Hackney: Charities for the Poor

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10, Hackney. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1995.

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'Hackney: Charities for the Poor', in A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10, Hackney, (London, 1995) pp. 166-172. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/middx/vol10/pp166-172 [accessed 11 April 2024]

In this section


Hackney had many distributive charities from the early 17th century. (fn. 1) It was also noted for its large number of refuges, although most of them, including some that were styled almshouses, were not intended for parishioners. (fn. 2) A few charities seem to have lapsed, including those founded by of John Matthew in 1568 and Elizabeth, countess of Oxford (d. 1612 or 1613), both of which were still received in 1622, (fn. 3) or not to have been put into effect, such as that of Thomas Hawkes in 1657. (fn. 4) The other gifts were periodically recorded by the vestry from 1614 and entered in a separate annual account from the early 18th to the early 19th century. (fn. 5) In 1789-90 the total income from lands and investments of gifts for the poor was c. £180, of which £75 2s. 6d. was for coals and £22 8s. for bread. (fn. 6) In 1799-1800 the income was c. £213, of which only £101 was spent. (fn. 7) In consequence of the division of the old parish into three rectories, the Church Building Commissioners apportioned its charities in 1833, when their total income was c. £840. (fn. 8)

In 1833 the curtailed parish of St. John, Hackney, was allotted charities with a total income of c. £508, made up of localized distributive charities, two almshouse charities, and half of the large number of charities, together worth £447 13s. 2d., which were divisible among the three parishes. South Hackney was allotted a few localized charities, including an almshouse charity, and a quarter of the divisible charities. West Hackney's share was a quarter of the divisible charities. (fn. 9)

Local government changes and the creation of new ecclesiastical parishes raised questions about the right to distribute charities. Claims on South and West Hackney were advanced by the reformed Hackney vestry and from 1855 by its elected successor, which demanded the apportioned lands on behalf of the whole parish. Vestries of householders nonetheless managed the charities in all three parishes in 1894, apportioning the income among the several ecclesiastical districts, whose vicars accounted to the rectors and whose rights to choose recipients had been supported by the Charity Commissioners in 1867. (fn. 10)

The incomes were punctually received and applied in 1855. (fn. 11) In 1869, however, a newspaper alleged that the parochial authorities were denied information by many of the trustees, some of them City companies: large deductions had been made from the incomes of several named charities and in 1867 c. £350 had been charged to expenses, whereas only £274 had been distributed among the poor. (fn. 12) Soon afterwards many lands and investments were transferred to the official trustees. In 1894 the local application of all the charities was done with great care. (fn. 13)

Consolidation began with a Scheme of 1898 establishing the St. John, Hackney, Joint Estates charities, which included all the lands except the almshouse estates, including any not yet vested in the official trustee. Half of the income was to go to the parochial charities of Hackney and a quarter each to those of South and West Hackney. Schemes of the same date, later varied for Hackney and South Hackney, were made for the three sets of parochial charities.

Almshouse charities.

Dr. William Spurstowe, (fn. 14) the former vicar, had built but not lived to endow six almshouses for widows in 1666. His brother Alderman Henry Spurstowe settled the buildings and c. 8 a. in trust in 1667 and added more land. (fn. 15) Trustees were renewed by the vestry, which until 1802 filled vacancies by nominating two almswomen for selection by Dr. Spurstowe's heir and thereafter acted alone. Rents from c. 14 a. were raised in 1771, 1814, and when a 42-year lease permitted the digging of brickearth in 1818. Stock, bought with surplus income between 1757 and 1812, was spent on rebuilding the almshouses in 1819. Each inmate received £6 a quarter from 1667 and 6 guineas from 1753, (fn. 16) later augmented by £1 at Christmas under the will of Henry Baker, who left £200 stock by will proved 1775, (fn. 17) and 5s. from George Clarke's gift (below). The charity was among those confined to the curtailed parish of Hackney in 1833, whereupon a vacancy was disputed between conservative and reformist vestrymen. (fn. 18) A Chancery Scheme of 1835 permitted building on the almshouse estate, where work was in progress in 1855. (fn. 19) The consequent rise in revenue was met by a Scheme of 1877 whereby the six almswomen, who must have lived in Hackney for 3 years, received 8s. to 10s. a week besides fuel and Baker's gift; surplus income was to provide £15 a year or less to up to 20 out-pensioners, who might be unmarried or widowed, £16 a year or less to the inmates of Wood's almshouses (below), and fees at convalescent homes or other charitable institutions. By 1893 the total receipts were £2,030, of which half came from houses in Graham, Greenwood, and Navarino roads and Wilton Road (later Way) and c. £247 from dividends. The largest disbursements were £501 to the trustees' convalescent committee and £300 to out-pensioners. Schemes of 1906 and 1935 placed Wood's almshouses under the Spurstowe trustees. In 1960 the beneficial area of the two charities was redefined as Hackney M.B., whose council was to nominate two of the nine trustees, and the residential qualification was lowered to two years; the buildings of 1666 were to be replaced by at least six new houses, which might be sold.

Spurstowe's almshouses, rebuilt in 1819, formed a single-storeyed range of brick with stone dressings, including shallow pediments over the windows and doorways. (fn. 20) They stood on the west side of Sylvester Path, as nos. 1-11 (odd), until 1966 (fn. 21) and were superseded by a three-storeyed range in pale buff brick, nos. 36 and 38 Navarino Road, which in 1989 contained 16 flats. In 1981 the joint income of Spurstowe's and Wood's almshouse charities was £23,672.

Henry Monger, by will proved 1669, (fn. 22) gave land in Well Street and £400 to build six brick almshouses, for men aged 60 or more. He also left a £12 rent charge on lands in Hackney marsh, of which £9 was to provide each inmate with 30s. a year and the rest to be invested to pay for repairs. Joanna Martin c. 1679 gave two houses immediately west of the almshouses, the rents to supplement each pension by 20s. a year and to assist repairs. The Hackney marsh lands were apparently acquired by Sir John Cass (d. 1718), who was said to have paid the £12, (fn. 23) as part of the endowment of his school in the parish of St. Botolph, Aldgate (Lond.). Cass's widow was asked in 1732 to substitute men for the women whom she had nominated to the almshouses. (fn. 24) In 1819 the trustees of Cass's school paid the rent charge. (fn. 25) In 1824 inmates' wives but not their widows were accommodated and coals were provided. The charity was confined to South Hackney in 1833, the rector and churchwardens being free to choose the inmates subject to formal approval by the Cass Foundation. In 1893 the total income was c. £146, of which £12 came from the rent charge and £60 from seven houses called Blenheim Cottages, which had been built on Joanna Martin's land and leased from 1847. Three couples and two single men received pensions of £10, beside bread and potatoes under Mrs. De Kewer's gift (below). A Scheme of 1900 included the almshouses in South Hackney Parochial charities (below), whose consolidated income was assigned partly to maintain the almspeople, men or women resident for five years or more who had not received poor relief.

Monger's almshouses stood on the north side of Grove Street (later Lauriston Road), at the edge of Well Street common. In the 1790s they formed a two-storeyed range with small lattice windows and with an inscription beneath a central Dutch gable. (fn. 26) With help from the Cass trustees, they were rebuilt in 1847, in a similar style, but with bold stone dressings and the roof hidden by a parapet. They were modernized in 1969 and survived as Monger House in 1990. (fn. 27)

Thomas Wood, bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, c. 1653 bought land at Clapton where he built almshouses for 10 widows aged 60 or more. By will proved 1692 (fn. 28) he left a rent charge of £50 a year for the inmates' pensions, besides gowns every second year and £5 for a chaplain to read prayers twice a week. Wood's Clapton estate passed to his nephew Henry Webb (d. 1713), whose heirs sold it to Sir William Chapman, on whose bankruptcy it passed through several hands to James Powell. (fn. 29) Almswomen, however, were appointed by the Chapmans until the widow of Sir John Chapman (d. 1781) surrendered her right to the parish in 1798, after which it was vainly claimed by Powell. (fn. 30) In 1824 each inmate was chosen by the minister from two nominees of the vestry. The £50 rent charge was paid, with £4 10s. every other year in lieu of gowns, and bread and coals, but there was no record of a chaplain. The charity was confined to the curtailed parish of Hackney in 1833. Sir Francis Willes by will dated 1823 gave to the almshouses half of a rent charge of £13 6s. 8d., a bequest which was invalid but made effective by the Revd. Edward Willes in 1842. A rent charge for repairing the almshouses was redeemed for £1,110, which was invested in 1869, and £500 stock was bought in 1883 under the will of Anne Ashpitel, who had left money for the repair of tombs, a purpose found to be invalid, and for the almswomen. The total income was c. £186 in 1893. Under a Scheme of 1877 the almswomen could receive money from Spurstowe's charity, whose trustees administered Wood's from 1906. Willes's and Anne Ashpitel's endowments still formed part of the charities' combined income in 1960.

Wood's almshouses were restored in 1930. They survive as a single-storeyed red-brick building, with mullioned windows, on the east side of Lower Clapton Road. The central range has six tenements, all originally of one room, and projecting wings each have two tenements. A Gothic chapel in the angle of the north wing, described as 19th-century, (fn. 31) had been recently repaired in 1855 by J. C. Powell, the vicar of St. James's, who instituted services. (fn. 32) It held ten seats and was described as Britain's smallest chapel after the reopening of the requisitioned almshouses in 1948. (fn. 33)

Thomas Cooke of Stoke Newington, the son and grandson of Hackney merchants and a director of the Bank of England, built a house on waste of Stoke Newington common, which he held on a 99-year lease of 1740, for eight poor families with small children. (fn. 34) By will proved 1752 (fn. 35) he left property in Eltham (Kent) for its upkeep and payments to the inmates, who were charged nominal rents and were removable by his heirs at will. Although the settlement was found to be invalid, as was a deed by Cooke's heir at law Margaret Fremeaux in 1793, Margaret's daughter and son-in-law Susannah and Thomas Thornton in 1824 still supported eight families, who were usually drawn from the neighbourhood and lived rent free, receiving 4 guineas a year and coals at Christmas. The charity was not recorded in the commissioners' apportionment of 1833, probably because the Thorntons were not obliged to maintain it rather than because they had ceased to do so. (fn. 36) The almshouses called Cooke's Rents, whose lease was shortly to revert to the lord, were conveyed in 1837 by W. G. Daniel-Tyssen to the select vestry of West Hackney, which vested the management in a committee of subscribers. Inmates were chosen in 1841, after the building had been repaired and renamed West Hackney almshouses. (fn. 37) The site was compulsorily purchased for a school playground in 1885, whereupon new almshouses were opened in 1889 (fn. 38) on the opposite side of what had become Northwold Road. Under a Scheme of 1890 the eight tenements might be occupied by single people or couples who had lived in West Hackney parish for five years or more, with preference for those reduced from better circumstances; they were to receive 3s. to 5s. a week but must already possess at least 3s. a week. Although no income was derived from the Eltham property, Anna Wilmot augmented the subscriptions by giving £500 stock in 1887. The charity had c. £1,003 stock and total receipts of £270 in 1893. The income was £336 in 1963, when a Scheme slightly altered the inmates' payments, and £2,849 in 1975, when £2,100 was contributed by West Hackney Parochial charities.

The almshouses, on the north side of Northwold Road and called West Hackney House in 1989, form a two-storeyed range of dark brown brick with stone dressings in the Tudor style. Four tenements are on the ground floor and four on the first floor, flanking a central hall beneath a small cupola. A plaque commemorates a fund set up by Commercial Motor Users of Hackney in honour of Charles Fisher Yates (d. 1945), a former mayor, from which annual payments are made to the almspeople.

Subscriptions in memory of the Revd. H. H. Norris, including £300 from his widow, paid for four almshouses which were settled in trust in 1857 by his son Henry, who gave the land. (fn. 39) The inmates were to be single women aged 60 or more who were members of the Church of England, preference to be given to widows who had been obliged to leave Monger's almshouses on their husbands' death. Management was by the rector and churchwardens of South Hackney, who had effective charge in 1894, aided by a committee of subscribers. The income, increased by a purchase out of accumulated subscriptions, was c. £80 in 1893, when the four women received 2s. 6d. a week, bread, coal, and a small discretionary dole from South Hackney Parochial charities. In 1965 the income was c. £75 and in 1967 Hackney L.B. agreed to a loan towards rebuilding, on condition that it should nominate half of the occupants. The restriction to Anglicans was accordingly omitted in a Scheme of 1968, which included the almshouses in South Hackney Parochial charities. A Scheme of 1979 made it possible to require small sums from the inmates towards maintenance.

The Norris almshouses stood in the north-west angle of Victoria Park Road and Handley Road. Designed in red brick with stone dressings in the Tudor style by Charles Parker, they consisted of a two-storeyed entrance section with an inscription beneath the gable, flanked by two single-storeyed tenements to the east and two to the west. They had made way for a flat-roofed block called Norris Court, containing flats for 6 couples, 5 single ladies, and a warden, by 1971. (fn. 40)

Pilgrims' Lodge charity (fn. 41) was opened in 1863 for members of Trinity Congregational chapel. James Child (d. 1881), a veterinary surgeon, built the almshouses on the north-west side of Lyme Grove, to be supported by rents from Devonshire (later Brenthouse) Road. Later bequests, before the closure of Trinity chapel, probably included two from Child's sisters. The lodge was modernized from 1956 and could accommodate 12 teetotal women aged 60 or more in 1963. It had six one-bedroomed flats for elderly men or women and a warden's flat in 1989. It survives as a two-storeyed building of yellow brick with red-brick dressings, designed by A. R. Pite, with a small walled garden, in the shadow of the Frampton Park estate's ten-storeyed Pitcairn House.

Hackney War Memorial Homes, for married disabled ex-servicemen, were opened in 1923 on land at the west corner of Wattisfield and Fletching roads. Designed by Gunton & Gunton, they consisted of a two-storeyed red-brick range of six cottages, flanked by a pair of two-storeyed buildings each containing two cottages or flats, in 1991. (fn. 42)

Other almshouses, not intended for Hackney parishioners, included the Bakers' and the Jews' almshouses, the Goldsmiths' and Jewellers' asylum, and Robinson's Retreat. (fn. 43)

Distributive charities. (fn. 44)

Thomas Heron, painter of London, by will proved 1603 left a rent charge on cottages in Grove Street to provide 12 penny loaves every Sunday to the poor of Hackney. The income of £2 12s. was paid into a bread fund (below) in 1824 and still so paid in 1893, by which time it had been slightly reduced following the redemption of the charge for £87 stock in 1866.

Sir Henry Rowe by will proved 1612 left £200 to the Mercers' Co. of London for charitable payments, including £2 12s. a year to Hackney for 12 penny loaves on Sunday and £2 4s. for coals. In 1824 the parish received £2 12s. for its bread fund and, as a result of accumulation of stock, £3 13s. 2d. for its coal fund (below). The total payment had fallen slightly by 1893.

William Swaine by will dated 1613 left £100 for relief of the poor. Some 3½ a. were bought and in 1638 settled in trust. The rent was paid into the coal fund in 1824, when it was £13, and distributed as money in 1863, when it was £50. Most of the land was sold in 1882-3 and £4,905 stock, yielding £135, had been bought by 1893.

Margaret, widow of Thomas Audley, by will proved 1617 left £700 to the Skinners' Co. of London to provide £5 4s. a year for bread, £5 16s. for repair of the church or for fuel, £4 for repairing bridges and fences between Clapton and Shoreditch, and £20 for a schoolmaster. (fn. 45) The payments were made in 1824, when the £4 for bridges went to the coal fund, and 1863; they were redeemed in 1894, when £1,400 stock was transferred by the company.

Hugh Johnson, vicar of Hackney, by will proved 1618 left £200 to the Drapers' Co. of London, half of the interest to be distributed among the poor at Christmas; £5 was received in 1824, when it was given in sums of 10s., and 1893.

Valentine Poole of Old Ford, Stepney, by will proved 1624 left the rent of 5 a. called Butfield, in Well Street, for distribution among the poor. A building lease was sought without success in 1824, after the churchwardens had resumed ¾ a. and thereby reduced the rent from £30 to £24. The income was spent on bread in 1824 and on money payments in 1863. Enfranchisement was paid for in 1866 by the sale of stock which had been bought from sales of gravel. A small exchange was agreed with Cass's charity in 1862 and all the land was let on a building lease to John George Bishop in 1867, under which £375 10s. rent was paid and Poole, Valentine, and neighbouring roads were built up. The houses later accounted for most of the large income enjoyed by the St. John, Hackney, Joint Estates charities (below).

Richard Cheney by will proved 1625 gave land at West Ham (Essex) to the churchwardens of St. Mary Woolnoth (Lond.), for charities which included 40s. a year divided among four poor persons of Hackney. The same payment was received in 1824, although the value of the land had risen, and in 1863, after its sale and the purchase of £1,316 stock. An Order of 1893 allotted Hackney £206 stock, yielding £5 13s. 4d.

Henry Bannister by will dated 1625 gave £160 to the Goldsmiths' Co. of London, to pay £8 a year for the parish officers of Hackney to put out four apprentices. The income, being insufficient, had long been spent on coals until £12 a year was added in 1820 from Sir Thomas Vyner's charity (below). The joint sums were not wholly taken up by apprenticing in 1824; half of the £8 was spent on apprenticing and half was distributed in money in 1863. Payments were redeemed in 1886, when £270 stock was transferred by the company.

Sir Thomas Vyner by will dated 1664 left £80 for the purchase of lands, the rents for apprenticing. His younger son Thomas Vyner by will dated 1666 (fn. 46) left £100 for lands, the rents to provide 12 penny loaves every Sunday and a money distribution at Christmas. The bequests, supplemented by the parish, were spent on buying property in Well Street, which in 1820 yielded £3 for coal, £12 for addition to Bannister's charity, and £10 divided into 20 gifts at Christmas. In 1824 the rents had reached £50, which in 1855 were spent on apprenticing, bread, and many gifts totalling £35 8s. The total income, from eight houses, was c. £346 in 1892.

David Dolben, bishop of Bangor and former vicar, in 1633 gave £30 for land, the rents to repair footpaths from Clapton to Hackney and support six families with the greatest charge of children. (fn. 47) George Humble by will dated 1633 gave £50 for land, the rents to provide bread for 12 poor. The bequests, supplemented by the parish, were spent on buying 4 a. in Hackney marsh in 1643. The income was £8 in 1824, divided between six families for Dolben's gift and the bread fund for Humble's, and in 1863; by 1824 nothing was spent on footpaths. The land came to form part of the parish's 27 a. in Hackney marsh (below) which were sold to the L.C.C. in 1893.

George Clarke by will dated 1668 left a rent charge of £6 on his lands in Hackney marsh; £1 was for a sermon and £5 were to be divided equally between the parish clerk, the sexton, the 6 women in Spurstowe's almshouses, and 12 poor housekeepers from Church Street and Mare Street. The money was applied as directed in 1824 and 1863. It was part of the rent paid by the lessee of the parish's lands in Hackney marsh until their sale in 1893.

Sir Stephen White in 1671 settled 3¼ a. at Clapton, the rent to relieve poor people chosen by the vestry at Easter. By will proved 1678 he also left £100 for land, the rent to provide twopenny loaves on Sundays, and 3 a. in Hackney marsh were settled in trust in 1680. The respective rents of £21 and £6 were both added to the bread fund in 1824 but the Clapton rent was distributed in money in 1863. The Clapton land was let on a building lease in 1865 to T. P. Glaskin, under which £138 10s. rent was paid and Winslade (later Stoneham) Road and Wood (later Rossington) Street were built up. Stock was bought with profits from the sale of gravel in the 1830s and the marsh lands were among those sold in 1893.

Anne Wood by will proved 1676 left 4¼ a. in Hackney marsh to provide £1 for a sermon on 5 Nov. and a distribution among 16 widows. The income of £8 19s. 6d. was so spent in 1863, after ¼ a. of land had been sold to the River Lee trustees. The remaining 4 a. were among the marsh lands sold in 1893.

Thomas Jeamson, vicar of Hackney, in 1679 gave £100 to the Goldsmiths' Co. of London, to provide £2 for sermons on Good Friday and Ascension Day and a distribution at those times. The company paid £2 to the minister and £3 for bread in 1824 and 1863. It redeemed the payments by transferring £170 stock in 1886.

Thomas Wood (d. 1692), bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, gave £200 stock for the poor. Stock worth £414 8s. 11d. yielded £12 8s. 8d. for the coal fund in 1824 and money payments in 1863.

Esther, widow of Stephen White (Sir Stephen White's cousin), gave £60 for the poor by will proved 1683. (fn. 48) Richard South was found to have been the 'young gentleman not willing to discover his name' (fn. 49) who in 1691 had given £200. Both bequests, supplemented by the parish, were spent in 1694 on buying c. 3 a. near Grove Street, unspecified land in Hackney marsh, and a further 3 a. in the marsh, yielding in all £47 for the coal fund in 1824. The income was distributed in money in 1863. The marsh lands were sold in 1893, by which time the lands near Grove Street had also been sold.

Joanna Hussey in 1706 left a £4 rent charge on 2¼ a. in Hackney marsh. The sum was spent on coals in 1824 and money payments in 1863.

John Hammond by will dated 1716 gave lottery tickets worth £100 for weekly payments of 3s. to 12 housekeepers, the residue to apprentice a boy every four years. Investment yielded £4 17s., of which £3 12s. was spent on bread and £1 5s., previously spent on coals, was added to Vyner's and Bannister's apprenticing fund in 1824 and 1863.

Jeremiah Marlow by will dated 1764 left 20 a. for sale, the interest to relieve poor housekeepers with 40s. each. Stock worth £1,666 13s. 4d. was bought with accrued rent and the proceeds of the sale, producing £50 a year for 25 recipients chosen by the vestry in 1824 and £56 10s. 4d. in 1863.

Anthony Andre, father of Maj. John André, (fn. 50) by will proved 1769 left £50 stock, which produced £3 a year for the coal fund in 1824 and for money payments in 1863.

James Lance, who died in Jamaica, by will dated 1771 directed that £20 a year be paid for upkeep of the family vault and assisting four families in Hackney. His daughter Mrs. Newell accordingly transferred £978 stock in 1780. Jacob Franco by will dated 1774 left £50. Sarah Albert gave £50 for families to be assisted in the same manner as recipients of Lance's gift in 1785, when the vicar Thomas Cornthwaite added £100 out of accumulated offerings to her gift. (fn. 51) In 1824 the four charities together produced £37 3s. 6d. for gifts of £7 to five families, the residue for Lance's tomb or disbursement by the vicar. By 1863 the income was £40 17s. 2d., distributed in money.

Phillis Hindrey by will dated 1794 left £100 stock for repair of tombs, the residue for the poor. After a small addition by the vestry, the income was £5, distributed in money in 1824 and 1863.

Elizabeth Bagshawe by will dated 1797 left £1,000 stock for payments of 20s. a year, half of them to housekeepers of Clapton. The income was £30 in 1824, when 15 of the 30 recipients lived in Clapton, and in 1863, when it was still distributed in money.

Cecil Pitt by will dated 1800 left £100 stock for repairing his tomb and payments of 5s. to 10s. to women aged 60 or more who belonged to the Church of England. After a small addition by the vestry, the income was £5, distributed in money in 1824 and 1863.

Ann Sanford by will dated 1802 left the interest on £200 to buy meat and enough additional stock to produce £25 a year for distribution among five widows; the parish was also to receive the income from a quarter of the residue of her estate for meat. Stock worth c. £2,643 in 1824 yielded £25 for annuitants chosen by the vestry and £54 6s. for meat distributed by the vicar and churchwardens. In 1863 the £25 was distributed in pensions and £58 18s. was spent on bread.

Abraham Lopez Pereira by will dated 1812 gave £200 for coals. Stock worth c. £370 yielded £11 2s. 2d. for coal in 1824 and 1863.

Charles Digby by will dated 1812 gave £300 for the poor. After a small addition by the vestry, stock worth c. £433 yielded £13 for gifts of £1 in 1824 and 1863.

The parochial fund for fuel, to augment the fuel charities, was established from the balance of two local subscriptions, totalling c. £269, supplemented by the vicar. Stock worth £400 yielded £12 in 1824 and 1863.

Mrs. De Kewer's gift was so named by John De Kewer (d. 1818), who in 1816 gave £1,000 stock for coals and potatoes to poor residents around Grove Street and Well Street who regularly attended St. John's chapel. In 1823 the curate H. H. Norris spent £30 on potatoes and 100 sacks of coal and in 1863 £32 7s. was spent on bread and fuel.

William Lewis by will dated 1818 gave a £20 rent charge for repair of his tomb and payments of 40s. to widows. The charity was confined to the curtailed parish of Hackney in 1833 and paid to 10 widows until c. 1845, when it was found to be void under the Mortmain Acts. (fn. 52)

John Feild by will proved 1828 and Henry Feild by will proved 1836, both of them collarmakers of Stamford Hill, left respectively £1,000 stock and c. £500 stock for bread and coals. The incomes of £30 and £15 were spent on bread and fuel in 1863.

John Barnes by will proved 1844 left £100 in reversion for three widows of ratepayers. An abated sum was spent on c. £71 stock in 1879, producing dividends whose application was still undecided in 1894.

George Edward Carruthers by will proved 1848 left £100 stock for maintaining his tomb and for bread. The income was £3 in 1863, when it was spent on bread, and was administered with those of Allen's and Sedgwick's charities (below) in 1894.

Laetitia Powell by will proved 1849 left £1,000 for stock to make payments of not more than £10 to poor families. Stock worth c. £936 yielded £25 14s. 8d. in 1894.

Mary Allen in 1853 gave £100 for maintaining her tomb and for bread. The income was £3 in 1863 and was administered with Carruthers's and Sedgwick's charities in 1894.

William Brooks by will proved 1854 left £1,000 stock for maintaining his sister's tomb and payments to 12 families of West Hackney. The income of £27 10s. was distributed in money in 1894.

Marian Sedgwick by will proved 1860 left £50 stock for repair of memorials. The income was applied with Allen's and Carruthers's charities in 1894.

Nehemiah Robson by will proved 1863 left £100 stock to the rector and churchwardens of West Hackney for payment in money or kind on St. Thomas's day.

Robert Poole Barlow by will proved 1892 left £100 to the rector and churchwardens of West Hackney for money payments.

In 1833 the charities of Audley (for the schoolmaster), Clarke, Anne Wood, Jeamson, Lance, Albert, Cornthwaite, Hindrey, Bagshawe, Pitt, and Lewis were confined to the curtailed parish of Hackney, with those for Spurstowe's and Bishop Wood's almshouses, while Mrs. De Kewer's gift was confined to South Hackney, with Monger's almshouses. All the other charities were divided between the three parishes. Later charities were similarly apportioned: those of Carruthers and Allen were for the curtailed parish of Hackney alone, those of Brooks and Barlow were for West Hackney, and the rest were divisible.

St. John, Hackney, Joint Estates charities were established by a Scheme of 1898 for the charities of Swaine, Johnson, Poole, Rowe, South and Esther White, the Vyners, Sir Stephen White, Anne Wood, and Hussey. Six trustees were to be appointed by the trustees of Hackney Parochial charities, 3 by those of South Hackney's charities, and 3 by those of West Hackney's, all three groups of parochial charities being regulated by Schemes of the same date. The trustees were empowered to lease the property and were to divide the income, from rents or dividends, between the parochial charities, Hackney to receive half and South and West Hackney a quarter each. The most profitable land was that of Poole's charity, where the leases were to expire in 1945, followed by that of Sir Stephen White's. The Joint Estates derived rents totalling £27,182 in 1961-2, £55,447 in 1975-6, by which time Vyner Court had been built on White's land in Rossington Street, and £100,865 in 1977-8. By 1983-4 they had reached £196,921, to which rents from Well Street contributed over £71,000, from the neighbouring Valentine Road over £30,000, and from Poole Road c. £29,000. Grants from the Joint Estates then accounted for most of the income of the three groups of parochial charities.

Hackney Parochial charities were regulated by Schemes of 1898 and 1904, vesting their management in the rector and churchwardens of St. John's, three representatives appointed by Hackney metropolitan borough, and five co-optative trustees. In addition to half of the net income of the Joint Estates, they were to receive half of the income of 36 distributive charities, all of which came from dividends and most of which after division yielded under £20; the largest, Swaine's and Ann Sanford's, yielded £61 6s. and £34 19s. respectively. Anne Wood's bequest of £1 for an annual sermon was set aside as an ecclesiastical charity, while that part of the Joint Estates' payment which represented the Vyners' charities might be spent on apprenticing or technical education. Provision was made for annual payments of £300 to the King's Nurses' Home so long as the parochial charities should be represented on its governing body, of £150 for nurses in the parish for five years, and for £200, to be augmented by £150 after five years, in pensions of 5s. to 10s. a week for up to six years, preference to be given to people who had been longest resident. The residue might be spent on loans or gifts of £40 or less, or on subscriptions to homes, hospitals, and benevolent funds. In 1933 Hackney was allotted £450 as its half share in the charity of Thomas Wyles, established by Emma Maria Wyles by will proved 1896. The income was to support childless widows aged 60 or more. A Scheme of 1957 permitted the charities' residual income to be spent on food or other gifts in kind. In 1961-2 the total income was c. £3,826, of which £2,800 came from the Joint Estates; c. £2,462 was spent in grants by the trustees. In 1986-7 the income was c. £28,000, of which £24,000 came from the Joint Estates; £10,466 was dispensed by the rector and £3,161 by a churchwarden, and grants were made to organizations, the largest being £2,075 to Homerton Space Project.

South Hackney Parochial charities, under a Scheme of 1898, were to be managed by the rector and churchwardens of South Hackney and, like Hackney Parochial charities, by three representative and five co-optative trustees. They received a quarter of the income of the Joint Estates and of 30 distributive charities, until a Scheme of 1900 provided for Mrs. De Kewer's gift to be administered separately by the rector and churchwardens. The income, from which payments for apprenticing or education were to be made under the Vyners' charities, was to maintain Monger's almshouses and pay the inmates, any residue to be spent like that of Hackney Parochial charities. The payments for education were transferred to a separate foundation in 1903. (fn. 53) South Hackney received £225 stock as its share of Wyles's charity in 1933. The types of relief that might be given were redefined in 1968. The total income in 1976 was c. £11,609, of which £3,850 came from the Joint Estates and £2,284 from rent from Norris's almshouses; expenditure was mainly on the almshouses.

West Hackney Parochial charities, under a Scheme of 1898, were to be administered by the rector and churchwardens of West Hackney and three representative and nine co-optative trustees. They received a quarter of the income of the Joint Estates and of 30 distributive charities. West Hackney received £225 stock as its share of Wyles's charity in 1933, although it was not formally included among the parochial charities until 1974. The total income in 1977- 8 was £5,598, of which £4,000 came from the Joint Estates; expenditure included £1,500 on West Hackney almshouses.


  • 1. Section based on Char. Com. files; 12th Rep. Com. Char. H.C. 348, pp. 129-44 (1825), x; Digest of Endowed Chars. H.C. 433, pp. 20-5 (1867-8), lii(1); Endowed Chars. Lond. (Hackney), H.C. 231, passim (1894), lxiii; H.A.D., BW/E/13/15-16 (plans).
  • 2. Walford, Lond. v. 514.
  • 3. P.R.O., PROB 11/51 (P.C.C. 21 Sheffelde); vestry mins. 26 Apr. 1614; 16 Aug. 1622.
  • 4. H.A.D., P/J/C/47, f. 28.
  • 5. Ibid., P/J/C/14-40 (1739-41 to 1813-14).
  • 6. Ibid. 26.
  • 7. Ibid. 33.
  • 8. Endowed Chars. Lond. (Hackney), 25-8, reciting apportionment of 1833.
  • 9. Ibid.
  • 10. Ibid. 30, 76; H.A.D., J/V/2, pp. 26-30; J/V/18/1, p.5.
  • 11. H.A.D., J/V/CC/6, p. 7.
  • 12. Hackney & Kingsland Gaz. 11 Dec. 1869.
  • 13. Endowed Chars. Lond. (Hackney), 76.
  • 14. H.A.D., D/F/TYS/1 (accts. of Spurstowe's almshos., 1666-1816, at back of vestry min. bk.).
  • 15. Inscription put up over doorway by alderman's son Hen. in 1689: Lost Hackney, 50.
  • 16. Ibid. ff. iv., 19v., 23v.
  • 17. P.R.O., PROB 11/1004, no. 39.
  • 18. Hackney Mag. Dec. 1833, 30-2.
  • 19. H.A.D., J/V/CC/6, p. 8.
  • 20. Hist. Mon. Com. E. Lond. 47.
  • 21. H.A.D., 361. 1 SPU, p 164; Lost Hackney, 50.
  • 22. P.R.O., PROB 11/330, f. 96.
  • 23. 1st Rep. Com. Educ. of Poor, H.C. 83 (1819), 265.
  • 24. Vestry mins. 13 May 1732; Clarke, Hackney, 174.
  • 25. 1st Rep. Com. Educ. of Poor, 265.
  • 26. H.A.D., 361.2, P 12025; above, plate 65.
  • 27. H.A.D., J/V/CC/6, p. 9; ibid. 361.1, P 10275; Tower to Tower Block, no. 37.
  • 28. P.R.O., PROB 11/410, f. 142.
  • 29. Above, manors (Clapton Ho.).
  • 30. Vestry mins. 20 May 1805; 8 Apr. 1806.
  • 31. Hist. Mon. Com. E. Lond. 48; Pevsner, Lond. ii. 171.
  • 32. H.A.D., J/V/CC/6, p. 9.
  • 33. H.A.D., Bldgs. file [cuttings].
  • 34. G.L.R.O., M79/LH/126/21. Inclosure of the site was permitted in 1741 (ibid. LH/50), although 1737 was given as the date of foundation in 121st Ann. Rep. of W. Hackney Almshos. (1962) in Char. Com. files.
  • 35. P.R.O., PROB 11/796, no. 208.
  • 36. Robinson, Hackney, ii. 396.
  • 37. H.A.D., 361.1 WES (W. Hackney Almsho. Reps. 1842- 72), 31 May 1842.
  • 38. H.A.D., Bldgs. file [cutting].
  • 39. Watson, Gentlemen, 85.
  • 40. H.A.D., Bldgs. file [correspondence 1967, 1971]; H.A.D., 361.1 NOR, P 4696-7.
  • 41. Para. based on C. E. Moore-Crispin, Hist. of Pilgrims' Lodge 1863-1963 (booklet in H.A.D.); H.A.D., cuttings.
  • 42. Hackney, Official Guide [1925]; H.A.D., D/F/YAT/5/1-4; plaque on bldg.
  • 43. Above, misc. institutions.
  • 44. Details of capital or income after the apportionment between the three parishes in 1833 are for the whole of each char.
  • 45. Above, educ.
  • 46. P.R.O., PROB 11/323 (P.C.C. 31 Carr).
  • 47. Vestry mins. 5 May 1634.
  • 48. P.R.O., PROB 11/373, f. 66.
  • 49. Vestry mins. 19 Jan. 1691.
  • 50. Robinson, Hackney, ii. 385; Clarke, Hackney, 74; D.N.B.
  • 51. Vestry mins. 7, 21 Nov. 1785; 25 Nov. 1799.
  • 52. H.A.D., J/V/CC/6, p. 8.
  • 53. Above, educ.