An Abstract of the Charities given to the poor of the several parishes within the Borough of Sudbury in the County of Suffolk collected and put together by John Voyce Church Warden of the Parish of All Saints in Sudbury aforesaid this sixteenth day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and thirty six
John Voyce’s action in writing a summary of the charities available in Sudbury in 1736 was copied and extended two years later by the church wardens at St. Gregory’s. They produced four documents which included some of the charities omitted by John Voyce. Unlike All Saints, however, these documents have not remained at St. Gregory’s for nearly 290 years as they were sent to the Bury St. Edmunds branch of the Suffolk Archives for safe keeping. The All Saints Abstract of Charities is unique as it is still in place at the Church for which it was written.
WILLIAM ALSTON of Newton in the county of Suffolk Husbandman by his will dated the first day of February Anno Domini 1564 and proved in the prerogative Court of Canterbury the 23rd day of October 1567 gave yearly for ever to the poor of Sudbury the sum of Sixteen Shillings to be paid out of a Tenement next the Rose and Crown Inn in the parish of St. Peter in Sudbury aforesaid being late the Tenement of Jno. Sumerset baker and in his own Occupation which said gift has been Distributed time out of mind in manner and proportion following (viz:) To the poor of the parish of St. Peter Eight Shillings To the poor of the parish of St. Gregory Four Shillings and to the poor of the parish of All Saints Four Shillings
William Alston bought the property, known as ‘Burrells’, in 1563. It was next to the Crown, which he also owned. When John Voyce made a list of Sudbury Charities in 1736, John Summersett occupied ‘Burrells’. Another list of charities from the early 19th century in the Town Archive notes that the property had passed to the King family. By 1871, the property had been sold to Charles F Winch. Unfortunately, the King family sold the property without disclosing the annual charity rent-charge or ground rent of sixteen shillings. Mr. Winch was furious and refused to pay the rent-charge. He brought a case against the Sudbury Municipal Charities at the Town Hall in June 1873 after some of his goods were removed in lieu of payment.
Mr. Winch was not successful in disputing the rent-charge and his family continued to pay it every year until the property was destroyed by a disastrous fire in the early hours of January 1st, 1922. The fire began next door in the Rose and Crown. It was said that Ernest Winch, (son of C F Winch), knocked on the door of the owner of 22 Market Hill the morning after the fire and offered to purchase the property where he could re-start his business.
The site of Ernest Winch’s old shop and Mr. Baker’s shop next door was sold by Boardman and Olivers in September 1922. The County Cinema was eventually built on the site of the Rose and Crown, opening in April 1934. Grimwood and Kay’s ‘History of Sudbury,’ published in 1952, noted on page 28 that a rent-charge of sixteen shillings was still being paid “on land round and including County Cinema”.
THOMAS PILGRIM, Gent who was Mayor of this Borough in the year of our Lord 1590 by his last will and testament, gave the sum of Twenty Shillings to be paid yearly for ever on St. Thomas’s Day out of two Tenements formerly called the Bull and Head situate and being in the parish of St. Peter in one of which he then dwelt and are now two estates and in the several possessions and Occupations of Francis Gooch hatter and Francis Manning saddler which said sum of Twenty Shillings is to be paid yearly and every year into the hands of the Mayor of this Borough for the time being for the use of the poor (viz:) To the poor of the parish of St. Peter Ten Shillings To the poor of the parish of St. Gregory Five Shillings and to the poor of the parish of All Saints Five Shillings
Mr. C.G. Grimwood was recognised as the principal Sudbury historian in the post-war period. With his colleague S.A. Kay, (History Master at Sudbury Grammar School), he wrote a History of Sudbury which was illustrated by the local artist Paul Earee. Grimwood believed that the building in the photograph above, once known as ‘Wisteria Cottage’ and later used as the Corona Bus Office and now a branch of ‘Pizza Town’, was the site of the Bull and Saracen’s Head in Wigan End, (now East Street).
However, recent research has suggested that the ‘Pizza Town’ building may not be the correct location for the tenements bequeathed by Thomas Pilgrim.
SIR ROBERT PATERNOSTER Clerk by his will bearing date Anno Domini 1591 and proved in the prerogative Court of Canterbury the sixth day of August, 1596 gave Thirty Shillings to be paid yearly for ever out of certain Lands lying in Pentlow in the county of Essex being now the estate of and in the Occupation of John Scott payable a week before Christmas day to the Mayor of this Borough for the time being for the use of the poor of the three parishes St. Peter St. Gregory and All Saints in equal proportion
Extract from the 1839 Tithe Map for the Parish of Pentlow with land owned by the Paternoster Charity marked by green arrows:
- 322 Homestead and Barn
- 323 Temple Croft
- 362 Hoopers Drift
- 362a Cart Path
- 369 Hoopers Field
By 1952, the land at Pentlow had been sold. The Sudbury Municipal Charities Trustees invested the money and in 1952, the return on the capital was producing an income of one pound and ten shillings a year.
JOHN HUNWICK of Colchester in the county of Essex by his last will and testament dated the 24th day of November in the 36th of Elizabeth Anno Domini 1593 gave Ten Pounds to be paid every five years for ever by the Bailiffs and Commonalty of Colchester aforesaid to the Mayor of this Borough for the time being on the 20th of August to be given and bestowed upon the poor lame and impotent people thereof
At first, all went well with John Hunwick’s bequest. The Liber Quintus, (Sudbury Borough Town Book 1618 – 1636), noted, for example, that ten pounds was received from Colchester C1620.
The money was disbursed as follows:
- The Overseers of All Saints Parish received forty shillings.
- The Overseers of St Gregory’s Parish received three pounds ten shillings.
- The Overseers of St. Peter’s Parish received three pounds.
The bequest seems not to have been kept up by the 1770’s and is not mentioned in the notes about Sudbury Charities c1820s from the Town Archives.
William White’s Gazetteer and Directory of Sudbury published in 1844 provided a comprehensive account of the Sudbury Charities, (pages 575 – 577): “Nothing has been received for many years from the charity of John Hunwick.” An Inspection of Sudbury Charities in December 1862 also confirmed that no money had been received for many years from Colchester. (Suffolk and Essex Free Press, December 4, page 2 of 4.)
GEORGE CROW gave thirty pounds and JOSEPH HUNWICK gave ten pounds with which a messuage formerly in the occupation of the widow Moulton and now in the occupation of John James situate at Borehamgate end butting upon the common pump there was purchased and settled upon Certain Feoffees to the intent Four Pounds yearly for ever might be distributed on St. Thomas’s Day according to the intent of the said George Crow Joseph Hunwick (viz:) to the poor of the parish of St. Peter One pound Twelve shillings To the poor of the parish of St. Gregory One Pound To the poor of the parish of All Saints One Pound and to the poor of Ballingdon Eight Shillings
The property purchased with the bequests from George Crow of Sudbury, who died about 1603, and Joseph Hunwick, (possibly identified as Joseph Hunwick of Stisted, merchant, who died in 1680), may have been on the site of what is now Number 9, King Street.
In 1834, (March 25, page 4 of 4), the Essex Herald reported on an enquiry into the state of the Corporation of Sudbury. On the fourth day of the proceedings, the various charities in the town in which the Corporation had an interest were enquired into and this included a house in Boreham Gate with a rent-charge of four pounds a year, which was to be distributed to the poor in bread and meat. The house had been sold some time back to Mr. Thomas Ginn, without a reservation of the rent-charge.
The 1841 Census shows that Mr. Ginn’s house was next door to the Royal Oak Inn, (now known as The Gainsborough), at Number 9, King Street so it is possible that this was the site of the property purchased with the bequests from George Crow and Joseph Hunwick.
RICHARD FIRMIN one of the Aldermen of Sudbury by his will dated the second of November Anno Domini 1614 and proved at Bury St. Edmunds the 9th day of January in the next year gave four acres of Lease Land, in Windmill Field or High Field in Sudbury aforesaid parcel of the Domain of the Manor of Neales to the poor of Sudbury to be let by the Mayor and Aldermen during the Lease for the Best Advantage and the Rents and Profits thereof every year about Christmas to be by them given two parts to the poor of St. Peter and the other two parts to the poor of St. Gregory and All Saints parishes
The four acres of land given by Richard Firmin, (Mayor of Sudbury in 1612), was in the east of the town and was flanked by Waldingfield Road. In 1952 the land was let as allotments, administered by the Corporation, with an income of ten pounds a year.
Waldingfield Road, Sudbury
The field numbered seventy-four on the 1840 St Gregory and St Peter Tithe Map was owned by the Trustees of the Firmin Charity.
JOHN CORDER of Cockfield in the County of Suffolk by his will dated the 15th day of May Anno Domini 1636 gave to the Minister and Church Wardens of St. Gregory in Sudbury Twenty Shillings yearly for ever and to the Minister and Church Wardens for the time being for the parish of All Saints in Sudbury Twenty Shillings yearly for ever to be paid out of a certain Messuage or Tenement Lands and Premises called Kings as the same are situate in Lawshall in the said County of Suffolk to be paid some time in Lent before Palm Sunday and to be given by the said Minister and Church Wardens in bread among such poor of their said parishes as they in their discretion shall think fit
John Corder also left bequests to Melford, Lavenham, Lawshall, Glemsford, Shimpling, and two Bury St. Edmunds parishes.
THOMAS JARVIS late of this Borough Brazier in and by his last will and Testament, bearing date 1638 gave Twenty Shillings a year to the poor of this Borough out of two Messuages situate in the parish of St. Peter in Sudbury aforesaid and now in the several Occupations of the Widow Grimwood and Francis Edis, in manner following (viz:) to the poor of the parish of St. Peter Twelve Shillings, to the poor of the parish of St. Gregory Four Shillings to the poor of the parish of All Saints Four Shillings
Thomas Jarvis wrote his will in 1631: “Margaret my wife to have my messuage or tenement for the term of her life, keeping it in good repair and paying yearly to the poor of St Peter’s 12s, 4s to St Gregory’s and 4s to All Saints. After her death to son Thomas.”
The Thomas Jarvis who wrote a will in 1631 must have been the son of the original grantor, passing on the bequest as a note from 1615 states:
“Gift of Thomas Jarvis deceased brazier, 20s yearly for the poor out of his messuage or tenement where he lived being the corner house abutting on the Butter Cross.”
1714 Map of Sudbury adapted by F P Earee for Grimwood and Kay’s History of Sudbury and based on the original drawing by Cor. Brewer
The Butter Cross, Sudbury
The corner house abutting on the Butter Cross continued to have an annual rent-charge payable by the owner to the Churchwardens of St. Peter’s for the poor, which was distributed on Ascension Day. When the property was pulled down, the rent charge was transferred from a house belonging to the late Thomas Jones to a timber yard then owned by Mr. William Hawkins. When part of the yard was sold, it was freed from the rent charge which stayed with the remaining property. Mr Baker, Mr Howell, Mr Mingay and Mr Ives successively owned the property.
In 1880, Mr. Ives took a similar course of action to that of Mr. Winch, (who fell out with the Trustees of the Sudbury Municipal Charities), and was not successful. (Bury and Norwich Post, June 29, page 8 of 9.) By 1952, income from the rent-charge was bringing in one pound a year for the Municipal Charities.
Reluctance to pay a rent-charge or ground rent arising from an old Sudbury charity was not unusual in the 19th century. Mr. Joseph Pemberton, Collector of rents for the Sudbury Municipal Charities, reported in November 1857 that Mrs Fulcher owed £1 12s 6d for three years on a property with a rent charge from the Donor Unknown Charity, whilst Joseph Wheeler owed 7s 6d for a rent charge associated with the Pilgrim Charity. Both Mrs Fulcher and Mr. Wheeler refused to pay. Happily, for the Trustees, a stern letter from the Clerk, Mr. Joseph Garnham, encouraged the defaulters to settle their debts early in 1858.
NATHANIEL KING of Sudbury in the County of Suffolk by his last will and Testament dated the 24th day of October Anno Domini 1668 and proved at Bury St. Edmunds did give Fifty Two Shillings to be paid yearly out of the George Inn in Sudbury into the hands of the Mayor of the said town of Sudbury for the time being a fortnight or three weeks before Holy Thursday and to be paid by the said Mayor unto the Church Wardens and Overseers to buy One Hundred Six Penny Loaves which Loaves are to be given out by the said Church Wardens and Overseers of every parish to be proportioned according to the Shifts Every one that have a Shirt or Shift to have a Six Penny Loaf on Holy Thursday and the other Two Shillings remaining in the hands of the Mayor to be spent in wine at the Love Feast and did also will that in case Hannah Buxton Susan Buxton and Ann Buxton should die before it came or fell to them then the whole of the Messuage or Tenement called the George should go to the poor of the Town of Sudbury to be disposed of in manner following (viz:) That the Mayor of the Town then being with the assistance of two or three of the rest of his Brethren the Aldermen, shall let the said Messuage or Tenement called the George and take the whole Rents of it to be laid out as follows (viz:) the Mayor of the Town shall deliver into the hands of the Church Wardens and Overseers of every parish their proportion of the Fifty Shillings or of the Hundred Six Penny Loaves to give them to the poor on Holy Thursday as aforesaid and the residue of the Rent after the reparations are deducted to be laid out by the Mayor or two or three of the rest of his Brethren the Aldermen except Two Shillings more to be spent at the Love Feast to buy so much Grey Cloth or Black as shall make Eight Nine or Ten Coats like Alms Coats and the making likewise and the Coats to be given into the hands of the Church Wardens and Overseers of St. Peter’s parish and the Church Wardens and Overseers will give and deliver them to Eight Nine or Ten of the poorest aged men in the parish which said Coats are to be bought and made ready to put on to the poor men on Christmas Day morning for ever
According to Grimwood and Kay’s History of Sudbury, the George Inn was sold by the Trustees of the Sudbury Municipal Charities to the owner of the property next door, East House, for £600 in 1883. The proceeds of the sale were invested and, in 1952, were providing an income of nearly £15 a year.
The new owner, Mrs Sikes, closed the Inn which became the site of Walkers Stores in 1908.
Allan W Berry, in his booklet ‘Charity in Old Sudbury’, explained that “Nathaniel King left income from the George Inn to buy sixpenny loaves for distribution to the poor who received the Martin Cole shirts and smocks”, (a Sudbury Charity omitted from the All Saints Abstract), with two shillings to provide wine for a Corporation Love Feast. Under the terms of his will the whole property of the George Inn eventually became available to provide coats for poor men living in the parish of St. Peter’s, to be distributed on Christmas Day. The distribution still takes place and now covers all three parishes, but in recent years the coats have been replaced by clothing vouchers.
Lists of the recipients of the coats in the mid to late 19th century are recorded in one of the Minute Books of the Sudbury Municipal Charities.
In November 1859, for example, the Trustees chose twelve persons who were selected to receive a Great Coat on the basis of being poor and ‘deserving’. The grey coats were made by a North Street tailor, Stephen Argent, and cost thirteen shillings each. They were presented to the following people at the George Inn on Christmas Day:
- Daniel Spring, Wigan End (now East Street), aged sixty-six
- John Wheeler, Wigan End, aged sixty-nine
- William Bonny, North Street, aged seventy
- John Stowe (?), North Street, aged sixty-four
- William Harrington, Burkitts Lane, aged sixty
- John Lawrence, aged sixty-eight, Burkitts Lane
- John Amey, North Street, aged seventy
- Samuel Hassell, North Street, aged sixty-eight
- Samuel Goody, Wigan End, aged sixty-three
- John Outing, Church Walk, aged sixty-five (lunatic)
- John Rudd, North Street, aged forty (wounded soldier)
- Robert Aylward, Anchor Lane (now Station Road), aged seventy
Given the location at the George Inn and the date being Christmas Day, it is to be hoped that these people were able to toast the memory of Nathaniel King with some liquid refreshment.
JOSEPH ANDREWS of Sudbury, in the County of Suffolk, merchant in and by his last will and testament bearing date the 19th day of November Anno Domini 1684 did give and bequeath unto the poor of any or of all the three parishes of St. Peter, St. Gregory and All Saints Five pounds 12 Shillings and 8 Pence per annum for ever to be laid out by 2 Shillings and 2 Pence per week in Penny Loaves and to be distributed to Thirty of the said poor of the said parishes every Sabbath day in the same church where is prayers or a sermon it may also with the other Twenty Penny Loaves for Eighteen Pence per week to be given and distributed for my Brother Oliver Andrews’s gift as by his will appeareth both which make Nine Pounds 10 Shillings and 8 Pence per annum in Penny Loaves and to be distributed to Fifty persons of the poor
Allan W Berry’s booklet about Early 18th Century Sudbury records a notable death in 1701 – that of local farmer, landowner and merchant Joseph Andrews, impropriator of the tithes of St. Gregory’s and owner of part of Fullingput Meadow. Joseph’s will, proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury with a probate date of January 15, 1702, contains very similar phraseology to the wording in the All Saints Abstract of Charities.
White’s Suffolk Directory of 1844 suggested that the Joseph and Oliver Andrews’ Charities were lost. Allan W Berry thought it might be possible that Joseph Andrew’s Charity had survived as part of the Outfield Rent. (Charity in Old Sudbury, page 3) This Charity gave rent-charge on land at Wissington. In 1952, Grimwood and Kay noted that ground rent on the land was providing an annual income of 13s and 4d. (The Andrews family had a connection with what was known as ‘Wiston’ in the 18th century but is now referred to as ‘Wissington’.)
John Jessop by his will dated the 21st day of March Anno Domini 1711 gave twenty shillings a year to the Vicar of All Saints, and the minister of St. Gregory in Sudbury and their successors to be by them laid out every year in Bibles containing the Book of Common Prayer the first year after his death and the year after The Whole Duty of Man and so successively ever after to be by them distributed among such of the poor as do constantly keep their parish church and can read well the first payment to be made upon the feast of St. John the Baptist next after his decease and every year after upon the same feast and the books to be given one month after the first year in St. Peter’s the second in All Saints and the third in St. Gregory’s and in the same order ever after. The persons names who receive the books to be inscribed in the Parish Book
(A yearly rent charge or ground rent out of the Bear Inn was to pay for the bequest.)
At the 1862 Inspection of Sudbury Charities, Rev. Badham assured the officer from the Board of Charity Commission in London that, as far as his parish was concerned, the sum he received was expended in Bibles and Prayer Books and the rent charge was regularly received.
By the mid-20th century, when C.G. Grimwood, an authority on the ancient bequests of the town, asked what had happened to the bequest of John Jessop, nobody knew. Canon J.F. Hughes, however, promised to look into the matter. (SEFP, March 18, 1948, page 2 of 15.)
Francis Newman of Sudbury in the County of Suffolk, Gentleman, in and by his last will dated the 8th day of August Anno Domini 1730 and proved in the Bishop’s Court at Norwich did will and order the sum of fifty pounds sterling or the value thereof should with all convenient speed after his decease be laid out by his executor in such manner as he shall see proper to the intent that the interest and improvement of the said sum of fifty pounds might be continued a standing charity to be given yearly to the poor of the parish of St. Gregory in Sudbury aforesaid until the end of the world
This was another example of a charity which appeared to have been allowed to lapse.
The framed list of charitable bequests to the poor of Sudbury compiled by John Voyce has remained at All Saints Church since 1736. When writing ‘The History and Antiquities of All Saints Church Sudbury’ (published in 1852), the Rev. Charles Badham, M.A. included a slightly abbreviated version of the 1736 Abstract of Charities on pages 173 – 175.
He also added the names of some other charities which benefitted the parishioners of All Saints.
- Martin Cole’s Charity, September 20, 1620, bequeathed income from various properties to provide fifty shirts and fifty smocks to be given to poor men and women on Ascension Day.
- John Little’s Charity, October 1, 1719, which left property in Sepulchre Street (now Gainsborough Street), to help educate three poor children of All Saints parish, and three of Ballingdon hamlet.
Rev. Badham also noted that the parish of All Saints was equally interested with the other two parishes, (St. Gregory and St. Peter), in the Grammar School, St. Leonard’s Hospital, Carter and Girling’s Charities.
The completion of this project by the Sudbury Freemen’s Trust would not have been possible without the help of David Webb and Jane Penson at All Saints Church, Market Hill Photography, Sudbury Art and Framing Centre, Sudbury Ephemera Archive and the Photo Archive developed by the Sudbury Museum Trust.
The Sudbury Freemen’s Trust is particularly grateful to Juliet Clarke for her help with identifying the properties mentioned in the All Saints Abstract of Charities.
Rev. Charles Badham, 1852, The History and Antiquities of All Saints Church, Sudbury and of the Parish Generally
Allan W Berry, 1993, Charity in Old Sudbury
Allan W Berry, 1997, Suffolk County Town A Sudbury Miscellany
Allan W Berry, 2006, Sixteenth Century Sudbury
Allan W Berry, 2005, Seventeenth Century Sudbury
Allan W Berry, 2004, Early Eighteenth Century Sudbury
Grimwood, C.G. and Kay, S.A., The History of Sudbury Suffolk
C.F.D. Sperling, 1896, A Short History of the Borough of Sudbury … Compiled from materials collected by W.W. Hodson,
Leonard P. Thompson, 1946, Old Inns of Suffolk
William White: White’s 1844 Suffolk