Stogursey: Charities for the poor

Pages 157-159

A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 6, Andersfield, Cannington, and North Petherton Hundreds (Bridgwater and Neighbouring Parishes). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1992.

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William Paulet (fl. 1412-16) of Beere in Chilton Trinity endowed almshouses for six poor people. (fn. 1) One of them was to ring the bell and read prayers twice a day; the surviving bell is said to be medieval. By 1823 the endowment comprised lands in Stogursey, Nether Stowey, and Over Stowey producing c. £190. The estate was sold in 1919 when the income was c. £240, and the money invested in stock. A charity founded under the will of Maud Stodden dated 1727 for poor spinsters or widows was in 1826 distributed weekly to eight women. The charity lands, worth c. £54 a year, were sold in 1919 and the proceeds invested. In 1978 the two charities were combined to form a housing association but a Christmas distribution is also made from the Stodden charity. (fn. 2)

The almshouses, rebuilt in the 16th century, (fn. 3) stood in the main street of Stogursey at the east end of an island of buildings. They were demolished in 1869 and the women's almshouse, for six women, was built in Lime Street. (fn. 4) An almshouse for three men was built in 1821 at the corner of Castle Street and St. Andrew's Road. Both houses were remodelled in 1981. (fn. 5)

Richard Tilley or Tapp of Stockland Bristol gave £40 to the poor of Stogursey by his will dated 1599 (fn. 6) and Walter Walford gave £10 in 1618. (fn. 7) By 1658 these gifts together with those of John Burland and John Burland, senior, Widow Currill, Baldwin Hillman, George Hobbes, John Shurt, Thomas Symons, and Walter Tapscott totalled £105 10s. and by 1673 Joan Burland, John Day, Mary Hobbes, and Thomas Hobbes had given another £33. (fn. 8) John Meredith of Taunton, by will dated 1677, (fn. 9) left £100 to provide the poor with clothing and William Hellier gave £10 to the poor in 1689. (fn. 10) Sir John Wroth and Peregrine Palmer gave £20 each to the poor on the deaths of their wives. All those charities, many still regularly distributed in 1705, (fn. 11) had been lost by 1786. (fn. 12) William Daniel gave a £5 rent charge in 1764 for a sermon and bread for the poor on Ash Wednesday and for poor children to be taught to read; (fn. 13) it had been lost by 1826.

James Morgan by will of 1727 gave £50 to be invested in land to relieve 10 poor householders and to provide a Good Friday sermon: £5 was distributed annually between 1797 and 1894. John Mascol by will of 1731 gave a rent charge to be distributed to 30 poor families twice a year; (fn. 14) by 1950 this charity, also known as the Candlemas Bread, was restricted to 6 poor persons and was distributed in cash or in kind. (fn. 15) In 1989 the Mascol and Morgan charities were given to elderly women at Easter. (fn. 16) Frances Palmer, by will dated 1760, gave £100 to be invested in land for the poor and Robert Banks, butler at Fairfield, by will of 1815, gave £200 to be invested in land for 10 poor persons. (fn. 17) Both charities were declared void in 1820; the land passed to the Acland family and Peregrine Acland invested a sum in consols c. 1825, the income to be distributed to the poor as the Palmer and Banks charities. (fn. 18) Under a trust of 1965 the Palmer and Banks charities were to be used for charitable purposes in the parish and in 1989 were distributed to elderly women. (fn. 19)


  • 1. S.R.O., D/P/stogs 17/7/14; DD/AH 65/2; below, Chilton Trinity.
  • 2. S.R.O., DD/AH 11/16; D/D/Vc 88; D/P/stogs 17/3/2- 3; 15th Rep. Com. Char. 365-71; Char. Com. reg.
  • 3. Taunton Castle, Braikenridge colln., drawing 1845; cf. above, plate facing p. 152.
  • 4. S.R.O., tithe award; ibid. D/P/stogs 17/3/1, 17/3/12/2, 17/7/4.
  • 5. Ibid. D/P/stogs 17/3/12/2; stone on building.
  • 6. Som. Wills, ed. Brown, v. 17.
  • 7. S.R.O., D/P/stogs 2/1/1.
  • 8. Ibid. 13/2/1.
  • 9. 15th Rep. Com. Char. 372.
  • 10. S.R.O., D/P/stogs 4/1/2.
  • 11. Ibid. 17/1/4.
  • 12. Char. Don. pp. 1048-9.
  • 13. S.R.O., D/P/stogs 4/1/2, 17/1/4; above, educ.
  • 14. 15th Rep. Com. Char. 372; S.R.O., D/P/stogs 4/1/3-4; DD/AH 28/4, 29/1.
  • 15. Char. Com. reg.
  • 16. Inf. from the Revd. A. E. Applegarth, rector.
  • 17. 15th Rep. Com. Char. 372; S.R.O., D/P/stogs 4/1/4.
  • 18. S.R.O., D/P/stogs 17/7/40.
  • 19. Char. Com. reg.; inf. from rector.