(Part 5, Chapter 2, Section 1) ( Bk. Index )

Ancient Charities

The William Older school charity of 1680 is not included in this review, it is such a substantial history with a pivotal role in Angmering life, that it has been given its own chapters.

Longback Cottages are also in another section, under the Civil Parish, or the Vestry in its civil function.  They were not provided as a charity, strictly speaking, but as a duty under the Poor Law.

The Ancient Charities

Capital sums invested
Thomas Martin Charity 1613 for poor people £5
John Reed Charity 1633 for poor people £8
Henry Hilton Charity 1641 for poor men for 99 years £16 to £24 annually
William Older 1680 to poor people 20s annually paid out of land
John Manning Charity 1724 for poor widows £20
John Day clerk Charity 1761 for poor people £2

Parochial Charities

Following the upheaval of the reformation, by the 17th century, administration of parochial charities had become an integral part of the vestry system. The parson, with the churchwardens and overseers of the poor, were recipients and administrators of parishioners' bequests for the poor.  From 1786 these charities were registered with Clerks of the Peace, and details forwarded to Parliament.  Then, from 1819, the Charity Commissioners published reports from which much of our knowledge of long defunct foundations is gleaned. From 1835 large municipal authorities and boroughs took over civil charities from the church, but it was not until the creation of Parish Councils in 1894 that a similar step was taken in rural parts such as Angmering. The Charity Commission was established in 1853 to oversee all charities registered with them and, indeed, since that time many clubs and societies have acquired charitable status although far removed from pure poor relief and education.

Ancient Charities now extinct

There is very little information on charities and relief of poverty prior to nationalisation of the church by Henry VIII.  Almshouses, schools, and the like, do not appear to have existed in Angmering, although provision for  schooling there may have been. 

It is from the very few surviving wills of the early 16th century that we find testators were more concerned about their souls, leaving sums of money for priests to say masses, or dirges.  ‘Item I bequeath 10s for a trentall of masses to be said for my soule and for the soulles of my grandfather … his wife … my mothers soule and all Christian soules.’  [John Hochyn 1532]  Come the Reformation of Edward VI and Protestant thought precluded masses, with the soul saved by the death of Jesus of Nazareth.

The parish now began to adopt secular functions, churchwardens and other officers began to take on responsibilities that included anything from highways to care of the poor.  Wills now usually opened with small gifts to the cathedral and parish church, and continued with bequests to the poor.  ‘I give and bequeve unto the Peor Mens Boxe 6d.” [Margaret Younge 1554]  However, substantial bequests of capital to fund yearly outlay on the poor do not seem to have been made until the 17th century, at a time when the poor rate had also been instituted, administered by overseers.

The earliest source listing charities in churchwarden hands, is the Church Inspection Book of 1724. The Older dole may not have been noted because they had no oversight of this.  [EpI/26/3 and SRS 78]

‘The Benefactions are the use of £5 to the poor given by Jn Reed and the use of £5 by Thom’s Martin the Principal now in the hands of Wm Gratwick Esq.
Also the use of £20 by John Manning to poor Widows not receiving Alms the principal now in the hands of Wm Oliver
Also £16 per annum to 12 poor men by Baron Hilton. 
In West Angmering is a School endowed with a peice of Land of the yearly value of £25 by Thom’s Older for teaching 25 poor children of the said Parish. The psent Master is Mr Henry Walmsley for whom and for whose Successors there is built a good dwelling house and School house.’ 

The immediate remark has to be made that it is strange how, only 44 years after his decease, William Older should be called Thomas. Was there a simple confusion with Thomas Olliver who was the first trustee?

There is also a question about various bequests to the parish poor that were lost sight of before 1724. Or perhaps the money was used by the overseer and churchwardens immediately, and not invested so as to provide annual interest.

In this foundation, poor people were each to be given a penny, with a total  fund of £2 13s 4d:.
John Young 1547
“I will 4 marks be gevyn to poore people by pennye dole ...”

John Henhays curate 1561 of East Angmering
“the poore people of my parishe 6s 8d”

Occasionally aid would be given in kind.
Stephen Chatfield 1580
“Item I give unto the poore of ... Angmering ... half a quarter of wheate and halfe a quarter of barlye”

Thomas Grawicke 1595
“Item I give ... to the poore of the parishe of Westangmeringe 10s”

Virtually every will made by people of any substance had a bequest both to the church, and to the poor. It was the accepted ethic.  It was not until the 17th century that the Poor Law and Overseers brought a new way of looking at the ‘problem’ of poverty.  A poor rate being charged.

It is virtually certain that some paupers received aid from the poor rate, or lived in parish owned cottages, and also received annual doles from charities, as observed by Harris regarding Longback Cottages.

John Baker of Ecclesden in 1611
“Item I give to the Cathedrall Churche of Chichester Three shillinges and
fower pence  Item I give to the poore of the parishe of Angmeringe Twentie shillings
Item I give to the poore of the parishe of Rustington Tenn shillinges Item I give to the
poore of the parishe of Lyminster Tenn shillinges.”

Hugh Penfold 1659
“Imprimus I give unto the poore people of the p[ar]ish of Angmering xxs”. [20 shillings]

Thomas Gittens 1678
“Item I give unto the poor of the parish of Angmering five pounds  to be distributed among them at the discretion of my Overseers”

I the next instance it is made clear that the money was to distributed and not invested.

Thomas Gratwicke 1710
“And Lastly I give and bequeath to the poor of Ham and Angmering Five pounds to be distributed amongst them at the direction of my said Executors within one Month next after my decease.”

If any of these  were kept as funds nothing was known or reported in 1724.  Substantial bequests and specific conditions were needed.

The final example is slightly amusing. Could it be that Edmunds was a cattle farmer and butcher. He was indeed.

John Edmunds 1795

“Churchwardens and Overseers of Angmering  £10 In Trust to be by them laid out in Beef and to be distributed to the poor of the Parish of Angmering"

Taking only those wills that received probate at Chichester, between 1601 and 1650, the total amount observed as bequeathed to the ‘poor’ amounted to £5. 6s. excluding the Martin and Reade Charities.  That is to say in an average year at least 2 shillings would have been distributed amongst the sick, old and infirm. Since at least 20 shillings can be added to that total from Canterbury probate wills, it is probable the annual average was nearer 3 shillings. Wages early in the century were about 1s a day. These bequests were salves to the conscience. A truer and common sentiment was expressed by the curate John Day in 1761, a landed proprietor:  “As to the worldly Estate which it has pleased God to bless me with.”

Thomas Martin 1613
It is only recently that research into local wills has revealed the true origin of the earliest charity. That of Thomas Martin in 1613. His will stating:
“Item I giver will and bequeathe to the poore people of Angmeringe aforesayd
the some of fyve poundes of good and lawfull monye of England which I will my
executors within one yeare next after my decease shall paye to the Churchwardens and
overseers of the poore of Angmering aforesayd to be by them and their successors
yearly ymployed and bestowed uppon some Comodytey or other wyse that may [yeild]
yearly some proffitt or benefitt to be assured unto the same poore people…”

Similar sums were bestowed upon East Preston and Ferring. [A Dean 6]

Some little is known of Thomas Martin.  Born in Ferring in the 1550s he lived much of his life in East Preston before coming to Angmering, and for a short period resided in London where he clearly pursued his career as a mercer.  Latterly he had acquired land in Angmering in the common fashion of those who had found wealth. In East Preston the source of the fund became entirely confused, with another person given the credit of being the founder. At least Angmering remembered the name, although not the date of foundation.

John Reade 1633
The next small fund came from John Reade husbandman of Ecclesden in 1633.
‘Item I give and bequeath unto the poore of the parrish of Angmering [in Sussex] the some of Eight pounds of currant English money to bee delivered into the hands of the Churchwardens and Overseers of the poore of the sayd parrish to this intent that the use thereof shal bee by them distributed to the poore uppon the feast day of the Nativity of our blessed Saviour for ever." 
John does not appear to have been a substantial person, owning little but sheep, but refers to his ‘master’ Thomas Baker, presumably of Ecclesden Manor, where indeed he may have lived.

Henry Hilton 1641
Baron Hilton’s bequest dated from just prior to the Civil War, and is quite a different matter.  No connection between the parish and such a personage is presently known about, but there is a note about him in a recent publication. [SRS 78]  There is some considerable divergence beween this account and the 1724 Inspection quoted, in which £16 per annum was available for 12 poor men of the parish.
"Baron Hilton is to be identified with Henry Hilton, listed in 1630 as of ‘Clapham Esquire’, where he died; his will, in which he is described as of Hilton, co. Durham, was proved on 3 March 1641. In it he left money to the churchwardens or overseers of parishes in a number of counties.  Among them were bequests of £20 to each of 13 Sussex parishes …" [SRS 78]
Another source claims that Angmering was one of 13 parishes which should have received £24 annually for 99 years, under this bequest. [VCH p52]

William Older 1680
This is noted more fully under Older's Charities.  It was a 20 shilling annual dole to the poor paid out of a local farm. Being dependent on the farm owner, it was not the usual kind of charity in the hands of the churchwardens. On the decease of George Olliver of Kingston in 1861 payments failed, probably permanently.

John Manning 1724
Bringing the charities to their full complement in 1724 is that of John Manning, £20 to poor widows not receiving alms.  This had only been established four years previously in 1720 by a yeoman farmer of the parish.
"Item … Parish of Angmering [£20] for ever to be putt out to Interest in very good hands … the use thereof to be yearly and every year distributed to the poor Widows of the said parish unto all the poor Widows the Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor shall think to be in most want."
John was indeed wealthy by local standards, his goods and funds valued at £615, of which £580 was in funds no doubt representing a recent sale of his farm and stock.  The Manning name is notable in the district although the family tree has not been completed.

John Day - clerk - 1761
John Day was a curate at Angmering and East Preston, and elsewhere, during the 18th century. He held a small landed property at Rackham and was related to the Palmer family of Bakers Row.  Living at Angmering, he made his will in 1759 leaving forty shillings to the poor of the parish, and also £5 to a parish in Monmouth. 
John Day of Angmering Clerk, will made 30th April 1759 [PRO]:
“Also I give and bequeath the sum of Forty Shillings to the poor of the parish of Angmering aforesaid.”
His will was proved 1st October 1761

In 1835 the Charity Commissioners reported:

"It appears that by a resolution of the Vestry of the Parish of Angmering the Overseers were directed to discontinue a payment of £1 13s per annum which had for many years been made to certain poor widows as interest upon certain bequests recorded on the Table of Benefactions in the Church. I am of opinion that the payment ought still to be continued and that the Parish are bound to see that it is so. There is no doubt that the principal capital has at some time or other been used for parish purposes and the Poor are therefore entitled to the Interest"

The assumption may be that this 33s was the interest on several combined charitable bequests, including the Manning £20. [Par 6/24/1]

By 1862 the Manning, Reed, and Martin charities were lost, and the rent charge of Older’s charity had not been paid for several years. [VCH Angmering p52]

Edwin Harris, in his small book on Angmering in 1910, spoke of two boards which had been in the parish church before its ‘restoration’ in 1853:

"One of the boards stated that John Reed left an annuity of £15, to be spent on bread for the poor, for ever.  John Day left £5 also, for a similar purpose. There are people still living, whose parents received this bread at stated interval at the School. The remaining board gave particulars of a “Widows’ Charity”.  This charity seems to have wholly, or partly, connected with Longback Almshouses."

There are obvious discrepancies between this account and the sums provided in wills quoted, although the funds may have been added to without record of this surviving.  As to the ‘widows’, this presumably referred to Manning’s charity.  Longback Cottages undoubtedly housed poor widows, and these may well have been the habitual recipients of his dole.

At the end of the 19th century a churchwardens’ presentment makes the situation clear, as to surviving charities and their current use.

1897 “Here are none except such as are under the Charity Commissioners viz Olders Charity [School], Smarts Augmentation and Amoores charity all of which are applied to the schools. The Commissioners see to these.”


RWS 16/1/2009 NRD