Harmondsworth: Charities for the poor

Pages 21-22

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 4, Harmondsworth, Hayes, Norwood With Southall, Hillingdon With Uxbridge, Ickenham, Northolt, Perivale, Ruislip, Edgware, Harrow With Pinner. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1971.

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The earliest known charity was the Stock Money Land, founded in 1678 when the parish paid £90 to Miles Pool and his wife Elizabeth for 6 a. scattered in the Sipson fields. The purchase money was said to have belonged already to the poor, but its origin is not known. The rent of the land was to be paid to the churchwardens who were to distribute it to the poor. On inclosure 9 a. were allotted to the trustees, which brought in about £9 10s. a year. This was distributed when needed in sums varying from 5s. to 10s. to poor families not receiving parish relief. By 1862 the money was paid in sums of 10s. to poor women on their confinement or sickness. The gift of William Culley or Cullee of 10s. a year charged on an acre lying near the Bath Road was made by deed in 1680. Payments fell into arrears before 1820, but had been made up before 1823 and the charity was thereafter distributed by the churchwardens in bread. Dowsett and Hickman's charity was founded by two Cranford men, John Dowsett, whose will was dated 1722, and William Hickman, whose will was dated 1729, each of whom left 10s. to the poor of Harmondsworth. In 1823 both charities were distributed as quartern loaves, although Hickman's bequest had specified a money distribution. By 1862 Hickman's 10s. was given in money, and Dowsett's had been joined with Tillyer's charity (fn. 2) which was distributed in 4-lb. loaves of bread. In 1747 Elizabeth, Dowager Countess of Uxbridge, gave £100 stock to the parish to be distributed to ten poor families who did not receive parish relief, no one family receiving more than 10s. a year. The trustees were allowed to purchase land or to leave the money in the funds. There was also an allowance of 5s. to whomsoever collected the money in London and paid it to the churchwardens. In 1823 this charity was regarded as irregular. John Tillyer founded by will a charity of 20s. a year which was charged on an acre of land. The date of Tillyer's foundation is not known but was probably in the late 18th century. In the 19th century it was joined with Dowsett's charity. Allotments to the poor in lieu of fuel and common rights were made at inclosure when just over 75 a. were settled in trust in two parcels. (fn. 3) It is not certain how much of this actually came into the hands of the trustees, as in 1823 the poor allotment was said to amount to just over 51 a. This in 1808 brought in over £91 a year which was normally used for buying coal, which was then sold to the poor at a price ranging from 6d. to 1s. a bushel. In 1823 there was a substantial balance in hand which was kept against a fall in rents. By 1862 the rent from nearly 52 a. brought in £151 which was distributed as coal at Christmas.

After an inquiry in 1862 these six charities were combined by the Charity Commissioners in 1863. The proceeds were usually distributed in coal. In 1906 seventy-six coal tickets for amounts varying from 2s. 6d. to 7s. 6d. were issued, but in 1908 there were about 800 tickets issued, it being observed that in such a large agricultural district almost everyone wanted coal. At this date the land that maintained the coal charities amounted to just over 42 a. A new Scheme was made for the six charities in 1909 when they were called the United Charities. This provided for pensions varying from 5s. to 10s. for a term of 3 years, which could be prolonged for one further term. It was also to be used for supplying medical and nursing attention, clothes, bedding, and fuel up to a limit of £20 a year. No pensions were ever paid and in 1958 a request to the commissioners to raise the limit of £20 to £50 because of the rise in the price of coal was refused. Dowsett and Hickman's charity was redeemed for £40 in 1932 and Tillyer's charity was redeemed for the same amount in 1939; 18 a. of the stock money land were sold in 1947 and the Ministry of Aviation redeemed a £10 rentcharge on Fairview Farm, the property of the Air Ministry, in 1959. The United Charities accounted for over £390 in 1956, of which more than £267 were disbursed.

The Blanket Charity was created by the will of Henry Smith of Harmondsworth Hall in 1875. He bequeathed £300 to be given to the poor in blankets. (fn. 4) Some of the stock was transferred in 1878 to the use of the National School. In 1958 the charity income amounted to over £7, from which six blankets were purchased.


  • 1. Except where otherwise stated this section is based on Char. Com. files and 9th Rep. Com. Char. H.C. 258, pp. 226-9 (1823), ix.
  • 2. See below.
  • 3. Harmondsworth Incl. Award. It seems, however, that poor land was in existence earlier than 1819, and some inclosure may have taken place after the first Act in 1805.
  • 4. J. Webb, Hist. of Charities and Fishing Rights in Harmondsworth (1880), 13-14.