Cassington: Charities for the poor

Pages 53-54

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

Margaret Wise, by will proved 1640, Edmund Cole, by will proved 1664, and Robert Abergenney, at an unknown date, each left £5 for the use of the poor. (fn. 8) The money appears to have been added to the three bread charities founded by Francis Greenway (d. 1717) who left £40, Francis Seale who by will dated 1720 left £50 for bread or money for 5 poor men, and James Tuckey, who left £80 by will dated 1740. In 1740 £170, later assumed to be the capital of the three bread charities, was spent on land in Eynsham which was exchanged at inclosure in 1802 for c. 37 a. let for £13 6s. a year. By 1825 the rent had risen to £18 5s. (fn. 9)

Edward Johnston, by will proved 1683, left a rent charge of 20s. for a weekly distribution of bread to the poor on the Sundays after All Saints' day (1 November). (fn. 10) The vicar Jasper Mayne, by will proved 1673, left £100 to the poor of Cassington. The money was invested in a rent charge of £5 a year from land in the parish, which at inclosure in 1801 was exchanged for 6 a., part of a plot of 20 a. allotted to the poor. The plot produced £15 a year between 1804 and 1817 and £17 from 1817 to 1825. (fn. 11) In 1713 Thomas and Anne Peachman gave the parishioners of Cassington the reversion of a cottage, a close, and land in the open fields. In 1728 the life tenant, Elizabeth Cave, assigned the cottage, tenement, and close to the parish officers, and the remainder of the land reverted to them on her death in 1730. The open field land was exchanged for 4 a., part of the 20-a. poor's plot, at inclosure in 1801. In 1825 the rest of the estate comprised three cottages and gardens, occupied by paupers, and ¼ a. called the poor's orchard, occupied by poor parishioners. (fn. 12) Half of the income of the charity founded by William Plasterer by will proved in 1711, 13s. a year, was usually added to the general parish charity account in the 18th and 19th centuries. (fn. 13)

In the 1820s the income from all the charities, £37 8s. a year, was distributed in money, fuel, and bread to the 'poor belonging to or resident in the parish' by the churchwardens and overseers, assisted by some other inhabitants. Cash allowances totalled £9 or £10 and ranged from 9s. to 4d., the largest being given to families settled in but living outside the parish and who received no help in kind from the charities. Coal worth between £10 and £16 was distributed in lots of 2 cwt.-6 cwt., and the remaining money, between £9 and £12, was distributed in bread on the Sundays after St. Thomas's day (21 December). (fn. 14)

In 1838 the churchwardens sold two of the five cottages near the church which they owned, presumably as part of Peachman's charity. The sale was apparently carried out to raise money to rebuild the remaining three cottages. The cottages were repaired in 1870, partly with the £23 capital of Plasterer's charity. In 1886 the trustees of the parish charities bought back the two cottages sold in 1838 and remodelled all five as three larger cottages; part of the gardens was used to widen the road. (fn. 15)

By deed dated 1859 Archdeacon Cotton, presumably Henry Cotton (d. 1879) who had been vicar 1812-24, gave £54 8s. 5d. stock to the poor of Cassington. The charity had an income of £1 12s. 7d. in 1871, but the capital was later used, probably in 1886, to improve Peachman's charity cottages. Another vicar, Thomas Forster, by will dated 1861, left £47 4s. stock to the poor of Cassington. The charity had an income of £1 8s. 3d. in 1871, but was lost some time after 1877. (fn. 16)

A Scheme of 1877 for the Cassington parochial charities provided for an expenditure of not more than £50 on education, £3 3s. to the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford, £20 for apprenticeships, and £40 for pensions or annuities of between £5 and £10 each for parishioners over 60 years old. The residue of the income of £152 was to be spent on fuel for the deserving poor and on the establishment of a provident club. Cassington Educational Foundation was separated from the other parochial charities in 1905. A new Scheme of 1969 for the parochial charities provided that nos. 3, 4, and 5 Church Lane, belonging to the Peachman and Plasterer charities, should be used as almshouses, and the income from all the other charities should be applied to relief in need in the parish. In 1979 the total income of the charities was £2,013. (fn. 17)

Henry Alnutt, by will dated 1724, in addition to an educational charity, provided places for two Cassington men in his almshouse at Goring, where each received £11 12s. a year and clothes as well as accommodation. (fn. 18) New Schemes for the Alnutt almshouses were made in 1907 and 1955. There were still places for two people from Cassington in 1979. (fn. 19)


  • 8. O.R.O., MS. Wills Oxon. 71/2/17; P.R.O., PROB 11/313 (P.C.C. 13 Bruce); 12th Rep. Com. Char. 333; Char. Don. H.C. 511, PP. 992-3 (1816) xviB.
  • 9. 12th Rep. Char. Com. 332-3; Bodl. MS. Top. Oxon. d 562 (par. reg. transcript), f. 108.
  • 10. O.R.O., MS. Wills Oxon. 2/1/26.
  • 11. Oxf. Univ. Arch., Hyp. B 30, Wills M-N; Char. Don. H.C. 511, pp. 992-3 (1816) xviB; 12th Rep. Com. Char. 331.
  • 12. 12th Rep. Com. Char. 331; O.R.O., MSS. Wills Oxon. 122/3/35, 136/4/11; ibid. incl. award.
  • 13. 12th Rep. Com. Char. 330.
  • 14. Ibid. 333.
  • 15. O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Cassington c 8, items b 1, 2; Char. Digest H.C. 292-11, pp. 14-15 (1871), lv.
  • 16. Char. Digest, pp. 14-15; O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Cassington c 8, item c; Alum. Oxon. 1715-1886, 302; D.N.B. s.v. Hen. Cotton.
  • 17. O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Cassington c 8, item c; O.R.C.C., Kimber rep.
  • 18. 1st Rep. Com. Char. 198; 8th Rep. Com. Char. 520.
  • 19. O.R.C.C., Kimber rep.