purposes that may promote education and technical uses.

The following parks and recreation grounds have been dedicated for the use of the borough, viz.:—The New England Field, containing two and a half acres or thereabouts, given in 1874 by the representatives of the late Mrs. Mary Emma Searancke, by whose will a legacy of £500 was bequeathed, the income to be applied in maintaining the same in good order and condition, invested (less duty) in £485 3s. 6d. consols with the official trustees.

Clarence Park, containing 8 a. 3 r. 10 p., and the Clarence Park Recreation Ground adjoining, containing 16 a. 1 r. 10 p., the gift in 1894 of the late Sir John Blundell Maple, the desire of the donor being to encourage cricket and other manly sports, the Herts County Cricket Club to have priority of user of the latter ground; and the Victoria Playing Field, containing 6 a. 3 r., given in 1898 by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Woollam as a playground for children.

Thomas and Margaret Hall's Charity.

—An annual payment of £2 formerly received from the Grammar School and applied for the benefit of the poor of this parish is now provided for by the dividends of £80 consols, forming part of a sum of £120 consols with the official trustees, the balance of the dividends of £1 being for the poor of Hertford.

John Clarke's Almshouses.

—See parish of St. Peter.

In 1642 Bray Norrice alias Norris by will proved this date in the P.C.C. charged one acre of marsh land, known as Shawes Acre, in West Ham, Essex, with the payment of 45s. for forty-five poor widows of this parish, of 5s. for five poor widows of St. Michael's parish, 12 pence a piece on St. Thomas's Day every year. In 1850 the land was taken by the Eastern Counties Railway. The purchase money, £300, is now represented by £302 13s. consols in court, and nine-tenths of the dividends are applied for the benefit of poor widows of this parish and onetenth in the parish of St. Michael.

In 1641 Mrs. Anne Goldsmythe by deed gave £20 to trustees upon trust yearly to dispose of the same for the benefit of the poor. A sum of £1 a year is received from the borough fund and applied in the distribution of bread.

In 1628 Robert Skelton by deed granted to the then mayor and six principal burgesses of the borough a messuage or tenement with the appurtenances situate in a street called 'The Mault Cheapdinge,' and a messuage and shop in a lane called the Fish Shambles, to hold the same upon trust with the rents and profits thereof to distribute twenty-six penny loaves unto twenty-six poor people of the parish on every Sunday in the year in the south aisle of the parish church, and upon the Friday next before Whitsunday to give at the place aforesaid thirty groats unto thirty poor widows. The overplus after reparations of the said two messuages to be accumulated and applied in the purchase of additional lands for the further relief of the poor of the parish. In 1826 the premises in the Fish Shambles were conveyed to the trustees of the Reading and Hatfield turnpike road in consideration of £500, which was laid out in the purchase of £634 18s. 5d. consols in court. In 1860 the stock, with augmentations amounting together to £837 7s. 2d. consols, was transferred to the official trustees. The tenement described in the foundation deed as in the 'Mault Cheapdinge' is now known as No. 15 Chequer Street, and is let on lease for fourteen years from 25 March, 1900, at £40 a year, which is applied in the distribution of 10s. representing the thirty groats and the residue chiefly in blankets.

In 1636 Thomas Gawen by deed (enrolled), in consideration of his affection and love to the borough and town where he had his original being, granted to the then mayor, the steward of the borough, and ten others, burgesses, a farm-house and lands at Harrold's Wood in the parishes of Hornchurch and Romford, Essex, upon trust that out of the rents the sum of £40 should be paid yearly unto twenty of the poorest people of the parish of St. Albans. The charity estate comprised 68 acres or thereabouts, in respect of which about three acres were awarded under the Hornchurch and Romford Inclosure Act (51 Geo. III). A scheme for the regulation of the charity was approved by the court in 1841, under which £1,061 19s. 1d. consols, arising from the investment of surplus rents, was paid into court, which sum was in 1874 transferred to the official trustees, who also hold a sum of £2,715 3s. like stock arising from investment of proceeds of sale in 1874 of the property at Romford, containing 48 a. 3 r. 14 p. The property now (1906) consists of 22 a. 2 r. 10 p. at Hornchurch let at £40 a year, and £3,786 17s. 3d. consols (comprising the two sums of stock above mentioned and £9 15s. 2d. consols representing investment of bonus received on conversion of stock) producing dividends of £94 13s. 5d. a year. The net income is applied in accordance with the scheme of 1841 in gifts of £1 made half-yearly to poor people of the ancient parish of St. Alban.

The Charity known as the Cross Key Charity.

—By deed dated 4 April, 16 James I (enrolled), in consideration of £200 (arising from a gift of £165 by Edward Smith and £35 by William Pennyman and others), Matthew Small granted unto the said William Pennyman and others a messuage or tenement in the town of St. Albans called the Cross Keys, and land adjoining, and three other tenements in the said town, and also the profits of the yearly fair called Prae Fair, (fn. 19) upon trust that the rents and profits should be employed as to one moiety for the repairing and amending of the abbey church, and as to the other moiety for distribution yearly, one half for the relief of the poor of St. Peter's, and the other half for the relief of the poor of St. Albans for ever. The charity estates now consist of land in the London Road, let with the sanction of the court on three building leases for terms of ninetynine years from 25 March, 1825, at reserved rents amounting to £62 a year, upon which twelve messuages and buildings now stand; house and shop No. 6, George Street, let on lease for fourteen years from 20 December, 1900, let at £24 a year; three cottages in Fishpool Street let on weekly tenancy and producing £49 8s. a year; and a sum of £745 13s. 4d. consols accumulating with the official trustees until a sum of £1,008 17s. 11d. consols has been realised, to replace an amount expended in 1884 on the Fishpool cottages. The charity is administered under a scheme of the Court of Chancery, dated 7 January, 1851. A sum of £50 a year or thereabouts is paid to the churchwardens in aid of the restoration of the abbey church, and £50 a year is distributed at Christmas in the form of coals to the poor of St. Peter's within the ancient borough, and to the poor of the abbey parish.

In 1641 Francis Combe, by will proved this date at London, gave to 'The Abbey Church in St. Albans for ever out of his lands, tenements, goods, tithes, &c., in Hemel Hempstead £10 for ever so long as there should be a weekly Sermon on Saturday, to be chosen by the greater part of the best inhabitants within the liberties of St. Albans borough.'

The annuity of £10 charged on the Bury Estate at Hemel Hempstead was paid—less land tax—by Sir Astley Paston Cooper, bart., and received by the rector of St. Albans, a sermon being preached every Wednesday evening by himself or one of his curates, instead of on Saturday, on which day the attendance was unsatisfactory.

There is also a fund in court arising from investment of arrears and of unpaid dividends, and now amounting to £453 7s. 11d. consols standing to the credit of the Attorney-General v. De Chair, one-third of the dividends of which are under orders of the court of 29 January, 1759, and 30 July, 1774, receivable by the rector and lecturer of the abbey church; the balance being payable to the lecturers of Hemel Hempstead and Berkhampstead in the proportion of four-ninths and two-ninths respectively.

In 1686 Joshua Lomax, by his will proved in the P.C.C. this date, charged his lands called Black Cross and other lands in the parish of St. Michael with the yearly payment of £8, to be applied as to £2 in payment of £1 to the rector of the abbey church for preaching sermons in the forenoon and afternoon of the Lord's Day after every Easter Sunday on the thirty-third verse of the sixth chapter of St. Matthew, and in the distribution of £1 among twenty poor house-keepers of the parish who should repair to the church to hear the sermons. The testator gives the like directions (mutatis mutandis) as to £2 for the incumbent and poor of each of the parishes of St. Peter, St. Michael, and St. Stephen respectively, and he adds 'perhaps by the goodness of God and assistance of his Spirit co-working with His Word, some vile wretch who lives without God in the world for the lucre of XIId. may come and be converted.' The payments were made regularly, land tax being deducted. In 1883 the owner of Black Cross and other lands charged redeemed the annuities by the transfer to the official trustees of a sum of £267 consols, of which the sum of £66 15s. consols has been apportioned to this parish.

In 1708 Jane Nicholas, widow, by her will, proved in the P.C.C. on the 18 December, devised all her real estate and the net residue of her personal estate (which the testatrix directed to be put forth at interest) to her executors upon trust, out of the interest and rents to pay to the parson of the abbey church and his successors yearly for ever the sum of £5 upon condition of his preaching an annual sermon, and subject to the life interest of her daughter, Sarah Dunton, in such residuary income, and to her dying without issue living at her decease (which event happened) then to provide the following further annuities, viz:—£20 unto testatrix's niece, Sarah Brock, and the heirs of her body; and £5 a piece to six poor widows or other the poorest people of the abbey church, and to two others of the parish of St. Peter, and to two others of the parish of St. Michael. The will provides for the payment of £5 5s. yearly to the senior trustee. The devise included a copyhold (subsequently enfranchised) farm at Hexton, Herts., and a lease from the master and fellows of Caius College, Cambridge, of the manor of Aynells, and of a farm called Sanis Hill, and lands at Westoning, county Bedford. The college lease was in accordance with the terms of the will renewed from time to time, but in consequence of the laches of the acting trustee (who subsequently absconded) the lease expired at Michaelmas, 1824, and the benefits of this portion of the devised property became entirely lost to the charity.

The affairs of the charity were the subject of proceedings in the Court of Chancery, and a sum of £946 1s. 2d. was found due from the absconding Char. Com. Rep trustee, which was subsequently made good by his relations, and the Master certified in his report of 21 March, 1827 (confirmed by order of 29 May), his approval of a scheme, and by indentures of lease and release, dated 23 and 24 August, 1827, the charity estates were conveyed to new trustees. The property comprised therein consisted of the farm at Hexton containing five closes of land containing 25½ acres, which had been awarded in 1767 under the Hexton Inclosure Act of 6 Geo. III in lieu of the whole of the property at Hexton which theretofore belonged to the charity. An additional ½ acre was awarded to the trustees in 1872 under the Hexton Cow Common Inclosure Award, and the whole is now let at £40 a year. The official trustees also hold in trust for the charity a sum of £950 2s. 4d. consols, which would appear to represent the investment of the sum of £946 1s. 2d. above referred to. The sum of £12 was paid in 1905 to the heirs of Sarah Brock, and the other payments abated proportionately in pursuance of scheme of 1827.

In 1716 Richard Hale by a codicil to his will, dated in 1713, charged his estate called Balambs in the parishes of Redbourn and Harpenden, Herts., with the yearly sum of £10 8s. to be applied in the distribution every Lord's Day of bread by equal payments for the use of the poor of the parish and that of St. Peter in the town of St. Alban.

The sum of £5 4s. is received by the churchwardens and duly applied for the benefit of the poor of this parish.

In 1732 William Ruth by his will devised two messuages situated in Holywell Street to the ministers and churchwardens of St. Alban upon trust, to apply the rents and profits towards the repairs of the abbey church, the minister to receive 20s. a year for his care and trouble in supervising the same.

In 1883 one of the two houses with its adjoining garden was sold with the sanction of the Charity Commissioners for the purpose of widening the approach from the east to the abbey church for the sum of £350, which was invested in £350 17s. 6d. consols in the name of the official trustees, and the remaining house with garden facing Holywell Hill is let for 21 years from 25 March, 1898, at a yearly rent of £50; a sum of £2 is also received from the occupant of adjoining business premises by way of rent in respect of a warehouse which was found to have been built on part of the land attached to the house; £1 is paid to the rector as the acting trustee, and the net income is applied towards the repairs of the abbey church.

In 1781 William King George by his will directed his executor to purchase £100 consols, in the names of the rector, churchwardens, and overseers of the abbey church upon trust, that they should on twelve sacrament Sundays for ever distribute 5s. worth of bread in such manner as they should think proper. The stock was transferred to the official trustees in 1876 and is represented by £100 new consols producing £2 10s. a year. The income is distributed in halfquartern loaves on the first Sunday in each month.

In 1896 George Annesley by his will proved this date directed his executors to purchase £100 Government Stock, the dividends to be applied in the discretion of the rector of the abbey church in the continuation of the various little charities connected with the abbey to which the testator had for many years past subscribed. The legacy is represented by £100 £2 10s. per cent annuities held by the official trustees, by whom the dividends are remitted to the rector of the abbey church, and are applied by him to various purposes in connexion with church parochial work.

The Abbey National Schools are situated in Spicer Street, and were conveyed and settled by deeds, dated 6 December, 1847 (enrolled in Chancery), and 17 April, 1885 (enrolled in the books of the Charity Commissioners). The schools are in union with the National Society, and there is no endowment other than the site and buildings.

Christchurch National Schools in Verulam Road, next the Baptist Chapel there, were conveyed and settled by deed, dated 6 April, 1861 (enrolled). By an order of the Charity Commissioners, dated 16 July, 1869, a scheme was established for their administration. (fn. 20)


  • 1. This account of St. Andrew's chapel is taken from a paper on the chapel by Mr. W. Page in St. Albans Arch. Soc. (New Ser.), i, 84.
  • 2. Pat. 4 Edw. VI, pt. 9, m. 44.
  • 3. Gibbs, Corp. Rec. 4.
  • 4. Midd. and Herts. N. and Q. iii, 145.
  • 5. Clutterbuck, Herts. i, 44.
  • 6. Inst. Bks. 1662, 1687, 1754, 1776, 1796.
  • 7. Gibbs, Corp. Rec. 195.
  • 8. Ibid. 196.
  • 9. Lond. Gaz. (29 June, 1866), 3721.
  • 10. Clergy List.
  • 11. Pat. 11 Eliz. pt. 5, m. 3.
  • 12. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiv (2), 635; Dugdale, Mon. Angl. ii, 207.
  • 13. Pat. 4 Edw. VI, pt. 9, m. 44.
  • 14. Close, 3 & 4 Phil. and Mary, pt. 9.
  • 15. Ibid. pt. 2, m. 13.
  • 16. Pat. 6 Eliz. pt. 8, m. 17.
  • 17. Ibid. Notes from the Archdeacon's Deeds. It seems probable that Smyth and Broughton were trustees for Sir R. Lee's daughters, since in 1574 Mary and her husband had some interest in the estate. (Feet of F. Mich. 16 & 17 Eliz.)
  • 18. Notes from the Archd. D.
  • 19. The fair called Prae Fair has long been discontinued. Char. Com. Rep. xxv, vol. 18, p. 193 (1832).
  • 20. Char. Com. Rep. xxv, vol. 18, p. 195 (1832).