North Leigh: Charities for the poor

Pages 237-238

A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 12, Wootton Hundred (South) Including Woodstock. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1990.

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Charities for the poor

The Perrotts were unusually beneficent in endowing parochial charities. Edward Perrott (d. 1667), a Portugal merchant and son of Edward (d. 1685), left £40 to the poor of North Leigh, secured on land in the parish, to produce an income of £2 a year, of which 10s. was for bread for poor churchgoers in October and 30s. for clothing and apprenticing at the discretion of the parish officers. (fn. 75)

Charles Perrott (d. 1677), the younger Edward's brother, left £50, the interest to be paid to the churchwardens annually on 23 April for apprenticing the poorest children in North Leigh. Apprenticeships were paid for regularly until 1794, when the income, £2 10s., was distributed instead to the poor. (fn. 76)

James Perrott (d. 1687) left rent charges providing £3 a year to be given to three poor churchgoers and £1 to buy them shoes or shifts. He also left a 10s. rent charge for bread at Easter and Christmas. (fn. 77)

Ursula Perrott, sister of Charles, by will proved 1705, left £100, the interest to be spent two years out of three on apprenticeships, the third year distributed among those poor not in receipt of relief. (fn. 78) In 1760 the capital was used to buy 1 ½ a. of meadow in Hailey. (fn. 79)

James Perrott, son of the above-mentioned James, by will proved 1725, gave a £6 rent charge, half for bread for poor churchgoers and half for clothes for three poor housekeepers and their children; no-one was to receive both James's and his father's charity in the same year. He also gave a £2 10s. rent charge in place of the interest on £50 which his daughter Amy (d. 1720) had intended for gifts to 10 poor housekeepers at Christmas. (fn. 80) Sarah Perrott, by will proved 1729, gave £50, the interest to be distributed in the same way, but not to the same recipients, as her sister Amy's charity. (fn. 81) Their brother Henry (d. 1740) failed to honour his sisters' and father's bequests or the educational charity of his mother Anne (d. 1721). In 1760, however, his daughters Cassandra and Martha paid arrears of £150 5s., which was used to buy the land in Hailey from which the rents were due. Rent of £3 10s. was obtained, rising to £29 by the end of the 18th century. (fn. 82)

John Hart by will dated 1664 left a rent charge of £5 a year for apprenticing two poor boys. (fn. 83)

Susannah Hart, by will proved 1666, left £50 to buy land for North Leigh's poor. (fn. 84) The money was combined with bequests of £2 each from John Whitley, by will proved 1630, (fn. 85) and Thomas Smith, untraced, and used to buy 1 a. of meadow in Curbridge. By the 1740s a small piece of land in Ducklington had also been acquired, and a combined annual rent of £2 5s. was being received. (fn. 86) From 1720 and possibly earlier there was an additional, unexplained, income of £1 10s. a year. Three quarters of the charity's income was used to buy bread, the remainder for the general benefit of the poor at the discretion of the overseers. (fn. 87)

Thomas Werge, by will proved 1707, gave a 5s. rent charge for bread for 60 poor people every Whit Sunday. (fn. 88)

Thomas Martin (d. 1753) of Wilcote House gave a £1 rent charge for gifts to 20 poor labourers or their widows not in receipt of parish relief. (fn. 89)

The accounts of all North Leigh's charities were amalgamated in 1806 into a general charity account. (fn. 90) In 1823 the income from the general fund provided £3 for education, £4 8s. 4d. for bread, and £48 11s. 8d. for general purposes, including apprenticing, £30 being given in cash, £9 in clothing and blankets, and £3 in additional bread on the first Sunday of each month; the specific bread charities were still distributed on their appointed days. Joseph Shepherd, the leading local baker and Methodist, supplied the bread. His son Joseph was presumably the dissenting baker complained of by the vicar in 1843 for distributing charity bread at the school adjoining the Methodist meeting house instead of at church. (fn. 91) Boys were only occasionally apprenticed out of the general fund. In 1813 a surplus of £106 10s. from apprenticing funds not applied for was used to buy 1 ½ a. in Hanborough, the rent being transferred to the general fund. Between 1816 and 1822 c. £62 was spent on apprenticing, but in 1823 there was a surplus of £18 awaiting applicants. (fn. 92)

In 1870 the income from all sources, including educational bequests, was £69 10s., of which £16 10s. went to the apprenticing fund, £39 in bread and clothing, and £5 6s. 8d. in cash. (fn. 93) In 1898 the trustees decided to reduce the amount of bread and give coal instead: 91 coal tickets were issued in the first year. Medical relief and 'other necessaries or comforts' might be given at the trustees' discretion. (fn. 94)

The land in Hailey bought with Ursula Perrott's bequest was sold for £100 in 1919, and the money invested. (fn. 95) The Hanborough land was sold for £570 in 1956. (fn. 96) In 1966 annual expenditure was c. £80, distributed to 27 pensioners. Distribution had become haphazard, and the trustees in 1967 decided to re-invest assets. A Scheme of 1970 separated the North Leigh charities into an educational charity, to which was added the apprenticing charities of Charles Perrott and John Hart, and a united charity for relief in need. In 1974 and 1975 the rent charges were redeemed and the money invested. In 1979 the united charity had an income of c. £245. (fn. 97)


  • 75. P.R.O., PROB 11/327 (P.C.C. 86 Hone); 10th Rep. Com. Char. 408; E. Barnwell, Perrot Notes, 96.
  • 76. P.R.O., PROB 11/354 (P.C.C. 53 Hale); 10th Rep. Com. Char. 406.
  • 77. P.R.O., PROB 11/1688, f. 20.
  • 78. O.R.O., MS. Wills Oxon. 205, f. 241; ibid. NC IV/i/1, p. 63.
  • 79. 10th Rep. Com. Char. 408.
  • 80. P.R.O., PROB 11/601 (P.C.C. 48 Romney); Char. Don. 1787-8, H.C. 511, pp. 594-5 (1816), xviB.
  • 81. 10th Rep. Com. Char. 410.
  • 82. 10th Rep. Com. Char. 410. For Anne Perrott's char. see above, Educ.
  • 83. 10th Rep. Com. Char. 409.
  • 84. O.R.O., MS. Wills Oxon. 33/1/30.
  • 85. Ibid. 70/3/30.
  • 86. Ibid. NC IV/i/1, p. 2.
  • 87. 10th Rep. Com. Char. 409.
  • 88. O.R.O., MS. Wills Oxon. 205, f. 275; Char. Don. 1787-8, wrongly dates the will 1728.
  • 89. 10th Rep. Com. Char. 411.
  • 90. Ibid. 406; O.R.O., NP I/ii; NC IV/i/1, p. 90.
  • 91. 10th Rep. Com. Char. 411-12; Wilb. Letter Bks. (O.R.S. xlvii), p. 149; above, Nonconf.
  • 92. 10th Rep. Com. Char. 411-12.
  • 93. Char. Digest, H.C. 292-II, pp. 36-7 (1871), lv.
  • 94. O.R.O., NC ½, s.a. 1898, 1899.
  • 95. Ibid. NC III/10-11; NC ½, s.a. 1919.
  • 96. Ibid. NC ½, f. 107v.; O.R.C.C., Kimber files.
  • 97. O.R.C.C., Kimber files.