Dodwell's Charity for Clothing.
Thomas Dodwell, of Souldern, by indentures dated 17th and 18th August, 1694, conveyed 3½ acres of meadow grounds lying in Souldern, upon trust, for payment to the Overseers and Churchwardens for the time being, of the sum of 30s. yearly, to be laid out in the clothing of such two of the poor inhabitants of Souldern as the major part of the landowners of Souldern, being Protestants, and having the quantity of a quarter of a yardland or more within the parish, should, from time to time, nominate and appoint, and to no other use or purpose whatever. In 1826, when the report of the Charity Commissioners was made, 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 1824–25 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 Thomas Dodwell, also by deed, dated 18th August, 1694, and 12th March, 1699, conveyed two closes in this parish, containing, by estimation, 20 acres, called the “Millsedges,” and a small close called “Little Millsedge,” upon trust, for distribution weekly on Sunday in the forenoon, 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, qualified as in the preceding case, of one threepenny loaf of baker's bread apiece. In 1826 the above premises were the property of Will 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.
The sum of £2 3s. 4d. is paid annually by F. W. Cartwright, Esq., of Aynho, the proprietor of land in Souldern, as part of a rent charge of £9 19s. 4d., given to the poor of Aynho, Crowton, and Souldern, for bread, by the will of Rich. Cartwright, dated 1st Feb., 1633. With this sum of £2 3s. 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 Dodwell's bread.
Elizabeth Westcar, of Hill House, in the parish of Souldern, by will dated 19th Feb., 1820, gave certain property for sale, upon trust, to invest £400, part of the proceeds, and to layout one half of the dividends in the purchase of clothing, and the other half in the purchase of bread, for the poor of Souldern, to be given and distributed, yearly, on Christmas Day, in such proportions as the trustees should think fit; and in like manner to invest £200 for payment of the dividends to the School Master for the time being of the National School. These legacies were laid out by the executors in the purchase of what is now £544 8s. 6d. four per cents., producing an annual dividend of £21 15s. 6d., which is distributed as ordered.
The actual receipts from the Souldern Charities in the year 1881 amounted to a little more than £47, and the accounts were fully audited and approved by the Charity Commissioners.
The following is a brief abstract of the account given in the report of the Commissioners for Charities in 1826 :—
By a decree in Chancery, 29 June, 10 Jas. I. (1612), an assignment was confirmed of 7 acres of land at Cole's Cross, 5 acres called “The Green,“ and 1 acre called “The Pits” and “Bowling Green,” for the use of the poor inhabitants of Souldern, as also an annual payment of 5s. from the Incumbent of the parish for a piece of waste ground adjoining the Parsonage. Up to 1814 this land remained unenclosed, and was used by the villagers as common grazing-ground, and was the subject of constant contention amongst the poor. In that year a petition was presented in Chancery upon the matter, and in 1815 Trustees were appointed; and the land at Cole's Cross with part of the Green was leased to Rob. Kilbye Cox., Esq., for 99 years, from 7 May, 1819, at a yearly rent of £1, in consideration of his paying the costs of the Chancery settlement, amounting to £236 7s. 6d. The annual value of this land was then estimated at £12.
Upon the remaining portion of the Green and the Bowling Leys there were in 1826 17 cottages built partly by the parish and partly by the poor themselves, with gardens attached; and 40 gardens besides. Each one who had a house and garden then paid yearly to the Trustees 1s. 6d., and each occupant of a garden alone, 1s.; but these payments now vary considerably.
The remainder of the land at the Bowling Green and the Pits, amounting to about half an acre, was let in 1826 at a yearly rent of £1 1s.
The five shillings for the land adjoining the Parsonage is paid yearly.
All the rents (including some for the feeding of different lanes) are distributed under the direction of the Vestry in various proportions among all the poor of the parish, none being omitted.
Certain lands in Souldern amounting to 26 acres are included among the Charity Lands belonging to Bicester.