Greenford: Charities

Page 220

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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There were almshouses in the parish in the 18th century, (fn. 1) but they fell into disuse between 1782 (fn. 2) and 1790. (fn. 3) In 1838 the vestry agreed to sell the four freehold houses, all under one roof: it is doubtful whether the houses had been occupied since the late 18th century. (fn. 4) However, they were still in existence in 1841. (fn. 5)

The earliest charity that is known to have been founded in the parish is that of George Smith of Greenford Green. He conveyed 1 acre of land in 1649 to provide bread for the poor on the Sunday after Easter, at Whitsun, and at midsummer. (fn. 6) The administration of this charity seems to have become linked with that of the two Marnham charities. William Marnham the elder, by his will dated 1710, gave lands in the Town Fields to teach poor children to read and be catechized. (fn. 7) William Marnham the younger, gave by his will, proved 1716, land for the use of the poor of the parish that were not receiving relief and did not live in the almshouses. (fn. 8) These appear to have been administered jointly, and in 1816 they were together allotted 7½ acres of meadow land. (fn. 9) At this time the land was also called the poor's land. (fn. 10)

No bread seems to have been distributed and in 1823 the Brougham Commissioners altered the application of the rent received from the land, whereby 2/15 were allotted to Smith's Bread Charity, 8/15 to the charity of William Marnham the elder, and 5/15 to that of William Marnham the younger. (fn. 11) Between 1864 and 1878 the money was undistributed, and an attempt was made to use the accumulation to help Betham's School. The land was gradually dispersed in the 20th century, ending in 1937 with the sale of Marnham's Field to the county council. Stock amounting to £1,128 was then purchased for the charities.

An annuity of £5 was given to the poor of Greenford by William Millett (will dated 1663) to provide coats and gowns for two poor men and widows. This was charged on land near Greenford Green. The charity joined the combined scheme in 1919, when half of the income was reserved for poor widows.

By her will (proved 1856) Mrs. Mary Bennett bequeathed £500 for twelve poor families of whom one was to be resident at Brabsden Green. After the estate had been settled £450 stock was purchased. (fn. 12) The Bennett charity was involved, with Betham's School, in the scandal of 1895, when the entire bank stock of the charity was sold out and converted to improper uses. (fn. 13) It was, however, repaid by local efforts, and the rector was acquitted of embezzlement. (fn. 14)

In 1816 an inclosure of 1½ acre at Brabsden Green was allotted to provide fuel for the poor. The Brougham Commissioners censured the trustees for misapplying the £3 annual rent, and devoting it to the church account. (fn. 15) In 1942 this land was sold to the county council to incorporate into the 'green belt'.

When Edward Betham, the rector, founded his school in 1780, £10 a year was to be used from its endowment for gowns and coats for five poor men and women. This charity seems to have fallen into disuse during the 19th century, the funds being swallowed up by the school. But a specific clothing charity was secured by £400 stock from the school trustees in 1907 and 1908.

In 1919 all the charities were combined by a scheme, in which the income was to be divided between providing fuel, medical attention, and relief in kind and money. In 1957 the income of the charities amounted to £240 5s. 2d.; coal was distributed to 87 people, and donations were given for old people's homes, outings for the blind, and similar purposes. (fn. 16)


  • 1. M.R.O., Acc. 435/E.D. 1; Par. Rec., Vestry Min. Bk. 1776-99.
  • 2. Vestry Min. Bk. 1776-99.
  • 3. Guildhall MS. 9557.
  • 4. Par. Rec., Vestry Min. Bk. 1830-45.
  • 5. M.R.O., Greenford Tithe Award.
  • 6. Par. Rec., Reg. of Burials in Woollen, 1678-1770. This contains the earliest copy of the deed.
  • 7. 9th Rep. Com. Char. H.C. 258, p. 222 (1823), ix.
  • 8. M.R.O., Acc. 435/E.D. 1.
  • 9. 9th Rep. Com. Char. 222.
  • 10. M.R.O., Greenford Incl. Award.
  • 11. H.C. 258, p. 222 (1823), ix.
  • 12. Char. Com. files.
  • 13. Daily Telegraph, 24 Apr. 1895.
  • 14. The Times, 23 July 1895.
  • 15. 9th Rep. Com. Char. 223.
  • 16. Char. Com. files.