Old Bradford Charities - Part II

Mary Lister

(First published in 1985 in volume 1, pp. 31-37, of the third series of The Bradford Antiquary, the journal of the Bradford Historical and Antiquarian Society.)

Mrs Elizabeth Wadsworth's Charity

Mrs Wadsworth was concerned about the poor in the townships of Bradford, Calverley and Idle, and by a codicil to her will made in 1835 bequeathed to the Vicars of Bradford and Calverley, and to the Perpetual Curate of Idle, the sum of £600, which they were to invest. Every year at Christmas the income was to be used to assist the most deserving poor and each incumbent was authorized to distribute the third of the income assigned to him 'to such persons and in such manner as he should think proper'.

No deed has survived (if ever there was one) to testify to the setting up of a trust to administer this charity and our knowledge of it derives solely from Mrs Wadsworth's will, which was proved in November 1837. The money was presumably distributed among the deserving poor in subsequent years by the three clergymen. No provision seems to have been made to appoint successors in the event of the death or removal of any of the nominees and in 1871 the scheme was in danger of breaking down. In that year the Rev. E.M. Hall of Idle applied to the Charity Commissioners to have the £680 in 3% annuities, in the names of himself, the Rev. Henry Heap and the Rev. Samuel Redhead, transferred to the Commissioners, as the last two clergymen were dead.

The request was granted and on 3rd November 1871 the stock was apportioned, one third to each of the three churches, the income being distributed on 13th January each year. In the 1870s, and for the next twenty years, a sum of 3s. each was given to poor persons, mainly widows and spinsters aged 50 years and above, after careful enquiry into their circumstances. The names were kept in a book which is now in the Muniment Room of Bradford Cathedral, the recipients being usually recommended by the Vicar and a body of district visitors, or 'Bible-women', as they were called.

At the Charity Inquiry of 1894 Canon Bardsley testified that for the last three years £5 6s.4d. had been distributed by the Parish Clerk in sums of 2s. 6d. He also stated that neither he nor Mumford's, the solicitors, knew of any document relating to this charity, which seemed always to have been distributed according to precedent. In the 1890s applications were so numerous that the funds proved inadequate to meet the demand and they frequently had to be augmented from the Communion alms. Amounts given varied from 2s. 6d in 1908 to 5s. in 1930.

Although the amounts distributed appear pitifully small today, there is plenty of evidence that they were gratefully accepted and were a real blessing to the recipients. In 1905 the churchwardens found themselves unable to meet all the demands on their funds and the following note appears in the Charity Book.

"Jowett, Wadsworth and Poor's Estate"

"In consequence of reduced amounts received on account of these three charities it is impossible to pay the same sums to the like number of people as heretofore. Nor could it be easily settled as to who should be left out. I have therefore paid to all who have previously received the dole the same amount as they had before. It no new persons are added the number of recipients will gradually be reduced by death and other causes and in time the income will be sufficient to satisfy the remainder."

The amount available was: Wadsworth Charity £4 16s. 8d., Poor's Estate £8 4s. 6d., Jowett Charity £6 4s. 10d. The clerk paid out £20 6s. 6d., the deficit of £1 0s. 6d. being made up out of Communion alms.

John Appleyard's Charity

Some benefactors made provision for the poor of more than one district. John Appleyard, who added a codicil to his will on 11th June 1864, eight months before his death, was one such person. He left to the Vicar of the Parish of Halifax £5,000, to be invested in Government Securities, the income of which was to be distributed each January in bread, coals and blankets amongst the poor of several neighbouring townships; one fifth each to Halifax, Warley and Ovenden, one tenth each to Midgley, Adwalton, Bradford and Birstall.

In 1866, after deduction of legacy duty, the sum of £4,500 was invested by the Charity Commissioners and each year one tenth of the income was remitted to the Vicar of Bradford, whose Curate distributed it to the poor by means of orders on local provision merchants. In subsequent years the income varied very little, being in the region of £14 15s. in 1893 and £12 15s. in 1967. In the early years food orders for 6d. and 1s. each and some orders for coals were distributed to a large number of needy people. In 1967 the Provost, as the Vicar of Bradford, distributed the charity to thirteen poor and aged people, who received part cash and part goods.

The Susannah Stott Charity

In organising her charitable bequests Miss Susannah Stott unwittingly posed several problems. Her will was made in February 1826 but she lived until 1875, by which date her executors had been dead for some years and some of the institutions she wished to benefit no longer existed. In her will, Miss Stott, who was a member of the Stanhope family of Eccleshill Hall, bequeathed to John Outhwaite and John Ness Blakey the sum of £400 on trust for them to invest in Government Securities, the income being for the benefit of the Medical Dispensary, the Lying-in-Charity, the Charity for the Aged and Infirm and the Female School of Industry. Each charity was to receive one quarter of the income each year on 15th January. She wished her executors to see that a proper deed was drawn up, and stated that if any institution had ceased to exist, the money should be directed to another with similar objectives.

The executors having predeceased Miss Stott, administration of the will was granted to her niece, Susannah Greene Stott, and in May 1875 £360 of the capital, after deduction of legacy duty, was paid to the Official Trustees of Charitable Funds and invested in Consols. As there were no properly' constituted trustees of the endowment, on 18 August 1875 Miss Susannah Greene Stott applied to the Charity Commissioners asking that the Vicar and churchwardens of Bradford Parish Church be appointed trustees to administer the charity.

The Charity for the Aged and Infirm having ceased to exist before Miss Stott's death, it was agreed that its place should be taken by the Orphan Girls' Home, which, with the other three beneficiaries, received one quarter of the annual dividend of £10 10s. 4d. When the Female School of Industry closed down in 1890 its share went to the Orphan Girls' Home and in 1927 this part of the charity was transferred to the Waifs and Strays, which later became known as the Church of England Children's Society. Since 1966 it has received half of Miss Stott's bequest.

In 1903 half the sum invested was transferred to a separate fund called the Susannah Stott Educational Foundation. Since 1966 the income intended for the Lying-in or 'Ladies' Charity has been given to the Bradford Council for Social Service for use in maternity cases amongst the poor, and for many years was allocated to St. Monica's Home, a maternity hostel for poor girls. The remaining quarter of the money, which in 1966 amounted to £2 7 s. 8d., is given to the Bradford Royal Infirmary, which developed from the Medical Dispensary.

At the present time the Church of England Children's Society receives £25 annually and the Diocesan Board for Social Welfare £12.50.

Dr Abraham Jobson's Charity

Studying the bible was felt to be of paramount importance during the nineteenth century. Much of the education of the poor was directed to this end and many people were concerned because working class families had no bibles of their own. Generous bequests were made to set matters right, but in some cases, like Lord Wharton's Charity, the bibles had to be earned. However, under the Jobson Charity, the Bradford poor had only to show that they could read.

"By an Indenture dated 26 March 1828"

"between the Rev Dr Abraham Jobson, Vicar of St. Peter's, Wisbech, and William Watson of Wisbech St. Peter's, Esq., John Pope of the same place, Gentleman, and the Rev Jeremiah Jackson of Levington in the Isle of Ely, Clerk, M.A., it was declared that the last named parties … should stand possessed of £36,000 new 4% bank annuities transferred by Abraham Jobson into their names in the book of the Bank of England.<"/p>

The dividends were to be paid to Dr Jobson during his lifetime, and after his death £400 of the stock was to be transferred to the Vicar and churchwardens of Bradford, who must sign a declaration that they would spend the dividends on bibles, testaments and prayer books containing the new version of the psalms, to be given to the poor people of Bradford who were able to read them.

After the death of Dr Jobson in 1830 it was declared that the settlement of 1828 ought to be established and in November 1834 a Master of the Court of Chancery certified that the Vicar and churchwardens of Bradford ought to have £400 in 3% annuities. This report was confirmed and £400 was transferred from the fund to the Rev Henry Heap, John Ward and John Allott.

New trustees were appointed in 1845 and 1866 and on 7 May 1892 Joseph Hick and David Salmond, survivors of the latter administration, successfully applied for permission to transfer the £400 to the Charity Commissioners. The dividends, amounting annually to £11, were paid to the account of the Vicar and churchwardens. This sum was then spent on cheap bibles and prayer books, which were distributed to between 80 and 100 people, irrespective of religious views.

The Organist's Charity

Charity was not confined to aiding the poor. During the eighteenth century a fund was set up to provide an organist for the Parish Church. An Indenture was signed on 19 January 1788 between the Rev John Crosse (Vicar of Bradford), and Thomas Sedgwick (Clerk), William Pollard (Merchant), John Maud (Tobacconist), Thomas Mann (Linen Draper) and James Read (Glazier). It was agreed that John Crosse

"In return for the sum of 10/- paid by the above-mentioned five men, has bargained sold and confirmed to these five men all the messuage or tenement with the appurtenances called Upper Ponden situate and being in Stanbury in the parish of Bradford and now in the tenure of Robert Clayton to hold it in trust and to allow John Crosse and his successors the Vicars of Bradford peaceably and quietly to have receive and take the rents issues and profits arising from the said premises … to and for the use of such an organist as he John Crosse and his successors … shall from time to time nominate."

All eventualities were considered when the deed was drawn up and, meeting trouble half way, it declared suspiciously:

"In case the organist so nominated and appointed be notoriously defective . in the art of music or immoral in his conduct the Vicar at the request of a majority of respectable inhabitants of the Town and Parish of Bradford … shall remove such Organist and appoint another."

If for any reason the Vicar should refuse to take action in such a case the two churchwardens were empowered to receive

"the rents issues and profits of the premises and to use them to hire a person to play the organ until such time as the Vicar shall agree to dismiss the defaulting organist."

This provision would not, however, come into force immediately. The new organist was to be allowed one whole year after his appointment in which to prove both his musical ability and his moral rectitude.

In order to establish this charity the Rev John Crosse first had two galleries built above the north and south aisles of the church and sold the pews to his parishioners. As well as providing additional pews for his increasing congregation John Crosse raised £500 towards the stipend of an organist and with this money he bought the farm at Upper Ponden. The annual rent of this farm, £21, was the entire salary of the organist until 1860, although since 1852 the churchwardens had given an additional amount to make the salary £52 a year.

In 1879 the surviving trustees, Joshua and William Pollard, both of Scarr Hill, Bradford, Samuel Cunliffe Lister of Broughton Hall, near Skipton and Edward Hailstone of Walton Hall, near Wakefield, decided to sell the property. They were allowed to do so for £1,300, which was the highest bid made at the auction held for that purpose. At that time the farm, comprising 31 acres and 14 perches, was occupied by Mr Leonard Robinson at a yearly rent of £21. After the sale the trustees were authorized to hand the £1,300 to the Aldermen and Burgesses of the Borough of Bradford for not more than twenty years, upon the security of a proper and sufficient mortgage, the interest to be not less than 4%. At the end of this term the money was to be returned to the trustees. In April 1880, therefore, £1,215 (the selling price less costs) was invested at 4% for ten years and was renewed in 1889 at 3¼% until October 1896, the interest being used by the churchwardens to make up the organist's salary to £75. The charity was now administered by the Vicar and churchwardens, who replaced the former trustees after their resignation in 1880.

After the expiry of the agreement with Bradford Corporation the money was invested in Government Securities and from 1927 to 1947 in 5% War Stock. In 1967 the capital of £1,289 invested in War Loan provided an income of £45 2s 8d. towards the organist's salary.


The documents on which the above article is based axe in the Muniments Room at Bradford Cathedral.

See also Reports of the Commissioners of Inquiry concerning Charities, 1818-1837, 1894, Yorkshire, vol. II. and Charities of Bradford - Government Inquiry, reprinted from the Reports in the Bradford Observer, 1894.

© 1985, Mary Lister and The Bradford Antiquary