Almshouses: Newport (Town)

Page 110

A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1973.

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These almshouses were built by William Glover on a site at the west end of the churchyard given him for this purpose by the burgesses in 1446. (fn. 1) They were apparently rebuilt by Thomas Reynolds, canon of Lichfield, and John Reynolds, who in 1496 settled £1 6s. 8d. a year for the support of four inmates, who were to be nominated, after the death of Elinor Reynolds and John Bromley, by the master of Newport College and the churchwardens. (fn. 2) Rent charges yielding a further £1 6s. 8d. were given by Robert Barnfield, c. 1568, (fn. 3) and by 1631 the annual income was found to amount to £5 5s. 2d. A stock of £161, representing bequests by 24 persons, was then being lent at interest by the churchwardens, though 'not with such care as were to be desired'. (fn. 4) By Chancery decree of the following year management was vested in 11 trustees, who were to nominate inmates with the advice of the churchwardens. (fn. 5)

Despite this reform the almshouse stock appears to have been misapplied in 1675, being used to buy land for the benefit of the poor in general. (fn. 6) By the 1760s, when the almshouse estate produced £17 5s. a year, (fn. 7) the inmates, always widows by this date, each received about £4 10s. a year. (fn. 8) Income from rents thereafter rose rapidly, reaching £55 by 1801, (fn. 9) and between 1794 and 1804 the trustees invested the surplus, together with a gift of £200, in £500 stock. (fn. 10) In 1821, when the total income was nearly £70, each inmate received weekly allowances of 4s. 6d. in the summer and 5s. in the winter, with an additional 10s. a year for coal and 5s. at Christmas. (fn. 11)

The original almshouses, with other houses around the churchyard, were demolished in 1836, when the existing almshouses were built in Vineyard Road. (fn. 12) The inmates were still receiving weekly allowances of 5s. apiece in 1868 but lower scales were introduced as income from rents declined in the later 19th century and such payments were discontinued during the Second World War. (fn. 13) By 1960, when several rent charges had been redeemed and part of the estate sold, over half the annual income of £55 was derived from £1,205 stock. (fn. 14) Most of the remaining estate was sold in 1963 to cover the cost of extensive repairs to the almshouses. (fn. 15)

The almshouses had no warden or common seal.


  • 1. T.S.A.S. [1st ser.] viii. 226.
  • 2. Ibid. ix. 117–123.
  • 3. Ibid. 132.
  • 4. C 93/13/25; T.S.A.S. [1st ser.] ix. 146–8; 5th Rep. Com. Char. H.C. 159, pp. 413–15 (1821), xii.
  • 5. T.S.A.S. [1st ser.] ix. 143–6.
  • 6. 5th Rep. Com. Char. pp. 415–16, 428.
  • 7. Town almshouses min. 1836–date, penes Messrs. Liddle & Heane, solicitors, Newport.
  • 8. Eng. Topog. (Gent. Mag.), x. 108.
  • 9. Town almshouses min. 1836–date.
  • 10. 5th Rep. Com. Char. p. 416.
  • 11. Ibid.
  • 12. Town almshouses min. 1836–date; T.S.A.S. [1st ser.] viii. 227; S.R.O. 1910/292, p. 233.
  • 13. Town almshouses min. 1836–date.
  • 14. Char. Com. files.
  • 15. Ibid.