Pakenham History : Pakenham Charities

Pakenham Charities - Martin Harrison

The following information has been kindly supplied by Martin Harrison, our Local History Recorder in Pakenham.

The results of a Government Enquiry into Charities was published by Hansard in 1840. A Copy of the report is held in the searchroom of the Suffolk Record Office in Bury St. Edmunds. Details of the Pakenham Charities are given as follows:-

The Town Estate.
Details taken from an Indenture dated April 1826.

The will of Robert Stokes of Pakenham dated 26 March 1525, (Norwich Wills, Briggs folio 175).
Amongst his bequests which included 5 marks to purchase a silver and gilt Pyx for the church, Robert Stokes gave to the church and town of Pakenham 4 acres enclosed at Stond Hyll, 4 acres at Hardale, and a half acre lying at Stondhyll to keep his Obit day. From the profits of this land, 4d to be paid to the priest, 4d to the ringers and 4d to poor people, the residue to pay for the maintenance of the church.

The will of Nicholas Palfrey dated 28 February 1529.
He left £13 6s 8d to the poor of Pakenham to purchase land for their use. This sum plus a further £12 13s 4d, was laid out in the purchase of land. Rents from this land was used towards the relief of the poor of Pakenham.

The will of Robert Gardiner c.1651.
He bequeathed the sum of £40 to be laid out in land, the rents from which to be used to relieve the poor of Pakenham. This money was used to purchase land in Stanton.

Indentures of Feoffment 28 December 1697 and 20 June 1741.
These basically stated that the profits taken from the town lands, after deductions for repairs of the premises, were to be used first for the repairs of the church, and secondly for the common town charges of the parish. The residue to be used towards the maintenance of the poor of Pakenham.

In 1804 the open fields of the parish were enclosed and land on the west side of the parish at Puttock's Hill was awarded to the Trustees of the Pakenham Town Estate.

In 1822 a petition was presented to the Lord High Chancellor, stating that for some time the profits of the charity estate had been used by the Trustees solely for the repair of the church. It was submitted that this was not a proper application as no part of the profits were used to relieve the poor. At the time the charity estate consisted of lands held in Pakenham, Hepworth, Thurston, Elmswell and Stanton and were worth £58 14s 6d a year. By an order of the court dated 9 August 1824 it was decided that only the profits of the land purchased under Robert Stokes will could be used to maintain the church, whilst the rest should be used for the benefit of poor people of the parish not receiving parochial relief.

In a report from one of the Masters of the court dated 6 April 1826 it was stated that twenty Trustees had been appointed to administer the charity. Since 1823 an appointed receiver had collected the rents, and the proper proportions as specified by the court had been administered. The rent applicable to the repairs of the church amounting to £6 14s 0d.

The Government Enquiry on the Town Lands, concluded with the observation that there were not enough people in Pakenham, not receiving parochial relief, to be relieved by the charity. Therefore it was decided that, 'such industrious and necessitous poor persons as receive no parochial relief, should, in the first instance, be relieved or assisted; and next, such as receive only occasional parish relief, such sums being allowed or given to them as the trustees in their discretion think sufficient or proper; and that the remainder should be applied in the way of occasional relief or otherwise, for the benefit of any other poor persons whom the trustees think proper to select, and such sums as they think best; provided that the aid given do not take effect in the way of substitution for parochial relief.'

Cookes Charity

The Will of John Cooke dated 21 November 1651.
John Cooke gave £100 to be laid out in lands, the rents thereof to be paid to ten poor people of Ixworth, and ten poor people of Pakenham yearly at Lady-day and Michaelmas day. This was to be paid out by the owner of his messuage called Redcastle in Pakenham, or the owner's assigns. In an indenture of 1 January 1671, 10 acres of land in Horningsheath, [Horringer], were conveyed to the trustees of John Cooke's will. No subsequent conveyance had taken place and the then owner of Redcastle administered the charity. At the time of the enquiry this stood at £15 per year.

Bright's Charity.

The Will of Thomas Bright dated 4 May 1713, (BRO Ref: IC500/1/167(40)).
In his Will, Thomas Bright directed his son, also Thomas, to lay out £100 on the purchase of land for the benefit of the poor people of Thurston and Pakenham within one year after his decease. The profits and rents on the land were to be administered by the owner of Nether Hall, and used to purchase twelve pairs of shoes and stockings every Christmas to be given to poor men, women and children as the owner of the Hall shall think fit. Every third year as many coats should be given, (the sleeves lined with black), to as many poor people as the clear rents would extend to.

It would appear that Thomas the son did not honour a written agreement made with his father on 24 April 1712 to set up this charity. The report of 1840 reports that the then owner of the estate of Nether Hall, the Rev. W. Bassett, had laid out £5 per year to purchase shoes, stockings and other articles of clothing to be divided half to the poor of Pakenham, and half to the poor of Thurston, to honour this bequest.

The Bury and Norwich Post held at the Bury Record Office, dated 24 July 1883, (Ref: 2368/9/3/12).
This contains the report of a somewhat lively enquiry by the Charity Commissioners held on the 19 July 1883. In the report there is a mention of Stutter's Charity. Nothing it appears was known of the foundation of this charity, but it was a charge of £1 10 0d on the Nether Hall Estate, the money to be distributed to the poor of Pakenham.

The report also mentions that the total money from the various charities was divided into three parts. One third for repairs to the church, exclusive of the Chancel, one third to the schools and one third on coals.

I have not found when the decision was taken to carry out this division. There are some other papers related to the Pakenham Charities held in the Record Office at Bury St. Edmunds. Further study of these and other sources may reveal the answer, - unless someone out there can let me know! Martin Harrison (Trelawne@yahoo.com)