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Charity Reports 1822/1904

Charity Report 1822

The Guildhall Library holds a set of volumes entitled "Charity Reports" (shelf ref L.41.1) which were compiled between 1819 and 1840 by the Commissioners for Inquiring Concerning Charities appointed under the Great Seal dated 16th July in the 59th year of the reign of George III in pursuance of two Acts of Parliament:

- the first of the 58th year of George III " An Act for appointing Commissioners to inquire concerning Charities in England, for the Education of the Poor";

- the second of the 59th year of George III "An Act to amend an Act of the last Session of Parliament for appointing Commissioners to inquire concerning Charities in England, for the Education of the Poor; and to extend the Powers thereof to other Charities in England and Wales". The report of the Bowyers' Company is set out in the 4th Report, printed 15th March 1822, on pages 155 to 156.

CHARTERED COMPANIES

Charities under the Management of the
BOWYERS' COMPANY

The only charity under the management of this company arises under the will of James Wood, who, by will dated 1st August 1625, devised his manor or lordship of Isly Walton (sic), in the county of Leicester, with certain messuages, lands, and tenements lying within the territories of Isly Walton (sic) aforesaid, Kegwarth (sic) and Osgathorp in the said county of Leicester, to the master, wardens, and commonalty of the company of Bowyers, and their successors for ever, in trust, that the master and wardens should yearly, out of the rents of the said manor and other premises, pay and bestow upon three scholars within the University of Oxford, and upon two more scholars within the University of Cambridge, freemen's sons of the company of Bowyers, if there should be any such; but if not, then upon five other poor scholars which have come from Christchurch school in London, or such others as the said master and wardens should think most fit, towards their maintenance at the University, the yearly sum of £6 each. Each scholar to receive the same for seven years, if he should so long continue at the University.

And in further trust that they should give and bestow upon six poor men or widows free of the said company of Bowyers, at Michaelmas yearly, one year unto each of the said persons three yards of broad cloth, of 10s the yard, to make a gown, and another year unto each of them 30s in money, and so on from year to year for ever; and to further purpose that the said master and wardens and livery should, every second year, upon the day when they swear their master and wardens, repair to the parish church of St Nicholas Cole Abbey, to hear a sermon, and then to give to the parson 30s for his sermon, and to the clerk and sexton 1s 6d a-piece, and to the churchwardens for the use of the poor of the said parish 10s to the beadle of the company 2s and unto the poor people they shall meet coming and going 15s in twopences, and should also upon quarter day, to be holden for the said company, give unto the yeomanry of the company 5s to be by them spent at their discretion, and should also bestow every half year for ever upon the poor of the said town of Walton 10s to be distributed amongst them at the discretion of the churchwardens; and to the further intent that the said master, wardens and commonalty of the said company of Bowyers, and their successors, should reserve and keep the residue of the rents, issues, and profits of the said manor, lordship, and other the premises, towards the purchasing of a hall, and to be otherwise employed at their discretion, for the use of the poor, and good of the said company.

The testator also gave to the company of Bowyers, £100 to be lent out to four discreet young men of the said company, by even portions, at three per cent for two years, and the interest to be distributed by the master and wardens unto and amongst the poorest of the freemen of the company, at their discretion. The Bowyers' Company are now in possession of the property devised by the testator.

They have increased the number of exhibitioners, and the allowance paid to them. There are now five at the University of Oxford and three at Cambridge, each of whom receives £10 annually. None of the present number of exhibitioners are freemen of the company, nor are any of them from Christchurch School. If any sons of Bowyers, or scholars from Christchurch, apply, the preference is given to them.

The payment to each of the six poor persons is now increased to £3 in the year in which cloth is not given, and in the year in which cloth is given, they each receive cloth for a gown, as directed by the testator, and 12s in money.

A sermon is annually preached at the church of St Nicholas Cole Abbey, and the company attend in their livery gowns, when the rector receives two guineas, and the curate, if present, receives one guinea. The company also pay to the parish clerk 7s and the sexton 5s; and to the churchwardens, for the use of the poor of that parish, £1 instead of the 10s directed by the will. They also distribute to poor people, who apply to them on that day, 30s instead of 15s. The yeomanry of the company receive 10s quarterly instead of 5s.

The poor of the town of Walton receive £1 yearly instead of 10s.

These increased allowances were made in October 1806; and in addition to the above payments specified in the will, the company also give to 40 charity children of the parish of St Nicholas Cole Abbey, 6d each on the day of sermon; to the schoolmaster and schoolmistress, each 10s 6d; and to the ward beadle 5s. The rest of the rents is carried to the general account of the company.

It is not known what is become of the £100 left to the company to be lent to young Bowyers; there remains no trace of that part of the testator's bequest.

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The report on Christ's Hospital is set out in 32nd Report (Part VI) , printed 1840, under the heading of "Wood's Gift" on pages 120 to 121.

James Wood died in 1629, four years after making his will in 1625. When the trust had been running for 89 years, the governors of Christ's Hospital complained to the Bowyers that none of its boys had been successful in receiving a university exhibition and begged to be given a fair allocation. The school referred the question to the court but, in the decision of Christ's Hospital v Bowyers' Company (1720), it was held that, following the wording of the will, the Company was entitled to use its discretion and could allocate the exhibitions as it felt fit. It is interesting to read in the report of the Commissioners, written 120 years after that decision, that "From the gift of the Bowyers' Company it does not appear that any benefit has ever been received by the pupils of the hospital".

The text of the entry is reproduced in full below.

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Wood's Gift

James's Wood of London, bowyer, by Will, bearing date 1st August 1625, gave to the mayor etc, and to their successors, a freehold messuage, with its appurtenances, situate at Cow Cross and Turnbull Street, in the parish of St Sepulchre, on condition that the governors of Christ's Hospital should yearly, on Thursday next after St James's day, bestow all the rents, or so much thereof as should be sufficient, upon good and wholesome flesh. to be roasted for the poor children of Christ's Hospital; and in case of the breach of such condition, he devised the premises over: he also gave to the Bowyers' Company the manor of Isley Walton, upon condition that, out of the rents thereof, they should bestow upon three scholars in the University of Oxford and two scholars in the University of Cambridge, freemen's sons of the said company, if there should be any such, but if not, upon five other scholars, who should have come from Christ Church school in London, or such other as the said master and wardens should think most fit, towards their maintenance at the said universities, the yearly sum of £6 apeice; all the saide scholars to receive such yearly sums for seven years, if they should continue so long at the university.

(See Fourth Report, p 155, Bowyers' Company).

The house at Cow Cross is still in the possession of the hospital, and is let for £4 per annum, which is carried to the general account of the hospital.

From the gift to the Bowyers' Company is does not appear that any benefit has ever been received by the pupils of the hospital.

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Endowed Charities 1904

The Guildhall Library also holds a set of volumes entitled "Endowed Charities" (shelf ref L.41.1) which were compiled between 1897 and 1904. The title page describes the contents as "comprising THE REPORTS made in every Parish wholly or partly within the Administrative County of London into Endowments, subject to the provisions of the Charitable Trusts Acts 1853 to 1891 and appropriated in whole or in part for the benefit of that County, or of any part thereof, together with the Reports on those Endowments of the Commissioners for inquiring concerning Charities, 1818 to 1837".

The report of the Bowyers' Company is set out in Volume 6, printed 10th August 1904, on page 578. The full text, which is a summary of the Charity Report of 1822 ( referred to as "our Fourth Report"), is reproduced below.

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Gift of James Wood

James Wood, by will, dated 1st August 1625, gave his manor of Isly Walton (sic), in the county of Leicester, with certain lands, etc lying within the territories of Isly Walton (sic), Kegwarth (sic) and Osgathorpe, in the said county, to the master, wardens, and commonalty of the company of Bowyers, in trust, among other things that the said master and wardens and livery should, every second year, when they swear their master and wardens, repair to the parish church of St Nicholas Cole Abbey, to hear a sermon and then to give to the parson the sum of 30s and to the clerk and sexton 1s 6d, a piece, and to the churchwardens for the poor of the said parish 10s.

The particulars of this donation are more fully stated among the charities entrusted to the Bowyers Company, at page 155 of our Fourth Report.

A sermon is preached in the church of this parish every other year, before that company, on which occasion 10s have usually been given by it to the parish; but in 1819, this payment was increased to £1. The rector, curate, clerk and sexton receive also gratuities from the company on the same occasion, in addition to the sums specifically given to them by the will.

The money paid by the company to the churchwardens for the use of the poor is applied in aid of the poor rates.

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The financial statements relating to the Parish of St Nicholas Cole Abbey are set out in "STATEMENT VI (42)" on pages 891 to 896. The following entries relate to James Wood's bequest:

page 891
Name of Charity - Wood (James)
Application - (Every second year)- Parson for sermon, 30s, Clerk 1s 6d, Sexton 1s 6d
Annual income £0 16s 6 d

page 892
Name of Charity - Wood (James)
Application - Poor (every second year) - 10s
Annual income £0 5s 0 d

page 894
Name of Charity - Wood (James)
Description of Property - Charge of £2 3s payable every second year on a farm at Isley Walton, Leicestershire (264 acres)
Annual income £1 1s 6d
Observations - Redeemed. The payment to the parson was redeemed at 20s instead of 30s, making the total charge £1 13s every second year, or 16s 6d a year.

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