Chapter V Chapter VII


Chapter VI.

Souldern Charities.

This account is taken from the reports of the Commissioners for enquiring into the charities in the hundreds of Banbury and Bloxham, also other places in the hundreds of Wooton, Ploughley, Chad­lington, and Bull­ington, Oxon. Printed and sold by J. G. Rusher, Bridge­street, Banbury, 1826. By an award―follow­ing upon a suit in which the plaintiffs were Richard Love (gentleman), Thomas Norbury (clerk), Richard Gough, John Dodwell, William Dodwell, John Pearce, John Bignell, Richard Hob­craft, William Bignell, Richard Bignell, John Hall, Richard Dodwell, John King, William Bower, George Bower, Robert Wise, John Brown, William Baynard, Simon Bates, and William Hodgett, freeholders of Souldern—which award was confirmed by a decree in Chancery, dated 29th June, 10th James I., it is stated amongst other things, that for the better provision and maintenance of the poor of the said town of Souldern, the Surveyors, with the consent and good liking of the lord of the manor, and the principal landowners, set out to and for the use and behoof of the poor inhabitants of Souldern aforesaid, a parcel of ground at “Coles Cross,” containing 7 acres, a plot called “The Green,” containing 5 acres, and “The Pits" and “Bowling Green,” consisting of 1 acre; and it was also directed with the like consent and agreement, that the incumbent of the said parish and his successors, should pay yearly in lieu of a piece of waste ground adjoining the parsonage, to the church­wardens of Souldern for the time being, for the proper use and behoof of the poor inhabitants thereof the sum of 5s, every Lady-day. There are no trustees appointed therein, nor are there any directions as to the manner in which the property was intended to be used, or as to the application of the profits. Up to the year 1814 the greater part of this land was unenclosed, and every villager might turn his horses or cattle on it as he pleased, and the land was the subject of constant contention amongst the poor. On the 2nd April, 1814, Robert Kilbye Cox and Richard Drope Gough, Esqrs., preferred a petition to the Court of Chancery, setting forth the decree of 29th June, 10th of James I., by which the award and enclosure were confirmed, and praying that it might be referred to the Master to appoint proper persons as trustees of the lands allotted for the benefit of the poor of Souldern, and to let and receive the rents for the same, and to approve of a scheme for the application of the rents, and that William Godfrey and others might be ordered to deliver up to the trustees such parts of the said lands as were in their possession respectively and to account for the rents thereof, upon which it was ordered that it should be referred to the Master, to inquire whether the lands mentioned in the petition were part of those allotted to the said poor, and if so, that he should take account of the rents and profits which the persons in possession had received, and also to appoint proper persons to be trustees of the said lands, and it was ordered that the rest of the petition should stand over until the Master should have made his report. The Master's report, dated 18th March, 1815, was confirmed 25th May following, and Robert Kilbye Cox, Richard Drope Gough, Willian Ralph Cartwright, John Coker, Esq., John Hill, and William Minn (gentlenen), the lord of the manor for the time being, the Rector, church­wardens, and overseers of Souldern, for the time being were appointed trustees of the said lands, and it was ordered that the persons whom the Master had found in possession of the said premises, should deliver up the same to the said trustees, and that the costs of the petitioners should be paid out of the rents and profits of the said lands. No order, however, was made with respect to the future application of the rents and profits.

I. The property above described consists of the ground at Coles Cross, 7 acres, being arable land, and about three-quarters of an acre, part of the green, let on lease, dated 7th May, 1819, to Robert Kilbye Cox, Esq., for 99 years from the date hereof, at the yearly rent of £1 in consid­era­tion of £236 7s.6d. This lease was granted upon the terms above-mentioned, the same being approved by the Master in Chancery, for the purpose of paying off the debt incurred by the proceedings abovementioned, and which amounted to that sum. The annual value of the premises was then estimated at 4:12, but does not now (1826) exceed £9 or £10.

II. Upon the remaining portions of the green, and the bowling leys there are (1826) 17 cottages built there partly by the parish and partly by the poor themselves. Each of these cottages has a small garden attached to it, and there are 40 gardens be­sides. Every poor person occupying a house and garden pays yearly to the trustees 1s. 6d., and everyone occupying a garden only the small annual sum of 1s.*

III. The pits and bowling green, containing not more than half an acre of pasture, were let in 1826 to Henry Essery, as yearly tenant at a rent of £1 1s., which was fair value. There are roads adjoining this part of the land, and encroachments have been made since by building four cottages and fencing out small gardens to them, which, being in­cluded, would make the whole plot an acre as des­cribed in the award. (These houses and gardens are included in the number above-mentioned.)

IV. A parcel of land adjoining the parsonage for which is is paid yearly.

All the rents arising from these premises amounting, if the whole were collected, to about £5, are carried to an account separate from the overseer's book, together with the rent of a cottage built upon the waste near the turnpike gate, and the feeding of different lanes in the parish, which are let annually by auction. These latter, at the time of the report, were held by four tenants at rents amounting to £1 16s. The sum collected is dis­tributed, under the directions of the vestry, amongst all the poor of the parish, none being omitted. Those who have no cottage or garden, except two or three, who may receive less, have 5s, each, whilst those who have cottages and gardens are only paid 1s. A small surplus is always reserved for poor widows or old worn-out men.

* This payment now varies considerably.

Dodwell's Charity for Clothing.

Thomas Dodwell, of Souldern, by indentures of lease and release, dated 17th and 18th August, 1694, conveyed to Robert Bigmelland John Wat­son, and their heirs, 3½ acres of meadow grounds lying in the town of Souldern, to the use of himself for life and after his death to the use of Mary Big­nell, her heirs and assigns for ever, upon trust that the said Mary Bignell and her heirs should after his decease pay into the hands of the overseers and church­wardens for the time being of the parish of Souldern aforesaid, yearly the sum of 30s. at one entire payment, on the 24th June, to the intent that the sail churchwardens and overseers should every year lay out and dispense the said yearly sum of 30s, and every part thereof in the clothing of two of such of the poor people, inhabitants of Souldern aforesaid, as the major part of the landowners of Souldern, being protestants, and having the quantity of a quarter of a yard land or more within the parish of Souldern, should, from time to time, nominate and appoint, and to no other use or purpose whatever. In 1826 the sum of £1 10s. was annually paid by Mr. John Merry, the owner of the premises charged, and laid out by the overseers in cloth, which was given at a vestry among five or six poor and industrious protestants not receiving parish relief. In the years 1824-5 three men and three women received a sufficient quantity of cloth to make them a jacket or petticoat. The oldest resident parishioners, being married persons, re­ceive it in succession.

Dodwell's Bread Charity.

The same Thos, Dodwell, also by deed, dated 18th August, 1694, conveyed two closes in this parish, containing, by estimation, 20 acres, called the “Millsedges” to the use of Mary, his niece, for life, and after her decease to the use of John Big­nell, his heirs and assigns, upon trust, that the said Mary Laxton and ñer assigns, during her life, and the said John Bignell, his heirs and assigns after her death should weekly on Sunday in the forenoon distribute in the parish church of Souldern, to four poor persons, inhabitants of Souldern, to be from time to time nominated by the major part of the freeholders (these being protestants), and having the quantity of a quarter of a yard land in Souldern aforesaid, one three­penny loaf of baker's bread apiece, and if the land­owners should refuse or neglect to nominate such poor persons, it was directed that the loaves should delivered by the said Mary Laxton during her life, and the said John Bignell, his heirs and assigns afterwards, to any four of the poor pro­testant inhabitants of Souldern, who, in their judgment, should most need the same. By deed, dated 12th March, 1699, the above uses were re­voked, and a small close in Souldern, called “Little Millsedge,” and the two closes above, called “The Millsedges,” were conveyed to the use of Robert Bignell, his heirs and assigns upon trust to distri­bute bread to four poor persons, weekly, as directed in the former deeds. In 1826 the above premises were the property of William Minn, of Souldern, and he supplied the four three­penny loaves a week, given at the church on Sunday morning, to four poor widows of the parish, nominated by the vestry as any vacancies occurred.

Cartwright's Charity.

The sum of £2 3s. 4d. is paid annually by Wm. Ralph Cartwright, Esq., of Aynho, the proprietor of land in Souldern. This appears to be part of a rent charge of £9.19s. 4d., mentioned in the marriage settlement of the said W. R. Cartwright, dated 8th April, 1784, whereby certain estates in Aynho, Souldern, Deddington, Clifton and Hempton, were settled, and which contained in the covenant ainst incumbrances the following clause, “other than and except a certain annual sum of £0.19s. 4d. issuing and payable for ever, out of all or some part of the premises and hereditaments hereby conveyed to the poor of Aynho, Crowton, and Souldern, for bread, given by the last will of Richard Cartwright, Esq., deceased” (dated 1st February, 1633. With the sum of £23s. 4d. five eight­penny loaves are provided, which are given by the overseers in the church, to five poor widows who are appointed in the same manner as those who receive Dowlwell's bread.

Westcar's Charity.

Elizabeth Westcar, of Hill House, in the parish of Souldern, by will dated 19th February, 1820, gave to John Westcar and William Tubb certain property therein mentioned upon trust to sell the same, and to make certain payments thereout, and upon further trust that they, the said John Westcar and William Tubb, and the survivor of them, his executor, or administrator, should stand possessed of the residue of the money to arise from such sale, in trust, for the purposes thereinafter mentioned, that is to say, as to the sum of £400, part thereof upon trust, to invest the same in their own names, or name, in the purchase of stock in the public funds or upon Government securities at interest, and to ter the securities as occasion should reuire, and as they should require, and as they should think expedient; and to pay, apply, and to lay out the dividends, interest and annual proceeds thereof to arise or be received by them as follows—one half thereof in the purchase of clothing, and the other half thereof in the purchase of bread — to the use of the poor of Souldern, to be given and distributed yearly, on Christmas Day, in such proportions and in such manner as the said John Westcar and Williain Tubb, or the sur­vivor of them, the executor or admin­ist­rator of such survivor should in their or his dis­cretion think fit and direct, and, as to the sum of £200 upon trust to invest the same in like manner with like power to alter the securities, and, to pay over the dividends and annual pro­ceeds thereof to the schoolmaster for the time being of the National School at Souldern aforesaid or otherwise permit and empower him to receive and take the same. These legacies were laid out by the executors in the purchase of £518 10s. navy five per cents., which is now converted into £544 8s. 6d. four per cents., producing an annual dividend of £21 15s. 6d. he dividends have hitherto been received by the late Wm. Tubb, of Oxford, and paid by him partly in the purchase of bread, clothes, and blankets, which he distri­buted himself amongst the poor of Souldern, and partly to the master of the National School in Souldern, according to the proportions of the two several legacies (1826). The actual receipts of the year 1881 from the Souldern charities, amounted to a little more than £47. The accounts were fully audited and approved by the Charity Commissioners at Whitehall.

Bicester Grounds.

(From the Commissioners' Report of the Charities at Bicester.)

Feoffees' Lands.—By an inquisition taken at Bicester under a commission of charitable uses, 6th April, 41st Elizabeth, it was found that there was before that time a feoff­ment made or an estate in fee sufficiently executed to certain persons and their heirs of certain lands and tenements with their appurt­enances in the town and fields of Bicester, Bucknell, Wendlebury, Souldern (near Woodstock), and Stretton, in the county of Oxford, sometime the inheritance of one John Wykyns, alias Wiggins. The earliest account we have of the lands vested in the feoffees subse­quent to the inquisition is contained in a terrier which purports to have been made in the 45th year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and contains inter alia the following particulars : Souldern— 15 acres of land in 14 parcels, lying in different open fields, a piece of ground called — containing 3 acres, or thereabouts. Two little closes called Brown's closes. From the Commi­ssioners’ Report, 1826, Bicester cottages, with three parcels of land called the Home Close, la. Or. 16p.; the Barn Ground, 13.a. 1r. 2p.; and the Lower Ground, 13a, 2r. 28p. Part of these premises are an ancient enclosure, and the remainder was set out by the award of certain persons who were appointed by agreement among the landowners to divide and ஃ the commonable fields of Souldern, which award was confirmed by a decree of the court of Chancery, about the year, 1613. The allotment is described as containing 26a, 3p,

Chapter V Chapter VII