Hampstead: Charities for the Poor

Pages 169-172

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 9, Hampstead, Paddington. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1989.

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In the 18th century income from charities was not always used as the donors intended. In 1710 the lord of the manor, Sir William Langhorne, complained that the rents of the Wells charity estate were being used by the parish officers to ease the poor rate. (fn. 1) For many years all the income from the other charities was put in one general account by the churchwardens to defray their expenses, about £16 a year, and, up to 1802, to pay for the sacramental bread and wine. After 1806 the accounts were not properly kept, and money was lost when a churchwarden for 1808 died insolvent. The clerk, beadle, sexton, bellringer, and pew openers were among the weekly recipients of bread, although only the clerk (under Cleave's gift) was entitled to a loaf. The local Act of 1800 enabled the guardians to distribute the charities' income, but that was done only from c. 1821, when they also appointed a committee to look into the churchwardens' accounts regarding charities and provided for stricter accounting. (fn. 2)

Campden charity. Elizabeth Hicks, Lady Campden, by will dated 1643, bequeathed £200 to buy freehold land worth £10 a year, half of which was to relieve the most needy of Hampstead and half to apprentice boys. In 1644 the parish bought 14 a. in Hendon for £250, the rest of the purchase price coming from £40 bequeathed by a maid to provide every inhabitant of Hampstead, rich or poor, with a ½d. loaf on Good Friday, and £10 given by John Rixton during his lifetime. In 1824 the whole income went into the general charity account and no boy had been apprenticed for 50 years. The charity commissioners declared that 3/5 of the income, £47 14s., should be used for bread, and 2/5, £31 16s., for apprenticing. The proceeds from a small sale of land were invested. New trustees were appointed in 1855, when 3/5 of the income was distributed as cash to poor residents of 3 years' standing not receiving relief. In 1877 the trustees were authorized to sell the land; when the charity was amalgamated with the Wells charity under a Scheme of 1880, it had £7,708 in stock. (fn. 3)

Wells charity. (fn. 4)

In 1698 Susannah Noel, on behalf of her son Baptist, earl of Gainsborough, lord of the manor and a minor, granted 6 a. of Hampstead Heath, including the well of mineral water, to 14 trustees, who were admitted as copyholders at a rent of 5s. a year to use the income for the poor of Hampstead. The trustees leased all the property except the pond or springhead north-west of the mineral spring to John Duffield in 1701 for 21 years at £50 a year, on condition he spent £300 over 3 years improving it, and agreed for a second term for improvements worth £200. In 1710 they agreed on a third term of 21 years for further improvements. The excluded pond or spring was let separately to John Vincent, who undertook to run water into the town, spending £200 on it; in return he was to hold the supply for 21 years at a rent of £15, although no lease was drawn up. In 1707 the trustees had to defend a suit brought by an entrepreneur who claimed that his own water supply to the City from the heath was affected by Vincent's enterprise. (fn. 5) In 1710 the new lord challenged the copyhold grant as illegal and claimed that the trustees were misusing the income, (fn. 6) while the churchwardens accused them of neglecting the pond and well. (fn. 7) In 1729 a Chancery decree established the charity: the estate was to be held of the lord for 5s. a year and a reasonable fine; the lord was to appoint 13 resident copyholders as trustees and to nominate others when the number fell to 5. The lord and trustees presented a Scheme in 1731 to use the arrears of rent and future income: James, son of John Duffield, owed arrears of £575 from 1718; John Vincent, son of the original tenant, owed £322 10s. After costs and fines £412 remained, of which £150 repaid the parish for fitting up the workhouse and charity school; the residue and future income was for apprenticing to trades or domestic service, and other uses for the poor.

John Duffield sold his interest in 1730 to John Mitchell, who was granted leases for the remaining 42 years. In 1734, when the buildings were decayed, Mitchell received a further term of 31 years to run from 1764, in return for spending £200 on repairs and a further 21 years for spending £500 on replacements and building on vacant ground. In 1795 a new lease of the property, which in addition to the medicinal spring and 6 a. with its buildings included three small plots granted by the lord in 1789, was made to Anne Frewen and Joseph Baldwin, executors of Charles Frewen, for 21 years at £70, with an agreement for a further 40 years. The additional lease was granted in 1810 to Anne, as Anne Buckner, and included a plot near the garden of Lady Watson; in all the additional plots totalled c. 1¼ a. By 1824 the estate was built up, mostly in Well Walk, and at £800 a year its value was considerably more than the income which the charity was to receive until the lease expired in 1850.

The springhead excluded from the lease of 1701 was auctioned under the Chancery decree of 1729. John Vincent alone made an offer and was granted a lease in 1733 for 33 years from 1731 at £15, to include the banks and pipes which conveyed the water to the lower part of Hampstead town. Additional terms were granted in 1764 and 1785 at the same rent. In 1806 Elizabeth Vincent was granted a 21year lease for £25 a year, which by 1824 was vested in her executors. The springhead, used only to supply the Vincents' brewery in High Street and a few adjoining houses, was of little value to anyone other than the brewer.

By 1824 the charity also possessed £1,100 stock, bought with rent arrears in 1783-4 and a legacy of £100 from John Peter Blaquiere in 1801; the annual income was £95 in rents and £33 in dividends. The income was spent on apprenticing between 8 and 10 children each year, with premiums of £3 to £7, on clothing children going into service, and on sums of 5s. to £1 for paupers who were old, infirm, or had large families, and did not receive parish relief. The money gifts were made at the workhouse, usually in December, at a meeting advertised by the secretary, who received a salary of £4 4s., beside £1 1s. for each apprenticeship indenture.

In 1850 the property consisted of Foley House, the chapel, the Wells hotel (formerly the Green Man), 11 houses in Well Walk, Willow House, 4 cottages, the springhead, and £1,100 stock. Gross income after the lease expired was £976 in rents and dividends. Sales in 1851 and 1853, to pay for repairs and expenses, and a further purchase in 1855 left a balance of £577 stock. In 1857 a new Scheme provided for managers, who would include the minister of Hampstead, the district incumbents, and three members appointed by the board of guardians. They were to invest £50 a year as a repair fund and £250 as a fund for the copyhold admission fines, and spend up to £250 on apprenticing. Out of the first money received, £250 was to be paid towards the new infants' school and £250 for building Christ Church National schools, so long as both should be open to all poor children without religious restriction. Surplus money was to be invested. In 1857 a small piece of copyhold was bought with the £577 stock and income, and between 1859 and 1873 £907 stock was bought for the repair fund. In 1873-4 the various copyhold parcels were enfranchised, using c. £7,000 stock.

A Scheme in 1875 established 20 trustees, who could spend up to £150 a year on the further education of a boy or girl from a Hampstead elementary school and £150 p.a. on apprenticeships or putting out to service. Accumulated and future income was to be used to improve the dwellings of the poor in Hampstead, or to help the poor in other ways. In 1876 the trustees acquired Crockett's Court, where they built artisans' dwellings. In 1880 the charity was amalgamated with the Campden charity and a new Scheme drawn up.

The Wells and Campden charity.

Under the Scheme of 1880, amended in 1885, 1893, and 1897, for the consolidated charity, the 20 trustees were to spend £150 a year, raised to £300 in 1899, on needy pensioners resident in Hampstead for six years and not receiving poor relief; until 1899 preference was to be given to those reduced from better circumstances but thereafter to length of residence. Annual sums of £50, later £200, were to be spent on any dispensary, hospital, or convalescent home, £150 on advancing children in life, and £230 on education above elementary level, including exhibitions of up to £40 a year. The residue was to improve the dwellings of the poor, for which purpose the trustees could buy or fit up houses; they could also provide facilities such as lecture rooms, day nurseries, laundries, and night schools. From 1893 £100 a year could assist any institution giving scientific instruction in technical or industrial work, and from 1897 grants could be made for public open spaces, and £50 a year used to assist emigration to British colonies or moves within the British Isles.

Changes to the property of the amalgamated charities included, in 1881, sales of stock to pay off the loan for Crockett's Court and of the rest of the land in Hendon that was part of Campden's charity, from which £6,500 was invested and £1,200 used to buy 1 r. 6 p. adjoining the Wells estate in 1882. From 1882 the trustees might raise money to put in sewers before making building leases. They bought and enfranchised Mount Cottage in Flask Walk in 1885 and property in Palmerston Road, part of West End Park estate, in 1886, for baths and washhouses on both sites, and in 1886 they bought land in Holly Bush Vale from the M.B.W. for artisans' dwellings. They also contributed £500 towards the purchase of the 265-a. extension to Hampstead Heath.

In 1898 the charity estate consisted of many buildings (fn. 8) and c. £2,600 stock. The site of the old well had been lost, as the water flow had been affected by drainage works, and £20 could be spent seeking it. So wide were the charity's functions that committees were formed for apprenticeships, artisans' dwellings, baths and wash-houses, finance, gardens, letting and repair, and pensions. The income was spent on pensions, hospitals and dispensaries, apprenticing and outfitting, and education. Five male and 17 female pensioners received 5s. a week in 1898. During the previous five years £200 a year had been paid to six medical charities serving Hampstead, c. £130 a year for apprenticing and outfits, and c. £107 a year for exhibitions; there were usually two annual exhibitions to children aged 12 to 14, chosen by examination and mainly from board schools, in particular Fleet Road. A subscription of £50 a year to the Hampstead School for Cookery brought the right to nominate to free places there. The artisans' dwellings were all in the eastern part of the parish; no block was planned for Kilburn because of difficulties in finding a site.

The educational element of the charity was separated under Schemes of 1899, 1905, and 1924, as the Wells and Campden educational foundation. Its income derived from £2,323 stock and sums of £230 and £100 a year from the main charity; £230 provided children resident in the borough for at least 2 years with exhibitions at institutions higher than elementary, and £100 paid for instruction in technical and industrial work. In 1971 the foundation was amalgamated with the Stock foundation (below).

Hampstead Wells and Campden trust. (fn. 9)

In 1971 the Hampstead Wells and Campden trust was established by a Scheme which included more recent charities with similar objectives. The charities were brought together into two funds. The first, the Hampstead Relief in Sickness fund, comprised the Hampstead Aid in Sickness fund, Hampstead Aid for Sick Mothers and Children, the charity of James Stewart Henderson for a convalescent home, and the Thomas Hancock Nunn Memorial fund. It was to supply medical items or services which were not readily available from other sources. Any income not so used could be added to the Relief in Need fund (below). In 1985 the fund's assets were worth c. £140,000, yielding c. £12,000 net, of which £1,600 was applied to the charity in 1985.

The second, the Hampstead Relief in Need fund, comprised the charities of Henry Joseph Ogden and Theresa Thurlow, and the Hampstead Wells and Campden charity. Its objective was to relieve needy residents, generally or individually, through grants of money or by providing items or services. In 1985 the fund held the freehold Well Walk estate (not valued), other properties worth c. £1.3 million, and investments and other assets of c. £1 million. The net income was c. £165,000 in 1985, when c. £186,000 was applied to the charity, including part of £376,000 brought forward from previous years.

The trustees also administered the Wells and Campden and Stock education foundation, (fn. 10) the Wharrie Cabman's Shelter fund from 1971, and the Hampstead Relief in Sickness charity (which was distinct from the Hampstead Relief in Sickness fund) from 1977. The Wharrie Cabman's Shelter fund was founded by Mrs. Wharrie in 1935 and registered as a charity in 1964. It provided a shelter at Hampstead Green, the residue to be used for other charitable purposes. In 1985 the fund owned the freehold shelter, valued at £2,000, and investments and other assets worth £4,400, with a net income of £656 of which £200 was applied to the charity.

The Hampstead Relief in Sickness charity was the successor to Kilburn and West Hampstead District Nursing Association, which had been founded in 1901 to nurse the sick at home. In 1961 the association had 20 nurses at its nurses' home, nos. 18 and 20 Dennington Park Road, and its income of £16,300 was almost all derived from an L.C.C. grant. In 1967 the home was sold and the proceeds invested. In 1985 the stock was worth c. £12,000 and the net income c. £2,600, to be applied in grants or pensions to nurses formerly employed by the association or for the same purposes as the Hampstead Relief in Sickness fund.

Stock's charity. (fn. 11)

John Stock, by will dated 1780, left £1,000, the interest to educate and clothe 10 fatherless children, 6 boys aged 8 to 15 and 4 girls aged 8 to 13, and afterwards put them out as apprentices or covenanted servants, paying £5 with each boy and £2 with each girl. Annual sets of clothing were to include a chocolate coloured coat for boys and a similar gown for girls. The charity was to be administered by a committee of at least five parishioners. By 1784 the fund had increased to £2,000 through the investment of dividends and a donation of £60 from the Wells charity. In 1801 a legacy of £100 stock from J. P. Blaquiere was added, and a committee appointed by the vestry to manage the charity. (fn. 12) With savings the fund reached £2,300 in 1819, producing £69 a year for clothing and educating as many children as possible, with occasional apprenticeship fees; 10 boys and 6 girls had received clothing in 1818. The children attended the National school, the boys free of charge, the girls for £1 a year. In 1823 Sir Francis Willes left a rent charge of £13 6s. 8d. to augment the charity, but the bequest was made valid by his legal heir the Revd. Edward Willes only in 1842. The stock stood at £2,600 in 1860 and the income was £71 10s. from dividends and £13 6s. 8d. from the rent charge in 1898, when it was spent on clothing c. 30 children every year, two thirds of them boys, from all the parish's elementary schools; the distinctive colours had recently been discontinued. A Ministry of Education Scheme of 1957 applied the income, £65 beside the fee farm rent of £2 14s. 11d., to maintenance or clothing grants for pupils at any level, assistance for schoolleavers, and apprenticeships. (fn. 13)

In 1971 the charity was amalgamated with the educational part of the Wells and Campden charity as the Wells and Campden and Stock educational foundation, and was administered by the trustees of the Hampstead Wells and Campden trust. The net income of the foundation, £400 in 1985, was to benefit children resident in Hampstead for at least two years, by means of exhibitions at any secondary or higher educational institution, or financial assistance to enter a profession or trade.

Distributive charities. (fn. 14)

Thomas Charles (d. 1622) of Holborn, clothworker, by will dated 1617, left his four houses in Fetter Lane and all his goods to meet legacies which included 24s. a year to the churchwardens of Hampstead for bread. (fn. 15) The money remained unpaid until 1688, when the owners of the houses were ordered to pay the arrears of c. £72 and future sums. (fn. 16) In 1824 the sum was subject to 3s. land tax. In 1898 the 21s. a year was applied in bread with Rixton's charity (below).

Thomas Cleave, by deed dated 1635, paid £50 for a rent charge of 56s. a year on 2 a. near Battle Bridge, St. Pancras, later Cromer Street, Gray's Inn Road, with which the vicar of Hampstead was to buy 13 wheaten penny loaves each week and distribute them to 12 poor people and the parish clerk, any surplus to be used for the poor or repair of the church. Income in 1824 was 56s. In 1898 the rent charge was applied with Rixton's charity.

John Rixton, by will dated 1657, charged his four copyhold houses in Hampstead town with the following annual payments: £3 to the churchwardens for 12 penny loaves each Sunday for the poor, especially frequent churchgoers, with the remaining 8s. to the parish clerk to clean Rixton's grave; £1 to the minister for a sermon on 9 April; £1 towards repairing part of the church. In 1759 the houses were chargeable with £7 10s. a year, perhaps in compensation for arrears. Sums for the sermon and the grave were being paid, but not for repair of the church, and £3 18s. was due for bread. In 1898 the property, in High Street, belonged to Henry Wakeford: £5 2s. a year, together with Charles's, Cleave's, and Mallory's charities, was distributed weekly in bread to respectable elderly parishioners, usually 12 women, of whom one third lived in the Kilburn part of the parish.

Henry Waite, by will dated 1720, gave £100 for annual payments to the most needy on the date of his burial. The legacy was reduced to £50 because his assets were too small, and was lent at interest to the trustees of Hampstead church until it was repaid in 1813, when it was invested. The annual income was £2 10s. 11d. in 1824. It was £2 6s. 8d. in 1898, when it was distributed with Marshall's charity.

John Robinson, bishop of London (d. 1723), left £100 to the poor of the parish in which he should die, which was Hampstead. The sum, like Waite's, was lent to the trustees of the church and in 1813 invested. The income was £5 1s. 11d. in 1824. It was £4 13s. 4d. in 1898, when it was distributed with Marshall's charity.

Mary Arnold, by will of 1767, left £100 stock for payments each Christmas day to poor householders. In 1824 the dividends were part of the general distribution on St. Thomas's day. In 1898 the income was £2 15s., distributed with Marshall's charity.

Francis Marshall, by will dated 1772, left £100 stock for payments at Easter to poor householders not receiving alms. In augmentation his widow Rosamond, by will dated 1785, left £100 stock. In 1824 £6 formed part of the general distribution on St. Thomas's day. In 1898 the income of £5 10s. was added to Waite's, Robinson's, and Arnold's charities to produce £15 5s., for 'the annual gifts'. One third was distributed by the churchwarden chosen by the parishioners in Kilburn, in varying amounts, and the rest by the vicar, generally in sums of £1.

Anne Mallory, by will dated 1789, left £100 for 2d. loaves for the poor every Sunday. The income was £3 10s. 2d. in 1824. It was £3 4s. 4d. in 1898, when it was distributed with Rixton's charity.

Elizabeth Shooter, by will dated 1727, left the reversion of a copyhold in Langley (Bucks.), which was valued at c. £5 10s. in 1824, in trust to maintain two widows of Hampstead for life. The land produced a rent of £20 in 1811 and the fund was managed by the vicar of Hampstead. After 1816 small sums were occasionally given to other widows with the agreement of the principal recipients. In 1851 the trustees of the poor of Hampstead were admitted to the property, which in 1898 formed part of a market garden, and £30 less 7s. 7d. quit rent was divided between three widows.

Thomas Rumsey, by will dated 1798, left £1,000 stock in reversion after the deaths of his three daughters to four inhabitants of Hampstead chosen by the vestry, for coals at Christmas for families attending the Anglican church and not receiving parish alms. The stock, £889 after duty, was received by the parish in 1835. Tickets for 2 cwt. of coal were distributed in 1898.

Eliza Anne Hume, by will proved 1856, left £100 stock to repair her tomb and vault every 3 years, the surplus to go to the poor. After duty £90 was received, yielding £2 9s. 4d. in 1898. At the distribution in 1892 £10 10s. was paid to the Hampstead Benevolent Society for work in the eastern part of the parish and £10 10s. was distributed amongst the poor of Kilburn; no part was used for her tomb.

John Clarke, by will proved 1861, left £100 to be distributed with charities at St. Paul's chapel, Kilburn (Willesden). In 1897 the surviving trustees applied for a Scheme, which in 1898 assigned the income to the minister and churchwardens in aid of charities of the district, which included part of Hampstead. The charity then consisted of £192 in stock, and £127 in cash which was to be used towards a parish room. After the demolition of St. Paul's, a Scheme of 1936 assigned the income from the £88 stock to the charities of St. Mary's, Kilburn, in Hampstead. The income in 1964 was £2 12s. 8d. (fn. 17)

Isabel Constable, by will dated 1888, left £50 for the repair of her family vault in the churchyard, the surplus to go to the poor. In 1898 the dividends of £1 7s. 8d. were used for annual gifts, similar to Marshall's charity, and no part was spent on the vault.

James Stewart Henderson, by will proved 1933, left £4,000 for payments to the poor of St. Stephen's, Rosslyn Hill. The income in 1961 was £140 and was used for grants, supporting boys at camps and holiday homes, and Christmas gifts to pensioners. (fn. 18)

Hampstead Parochial charities.

A Scheme of 1983 administered the small charities of Arnold, Charles, Cleave, Constable, Hume, Mallory, Marshall (Francis and Rosamond), Rixton, Robinson, Shooter, and Waite, besides the charity of Elizabeth Blondell for which no details were given. Their assets consisted entirely of stock in 1983, except those of Shooter's charity, which still derived an annual rent of £175. All except Blondell's £56 stock and 26 shares out of 64 making up Rixton's charity were administered together as the Hampstead Parochial charities. The 26 shares were managed separately as John Rixton's Church charity. Half of the income of the Church charity and all the income of Blondell's charity were to be paid to the vicar of St. John's for a sermon on or near Good Friday; the remaining half of the Church charity was to help maintain the parish church. Income from the parochial charities was to relieve the poor in the former metropolitan borough of Hampstead through grants, goods, or services, or grants and subscriptions to organizations.


  • 1. P.R.O., C 8/492/56.
  • 2. Endowed Chars. Lond. III, H.C. 252, pp. 85-8 (1900), lxi, which includes copies of reps. of 1819, 1824, and 1861-3; 39 & 40 Geo. III, c. 35; above, local govt., par. govt.
  • 3. Endowed Chars. Lond. III, 83, 85, 95-6, 101; below, Wells and Campden char.
  • 4. Account based on Endowed Chars. Lond. III, 87-118.
  • 5. P.R.O., C 7/270/61.
  • 6. Ibid. C 8/492/56.
  • 7. Ibid. C 7/1/28.
  • 8. Above, growth, Hampstead town, for est. in 1898; pub. svces., for baths.
  • 9. Account based on Char. Com. files.
  • 10. Below, Stock's char.
  • 11. Account based on Endowed Chars. Lond. III, 81, 93-4.
  • 12. Vestry mins. 3 May 1801.
  • 13. Char. Com. files.
  • 14. Account based on Endowed Chars. Lond. III, 81-137.
  • 15. Guildhall MS. 9052/5.
  • 16. P.R.O., C 93/43, no. 16.
  • 17. Char. Com. files.
  • 18. Ibid.