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Church and Town Estate and the Almalgamated Poor and Almshouse Charities records

Call Number: MS 312


This collection contains a trustees meeting minute book, register of applicants for vacancies, and correspondence for the Church and Town Estate and the Almalgamated Poor and Almshouse Charities.


  • Creation: 1889 - 1933


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

History of Church and Town Estate Collection

In his will of July 22, 1735, John Wilde left the town of Lowestoft his estate in Worlingham, which was exchanged by an act of 1791 with Robert Sparrow and Mary Bence for Croatfield Farm, 118 acres situated in the parishes of Laxfield, Dennington and Badingham, two cottages, a shop, a fish house, and his dole lands, all in Lowestoft. The trustees appointed to oversee his estate were instructed to use rents from this property to appoint a schoolmaster to teach 40 boys reading, writing, arithmetics and Latin. Wilde also made provision for yearly payments to the minister, clerk and sexton of Lowestoft on the condition that the minister preached a sermon on the training of children. Any surplus money was used to repair the schoolhouse and relieve the poor.

By an order of the Charity Commission dated November 9, 1888, John Wilde's Charity was amalgamated with other Lowestoft charities and entitled "The Church and Town Estate and the Amalgamated Poor and Almshouse Charities". A further Charity Commission scheme for the management of the amalgamated Lowestoft Charities was passed in 1902. The Lowestoft Charities Board continues its work to this day.

The minute book records the management of this charitable body, detailing the meetings of the Trustees and reports of the four sub committees: Allotments and Property, Almshouses, Education, and Finance. The entry for July 11, 1901, records a stern letter from the Charity Commissioners curtly reminding the Trustees that they were responsible to the Commission and the code of management drawn up in November 1888. The remainder of this book records the Trustees daily management of almshouses, allotments, educational schemes, and charitable donations, as well as the overseeing of a large property portfolio which was the source of all its income.

On February 18, 1919, there is a record for the part sale of some land on the Crown Meadow. It was stipulated that the meadow be maintained as a recreation ground. On February 14, 1902 it is noted that W. Catchpole attended the trustees meeting as representative of Lowestoft Football Club [F.C.] in order to request an extension of their lease on Crown Meadow. This was granted until 1916. Although a further lease extension is not recorded, Lowestoft F.C. still play at Crown Meadow today.

July 21st, 1920 documents the repair and maintenance of 'Barker's Tomb'. This refers to John Barker who, in 1781, bequeathed money for the relief of the poor on condition that the commission maintain a vault to his memory in Lowestoft Churchyard.

The numerous letters loosely inserted include a 2 page letter in third person from Lady Constance Barne, of Rowley, Brackley, testifying to the 'excellent character always borne by Mrs. Patience Croft'. Mrs. Croft is recorded in the Register of Applicants with the remark, 'O.A.P., stipend or almshouse'.

Two letters, from H. Barham and Mrs Bragg, record the realization that they had been granted rooms in Almshouse only to find they were not on the ground floor; neither could accept the room on account that they could not climb the stairs. Miss Leeds, aware of this predicament, wrote to the Charity Board pleading for the room Mrs Bragg could not take: 'May I again call your attention to that almshouse room as Mrs. Bragg did not take it...I should be most thankful if you would consider my case'. The Register records Miss Leeds as being given Room AA.


.5 Linear Feet (1 box + 1 oversized box)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

MS 312

Physical Location

MS Q55

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, Jarndyce Antiquarian Booksellers, 2011.

Guide to the Church and Town Estate Collection
Church and Town Estate and the Almalgamated Poor and Almshouse Charities
Finding aid prepared by brch, 2013; revised by mhr, 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Church and Town Estate Collection, MS 312, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States