Stoke Newington: Charities for the poor

Pages 223-225

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 8, Islington and Stoke Newington Parishes. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1985.

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Charities for the poor (fn. 40)

Margaret Jekyll of Newington Green, by will proved 1548, devised a rent charge of 10s. a year for the poor of Stoke Newington but there is no evidence that it was paid. (fn. 41) By will proved 1626 Sir William Terry devised the reversion of houses in Old Fish Street to the Drapers' Company of London to distribute £2 12s. a week in bread to the poor of several parishes, including Stoke Newington. Litigation by the company in 1634 and 1644 failed to secure the property and the charity was apparently never put into effect. (fn. 42)

Most charities were regulated by the vestry, which appointed a committee to examine them in 1740. (fn. 43) Other committees reported in 1764 and 1824. (fn. 44) The gross income from the parish charities, including the Palatine estate, (fn. 45) averaged £94 a year between 1818 and 1837. (fn. 46) In 1867 it totalled £507, of which £102 10s. 8d. was distributed in kind, £26 4s. 2d. in money, and the rest to the church and education. By 1893 it was £1,066. In 1896 the vestry unsuccessfully tried to take over the administration of the nonecclesiastical charities from the churchwardens and rector, who declared that the charities were administered without inquiry as to the recipient's denomination. (fn. 47) In 1897 the eleemosynary charities were divided into two groups, those for bread or coal and the poor fund. By a Scheme of 1901 the right to nominate trustees for Stock's and Sanford's charities passed to Stoke Newington B.C. (fn. 48) and in 1904 the educational provisions of Green's, Bowles's and Stock's charities were separated from the eleemosynary provisions. (fn. 49) A Scheme of 1965 regulated most of the charities.

Distributive charities. By will proved 1639 William Stephens left £10 for stock for the poor and a rent charge of £5 on copyhold in South Hornsey, to be distributed by the rector and churchwardens at Christmas. (fn. 50) The £5 was distributed in payments to individuals in 1702 (fn. 51) and as £3 in money and £2 in bread in 1775, when it was ordered that the clerk, sexton, and beadle should have no part of it. (fn. 52) The £5 was wholly distributed in bread by 1826 and until 1897 or later but was spent on coal in 1909. In 1965 it was represented by £200 stock. (fn. 53) In 1740 the vestry committee, finding that the £10 had not been applied, resolved that 10s. a year should be distributed in bread on St. Stephen's day. The 10s. was being paid in 1764 but had ceased by 1795 and in 1826 £10 was invested in consols. (fn. 54) By 1840 the dividend, together with that from John Stevens's charity, amounted to 14s., which was distributed in bread. The dividend fell to 13s. in 1897 and 12s. in 1909. In 1965 the charity was represented by £24 stock.

Thomas Stock, by will proved 1664, gave four houses in Church Street, next to the Three Crowns, to the church wardens and four 'ancients' chosen by the vestry to apply the rents from two houses to the poor, from one to the school, and from one towards bringing water from the New River down the street. (fn. 55) In 1778 three of the houses were let for £20 a year (fn. 56) and in 1779 and 1793 one was occupied rent free by poor widows. (fn. 57) In 1799 the four houses were let together for £22 a year, of which £7 6s. 8d. was paid to the charity school and the rest to the churchwardens' general account. When the lease expired in 1820 the parish decided to pull the houses down. It purchased a fifth house that had been built by Stock as part of the group, enfranchised the land at a cost of £245, and leased four new houses on the site at £6 a year, paid into the churchwardens' account. In 1826, at the suggestion of the Charity Commissioners, the vestry decided to apply £1 1s. 4d. to the poor, 10s. 8d. to the school, and the balance as interest on the £245. From 1834 until the abolition of church rates in 1868 the balance was added to the church rates and from 1868 to 1887 it was used for church expenses. New leases in 1884 raised the income to £120, of which the parish took one fifth and the charity four fifths. A Scheme of 1901 transferred their nomination of the trustees to the borough council (fn. 58) and another in 1904 regulated the income. By that date the property had been sold and the proceeds invested in £5,510 stock, of which one fifth was allocated to church purposes, a quarter of the residue (after payment for enfranchisement) to Stock's education foundation, and the rest to Stock's eleemosynary charity. (fn. 59) In 1909 the income for the latter was £97, of which £2 9s. 6d. was spent on meat, £1 19s. 1d. on bread, £10 13s. on coal, and the rest paid to the rector and churchwardens for the poor. In 1966 it was £113, distributed with Sanford's charity. (fn. 60)

By will proved 1704 the rector, Sidrach Simpson, left a rent charge of £2 10s. for bread for the poor. Bread was still being dispensed in 1909-10.

Elizabeth Baker, widow, by will proved 1716 bequeathed £50 to the churchwardens to apply the interest in weekly bread for six widows. The vestry decided to take the £50 for church building but undertook to distribute the bread. (fn. 61) No bread had been provided for some time before 1826 when the vestry, at the request of the Charity Commissioners, resolved that £2 10s. should be distributed each year according to the will. It was still being paid in 1909 from the church account. In 1965 the charity was represented by £102 stock.

By will proved 1740 John Stevens, a London stationer, left the interest on £10 to the churchwardens for bread for the poor at Christmas. (fn. 62) In 1740 the charities of William Stephens and John Stevens, each with £10 endowment, were confused and only one payment of 10s. in bread on St. Stephen's day was being made. By the late 18th century nothing was paid for either charity and in 1826 the vestry invested £10 for each charity in stock, creating a joint charity. (fn. 63)

By will proved 1764 George Green left a £1 rent charge to be distributed in bread besides £100 to produce £2 10s. a year for the charity school and the rest for the poor. Payment of the £1 was in dispute by 1779 (fn. 64) and ceased after 1798. For most of the 19th century the dividend was £3, of which 10s. was distributed in bread. Green's education foundation was constituted in 1904 (fn. 65) and in 1909 the whole dividend, then £2 10s., was paid to the school. In 1965 the £1 charity was revived as Green's eleemosynary charity, represented by £50 stock.

Sarah Bowles, widow, by will proved 1788 bequeathed £250 stock to the minister and churchwardens to distribute the dividend as follows: £4 4s. to the charity schools of Stoke Newington and Shoreditch, £2 12s. in bread to six people at church each Sunday, and 14s. to purchase yarn stockings for the poor at Christmas. The distribution of stockings had ceased by 1873 when £3 2s. 4d. was spent on bread. The total dividend had shrunk to £6 17s. by 1893 and to £6 5s. by 1910. Bowles's education foundation was constituted in 1904, leaving to Bowles's eleemosynary charity £110 of the £250 endowment in 1965.

By will dated 1802 Ann, widow of Henry Sanford of Stamford Hill, left part of the residue of her personal estate to be invested by the minister and churchwardens. From the dividends on £2,364 stock, £25 a year was to be given to five widows and the rest distributed to the industrious poor. In 1826 the dividends amounted to nearly £71 and the balance was distributed in blankets, flannel, and stockings. By 1873 it was spent on flannel, two thirds for St. Mary's, two ninths for St. Matthias's, and one ninth for St. Mark's, Dalston. Later it was spent on meat, £41 12s. being distributed in 3s. meat tickets in 1897, and £37 18s. 6d. in 1909. By a Scheme of 1901 the trustees were nominated by the borough council and in 1967 the £25 was still distributed to five widows and the income from £400 was used to purchase meat. (fn. 66)

John Field, collar maker of Stamford Hill, bequeathed £1,000 stock by will proved 1828 to the 'vicar' and churchwardens for bread and coal for the poor. The dividend, £30 in 1840 and 1867, was £25 in 1909 when £23 10s. was spent on coal and £1 10s. on bread. In 1965 the income was still £25 a year. John Field's son Henry, also a collar maker of Stamford Hill, by will proved 1836 left £250 stock for the same purpose. The dividend was £8 15s. in 1840, and £6 5s. in 1909 and 1965.

Mrs. Gantley's Gift was created by the will, proved 1881, of Mary Ann Gantley of no. 34 Park Street, who bequeathed the residue of her estate to provide widows' annuities. The residue amounted only to £8 10s., (fn. 67) which produced 4s. 8d. in 1897, and 4s. in 1965.

By will proved 1882 the Revd. Augustus Clissold gave the income from £100 stock for the poor. In 1883 the vestry decided to use the dividend, £3 10s. in 1897 and 1909 and £3 in 1965, for four old women. (fn. 68)

In 1900, 1904, and 1912 William Eve and his wife founded a charity to apply a £20 rent charge in £5 annuities for four widows in Stoke Newington. As William and Caroline H. Eve's charity for aged persons, it was governed by a Scheme of 1964. The income was still £20 a year in 1968. (fn. 69)

The Sir Herbert Ormond Trust was founded in 1938 as a memorial to the former mayor. The dividends from £500 stock were applied in 10s. grocery and meat tickets for the aged poor. Under a Scheme of 1972, the income of approximately £15 was applied in gifts of money or kind to persons over 60. (fn. 70)

By will proved 1948 John Cooper left £1,000 for five poor of the borough. The income, £65 in 1967 and £50 in 1975, was distributed in lump sums. (fn. 71)

The Samuel Fisher Charitable Trust was set up in 1954 to help deserving cases in Stoke Newington. In 1962 there was £40 a year income from £1,140 stock. (fn. 72)

Stoke Newington Charities for the Poor. The eleemosynary portions of the charities of Stephens, Baker, Stevens, Green, Bowles, the Fields, Gantley and Clissold were regulated in 1965. The income from Baker's and Gantley's charities was to be for widows, and from the rest for bedding, clothing, food, fuel, furniture, weekly payments of up to 15s., gifts for the sick, assistance for those entering a trade, or subscriptions for almshouses or homes. (fn. 73)


  • 40. Section based on 16th Rep. Com. Char. H.C. 22, pp. 262 sqq. (1826-7), ix; Digest Endowed Chars. Mdx. H.C. 433, pp. 42 sqq. (1867-8), lii (1); Endowed Chars. County of Lond. H.C. 128, pp. 9 sqq. (1897), lxvi (1); Rep. of Cttee. on Chars. 1873 (S.N.L. 41.1, LC 1295); G.L.R.O., CL/LOC/1/70 (L.C.C. Local Govt. Cttee. adjustment of boundary of Stoke Newington and S. Hornsey). Figures for 1840 and 1909 from Stoke Newington chwdns. accts. 1840-1 (HA P/M/CW/1) and Chwdns. accts. 1876-1910 (HA P/M/CW/3), for 1965 from Char. Com. reg. 251523.
  • 41. P.R.O., PROB 11/32 (P.C.C. 26 Populwell).
  • 42. Ibid. 150 (P.C.C. 139 Hele); C8/71/14; 32nd Rep. Com. Char. H.C. 140, p. 439 (1837-8), xxvi (2).
  • 43. Draft Index to par. ledger 1, s.v. benefactions.
  • 44. Vestry mins. 1819-38, 92-99.
  • 45. Above, other est.
  • 46. L.C.C. Lond. Statistics, xvi (1905-6), 63.
  • 47. The Times, 14 July 1896, 11c.
  • 48. Char. Com. reg. 251520.
  • 49. Ibid. 251523; Char. Com. Scheme (1904) (S.N.L. cuttings 41.106, LC 2257).
  • 50. Vestry mins 1681-1743, loose leaves at front [1674].
  • 51. Ibid. 80.
  • 52. Draft Index to par. ledger 1, s.v. alms.
  • 53. Char. Com. reg. 251523.
  • 54. Hist. of Parochial Chars. of Hackney and Stoke Newington, 1856 (S.N.L. 41.1, LC 1313).
  • 55. If the New River had been completed within three years, the rent from the fourth ho. was to be used to keep all the hos. in repair: vestry mins. 1681-1743, loose leaves at front [1674].
  • 56. G.L.R.O., Acc. 213/4.
  • 57. Draft Index to par. ledger, s.v. almshos.; Table of Several Estates, Donations and Benefactions (1793) (S.N.L. 41.1, LC 3113).
  • 58. Char. Com. reg. 251520.
  • 59. Char. Com. Scheme (1904).
  • 60. Char. Com. reg. 251520.
  • 61. Vestry mins. 1681-1743, 196.
  • 62. Lysons, Environs, iii. 286, 304.
  • 63. Above.
  • 64. Draft Index to par. ledger 1, s.v. bread for poor, Green.
  • 65. Char. Com. reg. 251523.
  • 66. Ibid. 251519.
  • 67. Vestry mins. 1862-89, 416
  • 68. Ibid. 463
  • 69. Char. Com. reg. 256265-7; Stoke Newington, Official Guide (1950), 82.
  • 70. Char. Com. reg. 256264; Stoke Newington, Official Guide (1950), 82.
  • 71. Char. Com. reg. 251210.
  • 72. Ibid. 206382.
  • 73. Ibid. 251523.