Kingsbury: Charities for the poor

Page 88

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 5, Hendon, Kingsbury, Great Stanmore, Little Stanmore, Edmonton Enfield, Monken Hadley, South Mimms, Tottenham. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1976.

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John Edward (d. c. 1532) devised land to the parson and churchwardens of Kingsbury, the rent from which was to be distributed annually to the poor in meat, drink, and money. By will proved 1540 Alice Cowyer bequeathed 8 kine to be used as an obit; in 1547 it took the form of annual payments of 10s. to the poor. (fn. 1) Robert Kitchingman, curate of Kingsbury from 1669 to 1683, bequeathed £400 to build an alms-house to house three people and to endow its maintenance. (fn. 2) The alms-house, unless it is the same as the later poorhouse, (fn. 3) does not seem to have been built.

By will dated 1719 Richard Bowater (d. 1726) of Chalkhill left 7 a. in Greenwich, then worth £4 or £5 a year, to the owner of his estate at Chalkhill to distribute the income therefrom annually to the poor of Kingsbury. (fn. 4) In 1786 the yield from the Greenwich estate was said to be £3 7s. a year but there had been no payments since 1773. (fn. 5) When George Worrall of Bristol became the owner of Chalkhill, he passed the responsibility for the charity to his tenant. Mrs. Ranking, tenant until 1820, distributed the charity in the form of clothes, flannel, sheets, and blankets, but from 1821 there was no tenant at Chalkhill and the money accumulated. (fn. 6) By 1843 the Greenwich land yielded £21 a year. (fn. 7) In 1846 it was conveyed to trustees, including Hannah Rooke, owner of Chalkhill, to let on building leases, thus increasing the annual income to £82 by 1880. By a Scheme of 1852 the income was to be paid in money or kind to those who 'from age, infirmity or poor circumstances had insufficient means of subsistence'. There were 47 recipients in 1880. By will proved 1842, Francis Perry Stubbs bequeathed £666 to trustees to invest in stock and to apply the income to purchasing coal and potatoes for the poor and needy at Christmas. In 1880 the income was £20 and 49 people received coal and potatoes.

The Charity Commissioners instituted an inquiry in 1882 at the request of the parishioners, who especially objected to absentee trustees, the choice of recipients, and the secrecy surrounding the charity accounts. As a result the two charities were amalgamated, as Bowater and Stubbs, and trustees were appointed from the parish. (fn. 8) A comprehensive Scheme was drawn up in 1902 by which trustees were to be appointed by Kingsbury U.D.C. and the income was to be spent on a wide variety of aid to the poor. Modifications were made by Schemes of 1938, 1953, and 1954, the main effect of which was to purchase from Wembley borough a site between Kingsbury Road and Buck Lane for 14 alms-houses for old people. The alms-houses, called Bowater Close, were opened in 1954 by Sir Noel Bowater, Lord Mayor of London. Income of the Bowater and Stubbs charity increased from £100 a year in 1902 to £16,404 in 1968. (fn. 9)

Kingsbury District Nursing, founded in 1925 and reconstituted in 1941, by a Scheme of 1956, purchased two alms-houses in Bowater Close and maintained them for almspeople suffering from chronic disease. The endowment, originally consisting of annual subscriptions, was later invested and yielded £542 a year in 1968.


  • 1. E 301/34 m. 32; Prob. 11/28 (P.C.C. 3 Alenger, will of Alice Cowyer); S.C. 6/298/1 m. 57.
  • 2. Prob. 11/372 (P.C.C. 47 Drax, will of Robt. Kitchingman); Hennessy, Novum Repertorium, 262-3.
  • 3. See p. 81.
  • 4. 9th Rep. Com. Char. 266-7; Bodl. MS. D.D. All Souls c40/5, mm. 1, 1d.
  • 5. Abstract of Returns of Char. Dons. 1786-8, H.C. 511, pp. 752-3, xvi(1).
  • 6. 9th Rep. Com. Char. 266-7.
  • 7. Analytical Digest of Reps. of Char. Com. i [433], H.C. pp. 804-5 (1843), xvi.
  • 8. Except where otherwise stated, the remainder of the section is based on Char. Com. files.
  • 9. Hopkins, Hendon, 105.