Aston Charities


Captain Peter Crispe of Copcourt, by Will proved 1607, left £52 4s, the Interest on which was to be paid yearly to the Poor of Aston and Copcourt By about 1823 the Charity had become available to the whole Parish, and in 1955 was being distributed in Doles of 8s. 8d

Early in the 17thC, 3 Charities were founded. Agnes Whitmell, Widow, of Copcourt, a Hester by birth, left £2 by will, proved 1610, to the Poor of Aston; William Lynke of Aston, by Will proved 1612, left £5; and John & Joan Cowper of Chalford soon afterwards left £2 to the Poor of Aston and Chalford By the early 19th century these Charities were said to be obsolete. 

Thomas Westbrooke, a Horspath Shepherd, who founded Charities in several other Parishes, by Will proved in 1632, left £15 to the Poor of Aston In 1634 his Executors bought a yearly Rent Charge of 15s. on land in Littlemore The Rent Charge had been reduced to 10s by 1895 It was Redeemed for £20 in 1918 and yielded 10s in 1955 when it was distributed in 5s Doles. 

By the early 18thC there were 5 acres called Church Lands, partly in Aston and partly in Kingston, the Rent from which (about £2 10s.) was used for the upkeep of the Church.  This Land is the same as the acres which in about 1823 were yielding £5 rent a year. The Rent was then ‘considered as being applicable‘ to the repairs of the Church and of some Tenements used to house Parish Paupers. In 1770 General Caillaud Lord of Aston Rowant, gave the Churchwardens the ‘Poor’s Houses‘ built at the corner of the Churchyard to replace others, standing around the Churchyard and called the ‘College Houses‘.  In 1924 approximately the same sum arising in the form of Rent was spent on Church Expenses.  The state of the Charity in 1955 was not known. 

By 1738, the Poor of Kingston were receiving the Interest on £20, but the origin of the Charity is unknown. In about 1823 the Capital was held by William Watkins of Kingston, and the Interest, at 4%, was regularly distributed to the Poor in January with other Charities.  It was still being distributed in Doles in 1955.  

Francis Wastie in 1781, founded a Charity by which 5s was paid yearly to 2 Widows, one from Aston and one from Kingston In 1807 the Vicar acknowledged the receipt from Francis Wastie of £5, being a Legacy to the Parish under the Will of his father Francis. The Testator had stipulated that the money should be Invested and the Interest paid to Poor Widows. It was also stated that the payment should be charged upon the elder Wastie’s Land in the Parish.  These 2 statements seem incompatible. About 1823 the money was thought to be charged on 17 acres and a Cottage in the Parish and was then being given away on St. Valentine’s Day The Charity, still known as Widows’ Half Crowns or Wastie’s Charity, was being distributed in 1955 according to the original intentions.

In 1786, a Charity for the Poor of Kingston, founded by Edward Bradford, is recorded.  It consisted of a Rent Charge of £1 5s and was almost certainly the same as the £1- 5s which was being paid in the early 19th century out of certain Woodlands belonging to the Earl of Macclesfield.  This Charity, which was alternatively called Lydall’s Rent Charge, was also being distributed in Doles in 1955 

By 1786, 6s/4d. and by 1823 10s was being distributed about Christmas to the Poor of Chalford This was the Rent of Land known as the Half Acre Baulk The origin of the Charity is unknown; it was still in existence in 1939 The Chalford Poor also had by 1840 nearly an acre of land called the Poor’s Allotment, which in 1871 was rented for £2 – 6s.

By 1786 an Estate in Kingston was subject to a Rent Charge of £1, said to have been the gift of Andrew Crooke (or Croke), whose dates are unknown.  The money was held separately then and in 1955 distributed annually to 6 Poor Men of Kingston in Doles of 3s 4d.  

Mary Elizabeth James (d.1819) of Aston, by Will dated 1809, left to the Poor the residue of her Personal Estate. By a Decree made in 1820, after an action in Chancery following her death, the net sum of £1,163 was invested in Stock, and it was further provided that the distribution was to be in Clothes and Money at Christmas among Poor Parishioners and one Mary West, a non-Parishioner.  The Money was held by Trustees, and distributions, beginning in 1821, were made to families in Aston, and its Hamlets, and to some who had left the Parish. Each family received between 1s and 2s for each Member, and until 1845 the Churchwardens added the Income from a number of other Charities to bring the total amount up to about £50 a year.  Afterwards, the Interest from James’s charity, which amounted to about £35 a year, was distributed separately.  In 1846, for example, 167 Families shared in it, receiving 1s 7d. for each Member; in 1875 115 Families with 360 Members received 2s for each Member.  In 1955 the interest amounted to £29 and was distributed in Doles of 10s to 43 persons. 

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