A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 17, Calne. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2002.
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CHARITIES FOR THE POOR.
An almshouse at the north end of the Green was built in the late 17th century by John Tounson (d. 1687). It consisted of a curved terrace of eight tworoomed cottages and was to be occupied by eight old people from Calne, Bremhill, and Highworth parishes nominated by the bishop of Salisbury and the vicar of Bremhill. Tounson intended to give land to provide an income for the inmates, but the land was encumbered and never entered on by his trustees. In the late 18th century the almshouse was managed as a poorhouse by Calne parish, and elderly women nominated by the vicar and churchwardens were housed in it. In 1834 the cottages were occupied by 14 women, all of whom received poor relief. In the 19th century and early 20th most inmates were women of Calne. In 1904 the vicar of Calne, authorized by the bishop of Salisbury and the vicar of Bremhill, managed the almshouse, which was lived in by eight widows aged over 70 and nominated by him. (fn. 1) The almshouse and several charities were jointly regulated by a Scheme of 1924. Money from the charities was used to maintain the almshouse, which was to be occupied by eight widows aged over 60 from the three parishes specified by Tounson. The almshouse was renovated in 1925, and in the 1960s it was converted to four cottages. By a Scheme of 1978 it was separated from all the charities except Luckett's; Calne Almshouse charity, including Stanier's charity, was created, and the trustees of the new charity were empowered to require the occupants of the cottages to contribute to the cost of maintaining the building. (fn. 2) In 2000, including such contributions from the occupants, the charity had an income of £11,136. (fn. 3)
In 1624 Elizabeth Swaddon carried out the wish of her husband William Swaddon (d. 1623) by giving land in Singleborough (Bucks.) to benefit the poor of five cities and towns including Calne, which was to receive £4 a year. From c. 1634 to 1834 or later the income was received by the constables of Calne who gave it as doles to poor inhabitants of the town. In the late 19th century and early 20th the money was received by the aldermen and spent on sheets or coal; 15 people were each given a pair of sheets in 1904. (fn. 4) Distribution of sheets continued until the mid 20th century. (fn. 5) By a Scheme of 1978 Swaddon's charity for Calne was united with Ernle's, Weekes's, and Hungerford's charities as Calne Relief in Need charity. (fn. 6) The new charity made occasional gifts of money to those suffering hardship or in distress and in 2000 had an income of £296. (fn. 7)
In 1695 Sir John Ernle (d. 1697) gave several premises in Calne to benefit four poor women of the town. The vicar and churchwardens were to receive the income and to nominate the beneficiaries from among the poor not receiving parish relief. The women were probably given cash in the 18th century, as they were in the 19th; in 1834 the charity's income was £13 1s. A new lease of one of the premises was made c. 1836 and the fine, £100, was invested. In 1878 most of the premises were sold, by 1883 £1,330 had been invested, and by 1897 a further £589 had been invested. By a Scheme of 1902 the charity was to benefit five poor widows from among the unrelieved poor of Calne, four nominated by the vicar and churchwardens, one by the trustees of the charity. The charity's income was then c. £93, and each widow was to be given 5s. 6d. a week. (fn. 8) From 1924 to 1978 Ernle's charity was regulated jointly with the almshouse and other charities; in 1978 it was united with other charities as Calne Relief in Need charity. (fn. 9)
By will proved 1736 Thomas Weekes gave 3 a. in Broughton Gifford to benefit poor widows of Calne. The vicar of Calne was the sole trustee of the charity and nominated the beneficiaries. In 1834 he gave away the charity's income, £7 13s., in doles of 2s. 6d. In 1846 the land was sold and £450 invested; doles continued to be given. In 1904 and the 1920s and 1930s the income was £13 and poor widows were given 2s. each; the charity occasionally paid for repairs to the almshouse. (fn. 10) In 1978 Weekes's charity was subsumed in Calne Relief in Need charity. (fn. 11)
In 1746 Walter Hungerford (d. 1754) gave a rent charge of £20 to the churchwardens and guild stewards of Calne, who were to use it to help the sick, wounded, or maimed inhabitants of Calne of their choice. The rent charge was not paid or claimed until 1792. By a compromise £400 instead of arrears was paid then, and it was invested in 1793. Thereafter the charity's income was given to the sick and aged poor of Calne; in 1904 the income was £30 and sums of 2s. 6d. were given away, (fn. 12) and in the 1920s and 1930s, when it was £26, necessities were occasionally bought for poor people. (fn. 13) In 1978 Hungerford's charity was subsumed in Calne Relief in Need charity. (fn. 14)
By 1621 the burgesses of Calne had received c. £150 from several donors as a stock for loans to poor craftsmen and artificers of the borough. (fn. 15) The stock, later managed as the Town Stock charity, was invested by the burgesses in a turnpike trust c. 1707, and in the earlier 19th century the income from it was distributed in sums of 3s. to the unrelieved poor of the town. In 1904 the income, £5 13s., was spent on c. 34 sheets, (fn. 16) and sheets were still given away in the 1920s and 1930s. In the 1940s the charity's income was allowed to accumulate. (fn. 17) By a Scheme of 1980 the Town Stock charity was managed with five other charities as the Calne Town charity. In 1995 the new charity had an income of c. £570 and made nine gifts totalling £402 to help the needy. (fn. 18)
Also by 1621 a Mrs. Wootton had given £52 to the burgesses of Calne, the interest to buy bread for the poor of Calne. (fn. 19) The bread was distributed by the vicar and churchwardens. The burgesses invested the capital with the town stock, and from 1764 to 1864 no money was given to the vicar and churchwardens and presumably no bread was distributed. In 1864 the capital and arrears of interest, a total of £76, were paid to the churchwardens. That money was deposited in a savings bank and the fund was later called the Savings Bank charity. In the late 19th century and early 20th the income, £1 18s., was allowed to accumulate as a fund to relieve distress. (fn. 20) In the 1920s the charity paid for blankets. (fn. 21) From 1924 to 1978 it was regulated jointly with the almshouse and other charities, and by a Scheme of 1978 it was united with the Baydon Lands charity and Henry Smith's charity as the Calne Advancement in Life charity. In 1993 the income of the new charity was £716, and grants of £150 were made to help young people being educated or trained. (fn. 22) In 2000 the income was £1,358. (fn. 23)
In 1627 Henry Smith endowed a charity to provide clothing or food for the old and infirm from among the labouring poor of many places, including Calne. In 1827 Calne received £20 9s. from the charity, and clothing was given to 158 inhabitants of the town. In 1866 blankets worth £12 were given away, and in 1904, when £11 6s. was received, 60-65 pairs of sheets were distributed. (fn. 24) From 1924 to 1978 the charity was regulated jointly with the almshouse and other charities. In 1978 it was subsumed in the Calne Advancement in Life charity. (fn. 25)
The Baydon Lands charity originated in several gifts of money, including one of £200 from Henry Smith, made to the burgesses of Calne after 1621. The money was used to buy 27 a. in Baydon in 1636, (fn. 26) and the income from the land was spent with the money received from Henry Smith's charity. In 1834 the Baydon Lands charity had a gross income of £23, in the late 19th century and early 20th one of £22. In the early 20th century the fund was allowed to accumulate. (fn. 27) Between 1913 and 1920 the land was sold and the proceeds, and the accumulated income, were invested. In the 1920s the charity paid for apprenticing. (fn. 28) From 1924 to 1978 the charity was regulated jointly with the almshouse and other charities. In 1978 it was subsumed in Calne Advancement in Life charity. (fn. 29)
In 1863 £1,000 from the estate of Henry Harris (d. 1861) was given to trustees, who were to spend the interest on blankets and overcoats for the poor of Calne parish. The charity's income was £25 a year. Blankets were given in most years until the 1950s, and in 1904 there were 98 recipients. Overcoats were given in 1940. (fn. 30) By will proved 1891 Joseph Harris gave the income from £200 to benefit 20 poor parishioners, including those living in the almshouse; the income was spent on coal. (fn. 31) By will proved 1895 Thomas Caish gave the proceeds of the future sale of a house in Calne to be invested to buy coal for the poor of the borough; the house was valued at £200 in 1904 (fn. 32) and was presumably sold later. By will proved 1908 Thomas's relict Susannah Caish endowed a charity for a similar purpose, and by a deed of 1905 Thomas Harris also founded a coal charity for the poor of Calne. From the 1920s to the 1950s the charities of Joseph Harris, Susannah Caish, and Thomas Harris were managed together; the income, £46 in 1935, was spent on coal. In 1980 all five charities were subsumed in Calne Town charity. (fn. 33)
By will proved 1897 H. A. Luckett gave the income from £100 to benefit the women in the almshouse at Christmas. In 1904 £2 4s. was spent on coal for them. (fn. 34) From 1924 the charity was regulated jointly with the almshouse. (fn. 35)