Catalogue description Title Deeds of the Holywell Estate, St. Alban's, and of Two Cottages in Redbourn

This record is held by Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies

Details of D/EBs
Reference: D/EBs
Title: Title Deeds of the Holywell Estate, St. Alban's, and of Two Cottages in Redbourn

Title deeds of the properties of Thomas Gawen's Charity and Robert Skelton's Charity of St. Albans. Documents relating to every aspect of the organisation of Thomas Gawen's Charity in the nineteenth century and to some aspects of that of Robert Skelton's charity and the Cross Keys charity, also of St. Albans.


This collection contains deeds relating to the properties of Gawen's and Skelton's charities. It contains large numbers of letters and other documents concerning every aspect of the day to day running of; Gawen's Charity up to 1914, particularly from the period between 1830 and 1889. Administrative records from the other two charities are found only for the period between 1837 and 1859 and are less broad in type, there being very little correspondence concerning their income and finances. These documents are inextricably connected with those of Gawen's Charity. For much of the period all three charities shared the same clerk or were engaged in the same lengthy proceedings in Chancery.


It has not been possible to divide the documents from Gawen's Charity, except its deeds and leases, into distinct classes. Any of the bundles Q1 to Q18 may contain documents of any type and letters on any subject connected with the charity for the period which it covers.

Date: 1434 - 1914
Held by: Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Holywell Estate, St Alban's, Hertfordshire

Thomas Gawen's Charity, St Alban's, Hertfordshire

Robert Skelton's Charity, St Alban's, Hertfordshire

Cross Keys Charity, St Alban's, Hertfordshire

Physical description: 31 files
Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited 23 November 1960


Accession 888


Deposited 6 December 1962


Accession 951

  • St Alban's, Hertfordshire
  • Nonprofit Organisations
Administrative / biographical background:

Introduction. The St. Albans Charities.


Apart from the deeds of the cottages in Redbourn, which form an unrelated deposit; the deeds relating to the Holywell estate; and a few other papers; the documents here catalogued are all concerned with three St. Alban's charities, Thomas Gawen's, Robert Skelton's, and the "Cross Keys" Charity.


Thomas Gawen founded his charity in 1636, granting the mayor and steward of St. Albans, and ten other trustees lands at Hornchurch and Romford, Essex, to be used to provide £40 annually to be distributed to 20 poor people of the Abbey parish.


Robert Skelton in 1628 gave the mayor and six other trustees two properties in St. Albans to be used to give 26 penny loaves every Sunday to as many poor people, and 30 groats annually to 30 poor widows.


The "Cross Keys" charity was founded in 1618 by Matthew Small who gave certain properties in St. Albans the income from which was to be spent, half on repairs to the Abbey church and half on the poor of the Abbey parish and St. Peter's parish. In the nineteenth century this was normally used to provide gifts of coals.

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