Notes from the Report to the Charity Commissioners on the Endowed Charities in the Parish of Moretonhampstead (1907).   (excluding education)

The Church Houses Charity

This was divided in 1897 into two Charities, called the Church Houses Charity and the Almshouse Charity.

The report of 1823 found that the churchwardens let the following property (for which no deeds could be found):  a public house called the Union, with a garden, in Forder street, in the occupation of John Gray, let for £14.14s p.a.; a house, shoemaker’s shop and small garden in Cross-street, occupied by Robert Tremlett, the parish clerk, let for £7 p.a.; and a house called the Church House near the church-yard, of which one ground room is occupied by poor people, rent free, placed there by the parish officers, and the room over it is used as a school-room by the schoolmaster; the residue of the house, with a good garden, is in the occupation of Charles Humphries at £9 p.a..

There was a further enquiry in 1860 in which it was found that an abstract of deeds of 1756 showed that Edward Tremlett, surviving feoffee of the parish lands, conveyed to John Southmead and twelve others (of whom Elias Babbacombe was the last survivor) the following property: 

  • a messuage called the Church House, then in the tenure of Nathaniel Walling, Carpenter;
  • the schoolhouse adjoining (on two floors);
  • the inn called the Sun, situate between Sir William Courtenay’s lands on the east (Cross Street) on the south, Hammick’s lands on the west and the first-mentioned lands on the north;
  • the house theretofore called the Almshouse and garden (then used as and called the workhouse);
  • the inn called the White Swan and certain houses and smith’s shop thereto belonging,  bounded by lands of Whiteway on the east, of Ellicombe on the west, of Taverner on the north, and the street leading to Chagford on the south, then in the tenure of Henry Hole;
  • and the yearly rent of 6s 8d issuing out of premises in the possession of George Jackson and others,

in trust that the trustees should permit the schoolhouses to be used by such persons as the trustees should appoint for keeping up a grammar and English school and such other school or schools as they should direct, either gratis or upon certain terms to be agreed  on for teaching poor children, or for the benefit of the parish;

and that the trustees should apply the rents and profits of other the said premises (except the workhouse) and the monies arising by any leases to both or of any part thereof granted towards the repairs of the parish church as had been usual and the repairs of the schoolhouse, and other the said released premises, or else to permit the churchwardens to receive and apply the same accordingly; and upon further trust to permit the said workhouse to be inhabited by the governor thereof, and such poor people of the parish as should be appointed and therein placed by the overseers of the poor, with the consent of the parishioners, and to be used as such according to the directions of an Act of Parliament , the repairs thereof to be borne by the said parishioners in general, they being entitled to the benefit which should arise from labour of the poor for their better maintenance and relief.

Neither this nor any other deeds relating to this property are known to exist, and there is no mention of it in the vestry books, which go back for a considerable time.  From Mr Hare’s report (1860) it appears that the church house and schoolhouse mentioned in the deed of 1756 are the church houses referred to in the Report of 1823.  The Sun Inn mentioned in that deed is the property in Cross Street specified in the Report, and the White Swan Inn is the same as the Union inn of the Report.  The workhouse or almshouse and garden mentioned in the deed are not included in  the former Report; in 1897 this was made into a separate charity.

The present (1907) trustees of the Church Houses charity are:  the rector and churchwardens, and Messrs. A.P. Cuming, J. Stevens Neck, H. Hutton and A.C. Loveys.  The property now consists of (1) the Girls’ school (old schoolhouse) – tenant Local Education Authority; (2) the house in Cross Street, Church House – William Henry Collings; and a sum of money (invested) representing the sale of the Union Inn, which was dilapidated, to Mr W.S. Pinsent.

The old church house and the old schoolhouse were destroyed by fire in 1845.  The church house was rebuilt in 1846-8, and a schoolroom on the ground floor was built on part of the site of the old schoolhouse.  At the same time, for the purposes of a street improvement, a portion (3 ft) of the frontage of the schoolhouse site at the Cross Street end, and at the angle of the church house end (10 or 11ft) was thrown into a new street leading from Cross Street to Green Hill.

In 1875 an extension of school accommodation became necessary, and the schoolroom and the remainder of the schoolhouse site was leased to the School Board for 100 years from 1875, the present girls’ school being built on it in 1876[The ‘present girls’ school’ is the older building fronting Greenhill, the boys’ school being transferred to the  Pound Street School] .

The Almshouse Charity

Other Church charities

The Rev Nicholas Germon, by a Will of 20/5/1882, left £200 to be invested, the income to be distributed on Christmas day by the Rector and churchwardens for coal, fuel, food or clothing for the needy poor above the age of 60.

Frances Germon, spinster, left the income from £150 to be applied to the expenses of keeping the Church insured against fire and lighted with gas, with a gas lamp over the gate for evening services.

  • The Unitarian Chapel charities
  • The Baptist Chapel Charities
  • The Congregational Church
  • The Wesleyan Methodist Church
  • The Moreton Hampstead Convalescent Home
  • The Lucy Wills’ Nursing Trust
  • Cottage Hospital

Summary of the Church Houses

In 1756 the Church owned the Church House, the schoolroom (on two floors), the Sun Inn (adjoining the Church House), the Almshouse, and the White Swan Inn with houses and smith’s shop adjoining; in 1823 the White Swan had become the Union Inn in Ford Street with houses and shoemakers shop adjoining.