Bourne Archive: Bourne Charities

 http://boar.org.uk/abpwxo2Ball’sCharities.htm               Latest edit 24 Jul 2009.  

Commentary ©2006 R.J.PENHEY


The Bourne Archive





In the County of Lincoln.



On the face of it, this is a list of the gifts by and for Bourne people, which form the basis of the Bourne United Charities.  However, the details surrounding this document afford little insights into other aspects of the town’s history. It is a single leaf, printed on one side and a little larger than A3 size as though intended for pinning up as a notice. It was printed and published by John Ball of Church Street, Bourne, in 1869. I thank Mrs.P.M.Edmunds for lending it to me about 130 years later, so that a transcription could be made.


The modern Abbey Road is in two straight lengths: the long one leading eastwards, which was formerly Star Lane and the short length, near the Market Place. That short length was formerly, Church Street. So, in 1869, there was a printer’s shop here.


In the medieval church, the liturgical aspect of religious life was emphasized and preaching was relatively unimportant outside the work of the Dominicans. By the end of the sixteenth century, the opposite was true. Particularly during the early seventeenth century, pulpits and seating were added to the old buildings. In many places, including Bourne, a seating gallery was added at the western end to accommodate the congregation which, in its new pews, took up more space than had been the case. The chancel seems to have been reinstated in about 1807, so releasing more room in the nave. By 1834, there was an organ in the gallery (SmithJP1 p.12) but in 1869-70, the north aisle was rebuilt on a widened plan. This included space for an organ which replaced that of the west gallery (SmithJP1 p.4). At the same time, the gallery was removed: the balance was swinging back towards liturgy, perhaps under the influence of the Oxford Movement. The seats were no longer needed as there was more space in the north aisle. Also, the Established Church was being used progressively less as a means of government control of individual behaviour and it was more possible to choose to attend other religious houses. For example Roman Catholics, hitherto seen as potential supporters of foreign powers, were emancipated progressively between 1778 and 1829.


In medieval churches, the doctrinal message was imparted pictorially. Most churches had the Day of Judgement depicted prominently. By the seventeenth century, these were covered with whitewash and written texts were painted onto church walls. At Corby Glen for example, as well as the famous pictures, there are fragments of later written decoration. In the eighteenth century, the seating in the gallery was needed because the law required that people of the parish should attend the church each week. This was therefore a suitable place in which to impart information on subjects which were not directly religious. Scholes (plate 2.2.) shows the eighteenth century musicians’ gallery in a small English, Anglican church. It seems from the present document, that in the western gallery of The Abbey Church, there was a notice about the social welfare provision given by benefactors. Its text forms the first part of Ball’s document.


From the Gallery in the Abbey Church.

William Trollope, of this Parish Esqre by his Will, in 1636, founded the Hospital and gave the yearly sum of thirty-three pounds for the Maintenance of Six Poor aged Men of this Parish. And also founded the Free School, with a salary of thirty Pounds p. annum to the Master. [In fact, a school already existed perhaps under Trollope’s patronage. In his will, he endowed it so that it continued to the end of the nineteenth century. Its building is still in the churchyard. However, there is a reference to the school in Bourne in 1330 (BirkbeckJD3 p.2) and on 23 May 1629, the Parish Register calls Thomas Gibson “as worthie a Shoolemaster as ever taught in Bourne” (FosterCW1 pp. xiv & 189).  See also William Fisher’s deed of 1627, below. The men’s almshouses are now replaced in West Road and the old building, alongside the churchyard, is known as Tudor Cottages.]

NICHOLAS RAND, by his Will, in 1637, gave to the Poor of this Parish Eight Acres and one Rood of Land, in Holbeach, now let at seven pounds p. ann: [per annum (through the year)]

JOHN BROWN, of Stamford Esqre by his Will in ---, [This dash is in Ball’s text] gave to the Poor of this Parish an Annuity of Eight Pounds, issuing out of the Rectory of this Parish. [In the early seventeenth century, a branch of the Browne family held the advowson at Bourne. (FosterCW1 p. xii) Its coat of arms (three fulling hammers), at one time plastered over, is engraved on the north wall of the chancel near the present organ.]

William Fisher, of this Parish, Gent., by his Deed, in 1627, founded the Almshouses for Six poor aged Women of Bourn, and settled an Estate, at Tumby Wood-side, now let at thirty Pounds per ann: for supporting thereof. And the Schoolmaster to read prayers there, and receive five pounds per ann: [The women’s almshouses were in South Street, on the site of the modern public lavatory. They are now replaced in West Road,]

And also by his Will in 1633, gave a Messuage in All Saints’ Parish, in Stamford, and Little Casterton Fields, and an Annuity of four Pounds for ever, issuing out of his estate in Stamford, to the Poor of this Parish. [Fisher owned and probably built, the Red Hall. Stylistically, it dates from about 1620. RJP]

ROBERT HARRINGTON, of Gray’s Inn, Middlesex, Esqre by his will, dated 14th of July, 1654, and proven in the year 1657, gave an Annuity of Twenty Pounds for ever, issuing out of Home Woods and Dobbin Woods, in or near the Parish of Witham-on-the-Hill, in this County, to be laid out in bread, to be distributed every Sunday amongst the Poor of this Parish by the Minister, Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor.

And also, by his said will, gave his Freehold and Copyhold Lands and Tenements, at Low Layton and Layton Stone, in the County of Essex, which are now let at the yearly rent of Eighty Pounds, unto the Minister, Churchwardens, and Overseers of the Poor, in Trust, for the Use and Benefit of the Poor of this Parish. [The Leytonstone estate became the principal source of income for the Bourne United Charities.]

SIR Thomas TROLLOPE, of Casewick, in this County, Bart., by his Will in 1654, gave One Hundred Pounds for erecting a Work-house in this Parish, now called Town-houses. [This was at the junction of North Street (BirkbeckJD2 p.43) with what is now known as Burghley Street. By Ball’s time, this parish workhouse had been replaced by the union workhouse in what is now St. Peter’s Road.]

Thomas Wilcox of this Parish, by his Will, in 1660, gave a Piece of Land called Allen’s Pitts, now let at Twenty Shillings p. ann: towards the Support of a Workhouse in this Parish.

The Right Honble. BROWNLOW EARL of EXETER, in the year 1726, gave thirty-one Pounds ten Shillings towards buying the Engine for this Parish. [As a guess, this was a fire-extinguishing pump. There are two examples of what will have been similar manually worked machines, from several decades later, in the cellar of Belvoir Castle]

MATTHEW CLAY, of this Parish, Gent., in the year 1742, gave the Bran[lacuna]o this Church. [A lacuna is a hole in the document where the paper has perished and fallen away. The text will have been “..gave the branch to this Church.” This was the chandelier (WalkerJ1 p.95) which bears his name as donor and still hangs in the nave. Matthew Clay was a property owner. Among other places, he owned the Candlehouse in the Market Place. (BirkbeckJD2 p. 57.). See Clay Family]

The RENT of two acres of Meadow, called the Constable’s Halfacre [lacuna]e Dikereeve’s Halfacre, is every year laid out i[lacuna]d, which is distributed to the Householders a[lacuna]mmoners in the Eastgate Ward in this Parish. [This will be “The RENT of two acres of Meadow, called the Constable’s Halfacre and the Dikereeve’s Halfacre, is every year laid out in bread, which is distributed to the Householders and Commoners in the Eastgate Ward in this Parish.” Commoners were people who lived in properties to which common rights (to use common land) were attached.]

From the Bo[lacuna]e Charity Trustees. [This is likely to be “From the Book of the Charity Trustees.”]

JAMES ORGAN[lacuna]his Will, dated 4th May, 1729, and proved at L[lacuna]n 7th January, 1757, gave to the Poor of Bourn[lacuna]0, to be laid out by his Executrix, Ann Clay, in Land, and the Rent thereof to be distributed in Bread amongst the Poor of Bourn, on Saint Stephen’s day, at the discretion of his said Executrix, her heirs, executors, administrators, and assigns. [This is probably “JAMES ORGANER by his Will, dated 4th May, 1729, and proved at Lincoln 7th January, 1757, gave to the Poor of Bourn £??0 … …”]

JEREMIAH IVES, by Will, dated 11th June, 1798, directed his Executors to lay out £100 in the Public Funds, in the names of four respectable persons, Inhabitants of Bourn, to be named by the Minister, Churchwardens, and Overseers for the time being, or the major part of them, and that the Dividends thereof should be yearly paid to the Minister, Churchwardens and Overseers, and applied by them to the benefit of the Poor of the said Parish. £144. 12s. 1d. India Stock.

By the Award, on the Enclosure of the North Fen, dated 2nd July 1770, 1a. 1r. 19p. were allotted to the Inhabitants for the time being, residing in a part of Bourn, called Eastgate, in lieu of the Constable’s Halfacre and the Dikereeve’s Halfacre. The Rent is every year laid out in Bread, and distributed to the Householders and Commoners of the Eastgate Ward, in Bourn. [The date given is that of the allotment of the land. The Act of Parliament under which it was done was dated 1766. This is the land, Whitebread Meadow, for which the yearly auction is timed by the running of children. See FNQ 32 and FNQ 1049]

And 1a. 2r. 4p., in the North Fen, were allocated to the Churchwardens and Overseers of Bourne, and their Successors, in trust for the Poor of Bourn.

By the Award, on the Enclosure of the South Fen, dated 7th July 1777, 3a. 1r. 21p. were allotted to the Churchwardens and Overseers of Bourn, and their Successors, in trust, for the Poor of Bourn.

Herbage Charity.—Under the Award, on the Enclosure of the Cow Pasture, in the South Fen, in the Parish of Bourn, the Inhabitants were empowered to give leave, at a Vestry to be held annually on the Monday next after 5th of April, to industrious Inhabitants of the said Parish, not renting and occupying Lands and Tenements to the amount of more than £8. per annum, to keep and depasture upon any of the Roads and Ways in the said Parish such number of Oxen, Cows, and Calves, as the majority of the said Inhabitants should think most proper, -- but no other species of cattle whatever. [The Cow Pasture was adjacent to the south bank of the Bourne Eau around grid reference TF136192.]

Catherine Digby, by Will, dated 25th May, 1835, and proved in Prerogative Court of Canterbury, gave the Officiating Minister and Churchwardens for the time being of the Parish of Bourn £500, or so much Stock in 3 per cent. Consols as, at the time of transferring the same, should be equivalent to £500, to be paid and invested by them in the said Stock, within a month after her decease, in Trust, from time to time to apply the Dividends or Interest thereof for a perpetual Salary to the Officiating Organist, for the time being, in the Parish Church of Bourn aforesaid. [The organ was installed in 1834 (SmithJP1 p.4) and will have replaced a band of musicians. Vicars tended to prefer having one organist to the several players in the band. Organists were generally of a more formally educated class and more biddable.]


Printed and sold by Thomas Ball, at his Printing Office, Church Street, Bourne. 1869.

[Thomas Ball of Church Street was listed as a printer and registrar of births and deaths in Whites Directory 1882. See also his Ancestral Villages entry.

For another view of the poor see FNQ177.]