Taken from “REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONERS TO INQUIRING CONCERNING CHARITIES .
Ordered, by The House of Commons, to be printed, 6 September 1831“
PARISH OF FENSTANTON.
THE TOWN ESTATES.
Carter’s Charity.—Ellis’s Charities.
These estates and charities are under the order and management of certain trustees, and of the churchwardens of the parish of Fenstanton for the time being.
The town estates are partly in the adjoining parish of Conington, in the county of Cambridge, and partly in the parish of Fenstanton. The Conington lands appear, by numerous old deeds, to have been vested in trustees, in or before the reign of Queen Elizabeth, for the use and behoof of the inhabitants of Fenstanton; and they were last conveyed by deed dated the 25th April 1805, to the use of John Allpress and seven other trustees, all of whom but one are living; but some of these trustees from non-residence in the parish or other causes, are incapable of acting.
The property in Fenstanton has also, as appears by the deeds, been held from a remote period for the benefit of the inhabitants of that parish.
Thomas Carter, by Will dated 3d August 1617, gave to trustees one half acre of fen in the Rey Furlong, in Fenstanton, to the intent that they should let the same to the best advantage, and distribute the rents thereof every Maundy Thursday in Lent, yearly, among the poor of Fenstanton; and this property, at some subsequent time, became combined with the town estate.
Joseph Ellis, by his Will, dated 29th October 1728, gave 200l. to be put out at interest, or laid out in a purchase of land, the interest or rent to be paid to a schoolmaster to keep a free school in Fenstanton for the poor children in that town, and to teach four poor children of Drayton, if they would come; and the testator directed that the money should be taken care of by six of the best statesmen in the town, being men of good report; and he also gave 10l. to the poor of Fenstanton, to be paid to four of the best statesmen in the town, and put out at interest, and the interest, 10s., to be laid out in bread, and given to the poor on the Twelfth-day in Christmas, yearly.
The sum of 181l. 1s., part of the 200 l., was laid out in 1768 in the purchase of a copyhold estate in Fenstanton, consisting of a toft and close of pasture and 11½ acres of arable land, which was surrendered to the use of trustees, upon the trusts mentioned in an indenture dated 6th August 1768, by which, after reciting the will of Joseph Ellis, it was declared that the premises were surrendered upon the trusts declared in his will; and it was provided that when the trustees should be reduced to the number of three, the survivors should, with the approbation of the churchwardens of Fenstanton, elect so many other proper persons, being principal inhabitants of Fenstanton, to be trustees with them, as should complete the number of trustees six or seven at most; and this estate was surrendered on 25th April 1805 to the use of John Cole and of the several persons who were constituted trustees of the Conington town-land by the deed of 1805.
It does not distinctly appear how the remainder of the sum of 200l.bequeathed by Ellis, or the sum of 10l. left by him for the poor, were specifically applied; but it may be presumed, we think, that the former went to defray expenses attending the purchase of the copyhold estate, and there is reason to believe that the sum of 10l., was disposed of on a mortgage or purchase of some land, which subsequently became united with or merged in the town-estate.
On the Conington inclosure in 1802, and the Fenstanton inclosure in 1803, allotments were awarded in lieu of the town-lands in those parishes and the lands of Ellis’s charity respectively ; and a debt of 500l. having been incurred by borrowing money for defraying the inclosure expenses, part of the rents of the estates have been since applied in payment of interest upon and in reduction of the debt, of which the sum of 100l. now remains unpaid.
Town Estate in Conington.—An allotment of 56 acres of land, let to John Wolfington as tenant from year to year, at the rent of 65l. 16s., which is the full annual value.
Town Estate in Fenstanton.—An allotment of 14 acres, let to John Allen and John Johnson for terms of seven years, of which two were unexpired at the time of our inquiry, at rents amounting together to 28l. 5 s. a year. These lands were let by auction to the best bidders.
An allotment of 24 acres of meadow-land, let to John Johnson and John James, for terms of three years from Michaelmas 1828, at rents amounting together to 67l. 10 s. a year.
The Bull-yard in Fenstanton, containing 16 perches, let to Philip Brown as yearly tenant at 1l. 8 s. a year.
Four tenements in Fenstanton, inhabited by poor persons placed therein by the parish officers on the nomination of the parishioners, and which tenements are kept in repair out of the parish rates.
Ellis’s Charity or School Land.—An allotment of 9 a. 1r. in the parish of Fenstanton, let to Thomas Fordham for a term of six years, of which four were unexpired at the time of the inquiry, at 17l. a year, which is a good rent.
The annual outgoings for these estates, in respect of land-tax and quit rent, amount to about 5l. a year.
The trustees pay a salary of 30l. to a schoolmaster at Fenstanton, for teaching the poor children of the parish reading, writing and arithmetic, the children of all poor persons who do not contribute to the poor rates being admitted as free scholars. The number of children varies from 40 to 50. The trustees also defray out of the rents the expense of providing books and stationery for the children, and giving occasional rewards to such as are meritorious. A meeting is annually holden the first Tuesday in May, at which the trustees inquire into the school, and settle the accounts relating thereto.
The trustees also out of the rents pay the expense of keeping the church-clock and parish-engine in repair, and they purchase 40 chaldron of coals or more yearly, which are sold to the poor at a reduced price of 8d. a bushel; and they provide a quantity of bread, which is distributed on the day preceding Christmas-day, half a quartern loaf being given to each poor person in the parish having a family, a quartern loaf to each poor person in the parish being a widower, and a quartern loaf and 1 s. to each poor widow.
The churchwardens receive the rent of the town and school lands, and keep a regular account, which is examined and audited once in two years at a parish-meeting called for the purpose.
Edward Martin’s Gift.
Edward Martin, by Will dated 13th July 1717, gave to the poor people of the parish of Fenstanton, out of the rents of his close called Old Dole Close, in Fenstanton, the yearly sum of 2l. on the 25th December yearly, as a free gift, and not by way of collection ; and he empowered the churchwardens and overseers of the poor to distrain for the same in case of nonpayment.
The yearly sum of 2l. is paid by Mr. John Hammond, the proprietor of the close, and is added to and applied with the rent of the town-estate.
John Martin’s Gift.
The yearly sum of 10s. is paid as a rent-charge out of a close in Fenstanton, called the Little Dole Close, also the property of Mr. John Hammond, and is applied in the same manner as Edward Martin’s gift.