Catalogue description Records of St Martin in the Fields Almshouse and Pension Charity and other parochial charities, 1626-1923

This record is held by City of Westminster Archives Centre

Details of Accession WBA 1103
Reference: Accession WBA 1103
Title: Records of St Martin in the Fields Almshouse and Pension Charity and other parochial charities, 1626-1923

The collection includes records of the following charities which formed part of the Almshouse and Pension Charity.


1. Cockspur Street Estate (Powell's Buildings), 3 houses on the site of almshouses used by the parish before 1683. In 1686 the vestry decided the rents and profits should be applied to the upkeep of the almshouses in Hog Lane. One house was purchased in 1823 by the Commissioners of Woods and Forests for the building of Charing Cross Road. There is a draft conveyance of the other two houses, no. 14 and 15 Cockspur Street in 1918 (1103/125).


2. The Holborn Estate, premises on the south side of High Holborn (no. 171-181) and east side of Drury Lane (192 and 193), St Giles in the Fields. This was acquired in exchange for land taken for the building of Charing Cross Road, in 1829. The premises taken by the Commissioners of Woods and Forests were:


a) Premises in St Martin's Lane and Hemings Row, on land granted to the parish by James I for use as a churchyard and re-granted by Charles I for the use and benefit of the poor of the parish. (1103/28-35).


b) A messuage in Vine Street conveyed by Thomas Whitfield in 1684 for the use of the poor.


c) A rent charge on premises in Round Court of £20 granted by John Downes in 1773 for the use of the poor.


The bulk of the deeds in this collection relate to the Holborn Estate (1103/37-124).


3. Lamp Acre Estate, the rents of an acre of land in St George's Field Southwark left by John Bingham in his will of 1624 to the use of the poor of the parish. In 1796 the parish purchased the interest of the parish of St Saviour Southwark in the land. The accounts of the collection of rents, 1885-1889, are among the records. (1103/126).


4. Earl of Salisbury's charity, a rent charge of £14 p.a. arising from the manor of South Mimms and land in South Mimms and Barnet, Hertfordshire, granted by the Earl of Salisbury in 1629 in lieu of part of £200 left by his father for the use of the poor. This rent charge was redeemed by the Marquis of Salisbury in 1896. Deeds of appointment of trustees in 1665 and 1687 are among the records (1103/127-129).


These documents were numbered F5116 in Thomas Mason's catalogue of the records of St Martin in the Fields (1895).


5. The Charities of Sir Charles Cotterell and Mrs Susannah Graham, being £20 and £50 respectively of the fee farm rents from the manor of Drayton and Westover, Somerset. Under Sir Charles Cotterell's deed of 31 July 1686 the £20 was to be distributed among eight poor almswomen of the parish and Mrs Graham by an indenture of 23 March 1686 [7] directed that the £50 should be distributed in alms and coals to four poor almswomen, clergymen's widows or daughters (1103/130-133).


These documents were numbered F5101 in Thomas Mason's catalogue.


6. Henry Smith's Charity, a share of the rents arising from an estate at Longney in Gloucestershire to be used for the poor (1103/134-135).


These documents were numbered F5106 in Thomas Mason's catalogue.


There are no records relating to funds from Swan Close Lammas Rent (£2.10s. p.a.) or William Shelton's Charity (£7.10s. p.a.), which also formed part of the Almshouse and Pension Charity.


Some records of other charities are included:


1. Dr Thomas Willis's Gift of an annuity of £27 for the use of the poor of the parish. This appears to be a separate charity from the yearly sum of £20 bequeathed for morning and evening prayers to be read in St Martin's church (1103/136-138).


These documents were numbered F5104 in Thomas Mason's catalogue.


2. Mary Roycroft's Charity of £500 Reduced Annuities left by her will of 1770. The dividends of £200 were to be divided equally in mid-December each year between six poor inhabitants who were afflicted with lameness and did not receive alms. The dividends of £133 6s 8d were to be used for coals to be distributed to six other poor inhabitants in December each year. The dividends of the remaining £166 13s 4d were to be used for bread to be distributed on the first Sunday of the month throughout the year. The collection includes two declaration of trusts (1103/139,140).


These documents were numbered F5102 in Thomas Mason's catalogue.


3. Gift of Sir Charles Cotterell (marked expired) of an annuity of £14 payable during the lifetime of his daughter to pay eight poor men 20s a year and to bind out two apprentices (1103/141,142).


There is also a stray item, a lease of the Gravel Pits near Coleman Hedges Lane in 1619 (1103/143) which was numbered F5114 in Thomas Mason's catalogue.

Date: 1623-1923
Held by: City of Westminster Archives Centre, not available at The National Archives
Language: English
Physical description: 143 Files
Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited by the Administration Office of St Martin in the Fields, January 1977

Administrative / biographical background:

These records were deposited in a deed box labelled, St Martin in the Fields Almshouse and Pension Charity. This charity was established by an Order of the Charity Commission of 21 September 1886. Its 19 trustees administered almshouses for 42 almswomen given a weekly stipend. The almshouses were built in 1818 on part of the parish burial ground in Camden Town; they had replaced ones built in 1683 with funds from Sir Charles Cotterell, Mrs Susannah Graham and others in Kempsfield or Bunches Close, later named Hog Lane and then Crown Street (see 1103/26,27). The residue of the income was applied in pensions to the old and infirm who were not almswomen.

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