Posts Tagged ‘charity’

The Bishop Tanner Christmas Coal Charity

September 11, 2016

Amongst documents recently passed to the museum are papers concerning a number of charities. Here we see the accounts of one charity for 1907 – the Christmas Coal Charity funded by Bishop Tanner. The Bishop was the son of a Vicar of Market Lavington and became the Vicar of St Asaph in Wales.

Here are the accounts.

Coal charity accounts - 1907

Coal charity accounts – 1907


We can see that 120 hundredweight of coal was distributed amongst 68 parishioners at a cost of £7-10-0. Of this just a pound came from the old charity with most of the rest being from the offertory on Christmas day. The Vicar put a shilling in the pot

What we think is lovely is that the people who benefited from this charity are listed.


Recipients of the coal charity – 1907

There are many familiar local names here receiving one, two or three hundredweights of coal.


The Reverend George Grisdale Hicks’ gift

September 7, 2016

The small charities which have been administered by the church are probably a cause of much work and soul searching these days. In the 1880s the Reverend George Grisdale Hicks left £50 for the purchase of a consolidated 3% annuity, the income from which was to be spent ‘for the benefit of deserving and necessitous inhabitants of East Lavington to be selected for this purpose by the said Vicar by way of gifts in money, clothing, fuel or other articles in kind, or to be applied in any other way the said Vicar may choose for the benefit of the aforesaid deserving and necessitous inhabitants’.

And here we see the certificate for the 3% consolidated annuity.


Certificate for the Reverend George Grisdale Hicks’ Gift

If our maths is correct this yields £1.50 each year. The paper working administering this probably costs more and the benefits which can be given out are tiny. Sensibly, a number of small and similar charities have been merged.

But the surprising question here is, ‘Who was Reverend George Grisdale Hicks?’ He was not a vicar at Market Lavington Church.

All we can say is that in 1881 he was a boarder at Fiddington House where Charles Hitchcock was in charge. Hicks was listed as a clergyman without cure of souls and he had been born in Coberley in Gloucestershire in about 1835. We have not yet found what brought him to Fiddington House but he is not listed among the patients who were resident at this private lunatic asylum.

He died soon after this census.

Anybody who can tell us more – we’d be interested to hear.


The Townsend Charity

September 5, 2016

In amongst items recently given to the museum concerning charities there is a blue envelope addressed to Revd E B Cockayne Frith who was the Vicar at the time the letter was sent.

Envelope containing documents concerning the Townsend Charity

Envelope containing documents concerning the Townsend Charity

It is clearly marked Townsend Charity and has an official duty paid mark for 1897.

There is, of course, a letter inside.


We do not have the letter sent by the Vicar that elicited this reply but we assume he may have been wanting to simplify charity work The enclosure, which we have transcribed below, gives the details of the Townsend Charity.



Extract from the Printed Parliamentary Reports of the Former Commissioners for Inquiring Concerning Charities. Vol 28. Page 386. Dated 10th January 1834.


James Townsend, of Great Cheverell, by His Will, bearing date 12th May 1725 bequeathed to the Churchwardens and Over-seer-s of the Poor for the time being of the Parish of Market Lavington the yearly sum of 40/- upon trust with the approbation of the Minister for the time being, to layout the same on two cloth coats of a grey colour and two hats for the use of two such poor men of the said parish as had no relief of the said Parish or to buy clothes therewith for two such poor women of the said parish as they should think fit to be delivered to them On St Thomas’s Day yearly; and his will was, that the said sum should be paid yearly out of his closes and lands in Easterton which he purchased of William Edwards for and during the term and estate which he then had or should have therein and he did thereby charge the said closes and lands for the due payment thereof.

The last distribution of clothes under this Charity was made about 60 years ago. A belief exists in the parish of Great Cheverell that the lands Charged with the annual payment of 40/- were only leasehold and that the Charity hath ceased in consequence of the termination of the lease. No mention is made of Townsend’s Charity in the Parliamentary Returns of 1786.

So it seems this charity only really existed in the 18th century although it was still on the books at the end of the 19th.

The Bread Charity

August 28, 2016

It may surprise people to know that the ancient charities, set up in the distant past by village worthies, ran until comparatively recent times. The Sainsbury Bread Charity was set up in 1795/96 with the aim of providing some bread for the poor of the parish. The items we show today date from 1980.

A list of names was drawn up – potential recipients of the charity. Some were included because of their pensioner status, others because they were widows or widowers and some because they had children in need. This was a church based charity so Vicar, churchwardens and a small committee drew up the list. Each person was issued with a ticket.

Sainsbury Bread Charity ticket

Sainsbury Bread Charity ticket

The instructions are simple. Your usual baker will exchange a loaf of bread for this ticket. The baker may or may not have put a mark on the ticket but this one has a shop stamp on the back.

This ticket has been stamped by the Mcormacks at the Spar shop on Church Street

This ticket has been stamped by the Mcormacks at the Spar shop on Church Street

Ah! A reminder, here, of the former Spar shop in the village at 7 Church Street. In 2016 we have the Coop for groceries. Back in 1980 there were the two shops and back into history there were others.

The McCormacks put their bill in to the charity – presumably with the requisite number of tickets.

The McCormacks put their bill into the charity

The McCormacks put their bill into the charity

We can see that the local Spar shop received 10 tickets exchanged for loaves at 36p each. They will have received their money from the charity.

These days the old charities have had their small sums of money merged so that best use can be made of what, really, are very limited funds.

But it is good to be able to recall these old days.

At the 1931 Hospital Week

November 21, 2015

Photographs do only provide a snapshot – an instant in the life of a person or place. But we think we can be fairly sure in saying that Mabel Sayer, wife of bus company owner Fred, loved dressing up and taking part in the carnival known as Hospital Week.

We have a number of photos of Mabel in various different costumes and each taken in a different year during that week when Market Lavington and Easterton raised money to support hospitals and those people who could not afford medical care.

Here we see Mabel in 1931.

Mabel Sayer dressed up for the 1931 Hospital Week in Market Lavington and Easterton

Mabel Sayer dressed up for the 1931 Hospital Week in Market Lavington and Easterton

Mabel is dressed as a school girl. She carries a satchel over her shoulder and carries a notice to announce, ‘I have won a skollopship’.

These snapshots certainly give a feeling of fun. Hospital Week had a serious purpose, but was a week to let your hair down and enjoy yourself.

Mabel Weston had been born in Bath in about 1880. She married Fred in about 1900. The couple had one child. The family moved to Market Lavington in about 1912 and later retired to a nearby bungalow. We lose track of Mabel after the death of Fred in 1934.

A Tombola Ticket

March 3, 2015

It was back in 2011 that we published a list of tombola winners for the Market Lavington and Easterton Hospital Effort of 1923. The first prize was a fat lamb offered by Mr Watts.

The same event was offered again for the 1924 effort. This is being written at a time when the British National Health Service is being criticised for long waits in accident and emergency centres, bed blockers, giving the wrong kind of flu jabs etc. It’s worth reminding ourselves that until the formation of our NHS, most people relied on somebody else contributing to a charity if they needed health care of any kind. If you needed your GP it cost money. If you needed an ambulance it cost more. If you needed hospital care it was even more expensive. The truth is we are lucky to have a very good health service paid for by national taxation of one kind or another so that we get free treatment when needed.

Back in 1924 to get a bit of help with the cost of medical treatment people bought tickets for a tombola. They hoped to win a good prize and all profits were administered by a charity to assist ill people in need. And here is one of those tickets.


1924 Tombola ticket for Market Lavington and Easterton Hospital Effort

1924 Tombola ticket for Market Lavington and Easterton Hospital Effort

It’s called a tombola but it sounds much like we’d call a raffle. The first prize was that fat lamb – one imagines butchered, but still a problem in 1924 with no freezers for storage.

The prize draw must have been a lengthy process with about a hundred prizes. Presumably notices in the village told hopeful prize winners what time to turn up at the Parish Hall.

That’s an interesting little relic of times past.

Oh! One good thing about those old days was that people had a lot of fun raising money.

Here is the news – for 1936

January 12, 2014


We have a number of old newspapers at the museum – kept for ages by locals for some reason of interest and then passed on to the museum. This is one of them – The Wiltshire Gazette for Thursday 23rd January 1936.

Amongst articles in it we have this one.



We’ll skip the first couple of bits although, of course, the passing of a King was sad news, and move on to ‘Appropriate’. Here’s the transcription.

One of the artistes at a Market Lavington entertainment in aid of the Devizes and District Hospital extension fund was actually born in the hospital, while the little programme seller who was chosen to select a prize winner from the purchasers of programmes has been a patient there. The entertainment was held in the Market Lavington parish room, the arrangements having been made by the local hospital committee. The programme was provided through the good offices of Mr and Mrs Shephard of Easterton who made themselves responsible for the actual items. The proceedings opened with a balloon dance by the Misses R Clark, J Cooper, H and M Shephard and subsequently the same performers were seen in national dances with songs. Others contributing to the entertainment were Miss C Draper (songs), Mr W Harding of Erchfont (songs), The Misses M Harding and Joy Shephard (dialogue), Mr E Plank (monologue), Mr Crocker of Erchfont (songs), Mrs J Shephard (recitation), Miss Little and Mr S Sainsbury (“Darby and Joan”). Taking part in a diverting little sketch were Messrs W Austin, R Maule and J Shephard. There was a grand finale in the form of a well mixed variety turn by Mr and Mrs J Sheppard, and during this the winner of the programme prize was selected, the lucky holder being Mrs E Potter. The prize was given by Mr Jack Hill. Miss Milsom and two little girls dressed as nurses (little Miss Blake and Miss Dulcie Clark) were responsible for the sale of programmes and in this direction thanks are due to Mr Wilfred Moore for printing the programmes free. In fact a notable feature of the whole entertainment was the absence of overhead expense, and the unselfish work of the organisers was well rewarded when it became known that by their efforts £11 7s was available for the Hospital extension fund. At the close of the evening Mr G H Pike briefly thanked everyone whose work or support had contributed to the success of the concert.  The useful sum raised has been forwarded to the Hospital through Mr Robert Gauntlet and a grateful letter of thanks has been received by the organisers.

We had better add that our museum is wonderful, lovely and a great resource, but if you want to see a full range of local papers then we are NOT the place. You’ll need to head up to the Wiltshire and Swindon History centre in Chippenham

A Charity Collection Box

October 22, 2013

The sealed box into which a householder put money for a chosen charity, used to be a part of life for many people. Each year there was what may be called a grand opening day which revealed just how much money had been put in the box and could go to the charity.

We have just been given such a box at Market Lavington Museum. The charity was the London City Mission which was supported by members of the local Congregational Church.

The box is a simple wooden affair, with each side having a photograph stuck on which explains the needs and functions of the Mission.

London City Mission collection box, now at Market Lavington Museum

London City Mission collection box, now at Market Lavington Museum

Each side has a photo and information about the Mission

From a village point of view it is the bottom which is most interesting for it has the local names of box holder and the local secretary.

The box holder and local secretary get a mention on the base of the box

The box holder and local secretary get a mention on the base of the box

The box holder was Mrs Bishop and this is none other than the former Miss Draper who received that odd message on a postcard of the Robbers’ Stone which we saw just a few days ago.

The box had last been opened on 21st March 1968. By this stage Mrs Edith Bishop was well into her 80s. It seems she had collected thirteen shillings which is 65p in present money. It may not sound much but as an elderly pensioner Mrs Bishop probably had very little to spare. Incidentally, thirteen shillings works out precisely as 3d per week.

The secretary was Anna A Hopkins. The Hopkins family were long time members of the Congregational Church in Market Lavington but it seems Annie was a Devizes resident and was the collection secretary for a wide area around Devizes.

What an interesting little addition to our collection.

The Better Sort of Parishioner

October 18, 2011

We saw, yesterday, that in Bishop Tanner’s bequest he left 20 shillings (one pound)

to be spent at a friendly meeting of his Trustees therein named, and such of the better sort of the parishioners as they should think fit to invite in the evening of St. Paul’s day, to promote peace and good neighbourhood, and preserve some little regard to the memory of his honoured parents.

Today we are looking at the people selected to share in the pounds worth of charity money in 1952. Clearly these  are ‘The Better Sort of Parishioner’. Peggy Gye always used to suggest that Bishop Tanner felt that those folk who didn’t qualify for ‘money for the poor’ should benefit from a social gathering. It’s quite a nice idea.

Parishioners gathered for the Bishop Tanner Charity Party in 1952 - a photo at Market Lavington Museum

The people shown here are:

Back Row from left: Mr Nightingale,  P Gye, W Mundy, D Baker, V Osmond, T Gale, W Francis, M Prowse, E Wellings, B Huxtable.

Middle row from left: M Hiscock, B Francis, D Perry, O Sainsbury, not known, E Davis, DS Andrews, Mrs Arthur, K Perry, not known, not known.

Front row from left to right: Ed Potter, N Hiscock, E Phillips, Rev Arthur, Mrs Hawes,  Mrs Cooper, G Milsom.

As ever, if you can add any further information, then do, please, get in touch.

The Bishop Tanner Charity

October 17, 2011

Bishop Tanner was the Bishop of St Asaph in Wales. He was the son of Thomas Tanner, Vicar of Market Lavington.

The Bishop remembered his birth parish in his will. This extract referring to the charity comes from the WiltshireArchaeological and Natural History Magazine for 1872.

How Bishop Tanner devized his charity for Market Lavington (which included Easterton at this time).

Below is a transcription.

Thomas Tanner, D.D., late Bishop of St. Asaph, by his will bearing date 22nd November. 1733, and proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, 7th February, 1735, bequeathed to the Rev. Mr. John Sainwell and five others, all of Market Lavington in the county of Wilts, his native place, and to the Vicar or his resident Curate there for the time being, the sum of £200 with interest, and upon trust, that they, the survivors or survivor of them, should therewith purchase some rent charge or some estate in land, the rents of which should be applied yearly and every year in the manner and form following:

First, to the Vicar or his Curate, for a sermon to be preached in the afternoon of the Feast day of the Conversion of St. Paul, in the parish church of Lavington, aforesaid, on repentance, faith, obedience, good works, humility, meekness, sobriety, contempt of the world, resignation to Providence, God’s mercy to mankind, men’s duty in showing mercy to others, or some other practical subject, 13s. 4d.

To the clerk and sexton between them for attending and ringing the bell, 3s.

To the ringers for two short peals upon the six bells, one at break of day, and the other after sermon in the afternoon, 6s.

20s. to be spent at a friendly meeting of his Trustees therein named, and such of the better sort of the parishioners as they should think fit to invite in the evening of St. Paul’s day, to promote peace and good neighbourhood, and preserve some little regard to the memory of his honoured parents.

20s. to be yearly disposed of towards the teaching of some poor children to write and read, whose friends were not able to pay for their schooling.

20s. to buy four bibles with common prayer, to be given also yearly on St. Paul’s day to such four poor persons in the said parish as in the opinion of the Vicar or his Curate were most likely to make the best use of the same, and were least able to buy such.

And the remainder of the clear produce of the said legacy, to be given away yearly and every year, after prayers and sermon on the said St. Paul’s day in the said Church, among so many poor people of the said parish, to be nominated by the Vicar, or in his absence the Curate, as it would reach to, at twelve pence each.

This is really a sort of preamble. Tomorrow we’ll look at some of ‘the better sort of the parishioners’.