Bampton and Weald: Charities for the poor

Pages 60-62

A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 13, Bampton Hundred (Part One). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1996.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.



George Thompson, by will proved 1604, (fn. 2) gave an annual rent charge of £6 for the poor of Bampton, Weald, and Lew. In the early 19th century it was distributed yearly in money, and the dole continued in 1854. (fn. 3) Leonard Wilmot (d. 1608) of Clanfield gave in his lifetime a rent charge of £2 for the poor of Bampton, Weald, Lew, and Aston and Cote; (fn. 4) in the late 18th century and early 19th the churchwardens retained it, but in 1848 it provided blankets lent to the poor in winter. Julian Walter of Appleton (formerly Berks.), by will proved 1660, (fn. 5) left a house and lands, the rent to be distributed to the poor of Bampton in bread with 8s. reserved for an annual dinner for the churchwardens and overseers. The rent was £42 in 1848.

Following an enquiry in 1680 into misuse of Bampton charities, (fn. 6) c. 12 a. were bought c. 1687 using the bequests of John Palmer (£100 to the poor of Bampton and Weald by will proved 1650), (fn. 7) John Butt (£20 to the poor of Bampton by will proved 1610), (fn. 8) John Tull (£5 to the poor of Bampton by will proved 1615), (fn. 9) Robert Veysey of Chimney (£10 to 12 poor widows of Bampton and Weald by will proved 1666), (fn. 10) and Henry Clanfield (date and amount unknown). Before 1801 the rent was divided into 33 parts, 25 representing Palmer's bequest and 8 the rest. Income in 1801 was £27; c. 2 a. was sold at. inclosure, and in 1848 income was £15 of which £3 14s. went to the town bread fund, the rest, after land tax, being added to the vicars' fund for supplying coal to the poor in winter.

Sir William Coventry, by will proved 1686, left £100 towards apprenticing poor children, at least 17 of whom were indentured within 3 years. (fn. 11) The bequest was not mentioned later and was presumably either lost or amalgamated with other apprenticing charities. In 1706 an estate at Shilton (formerly Berks.) was bought with bequests of Richard Coxeter (£10 for apprenticing to masters outside the parish, by will proved 1683), Dorothy Loder (£300 to set the poor to work, by will proved 1702), (fn. 12) and reportedly of the vicar Edward Cotton (£25 from a bequest of £50 by will proved 1676). (fn. 13) Income was £36 in the early 19th century, but following criticisms of apprenticing policy it was diverted before 1815 to the National school. (fn. 14) Thomas Horde, by will proved 1716, left £10 each to Bampton and Weald for apprenticing 2 boys or girls, but though the gift was applied in the earlier 18th century it was lost by the 19th. A £10 rent charge left by Horde on lands in Aston and Cote for the poorest of Bampton and Weald seems never to have been paid. (fn. 15)

In 1726 c. 10 a. were bought with bequests of William Osborn, vicar (£100 for apprenticing by will proved 1646), (fn. 16) Edward Cotton, vicar (£50 to poor churchgoing householders, by will proved 1676), (fn. 17) Tobias Sadler (£50 for bread by will proved 1676), (fn. 18) Richard Blagrave (d. 1675, £10 for bread by oral testimony), (fn. 19) Thomas Hall (£5 for bread by will proved 1693) and his wife Anne (£5 for bread), (fn. 20) Ann Coxeter (£10 for bread to poor widows, by will proved 1695), (fn. 21) Robert Jeeves of Lew (£5 to poor labourers by will proved 1703), (fn. 22) Robert Cripps (£5 for poor widowers by will proved 1705), (fn. 23) and John Holloway (d. 1720, £100 for bread by will); another £60 from unspecified bread charities probably included Michael Fawdrey's bequest of 50s. in 1726. (fn. 24) Three-eighths of the income were used for apprenticing under Osborn's and Cotton's bequests, a quarter for bread under Holloway's bequest, and the rest for bread or otherwise. Of c. £22 income in 1848 c. £14 went to the bread fund, c. £5 to an accumulating apprentice fund, and c. £3 was distributed in half crowns.

Mary Dewe (d. 1764) left £200 by will to employ the poor of Bampton 'in some manufactory'. (fn. 25) The interest was diverted to a proposed new workhouse in 1768 and towards medical expenses in 1784, and an attempt to establish a sacking factory was reportedly made c. 1795. (fn. 26) In 1815 South Sea annuities belonging to the charity were sold for c. £264, which was combined with c. £47 from a 'manufactory account' presumably representing the sacking cloth venture, and with accrued dividends of £253 presumably from another charity. The interest from £500 remaining after expenses was diverted to the National school. Susannah Frederick's bequest of £200 by will proved 1798, (fn. 27) the interest to be distributed in clothing, was received by 1824 after a delay, and before 1839 (fn. 28) both that and the Dewe legacy were invested with an organist's subscription fund totalling c. £600, the income being distributed proportionately to the poor in linen, to the National school, and to the organist.

Joseph Carter of Bristol, by will proved 1769, left £50, the interest to be paid to the unrelieved poor. Much of the bequest was lost c. 1837, and in 1844 capital and interest totalled only c. £30. (fn. 29) Edward Church (d. 1771) left an estate at Weald worth £14 a year to benefit poor widows, but his heir-at-law recovered it; James Leverett of Witney, by will proved 1783, (fn. 30) left £50 for bread, which was never received. Elizabeth Snell, by will proved 1788, (fn. 31) left £200 which in 1824 produced c. £8, though more was then distributed in kind. Thomas Dewe (d. by 1862) of Longworth (formerly Berks.) left £300, the interest to buy blankets, sheets, or clothing for the poor of Weald. (fn. 32) In 1801 total charitable income was c. £180, and in 1824 there were 100 loaves distributed weekly; many charities were mismanaged or neglected, and repeated attempts were made to overhaul their administration. (fn. 33)

A Scheme of 1888 combined Bampton's, Lew's, Aston's, and Brighthampton's charities, two organists' funds, and church lands totalling c. 12 a. as the Bampton Consolidated Charities. Under Schemes of 1906 and 1911 the Shilton estate and Mary Dewe bequest became the Bampton Educational Charity, and the church lands and organists' funds the Bampton Proper Ecclesiastical Charity. Total income of the Consolidated Charities in 1969 was c. £369, of which c. £155 were expended in general charitable relief in Bampton and Weald. Under a Scheme of 1972 the eleemosynary charities were reconstituted as the Bampton Welfare Trust, some income from which was used for educational purposes in 1993. (fn. 34)


  • 1. Based, except where stated, on 10th Rep. Com. Char. 345-56; Giles, Hist. Bampton, 88-102, 155-60.
  • 2. O.R.O., MS. Wills Oxon. 191, f. 415.
  • 3. Oxf. Chron. 23 Dec. 1854.
  • 4. Not mentioned in his will: P.R.O., PROB 11/112, ff. 102v.-103v. Cf. below, Aston and Cote, charities; Lew, charities.
  • 5. Berks. R.O., MS. Wills Berks. 137/74.
  • 6. O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Bampton c 9, item e; printed in Giles, Hist. Bampton, 151-5.
  • 7. P.R.O., PROB 11/214, ff. 230-2.
  • 8. O.R.O., MS. Wills Oxon. 54/3/9.
  • 9. P.R.O., PROB 11/126, f. 251 and v.
  • 10. Ibid. PROB 11/322, f. 363V.
  • 11. Ibid. PROB 11/384, f. 14v.; O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Bampton b 15, item d.
  • 12. P.R.O., PROB 11/372, f. 18v.; PROB 11/464, f. 153.
  • 13. 10th Rep. Com. Char. 345, wrongly stating that the bequest was for apprenticing; cf. O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Bampton c 9, copies of will; Giles, Hist. Bampton, 152-3; below.
  • 14. Above, educ.
  • 15. P.R.O., PROB 11/551, ff. 252-3; O.R.O., MSS. d.d. Par. Bampton b 11, f. 23v.; b 15, indentures.
  • 16. P.R.O., PROB 11/196, f. 276v.
  • 17. Copies in O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Bampton c 9.
  • 18. P.R.O., PROB 11/351, f. 327.
  • 19. Giles, Hist. Bampton, 152, 154.
  • 20. Ibid. 89; O.R.O., MS. Wills Oxon. 34/4/23.
  • 21. O.R.O., MS. Wills Oxon. 121/1/26.
  • 22. Ibid. 38/2/25; cf. below, Lew, charities.
  • 23. O.R.O., MS. Wills Oxon. 121/3/11.
  • 24. Ibid. 128/1/7. Lost bequests by Henry (£20) and Bartholomew Coxeter (£30), by wills proved 1654 and 1664, were perhaps also used to purchase some of the estates described: P.R.O., PROB 11/234, f. 217; PROB 11/314, f. 333v.
  • 25. O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Bampton c 9, extract from will; C.O.S., par. reg. transcripts.
  • 26. O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Bampton b 10, ff. 34v., 54V.; ibid. MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 327, p. 199; Char. Don. 966-7; 10th Rep. Com. Char. 347; above, local govt. (par. govt.).
  • 27. P.R.O., PROB 11/1308, f. 83.
  • 28. O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Bampton c 8, f. 165v.
  • 29. Giles, Hist. Bampton, 98.
  • 30. Copy in Bodl. G.A. Oxon. 8° 364.
  • 31. P.R.O., PROB 11/1161, ff. 325v.-327.
  • 32. O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Bampton c 12, extract from will.
  • 33. Ibid. b 10, ff. 36, 38v.-40v., 54, 61; c 8, ff. 2v., 118v.-119v., 212 and v.; Giles, Hist. Bampton, 88, 155-60.
  • 34. O.R.C.C., Kimber files; inf. from Major R. A. Colvile, Weald Manor.