Hillingdon, including Uxbridge: Charities for the poor

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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Diane K Bolton. H P F King. Gillian Wyld. D C Yaxley, 'Hillingdon, including Uxbridge: Charities for the poor', 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, (London, 1971), pp. 98-100. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/middx/vol4/pp98-100 [accessed 17 June 2024].

Diane K Bolton. H P F King. Gillian Wyld. D C Yaxley. "Hillingdon, including Uxbridge: Charities for the poor", in 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, (London, 1971) 98-100. British History Online, accessed June 17, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/middx/vol4/pp98-100.

Bolton, Diane K. King, H P F. Wyld, Gillian. Yaxley, D C. "Hillingdon, including Uxbridge: Charities for the poor", 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, (London, 1971). 98-100. British History Online. Web. 17 June 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/middx/vol4/pp98-100.


The earliest known Uxbridge charity is that of John Marsh, who, by will dated 1557, left the interest on £200 vested in the Mercers' Company to provide 2s. worth of bread every Sunday for 24 Uxbridge paupers. In 1908 Marsh's gift comprised an annuity of £5 and the interest on £113 stock. (fn. 2) Robert Woolman, a London mercer, by will dated 1570, left a rent-charge on land in Uxbridge, Hillingdon, and Cowley to build a school in Uxbridge and to give £5 annually to the Uxbridge poor. The clause providing for a school in the town was subject to a two-year limitation period, and the school was never built. John Garrett, an Uxbridge brewer, by deed dated 1589, granted an annuity of 5 marks chargeable on his property in Uxbridge to the bailiffs and freemen of Kingston (Surr.) to the use of the Uxbridge poor. In 1908 the gift was represented by a rent-charge of £3 6s. 8d. on Dunstans Mead. William Skydmore, a London ironmonger, by will dated 1600, left premises in Uxbridge to his heirs on condition that they should give 1s. in bread to the poor each Sunday morning after divine service in Uxbridge chapel. In 1908 the gift comprised a rent-charge of £2 12s. on no. 66 High Street. Sir George Garrett, by will dated 1648, left 4 a. in Moor Field to the use of the Uxbridge poor. Part of the land was sold in the 19th century to the G.W.R. Co. and the proceeds were invested in £273 stock. (fn. 3)

In 1695 George Pitt sold the manor and borough of Uxbridge for £550 to four trustees who covenanted to pay £20 a year to 6 Uxbridge paupers and £10 a year to be distributed weekly in Uxbridge chapel as bread to 6 male and 6 female paupers. The trust was apparently varied in 1729 when the number of trustees was increased to seven and the manorial profits vested in a charitable fund for the general benefit of the town. In 1906 the manor and borough charity, worth £689 a year, consisted of the site of the 20th-century almshouses, the building in the Lynch used as almshouses until 1907, the fire-engine station, the market-house, cottages in Chapel Street, the Lynch, and New Windsor Street, and £43 stock.

John Bennet, Lord Ossulston (d. 1695), left £100 to put out apprentice poor children from Uxbridge. The money was used to buy 3 a. at Yiewsley which were exchanged in 1780 for 13 a. at Norwood. Part of the land was sold to the Grand Junction Canal Co. in 1795 and a further portion to the G.W.R. Co. in 1859. (fn. 4) In 1906 the gift was worth £126 a year and consisted of 10 houses in Ossulston Villas, a cottage and 5 a. at Norwood, a £100 share in the Grand Junction Canal Co., and £1,379 stock. Michael Pearce, by will dated 1695, left tenements in Uxbridge, subject to the life interest of his sister, in trust for the maintenance of the Uxbridge poor. In 1778 the gift was distributed as small cash payments to 124 paupers; in 1823 £23 was distributed among 172 paupers. (fn. 5) In 1906 Pearce's gift, worth £180 a year, consisted of an allotment, a house in High Street, and £160 stock. John Hill, by will dated 1744, left a rent-charge of £1 a year on the George Inn to provide 40 Uxbridge paupers with a 6d. loaf each Christmas Day. In 1821 the gifts of Marsh, Woolman, John Garrett, Skydmore, Sir George Garrett, and Hill were together worth £30. The whole amount, overlooking the specific directions of some of the donors, was distributed as bread, except for 3s. given away each Sunday in part satisfaction of Sir George Garrett's gift.

Henry Fell Pease, by will dated 1820, left an uncertain amount to assist in the education of poor children. By 1915 Pease's gift consisted of two exhibitions tenable at the Greenway secondary school. (fn. 6) Under the 1825 inclosure award 4 a. on Uxbridge Moor were allotted to the Uxbridge poor. One acre was sold in 1903 and the proceeds invested in £313 stock. (fn. 7) William Wells, by will proved 1835, left the proceeds of £600 stock to the use of the Uxbridge poor. Emily James, by will proved 1920, left the income of £300 stock for the relief of the poor. Sarah Hunter of Fulham House, Hillingdon Heath, by will proved 1922, left the income on £300 to be devoted to the purchase of coal for the inmates of the Uxbridge almshouses. Charles Woodbridge, by will proved 1924, left £100, which was invested by his executors, to provide coal for the inmates of the almshouses.

By a Scheme of 1906, which introduced 5 representative trustees appointed by Uxbridge U.D.C. and 6 co-optative trustees drawn from persons living in or near Uxbridge, the gifts of Ossulston and Pearce and the manor and borough charity were consolidated as the Uxbridge United Charities. (fn. 8) The income of the charities was made available for the support of and payment of pensions to 20 poor in the almshouses and for the general benefit of the Uxbridge poor. The premiums for apprentices supported from Ossulston's gift were fixed at £20 to £25 for outdoor apprentices and £30 for indoor apprentices. In 1907 the terms of the gift were extended to include poor children from the whole of Uxbridge Urban District, and in 1920 another Scheme increased the amounts payable as apprenticeship premiums. By a further Scheme in 1939 the original intention of Ossulston's gift was modified to allow financial assistance to be given to poor persons under 21 years of age who needed fees for instruction, travelling expenses, or outfits when entering or engaged in trade or service.

By a Scheme of 1907 the charities of Clarke, Sir George Garrett, John Garrett, Hill, Marsh, Skydmore, Wells, and Woolman, and the Poor Allotment were consolidated as the Charities of Clarke and Others. The charities were to be administered by the trustees of the Uxbridge United Charities and their income, after the payment of insurance, repairs, and other necessary charges, was to be applied as if it were income from the United Charities.

In 1961 the income of the United Charities amounted to £8,265, used mainly to provide pensions to the almspeople and to maintain and insure the almshouses and market-house. The Charity of Clarke and Others realized £394 and Ossulston's gift £403. The income of the gifts of Hunter and Woodbridge together realized £11, all of which was spent on coal for the poor, and the income from the Pease charity was £95.

The early history of the Uxbridge almshouses is obscure. Almshouses in the Lynch were in existence before 1727. (fn. 9) Two years later the manorial trustees covenanted to rebuild the almshouses, (fn. 10) but whether they did so is uncertain. In 1743 there were 16 tenants in the Lynch almshouses. (fn. 11) Eight new almshouses, apparently built on the same site, were completed in 1846. (fn. 12) A Scheme for new almshouses was prepared in conjunction with the Charity Commissioners in 1905. (fn. 13) The new buildings were built next to the Methodist chapel in New Windsor Street at a cost of more than £3,000, which was met by temporarily appropriating the income from the Ossulston and Pearce charities. The new almshouses were occupied in 1907, and the 19th-century almshouses seem to have been demolished about 1920. (fn. 14)

The earliest known charity in Hillingdon parish outside Uxbridge is that of Nathaniel Snell who, by will dated 1692, left £5 a year for apprenticing a poor child from the parish. Thomas Tisdale, who was churchwarden of Hillingdon in 1692, (fn. 15) at an uncertain date left a 2-acre close called Honey Hill to the use of the Hillingdon poor. Under the inclosure award of 1825 this land was exchanged for 6 a. at the corner of Royal Lane and Cowley Church Road. Robert Brigginshaw, by will dated 1715, left a rent-charge of 30s. a year on his property in Hayes parish to be distributed on 30 January (the testator's birthday) in food among those Hillingdon poor who were not receiving parochial relief. Lady Sarah Winford, by will dated 1732, left £50 to purchase land, the rent from which was to be used in repairing her father's tombstone. Any surplus was to be distributed among the parish poor. Two acres in the common fields were purchased in 1743 and exchanged under the inclosure award of 1825 for 2 a. at the corner of Kingston Lane and Green Lane. Anthony Brown, by will dated 1800, left a sufficient sum to realize £5 a year to buy cheese for distribution each Christmas among the parish poor and a further £5 to be applied towards educating pauper children. In 1823 the gift was represented by £500 stock. Under the 1825 inclosure award 4 a. in front of the Hillingdon workhouse were allotted to the Hillingdon poor. The land was later sold to the Uxbridge guardians and in 1870 the allotment was represented by £643 stock. In 1823 the income from the gifts of Brown, Brigginshaw, Tisdale, and Winford was lumped together as one fund, which then realized £26 a year, and the total amount distributed at Christmas as bread and cheese among all the parish poor.

Under a Scheme of 1870 the Hillingdon charities were consolidated under the administration of the parish authorities. The income, after the payment of management expenses, was divided into 10 equal parts, 5 of which were apportioned to the ecclesiastical parish of St. John, Hillingdon, 3 to the parish of St. John, Uxbridge Moor, and 2 to St. Andrew's parish. The proceeds were to be used to provide the poor with clothes, bedding, fuel, and medical and other assistance. Representative trustees were introduced in 1898 and were defined in 1932 as 9 members appointed by Uxbridge U.D.C. and 3 by Yiewsley and West Drayton U.D.C., together with the vicars of the three parishes and that of St. Matthew, Yiewsley. In 1954 the vicars of All Saints, North Hillingdon, and St. Jerome, Dawley, were included, and the number of representatives appointed by Uxbridge Borough Council was reduced to 8. In 1962 the income of the Charity of Brigginshaw and Others was £112, all of which was distributed as clothes, fuel, food, medical aid, and temporary financial assistance in cases of special hardship.

Charles Sims, by will proved 1918, left numbers 1 and 2 Rosslyn Villas in trust to provide coal and blankets for the poor of Hillingdon East civil parish. Under a Scheme of 1933 the property, which was then represented by £581 stock, was vested in 5 trustees, 4 of whom were appointed by Uxbridge U.D.C. and the other by Yiewsley and West Drayton U.D.C.


  • 1. Except where otherwise stated, the authority for this section is either 9th Rep. Com. Char. H.C. 258 (1823), ix, or Char. Com. files. For Townsend's gift and the trust instituting the Uxbridge lectureship see above, p. 90.
  • 2. M.R.O., Acc. 538/8.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. M.R.O., Acc. 538/12.
  • 5. Ibid. /9, /11.
  • 6. Ibid. /1.
  • 7. Ibid. /8.
  • 8. See also M.R.O., Acc. 538.
  • 9. Ibid. /1.
  • 10. Ibid. /7.
  • 11. Ibid. /1.
  • 12. Ibid. /4. The 19th-cent. buildings are shown on a photograph (c. 1905) in Uxb. libr.
  • 13. M.R.O., Acc. 538/4.
  • 14. In 1962 the almshouses were renamed 'Woodbridge House' in recognition of the service given to Uxbridge United Charities by the Woodbridge family.
  • 15. Par. Recs., Churchwardens' Accts. 1692.