Madeley: Charities for the poor

A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 11, Telford. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1985.

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'Madeley: Charities for the poor', in A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 11, Telford, (London, 1985) pp. 76-77. British History Online [accessed 21 April 2024]


In 1661 Michael Richards, the vicar, provided for a 5s. rent charge to be paid to five of the poorest people in the parish. Nothing more is known of the charity. (fn. 1) By 1674 five charitable sums given for the poor amounted to £22 and produced £1 6s. 5d. in 1674-5. By 1686 the capital was £34 9s. The parish appointed new trustees, among them Basil Brooke, in 1688 and regulated investment of the stock in 1695. The overseers seem to have used the charity money indiscriminately with the poor rate, a fact which may explain the statement in 1716 that the parish had no charities. (fn. 2)

The 17th-century charities probably account for at least one of two sums of £30 (fn. 3) added to a £40 legacy of Basil Brooke (d. 1699) for the parish poor. In 1706 and 1713 cottages, gardens, and other land in Madeley Wood were bought. In the later 18th century the income was distributed in sums of 5s. or less to widows and other poor. About 1796 a house of industry was built on the charity property, and in 1797 the property was in effect exchanged for rent charges of £18 4s. 6d. One Johnson, fl. before 1786, left a 5s. rent charge for five poor widows. By 1820 it had been commuted for £5 which, with £1 arrears, had been banked by the parish charity estate trustees. In the early 19th century the 5s. was distributed with the £18 4s. 6d. as clothing tickets. For over forty years in the mid 19th century, save in the cholera years, the charity income was accumulated as a reserve fund for times of exceptional distress. When the house of industry was sold c. 1878, £750 was added to the charity capital. Distribution resumed in 1879 and the charity was given away as blankets for many years thereafter. (fn. 4) Known from 1912 as Madeley United Charities, the income, c. £52 in 1975, was applied for the general benefit of the poor. (fn. 5)

James Embery (d. 1827) of Ironbridge left the interest on £50 for the relief of widows. (fn. 6) Nothing more is known of the bequest.

In 1839 Mrs. Cotton left the interest on £200 to buy bread for the poor. (fn. 7) The income was £5 in 1908, £14 in 1975.

The Bartlett Memorial Charity was founded in 1863 when land was conveyed in trust to be let to the deserving poor of Madeley parish as allotment gardens. (fn. 8) In 1975 income from land and stock was £9, surplus funds being used for the benefit of the poor.

The Wilcox Charity, founded by will proved 1865, was to be distributed to twenty or thirty widows of the Madeley Wood area. In 1975 income was £12.

James Mellor's charity, founded in 1870, was endowed with £36 12s. 5d.; half of the interest was to be used for twenty widows aged over sixty.

In the 1880s and 1890s some 10s. a year was so distributed. By 1963 the charity formed part of Madeley United Charities.

By will proved 1871 Edward Edwards left stock for gifts of bread, coal, or clothing, to Church of England widows of Coalbrookdale parish. In 1975 the income of his charity, which included a bequest of Elizabeth Edwards, was £10.

Mrs. Elizabeth Morgan's charity, established 1886, was endowed with £50. Around the turn of the century the annual income of c. £2 10s. was distributed to numerous widows. In 1975 income was £7.


  • 1. S.R.O. 2280/8/10. The settlement was revocable.
  • 2. Ibid. /6/1a, overseers' accts. 1673-1713; H.W.R.O. (H.), Heref. dioc. rec., reply to visit. articles, 1716.
  • 3. S.R.O. 2280/6/1a, note c. 1686 betw. overseers' accts. for 1683 and 1684, accts. for 1693.
  • 4. Char. Don. 1786-8, ii, H.C. 511-II, pp. 1040-1 (1816), xvi (2); 3rd Rep. Com. Char. H.C. 5, pp. 306-7 (1820), iv; Randall, Madeley, 217, 242-5; S.R.O. 210/2; 1681, copy lease and deeds of 1797 (boxes 143, 152) and deeds of 1805 (boxes 149, 152); 2280/6/103, inv. of char. deeds; /10/1-4, 7, 10-29, 117-18; Madeley ch. benefaction bd.
  • 5. S.C.C. chars. index; Review of Local Chars. (S.C.C. 1975), 65.
  • 6. Madeley ch. benefaction bd.; S.R.O. 2280/BRg/3, p. 185; /10/31.
  • 7. Rest of section based on Madeley ch. benefaction bd.; S.R.O. 2280/10/32-6, 47-119; 2280/Cha/1; S.C.C. chars. index; Review of Local Chars. 65.
  • 8. O.S. Nat. Grid SJ 698 040.