The Charities

The Report of the Charity Commissioners informs us (Vol. XXXI. pp. 123, 124, London, 1835) that by the Inclosure Award for the parish of Milton 1 a. 0 r. 9 p. (These are areas of land expressed in acres, roods and perches. See Introduction to this Edition for more on this.) of freehold land, and 15 a. 2 r. 5 p. of copyhold land, fine arbitrary, chiefly in Backsbite Fen, and both tithe free, were allotted in 1802 to the trustees of the town lands in lieu of their rights of common and other property. This statement, however, is hardly accurate, for on inspection
the Award is found actually to assign 18 a. 3 r. 21 p. to Milton, or 2 a. 1 r. 7 p. beyond what is stated in the Report. So, also, in 1818, on the inclosure of Waterbeach, there were apportioned to the churchwardens and overseers of
the poor for their freehold lands, &c., 10 a. O r. 5 p. of copyhold land in Chittering, next to the Stretham turnpike. This last quantity was enfranchised in 1859 at an expense of £80.

The charity land brings in about £77 a year. At a vestry meeting of the parishioners held in January 1850, it was agreed, that in future half of the annual proceeds should be distributed among the poor: one quarter set apart for
the repairs of the church, and the remaining quarter for the maintenance of the highways.

The earliest known contributor to the charity fund was Rose Cokh in 1521, an abstract of whose will has been already printed. Her bequests were to be employed for the obtaining of spiritual benefits to herself and friends, for
church purposes, for the payment, on behalf of the poor, of king’s tax, when it should happen, and for the reparation of the body of the church. The next contributors appear to have been two lords of the manor, William Cooke in 1549,
and Edward Newman in 1616: the rent of the land they gave was to be expended on the repair of the highways, and on the relief of the poor.

Dr Thomas Goade, then rector, gave in 1622 two acres of meadow land in Lugg Holough, the produce or rents of which were to be distributed by himself during his life, and after his decease by the churchwardens, among the most indigent (chiefly widows) and impotent people, yearly at the feasts of All Saints and the Purification of the Virgin Mary, in equal portions.

Thomas Whiteage (Whitcaye?) and Constance his wife surrendered in 1634 at a court holden for the manor of Milton five acres of arable land to the use of Dr Thomas Goade for his life, then to certain trustees who were especially named, and their heirs: and they directed that the proceeds arising from the land should be applied to the same purposes as Dr Goade was accustomed to apply what arose from his own gift.

In 1638 the inhabitants purchased five roods of land, which were thenceforward known as the Town plot: the rent of these, together with the rent of the Town holt, which came into the possession of the parish, also by purchase, about the same time, was to be spent in the reparation of the ways and the relief of the poor. From the rent of the former seven shillings seem to have been set apart to defray the expenses incurred on procession day, when the bounds of the parish were beaten.

In 1646 and 16447 two sums of money amounting together to £50. 2s., one acre of land, and £6, wherewith another half-acre was probably purchased, were given over to the inhabitants of the parish of Milton by Simon Harris and Thomas Batchcroft, master of Caius College, as compensation for the enjoyment in severalty of two closes of pasture, containing together 13 acres, each discharged of common rights. Respecting the disposal of the money nothing more is said, than that it was intended for the poor people of Milton : on the contrary certain persons, who are named, were enfeoffed of the land, whose rent was to be received yearly by the churchwardens, and also applied for the benefit and relief of the poor of the said parish.

In 1657 Thomas Richardes surrendered one acre and a half of land called Francis Holt, for the use and relief of the poor inhabitants of the town of Milton. Since Thomas Richardes was one of the feoffees for the management of the land last mentioned, and the quantity is exactly the same, may not this transaction be the transference of a trust by the survivor of the body, rather than a new gift made to the parishioners?

John Ellis in 1660{-Three years later he met with a considerable loss. We learn from a list of Briefs in one of the Register books belonging to Kempston in Bedfordshire, that in 1663 there were collected for a fire in Cambridgeshire at Milton for John Ellis the sum of xs vjd. He was probably
connected with the Goade family, for Dr Thomas Goade names in his will ‘my brother Mr Ellis of Milton’.-} made over one acre and a half of land in Island field, which he had lately purchased, to Thomas and Elias Richardes, upon trust, after his own and his wife’s decease, that the poor people of Milton should be succoured and relieved from time to time for ever with the yearly rents and profits thereof in such sort and manner as should be agreed upon and thought meet by the chiefest part of the inhabitants for the time being.

Thomas Richardes surrendered one and a half acre of arable land in Island field, in 1670, to Richard Foot and others. Though lying in the same field with John Ellis’ gift, this cannot well have been the same piece of land, inasmuch as the objects of the trust were not the same. The new trustees and their heirs were to permit the churchwardens and overseers of the parish of Milton for the time being to receive the rents and profits and spend them on the repairs of the church, or the relief of the poor, at their discretion. The land must rather have been that with which the names of John Graves, Thomas Graves, and Margaret Richardes were connected, as donors, and whose rent was appointed to be distributed between the church and the poor at the will of the churchwardens and overseers.

By will dated 2nd May, 1682, Dr Benjamin Whichcote, rector of Milton, bequeathed unto the parishioners of the same town his two acres of land lying in Fodder Fen, in Waterbeach holough, and also his other five acres lying in Chittering, (which he had purchased of Alexander and Margaret Tempest,) after his decease, for the better maintenance of the poor of Milton for ever. He likewise gave £100 for pious and charitable uses, to be paid within two years of his death, £20 whereof were to go to the town of Milton, to be laid out upon a yearly revenue to teach children to read and write.

At a court holden for the manor of ‘Waterbeach cum Denney in 1801 John Wilson and others were admitted to two acres of fen in Waterbeach holough, to hold to them and their heirs at a rent of 2s., in trust for the parishioners of
Milton, to the intent that they, and the survivors of them, should lay out and apply all the clear yearly profits thereof in and about the necessary reparation of the parish church of Milton.

All the Milton charity land lying in the parish of Waterbeach, at the time of the inclosure, was freehold: how it became so did not appear, since the trustees of Milton had no deed of enfranchisement to show.