The 1713 Wells Charity of Wavendon
In 1836, the Commissioner of Charities published a report, "The Further Report of the Commissioners for inquiring concerning Charities". This extract is the entry for Wavendon, from the Buckinghamshire volume.
It gives a very detailed history of the Wells Charity, and also a couple of other charitable concerns in the village around that time. The Wells Charity is still running, providing assistance to Wavendon scholars with help for costs of books, uniforms and equipment as part of a full time college, University or NVQs. course.
Wells's Free School
George Wells, of Wavendon, by his Will, bearing date 17 January 1713, and proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury 28 April 1714, bequeathed £800 to be laid out by his executors, Benjamin Pomfret and Beatrice Miller, in the purchase of freehold lands in the counties of Bucks and Bedford, or one of them, and required his executors to settle the same, as soon as conveniently might be after his decease, on such persons, in trust and with such further limitations, so as the same be applied chiefly to the teaching of poor children to write and read, and putting them out apprentices to honest trades, at the discretion of his executors, with a proviso that such poor children should be natives of Wandon (Wavendon), and that no person but inhabitants of Wandon should have any share in his charity; and the said testator, by his said will, devised to his executors, and their heirs, all his cottage or tenement, with the orchard and ley of ground thereto adjoining, situate in the church-end of Wandon, to be settled together with the lands to be purchased for the sarne charitable purposes.
The above abstract is taken from an office copy of the will.
By indenture of Feoffment, with livery of seisin indorsed, bearing date 13th September 1715, between the said Beatrice Miller, of the one part, and Lyonell Wells of Wavendon, William Selby, Benjamin Pomfret and the Rev. William Cawne of the other part, reciting the will of George Wells, and reciting that Beatrice Miller and Benjamin Pomfret had laid out a sum of £800. in the purchase of the messuage, lands, tenements or farm thereinafter mentioned, called Brayes Farm, in the parish of Husborne Crawley, in the county of Bedford, which by indentures of lease and release, bearing date 16th and 17th December then last past, between Ursula Thompson and Katherine Thompson, of Husborne Crawley aforesaid, of the one part, and the said Beatrice Miller and Benjamin Pomfret, of the other part, were conveyed to the use of the said Beatrice Miller and Benjamin Pomfret, and their heirs; and reciting that the said Benjam in Pomfret, by indenture, bearing date the day before the date of the now abstracting indenture,had released all his estate and interest in the said farm, cottage and premises, unto the said Beatrice Miller and her heirs: It is witnessed, that the said Beatrice Miller, in performance of the trust reposed in her by the will of George Wells, conveyed unto the said parties of the second part, and their heirs, all that messuage, farm house or tenement, with the appurtenances, situate in Husborne Crawley, then in the occupation of John Bray or his assigns; and also all that close of pasture ground situate in Husborne Crawley, thereto belonging, commonly called Pinfold Close, containing by estimation three acres; and also all those 125 acres, by estimation, of arable land, ley pasture and meadow ground, lying dispersedly in the common fields, parish and meadows of Husborne Crawley, as described in a certain schedule to the said indenture of release annexed; and also all manner of tithes and tenths in grass and hay whatsoever yearly arising or accruing out of the said premises or any part thereof; and all that cottage or tenemen t, with the orchard and ley of ground thereto adjoining, situate in the church-end of Wavendon aforesaid, with the appurtenances, then in the occupation of Benjamin Abnell and others, to hold the said premises unto the said trustees, their heirs and assigns, upon the trusts declared in the Will of George Wells.
In 1730 the then surviving trustees of the charity premises laid out a sum of £180, herein after mentioned, in the purchase of a close of pasture ground in the parish of Moulsoe, called Coldham Close, containing eight acres, which was conveyed to them by indenture, dated 10th September 1730, upon the trusts of the above will.
By Indenture of Release, dated 19th November 1748, between the said Benjamin Pomfret, therein described as surviving executor and trustee of the said will, of the one part, and Thomas James Selby, John Wells and Thomas Hyde Clark, rector of Wandon, of the other part, reciting the said will, and reciting that the said testator at divers times after making his will did, the better to point out his meaning therein, verbally express his desire and intention to be that the said cottage and ley of ground and premises in Wavendon should be converted into a competent school-house, and that there might be a reasonable annual allowance to the school rnaster tor firing for the said school, and that the trustees to be appointed for the charity should meet annually on the 23rd April, being St. George's-day, to inspect and state the accounts of the said charity, and that the sum of 20s should be yearly allowed for defraying the charges of such meeting, and that the minister of Wavendon for the time being should be desired to preach an annual charity sermon in the morning of the said day, for which the said trustees should pay him 20s or a guinea; and reciting the above abstracted indenture of 1715, and that the said Beatrice Miller, by her will, bequethed to this charity school £200, and that the trustees of the charity laid out £180, which remained of her legacy after deducting the duty, as herein before mentioned; and reciting that the said parties of the second part had been appointed new trustees of the said trust estates, under an order of the Court of Chancery, and that by the same order the said Benjamin Pomfret was directed to convey the estates unto such new trustees and their heirs, as hereinafter mentioned. It is by the now abstracting indenture witnessed, that in pursuance of the said order the said Benjamin Pomfret conveyed the said trust estates, including the cIose called Coldham Close so purchased as aforesaid, with liberty also for the trustees or their tenants to make use of the fish-pond adjoining to the said messuage, and with their workmen and servants, and all necessary materials, to enter into a close called the Dove-house Close, adjoining the messuage, to thatch, rebuild and repair the said premises as occasion should require, and with such other liberties respecting a fence therein mentioned as are in the said indenture of release coutained, unto the use of the said parties of the Second part, their heirs and assigns, in trust and for the uses of the charity and charityschool of the said George Wells, in Wandon, pursuant to his wiII, and his desire and intentions, and to the will of the said Beatrice Miller.
A schedule of the said lands lying in the open fields is annexed to the indenture of release above abstracted.
The trust premises were again conveyed, under an order of the Court of Chancery, by an indenture of release, dated the 9th June 1790, to the use of new trustees appointed by that Court, upon the trusts of the release of 1748; and in the said indenture it is provided, in pursuance of the order of the Court, that when any two of the four new trustees appointed by the said indenture should die, the two survivors should convey the said trust premises to the use of themselves and two other trustees to be nominated, so as to make up the number of four, of which number the rector of Wavendon for the time being should always be one.
It appears from the recitals in the said indenture of the 9th June 1790, that in the year 1751, a scheme submitted for regulating the administration of the revenues of this charity, was confirmed by an order of the Court of Chancery.
This scheme provides that the rents of the charity estates should be applied in manner following:
The residue, after payment of outgoings and expenses of repairs, is to be applied in providing firing for the schoolmaster, and Bibles and stationery for the use of the children, and for clothing and putting out such of the said children as the trustees should from time to time think fit to honest trades.
Under an Act of Parliament for inclosing lands in the parish of Crawley, or Husborne Crawley, the commissioners by their award, dated 7th November 1799, set out to the trustees of this charity, in lieu of the above-men tioned lands in the common fields, the five several parcels of land in Hill Field, hereinafter described; viz.
A. R. P.
The tithes above mentioned were extinguished by this inclosure.
By indentures of Lease and Release, bearing date 1st and 2nd January 1807, being the last conveyance to new trustees of the charity pretnises, the trust estates, including a farm-house: with the appurtenances; situate in the parish of Crawley, which was built at the time of the inclosure by the Duke of Bedford, at his own costs, pursuant to an agreement in that behalf, and in lieu of the old farm-house above described, and including also the above allotments in lieu of the lands in respect of which they were awarded, were conveyed to the use of Robert Shuttleworth and Dixie Gregory, both since deceased, and Henry Hugh Hoare and the Rev. John Fisher, rector of Wandon, their heirs and assigns, upon the above trusts, with a similar proviso as that above rnentloned for the appointment of new trustees when any two of the four trustees to whom the trust estates were thereby conveyed should die.
In the year 1809, the trustees of this charity effected an exchange with the trustees of the town lands, which is mentioned in the account of that charity, and whereby the orchard or ley of ground above described became vested in the latter trustees, and the former acquired in exchange a piece of ground called the Town House Yard.
The close called Pinfold does not appear to form now any part of the trust property; so that the trustees obtained at the inclosure 99a. 2r. 3p. of land in exchange for 128 acres: but besides that, the great discrepancy between the common measure and common field measure will account for this difference. It is possible that the Duke of Bedford may have built the new farm-house in return for some surrender of rights on the part of the trustees, but we could obtain no information on this subject.
The property of this charity consists of:
1. The farm-house or homestead, erected at the time of the inclosure, in 1799, with farm and outbuildings and garden, and the several allotments above described, containing in the whole 99a. 2r. 3p., in the parish of Husborn Crawley, in the county of Bedford, let to John Reynolds, as yearly tenant, at a rent of £80, which is very irregularly paid. The rent is now paid in full only up to Lady-day 1829; some instalments have been since received from the tenant, amounting to £195, and there remains due from him a sum of £125, subject to an allowance for land-tax.
The rent is considered too high, as the land is of a very bad quality, and was impoverished prior to the letting to the present tenant.
The property was let in 1751 for £38 per annum only, yet Mr. Reynolds at first paid £125. It is proposed by the trustees to allow Mr. Reynolds an abatement, in consideration of the above facts, for the past years, but to insist on the payment of all arrears subject thereto. The farm-house is in good repair.
2. Two cottages under one roof (which formed the old school-house), with a garden, at Church-end, Wavendon, in good repair; the one occupied by William Burrows, at a rent of £1 10s, which is regularly paid. Burrows also occupies a portion of the garden adjoining, of which the school master occupies the remainder. The other cottage is occupied by John Scott, at a rent of £1 5s, which is very irregularly paid.
3. A close of pasture called Coldham Close, containing about eight acres, in the parish of Moulsoe, let to William Pike, as yearly tenant, at a rent of £10, which is regularly paid.
4. The Town House Yard, so received in exchange, as hereinafter mentioned. There is no timber on the charity property.
5. Two cottages under one roof, at Church-end, which are occupied by the master; they were built in 1809-10, partly from savings of income on the piece of land called the Town House Yard.
The school-room adjoins the master's cottages, and was erected at the cost of Henry Hugh Hoare, esq. one of the trustees; it is capable of holding about 50 boys.
The school premises are all in good repair.
The income of the charity, amounting in the whole to £92 15s, is applied by the trustees as follows:
£. s. d.
The remainder of the income is laid out in the purchase of books and stationery, in the purchase of the clothes hereinafter mentioned, which cost about £24 yearly, and also in repairs and the incidental expenses of the trust.
Ten boys are now taught in respect of this charity. They learn reading, writing .and arithmetic. Books are furnished them from the charity revenues, and the education is entirely gratuitous. They are also each provided yearly with a coat, waistcoat and breeches, a pair of stockings, a pair of half-boots and a cap and band.
They are all parishioners of Wavendon, and children of parents belonging to the Church of England, who have previously attended the Sunday-school. The present master was appointed in 1828; he has his dwelling rent-free. He also occupies part of the garden which adjoins the old school-house. He instructs many boys as pay scholars, whom be teaches geography, grammar, and history, in addition to the education given to the charity boys. The master, however, stated to us that he was willing to impart the same instruction to the charity boys also, if they would remain long enough at the school to enable him so to do.
No boy has been apprenticed in respect of the charity since November 1830 when a boy was bound out at a premium of £10, which was paid by two instalments. He had been educated in the school, and was selected by the trustees for his good conduct there. In 1823 another boy was bound out at the same premium.
The accounts of the charity are annually audited on St. George's-day. The treasurer had at the last audit a balance in hand of £30 11s 2d.
It appears from the account book that in the year 1809, and for a few year succeeding, the trustees supported poor people out of the charity revenues as annuitants; they were allowed about 1s 6d or 2s a week. This practice has been some time discontinued. It also appears that on the 23rd September 1807, a sum of £94 13s 3d was paid by the trustees in discharge of a solicitor's bill for intended proceedings in the Court of Chancery for the appointment of new trustees, preparing conveyance, &c, and also a sum of £27 13s to the same solicitor for poundage.
We examined Mr. Lucas, the solicitor to the trustees, on the subject of these payments, and he produced to us the bill of Mr. William Lucas, his late father, to whom the money was paid. It appeared that about the year 1804, three, or at least two of the trustees had left the neighbourhood, and it was resolved thereupon to appoint new trustees in their places resident on the spot. The power of appointment reserved in the above indenture of 1790 did not authorize this step, and consequently the interposition of the Court became necessary; but it must be observed, that at this period when these great expenses were incurred in preliminary arrangements for the purpose of effecting the object in view, two of the trustees were advanced in years, and they actually died pending those arrangements; the expenses were thus unnecessarily incurred, for in that event the two surviving trustees were enabled to appoint two others under the power in that behalf reserved to them. We cannot but think that the above facts furnish no sufficient justification of the conduct of the then trustees in expending such large sums of money at the period in question for the above purpose, and we think that if they were guided in this matter by their solicitor's opinion, of which, however, we had no proof they were improperly advised.
The two surviving trustees of the charity above named are about to execute a conyeyance of the trust property to the use of themselves and Mr. Pauncefort Duncombe and the Rev. James Beard, on the above trusts.
At a meeting of the trustees of the school, held on 23rd April 1829, they ordered certain rules and regulations for the government of the school to be printed; but the most important of these rules have been already adverted to. The fourth rule directs that the children shall attend church every morning and evening on Sundays, on pain of punishment; and a note is appended to the rules to the effect, that no boys shall be considered eligible to the school whose parents are not frequenters of the Established Church. These orders are grounded on the directions of the Court of Chancery, that the rector of Wavendon for the time being shall always be a trustee, and that he shall preach a sermon; but it should be clearly understood that such directions cannot render the course adopted by the trustees in this respect imperative upon them.
The report then goes on to discuss some other Wavendon Charities and charitable customs:
It appeared from the abstract of the title of the Rev. Daniel Shipton to 3a. 0r. 3p. of land in Wavendon, that it is charged with a yearly sum of 20s, given by the Will of John Farr, for providing as much bread every year as could be bought for 20s for the poor people in Wavendon, to be distributed upon the 25th December in every year, in the parish church, by the minster and churchwardens.
Mr. Orlabar, to whom the land now belongs, pays £1 yearly, which has hitherto been received by the feoffees of the town lands, as mentioned below in our account of that charity. We recommended that in future it should be paid to the minister and church wardens, and bestowed as above-mentioned.
This is undoubtedly the same charity as that mentioned in the Parliamentary Returns of 1786 as having been given by an unknown donor for bread to the poor. Of the other two charities mentioned in these Returns we could obtain no satisfactory information. It is possible that the charity of Impson may be identical with that said to produce 17s 4d yearly.
William lrnpson, of Wavendon, by his nuncupative Will, proved in the Arch-deaconry Court of Buckingham the 21st April 1619, bequeathed £10, to be employed for ever to the use of the poor of Wavendon; and he directed that the said £10 should remain in the hands of the church wardens of Wavendon for the time being, who should yearly make benefit of the same money to the sum of 20s, and that the said 20s should yearly be bestowed by the minister and the said church wardens amongst the poor of the said parish as in their discretion should be thought meet and convenient.
The above abstract was taken from an ancient parchment copy of the will. We could learn nothing respecting this charity.
By Indenture, bearing date 12th July, 21 Charles I,  between George Welles, the elder, of Wavendon, of the one part, and William Saunders, the elder, Thomas Welles, Thomas Norman and John Parrot, all of Wavendon, of the other part, reciting that the said George Welles, the elder, then stood solely seised in fee in trust of all that messuage or tenement situate in the Church-end of Wavendon commonly called the Town House, also of the croft thereunto adjoining and belonging, and also of all that close of 10 acres of arable land in the fields of Wavendon called the Town Lands. It is witnessed, that the said George Welles, at the request of the inhabitants of Wavendon, conveyed unto the said parties of the second part the aforesaid messuage, croft, close and premises, with the appurtenances, to hold the same unto the said trustees, their heirs and assigns, upon trust to employ the rents. and profits towards the relief of the poor, the repair of the church and highways of Wavendon, and other charitable uses for the benefit of the town of Wavendon, in such manner as the same had theretofore been commonly ernployed; and it was provided, that whosoever should be the two surviving feoffees of the premises should, upon request made unto them by the parson of the parish church of Wavendon and the churchwardens and overseers of the parish for the time being, enfeoff others of the same parish, who should be freeholders and inhabitants therein, of the aforesaid messuage and premises, upon the above trusts. The trust premises have been from time to time conveyed to new trustees. By the last conveyance, dated 25th March 1809, they were conveyed with other tenements to the use of new trustees, their heirs and assigns, upon the above trusts, by the following description: "All that messuage or tenament situate in the Church-end of Wavendon called the Town House, then in the occupation of William Ploughman; and also all that croft or close to the said messuage adjoining and belonging, then in the occupation of the said William Ploughman and others; and also all that site of a messuage or tenement in the Church-end of Wavendon, adjoining to the Wavendon part of the churchyard there, with the appurtenances, then in the occupation of the overseers of the poor; and also all those four cottages or tenements formerly described as three cottages, and erected on the town ground of Wavendon, for the habitation of the poor people of Wavendon, then in the occupation of the overseers of the poor; and also all that plot or parcel of land divided in to two closes, situate in Woodfield, in the parish of Wavendon, containing 9a. 3r. 21p., then in the occupation of Edward King, which said last-mentioned plot or parcel of ground was, by the award of the Commissioners for inclosing the lands in the parish of Wavendon, allotted unto the trustees of Wavendon town-lands."
Of the trustees appointed by the deed of 1809, Edward Bennett, the Rev. John Fisher, George King, Thomas Adams and Henry Hugh Hoare, esq. are still living. On the 26th July succeeding the date of the last-mentioned deed, the trustees of Wells's school conveyed unto the trustees of this charity, and their heirs, a piece of pasture ground or orchard adjoining the school-house in exchange for a piece of ground belonging to this charity, called the Town-house Yard, as mentioned in the above account of the school.
The property of this charity consists of the above particulars. Part of the land has been made into gardens.
The town-house is used as a poor-house, and is occupied by John Watts, the master of it. No rent has ever been received by the feoffees, either from him or from the parish officers, since the house has been a poor-house. It was formerly a public-house, called the Red House.
The land, with the exception of the gardens, is let to Thomas King, as yearly tenant, at a rent of £15 5s.
The gardens, 22 in number, are let to the same number of persons; 21 of them at 1s a year each, and one at 3s. These rents are very irregularly paid.
Four cottages stand on a piece of ground adjoining the church yard, on the west end of it; they are occupied by poor widows, rent-free. There were formerly four old cottages on this land, which were pulled down about 1829, and the present cottages were then built, at the expense of H. H. Hoare, esq. At the time of their erection it was arranged that the occupants should be appointed by the feoffees, as the tenants of the old cottages had been.
There is a piece of land, adjoining to the churchyard, on which a house formerly stood, which land was called Workhouse Hill. The house was suffered to fall down upwards of 50 years ago, and the ground now lies open to the street. This appears to be the site of a messuage mentioned in the deed of 1809.
Mr. Bennett, one of the feoffees, receives the rents. They are applied by the feoffees in paying, Four pounds to the parish clerk, Eighteen shillings and five pence for land-tax, in repairing the poor or work house, and cottages, and other necessary expenses of the trust, and in purchasing bread, which is distributed at uncertain periods in the church to all poor people who attend it, whether parishioners or not. A larger quantity of bread, however, is distributed in this way than the surplus money from this charity will purchase, the excess being paid for by the £1 a year received by the feoffees from Mr. Orlabar above-mentioned, and by the voluntary bounty of the minister.
A sum of £10 was paid to the surveyors in 1817, and a like sum in 1832. Repairs of the church have also been occasionally paid for out of the funds of this charity.
The accounts are entered in a book kept for that purpose.
The Poors' Coal.
By Articles of Agreement, entered into the 24th April 1809, between John Duke of Bedford, of the first part; the Rev. John Fisher, rector of Wavendon, of the second part; John Battams and Thomas Plowman, church wardens of the said parish, of the third part; George King and Thomas Adams, overseers, of the fourth part; and several other persons, inhabitants of the parish, of the fifth part; reciting, that under an Act for inclosing the parish the Commissioners had awarded, on the 9th March 1791, certain encroachments and parcels of land to the churchwardens and overseers, in order to supply the inhabitant or occupiers of messuages or cottages with in the said parish, and belonging thereto, who did not occupy any tenements of more than the yearly value of £5, and who had no allotment by virtue of the said Act, with fuel for firing: It is witnessed and agreed, that all such acts and assurances whatsoever should be forthwith made and executed, at the cost of the said John Duke of Bedford, by the said churchwardens and overseers, as should effectually vest the said encroachments and parcels of land assigned for supplying fuel for the benefit of the poor of the said parish in the said Duke of Bedford, his heirs and assigns, to his and their use and benefit, absolutely freed and discharged from the trusts in the said Act and award expressed concerning the same, and to be in exchange for the provisions thereinafter agreed to be secured for the benefit of the said poor; and that in consideration of such acts and assurances as aforesaid, all such acts and assurances whatsoever should be forthwith made and executed by the said parish officers and the said Duke, at the costs of the said Duke, his heirs and assigns, as would effectually subject the sai d encroachments and parcels of land, and a competent part of the estates of the said Duke, in the counties of Buckingham or Bedford, or one of them, with the payment of an annual sum or rent-charge of £300 to the churchwardens and overseers of the parish of Wavendon, and their successors, in two equal half-yearly payments, at Lady-day and Michaelmas, subject to the proviso therein contained; that is to say, it is thereby agreed that the said Duke and his heirs should yearly give 10 days' previous notice thereof to the parish officers, and cause to be laid down at or near the church yard of the said parish, some time in the months of August and September, or one of them, in every year, such a number of tons of coals as thereinafter mentioned, that is to say, if the market price of coals, carriage included, should be at or exceed the sum of £1 10s per ton, then 100 tons of coals, but if the same should not amount to the sum of £1 10s per ton, such a number of tons of coals as, with the carriage thereof, should be equal in value to the sum of £150, such market price to be regulated as thereinafter expressed; and it is thereby agreed that the then market price of coals, carriage included, should be taken to be at the rate of £1 10s per ton, and should be taken to be at that rate till the 25th March 1814, and on that day, and thenceforth on the same in every succeeding fifth year, the actual market price of coals, carriage included, should be settled by the said Duke and his heirs, and by the said parish officers, and if they should not agree thereupon, the same should be settled by the justices of the then next general quarter sessions to be held for the county of Buckingham, or if they refuse to settle the same, then by two persons, one of whom should be chosen by the said Duke and his heirs, and the other by the said parish officers, or if such two persons should disagree, then by some third person, appointed by the two persons first chosen and until such new rate should be settled the old rate should be acted upon, and every rate so to be settled should continue for five years from the time on which the same should be made, or ought to have been made; and it is provided, that if the parish officers should on Lady-day desire to have a proportion of the coals in wood, they should be at liberty to demand the same, under certain provisions therein mentioned; and it is thereby declared, that the said rent-charge of £300 should be a security to the parish officers and their successors for the performance of the agreement therein contained on the part of the said Duke and his heirs, and that the parish officers for the time being should forbear from receiving the said rent while the said Duke or his heirs should deliver the said coals or wood, according to the said agreement; but if the said Duke, &c. should at any time or times thereafter neglect or refuse to deliver the said coals or wood, then the said parish officers should demand and receive the said annual sum of £300, and out of the same should provide such fuel as should be equal to the value of the fuel which the said parish officers and their successors ought to have received, and should not have received from the said Duke and his heirs, and should deduct their expenses out of the said sum, and render the surplus to the said Duke and his heirs; and it is further agreed, that the coals and wood agreed to be provided by the said Duke should be applied by the said parish officers for the benefit of the same persons, and in such manner, and under the same restrictions, as in the said award is expressed concerning the fuel thereby provided; and it is lastly declared, that the said Duke should, at his own costs, use his utmost endeavours to procure an Act of Parliament for carrying the said agreement into execution.
By an Act of Parliament, passed accordingly in the year 1810, the above agreement is carried into effect; and it is thereby enacted, that certain lands described in the first schedule of the said Act, being the encroachments and parcels of land above-mentioned, with the appurtenances, should be vested in the said Duke and his heirs; and also that the same encroachme ts and parcels of land, together with the messuage and hereditaments, the property of the Duke of Bedford, and comprised in the second schedule thereto, should be charged with a perpetual annual sum, or yearly rent of £300, to be payable to the church wardens and overseers of the poor of this parish, on Lady-day and Michaelmas, with a power of distress, upon, and for such trusts, intents and purposes, and subject to such declarations and agreements as in the said articles of agreement above abstracted were expressed and declared of and concerning the same annual sum.
The terms of the above agreement are regularly complied with. A certain quantity of coals, of the value of £150, including the carriage, or such other value as is above prescribed, is yearly placed at the disposal of the parish officers by the Duke of Bedford, and they are distributed to the parties entitled to receive them, in the manner referred to by the agreement and Act of Parliament.
The value of a ton of coals is also fixed as directed by the Act, except that the price is not always settled every fifth year.
A list of the parties who have received the coals is made after the distribution, containing the quantities which they have respectively received, and if any surplus remains, it is distributed amongst the more necessitous poor from time to time during the winter.
By Indenture, bearing date 1st December 1803, between John Battams and another, therein described as surveyors of the high ways of the parish of Wavendon, of the one part, and Richard Higgins and others, therein described as owners and occupiers of hereditaments in the said parish, and Henry Hugh Hoare, esquire, of the other part; reciting, that under an Act for inclosing the said parish, the Commissioners awarded, on the 9th March 1791, an allotment unto the surveyors of the said parish for the time being upon the heath, containing two acres, near Leighton, as a proper place for getting stones, gravel, and sand for the repairs of the roads within the parish; and that the said Commissioners also awarded to the same surveyors another allotment, containing 4a. 1r. 23p.; and reciting that the said last-mentioned allotment had become unfit for the purpose of getting stones, &c.: It is witnessed, that the said parties of the first part demised to the said Henry Hugh Hoare the said last mentioned allotment of 4a. 1r. 23p. with the appurtenances, for 99 years, at a clear rent of £5 per annum.
This rent of £5 is paid yearly by Mr. Hoare, and is carried to the surveyor's general account.
Mr. Hoare has underlet this plot of land for a higher rent than that which he pays, but he has laid out money in levelling and improving it.
The two acres above mentioned have been planted with firs, some of which have been lately felled and sold; the proceeds were carried to the same account.
The Bun Custom
There is a tradition in the parish that the rector is bound to distribute yearly amongst all the parishioners the best of four bushels of malt and the best of four bushels of wheat, made in to ale and buns, and it is further supposed that the cost of this distribution ought to be defrayed out of the rent of some property forming a portion of the glebe.
The present rector [Rev. John Fisher] has been the incumbent of the living since the year 1806. He stated that he found no custom of the nature above described subsisting when he came to the rectory, and he has never made the distribution. It did not appear to us that this claim on the behalf of the parishioners could be substantiated as a charitable use.