Cowley: Charities

Page 177

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 3, Shepperton, Staines, Stanwell, Sunbury, Teddington, Heston and Isleworth, Twickenham, Cowley, Cranford, West Drayton, Greenford, Hanwell, Harefield and Harlington. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1962.

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The origin of the three almshouses which stood until just after the Second World War at the corner of Church Road and Pield Heath Road is unknown. They were in existence by 1834 and are later known to have borne an inscription saying that they had been rebuilt by Bernard Dagnall in 1776. (fn. 1) It seems likely that the almshouses stood on what had been part of the churchyard, and they may be connected with the 'church house' mentioned in 1664. (fn. 2) In 1834, although they were said to have been built at the expense of an individual, they were being used as a parish poorhouse, (fn. 3) and it may well be that this had always been their function. Their only endowment was £300 left for repairs by Thonas Dagnall (d. 1865). Latterly the inmates were all women: the last of these left in 1938, because the houses were to be compulsorily purchased by the urban district council. They were demolished about 1948 and the site became part of the churchyard. (fn. 4)

Richard Dodd (rector 1771-1807) left £100 in trust for distribution to the poor. Although he made no rules for the distribution it was believed in the early 20th century that this had to be made to large numbers of people at Christmas. As a result, 70 out of the 200 or so houses of the parish received doles and the jealousy aroused had become 'quite a scandal' by 1913, when the practice was probably reformed. In 1959 the income was £5, which the rector distributed at his discretion, along with the £9 or £10 accruing from the almshouses' endowment. (fn. 5)

In 1761 Bernard Dagnall gave some land (4 a.) in Cowley Field to provide an income for the parish clerk, who was in return to keep the church and churchyard clean and tidy. Hitherto, because the parish was so small, the clerk had not received enough to justify his trouble in doing so. By 1925, since there was no parish clerk, the rector was performing the duty and receiving the income, which amounted to about £27. About 1957 the rector was officially appointed parish clerk, so as to regularize this position. (fn. 6)


  • 1. Rep. Poor Law Com. App. (B. 2), H.C. 44, p. 90g (1834), xxxv; Char. Com. files (letter from rector, 1913); cf. Kelly's Dir. Mdx. (1855, 1890).
  • 2. M.R.O., H.T. 6, m. 6d.
  • 3. Rep. Poor Law Com. App. (B. 2), 90g.
  • 4. Char. Com. files; ex inf. a member of the Parochial Ch. Co.
  • 5. 9th Rep. Com. Char. 214-16; Char. Com. files; ex inf. a member of the Parochial Ch. Co.
  • 6. Ibid.