|Administrative / biographical background:
In 1959 a Charity Commission Scheme reconstituted the Municipal Charities of Ipswich under the name of the Ipswich Foundation Street Charities. The Municipal Charities, as distinguished from the other charities in the town, had been defined as those charities, the administration of which, at the time of the Municipal Corporation Act of 1835 (5 and 6 William IV, cap. 76), was in the hands of Ipswich Corporation, or of one or more of its members in his or their corporate capacity. Under that Act, the powers of the Corporation over the charities ceased on 1 August 1836, and in September that year the Lord Chancellor appointed twenty-one trustees, whose number was increased to twenty-four in 1852.
The principal Municipal Charities are as follows:
Tooley's Foundation. By his will dated 4 November 1550, Henry Tooley, merchant, bequeathed his manors and lands to provide almshouses in the town. By a charter of Philip and Mary, the trustees under his will were empowered to grant his estates to the Corporation.
Smart's Foundation. By his will in 1598, William Smart gave a farm and lands in Kirton and Falkenham, and other property, to Ipswich Corporation, for charitable purposes. He directed that the administrators of Tooley's Charity should be managers of this charity, and the income has long been applied in the same way as that of Tooley's Foundation.
Crane's Charity. John Crane of Cambridge, by will dated 26 June 1651, directed his executors to purchase lands to the yearly value of & #163;62, and to convey them to trustees, in trust to pay the annual rent in rotation to Cambridge University, the town of Wisbeach, the town of Cambridge, the town of King's Lynn and the town of Ipswich. The rents payable to Ipswich were, in the first instance, to form a fund of & #163;200, to be lent out to young men, who were to provide good security for repayment. This & #163;200 was one of the gifts which formed the Lending Cash Charity. The residue of the Ipswich rents was to be applied for the relief of the poor. On 4 August 1658 Crane's executors conveyed 176 acres 2 roods and 31 perches of meadow land in Holbeach, Lincolnshire, to trustees, in trust to permit Ipswich Corporation to receive every fifth year's rent. Under a scheme sanctioned by the Court of Chancery in 1859, one-fifth of every year's rent was to be paid to the University and each of the four towns.
Cutler's Charity. William Cutler, by will dated 24 January 1680, bequeathed & #163;100 to the Corporation, in trust to purchase lands to the annual value of & #163;6, the income to be paid each year to maintain three poor persons. A meadow was purchased in St Mary Stoke parish, between Handford Road and the river. In 1899 the meadow was sold, the proceeds invested and the income applied towards the maintenance of Tooley's and Smart's almshouses.
Osmond's Charity. Benjamin Osmund, by will dated 31 July 1619, gave& #163;350 to the Corporation: & #163;100 towards the building or buying of four tenements for four honest aged poor to live in; & #163;200 for the purchase of lands to maintain such poor; and & #163;50 towards the building of a new market cross. A house was duly purchased in St Matthew's Street and divided into four tenements. This property was sold in 1892, when the proceeds were invested and the income applied towards the maintenance of the Tooley and Smart almshouses.
The Lending Cash Charity and certain others were transferred to the Ipswich Endowed Schools in 1881. These others were: the Christ's Hospital Charity, the Grammar School, Martin's Charity, Robinson's Charity, Tyler's Charity, Allen's Gift, Burroughs's Gift, Caston's Gift, Sayer's Gift and Scrivener's Gift.
Various other charities, gifts and bequests were added to the Ipswich Municipal Charities during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.