There are a number of "poor" charities associated with Husbands Bosworth. The poor charities originated in the Middle Ages for the purposes of supporting the poor and destitute of the village; sums of money were distributed, usually based on a "dividend" arising from the rent of land or money held as investments.



At an unknown date Erasmus Smith, who died in 1616, gave land in the parish in trust for the church, causeways or other charitable purposes. A Benefaction Board within the Parish Church details: "a half-yard land and several odd lands, lying in Bosworth..., the rent and profits... to be to the use of the Church, and Causeways and other Charitable uses."

By the Inclosure Award of 1765, 26 acres and 6 perches of land were appropriated and known as the Church Land, and used "...for repairs and beautifying" the church, and 15 perches of land to the use of the causeways.

Loans raised on the value of the Church Land Charity were used on occasion, notably in 1812 to facilitate the construction of the first north aisle and arcade, and in 1867 for the restoration of the nave and aisles. In the major reconstruction work of the parish church carried out in 1861 the trustees of the Church Land Charity bore the cost of erecting a new vestry to the north of the chancel and of opening up the blocked off arches to the former chapel on the south side. The land was sold at some time between 1950 and 1955 and the proceeds invested in stock for the use of the Church.


In a conveyance dated 1632 Roger Smith did convey to the town of Bosworth a close called Collins Holme, lying in Bosworth between the River Avon and the Grand Union Canal, the rents of the same to be yearly paid out in coals for the benefit of the needy. He also gave, at some time, the sum of £20, the product of which was to be distributed to the poor on, or within ten days of 13th May each year.

In 1648 Sir Roger Smith, [presumably the same as above; now ennobled] at this time lord of the Hall fee, gave a plot of land near the rectory house to enlarge the glebe. The glebe was sold in 1920 in two parts. About 335 acres were sold by private treaty to L. W. Marsh, and the rest amounting to approximately 250 acres was sold at auction. The money from the sale was invested in stock by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

Also in 1648 Sir Roger Smith settled in trust 4 acres of land, the profits of which were to be used in buying coals for the poor. In 1836 the rent from this land paid for 14 tons of coal which was distributed to the poor of the parish. In 1955 the rent amounted to the sum of £4 and was combined with the dividend of £2-14s from Francis Turville's coal charity and distributed as gifts of 10 shillings each to the poor.

Sir Roger Smith, by will proven in 1656, devised a rent-charge of £8 issuing from a house adjoining the churchyard in Clerkenwell, London. Distributed as the parson and churchwardens saw fit, the said £8 was due about Christmas time and was to be for the use of the poor of the village.
The house later became the Crown Inn, owned by a Mrs Shepherd who continued to donate £8 to the Rector annually at Christmas. A further £75-12s-3d was invested, the dividend to be used for purchasing clothing to be distributed each Christmas to the poor and needy. In 1955 the dividend was distributed as calico tickets to 32 recipients.


Several pieces of land had been given by unknown persons for the repair of the parish roads. At the Inclosure Award in 1789 these were exchanged for the Causeway Land near Bosworth tollgate [on the Welford Road]. In 1951 the Air Ministry purchased the lands for £75, which was invested in stock.


At some time prior to 1672 a Mr. Gill of London conveyed to the parish a house and lands lying in Bosworth, the rental proceeds of which was to be for the benefit of the parish poor. These lands were known as Poor's Land. In the Inclosure Award of 1765 the lands were exchanged with William Turville Esq., by agreement with the trustees, for 10 acres of land lying in East Field called Pools House, 1 acre called Brickkiln and cultivated as an osier bed was donated to Sir Rogers charity.
By 1836 the greater part of these lands had been allotted among 44 parish labourers, and the rent, amounting to some £7 was distributed to those poor that had no portion of land. The income from one acre, let as an osier bed was distributed with the calico charities. The land was sold to the Air Ministry in 1951 for £465 and the proceeds invested in stock.


By will proved in 1724 one John Bryan gave 3 acres of land by the name of Groom's Acres, lying in Cotter's Pasture, the rent arising from which was to be used to teach 6 children to read and learn the catechism. Nichols (History of Leicestershire Vol. II, p.467) notes that in 1798 and 1819 a master was being supported from Bryan's charity to teach 10 boys. In addition 12 poor boys were being taught in his own house by another master sponsored from the Bryan charity.
After the National School was established in 1857 the Bryan trust continued to pay the master. Later, in 1952 when the school chose 'controlled' status as Husbands Bosworth (Church of England) School the Bryan charity paid for the upkeep of the master's house.


DR. JOHN DUPORT, Rector of Bosworth (1594-1617), gave Five Pounds, the product of which was to be distributed to the poor on Midsummer's Day.
MR. GARRATT WARD, of London gave 5 Pounds; the interest to be given to the poor every Christmas.
MR. CHRISTOPHER FOREMAN, formerly of this parish, gave Five Pounds, the yearly interest to be given to the poor on Whitsunday.
MRS. AMEY PALMER, widow, gave Three Pounds, the yearly interest thereof to be distributed to the poor of the village as bread on St. Thomas's Day.
MR. THOMAS BLAKESLEY of Stoney Stanton, by will proved in 1720, bequeathed out of four yard-lands* of Thomas JENKINS of Husbands Bosworth, one shilling a week to be distributed every Sunday as a penny loaf to 12 poor people that faithfully attended Church.
WILLIAM CHAPMAN gave "to every cotter in Husbands Bosworth and Mowsley half a pail of malt."
MARGARET CHAPMAN gave 1/3d to repair a lane.
THOMAS WRIGHT gave 3/- for "the poor man's box."
WILLIAM WARD gave "2d to all the poor widows in the village."
THOMAS MORTON in 1789 gave rent from leased land for poor relief and repairs to church.
Mr CRADDOCK gave £2-9s-0d to give "six charity children a years schooling."
MR. THOMAS ALCOCK, rector (1737-1754) lodged Eight Pounds, the interest of which should be distributed to the poor of the parish.
MR. JOHN HORTON, of Dublin but born in Husbands Bosworth, by Will dated 13th May 1731, vested in the Brittish Herring Fishery Company the sum of Three Hundred Pounds; the interest thereof to be laid out in bread for the poor of Husbands Bosworth, and distributed weekly after divine service at the discretion of the Minister and Churchwardens.
FRANCIS FORTESCUE TURVILLE, Esq., by will dated 20th day of May 1829, gave the sum of 100 Pounds in Trust, to provide coals for the poor at Christmas-tide. The said sum was vested in 3% Annuities.

In 1946 a bequest of £50 to the poor was made from the estate of the late F R LAFARGUE who died 17th March 1942. In addition provision for a bequest of £200 to invest in securities in memory of his father was to be administered on the death of his wife.

[* A yard-land was a variable measure of area; generally about 30 acres.]


The Victoria History of the County of Leicestershire, The Oxford University Press 1964 Vol. V p's 28 - 38.
Monumental Inscriptions in the Church and Churchyard of All Saints Husbands Bosworth, compiled by Peter Jones, Churchwarden 1999.

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