Library of the Woolhope Naturalist’s Field Club
Report of the Commissioners for Inquiring Concerning the Charities of Herefordshire, page 292
Meredith Maddy’s Charity
Michaelchurch Escley, Dorstone
This report contains a rather extensive entry concerning the Meredith Maddy Charity as set up for the benefit of Dorstone and Michaelchurch Escley Parishes.
Meredith Maddy, one time clerk of Woodchurch in Kent appears to have had family connections with both the parishes of Michaelchurch Escley and Dorstone. His will set up a Charity which had a very chequered history. The details below are taken from a Commissioners Report dated 1840, it is transcribed here as it appears.
PARISH OF DORSTONE [& MICHAELCHURCH.]
Meredith Maddy's Charity.
Meredith Maddy, clerk, by Will, dated 31st August 1643 (proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury 23rd May 1645), appointed that the rents of his freehold lands in the parish of St. James, Garlick Hithe, London, and his lands and annuities in Michael Church Eskley, and Dorstone, in Herefordshire, and of his leases of several tenements in Amwell, in Hertfordshire, and Stepney, in Middlesex, and the lease which he held from the Master and Fellows of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, of a tenement called the Two Wrestlers, in the parish of St. Anthony, London, should be employed towards the satisfying such legacies and other monies as were by his said Will given to pious uses; and after mentioning that he had resolved to build a free-school in Dorstone, and that the same was at that time in forwardness for the building thereof, and would endow the same with £20 per annum for a maintenance of a schoolmaster there for ever, the said testator, in a postscript to his Will and made part thereof, directed the said free-school should be endowed with the said £20 per annum of his lands and premises at Garlick Hithe; and he bequeathed to the churchwardens of Dorstone and Michael Church Eskley, £4 per annum, to be paid to them for ever, on the 21st December yearly, for the poor of the said parishes, viz., 40s. yearly for each parish, and that the same should be distributed yearly to the poor upon Christmas-day, in the public assembly, for his desire was that the said benevolence should not be conferred upon any that were noted to live in any known or notorious sin, and therefore would have it distributed in the face of the congregation, and the names of the parties receiving the same recorded in a book; and he bequeathed for the support of a zealous and orthodox divine that should preach eight sermons yearly in Michael Church Eskley, the sum of £4 to be paid quarterly for ever; and to further the marriage of sober and poor maids that should demean themselves faithfully in one service seven, six, or five years, or had been painful in the house of their parents 20 years or more, he gave the sum of £10 per annum, to be paid to them successively, she that was first married to have it one year, and then the next, and so year after year one after another, provided they were inhabitants in Michael Church Eskley, Dorstone, Clifford, or Longtown, and were not married to any that should be stained with the common sins, viz., swearing and good-fellowship, and that they which were of his own kindred and his own name especially, and, being qualified, should be preferred before others; and he gave £100 to be lent to poor tradesmen or beginners dwelling within the parishes of Michael Church Eskley, Dorstone, Clifford, Longtown, Abbey Dore, and the Hay, viz., £16. 13s. 4d. to be lent unto two men of each of those six parishes, and they to use the same one year without any allowance for the same save to procure six sermons in those six parishes to be preached, allowing the preacher 6s. 8d. and his dinner for his pains, which £100 his will was should be paid to the churchwardens of the several parishes, and they to give security to his executors to dispose thereof as before directed, and take security of the young men for the same; and as for his house at Garlick Hithe, after that his loving friend and cousin had built the same according as he had purposed, and the expenses thereof discharged, he willed that all the profits from thence arising should be bestowed in pious uses as the God of heaven and earth should direct his cousin's heart; and he appointed Peter Mills and Thomas Maddy executors.
The above abstract is taken from the following inquisition:—
By an inquisition of Commissioners of Charitable Uses, taken 19th October 1672, it was found that Meredith Maddy had, by his Will, devised, as before abstracted; and that the said Peter Mills only proved the said Will, and entered upon the said lands and tenements of the said Meredith Maddy, at Garlick Hithe, and received the rents thereof till the fire of London, and that the same premises were of the yearly value of £50 and upwards until 1657, and then improved by the said Peter Mills until the said fire, when they were burnt down; and it was found that the soil and ground without any buildings thereon, were of the yearly worth of £34 and that a certain back part thereof was, about 13 months then since, leased by the executors of the said Peter Mills to Dr. John Newman, at the yearly rent of £20 as ground rent, who had rebuilt the same into several messuages; and that the remaining part of the soil and ground about two years then since was, by the said Peter Mills, built into two messuages, who by his Will, dated 25th July 1670, appointed William Bright and John Fletcher executors, who proved the same, and possessed themselves of the premises in Garlick Hithe, out of which the said charitable uses were payable; and that the said executors had received the rents of the same, and that the said soil and ground on which the said two messuages were built were, without any building thereon, of the yearly value of £14 and it was found that the said charitable use of £20 per annum was paid till the fire aforesaid, but had since been unpaid for six years, and that no part of the £10 per annum for the marriage of poor maids had been paid; and that the said £4 for the poor of Dorston and Michael Church Eskley, and the said £4 for preaching the eight sermons yearly, and the £100 stock for help of young tradesmen, had all been and then were detained and misemployed by the said Peter Mills, and his heirs, and that his said heirs ought, out of the rents, to pay yearly the said charitable uses of £20, £10, £4, and £4. per annum, and the said £100 stock ought to be paid by the executors or assigns of the said Peter Mills, out of the rents already received; but in regard the said Peter Mills had expended considerable sums in repairing and building the premises, it was by the inquisition found reasonable that the said William Bright and John Fletcher ought to pay £150 only in satisfaction of the arrears of the charitable uses aforesaid.
By a decree of the said Commissioners dated 17th January 1672, reciting the said inquisition, and that the aforesaid freehold estate in Garlick Hithe was then in the possession of the said William Bright and John Fletcher under the said Peter Mills's Will; it was decreed that the said messuages and lands in Garlick Hithe should for ever be charged with the said £20 per annum to the school of Dorstone; £4 per annum to the poor of Dorstone and Michael Church Eskley; £10 per annum to further the marriages of poor maidens, and £4 per annum for preaching the said eight sermons in Michael Church Eskley, and such other sums as, in pursuance of the Will of the donor, were thereinafter directed: and reciting that the said William Bright and John Fletcher pretended title to the premises aforesaid by virtue of the Will of the said Peter Mills; it was decreed that they and their heirs should for ever thereafter stand seized of the same, chargeable nevertheless with the said £38 per annum as a rent-charge issuing out of the same, and with such other payments as thereinafter directed: and reciting that there were not, by the Will of the said Meredith Maddy, or of the said Peter Mills, any - persons appointed trustees of the said charitable uses; it was decreed that Sir Thomas Morgan, bart., and 12 others, and their heirs, should receive the said four annuities of £20, £10, £4, and £4, in the whole £38 per annum, for ever, in trust for the respective charitable and pious uses aforesaid; and it was decreed that the said William Bright and John Fletcher should pay to the said trustees and their heirs the said annuity of £3 half-yearly, viz., the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, and the birth of our Lord: and reciting that the said £10 per annum, £4 per annum, and the said £100 for young tradesmen, had been withheld, and the said £20 per annum to the school from the time of the fire; yet notwithstanding for that it had appeared that the said Peter Mills had expended considerable sums upon the premises, and that the said messuages were then let for £70 per annum, and no more benefit could be made thereof; it was decreed that the said William Bright and John Fletcher, their heirs and assigns of the premises, in respect of the said arrears of the said £18 per annum unpaid as aforesaid, and of the said £20 then in arrear since the said fire, in full satisfaction of all the said arrears, should pay to the said trustees out of the rents of the said premises the sum of £200 viz., £20 for 10 years then next, at the said two usual feasts; and that they, the said William Bright and John Fletcher, should likewise pay out of the rents aforesaid £100 to the said trustees, which should be paid over by them to the churchwardens of Michael Church Eskley, Dorstone, Longtown, Clifford, Abbey Dore, and the Hay, to the uses declared in the said Meredith Maddy's Will: and it was decreed that, in case of default in payment of the said annuity of £38 per annum, and of the said £20 per annum during the said 10 years, the said trustees should have power to distain; and that the said William Bright and John Fletcher, for the more effectually securing the said rent-charges, should execute a deed of grant to the said trustees, with clauses of distress in case of non-payment thereof: and it was decreed that the said trustees should receive the said £38 per annum, and dispose thereof according to the Will of the said Meredith Maddy, and with the said £20 per annum for 10 years the trustees should pay to the said schoolmaster of the free-school of Dorstone £25 for one and a quarter year's salary, and interest for the same till the payment thereof; and further, according to their discretion, should pay out of the said arrears the costs of the prosecution, and with the remainder repair the said school, or dispose thereof amongst the poor of the said parishes of Dorstone and Michael Church Eskley at their discretion; the schoolmaster of which said free-school should from thenceforth be appointed by the said trustees: and it was decreed that when six or more of the trustees should die, the survivors should execute a new conveyance of the said annuities to themselves and such other gentlemen of the counties of Hereford and Brecon as should make up 13, and that the same rule should be observed from time to time for ever: and, lastly, reciting that it appeared that the said Peter Mills had distributed £620 in rebuilding the said two front messuages, parcel of the premises charged as aforesaid, which sum was in no part paid, nor could be until the said arrears, and the £100 devised to young tradesmen as aforesaid, were paid; and for that it was the intent of the said Meredith Maddy that the charge of the building and improving the premises, and interest for money so distributed being satisfied, the residue of the whole profits of the premises should be disposed to charitable uses; and that the said Peter Mills had, by his said Will, made some dispositions of his interest in the premises in respect of the charge aforesaid; — it was decreed that the said £100 devised to young tradesmen should be paid as aforesaid, and also the said £20 per annum for 10 years in respect of the said arrears, and the growing charities of £38 per annum being duly paid according to the said decree, and also when such charities and expenses as the said William Bright and John Fletcher had then laid out in informing themselves of the true estate of the said charities, and the employment of the said arrears by the said Peter Mills, with such other costs as they should expend in the prosecution and necessary defence therein, with the interest for the same, should be deducted out of the rents, in regard the said William Bright and John Fletcher had not assets in their hands of the estate of the said Peter Mills to answer the same, then the residue of the clear profits of the premises aforesaid should be disposed of by the said William Bright and John Fletcher, their heirs and assigns of the premises, to such pious uses as, in the Will of the said Peter Mills, was directed, until the said £620, and the interest thereof, should be fully paid, and that from thenceforth the residue of the profits (the said charitable and pious uses of £38 being annually first deducted) should be paid over by the said William Bright and John Fletcher, and their heirs, to the said trustees, who should dispose thereof to such charitable and pious uses as the God of heaven and earth should direct.
The above decree, except such part of it as directed a sum of £10 to be paid by the said William Bright and John Fletcher to the solicitor in the cause, was afterwards confirmed by the Lord Chancellor.
By indenture dated 31st December 1823, between Sir George Cornewall. bart., Sir John Geers Cotterell, bart., Samuel Peploe, esq., and Thomas Prosser, clerk (surviving trustees), of the one part, and Sir Hungerford Hoskyns, bart., John Henrv Cotterell, Tomkins Drew, Edmund Burnham Pateshall, Joseph Bliasett, William Wood, Thomas Maddy, and Simon Exton, esqs., and David Lewis of Dorstone, clerk, of the other part ; reciting the Will, inquisition, and decrees before abstracted, and that divers trustees had from time to time been appointed, and one Peter de Bills and Rebecca his wife, and others claiming to be entitled to the premises chargeable with the annuities aforesaid, having neglected to pay the same for many years, a great arrear accrued, and the said charity was in danger of being lost, for recovery whereof the several parishes interested preferred a petition to Lord Chancellor Harcourt to revive the said former decree against the said Peter de Bills and his wife; and upon the hearing thereof on the 12th August 1713, it was ordered that the said former decree should stand confirmed, and that it should be referred to the Master to take an account of the arrears of the said charities and decree a satisfaction thereof, as also of the accruing annuities: and as to the £10 yearly for the maids, it was decreed that preference should be given to such as had lived in service, before such as had continued with their parents the times mentioned; .in pursuance of which order the Master made his report, dated 16th December 1713, which was afterwards confirmed, and thereby certified that there was due for arrears to the said charity £290. 8s. 4d.; and the said Peter de Bill, being unable to pay the same, gave up possession of the premises to the then trustees that they might receive the rents of the whole, being then £56: the said rent-charges were, by the now-abstracting deed, transferred to the use of the parties of the first and second parts, and their heirs, upon the trusts of the Will and decree aforesaid. Of these trustees Sir George Cornewall, John Henry Cotterell, William Wood, Thomas Maddy, and David Lewis, are dead.
The property belonging to the charity consists of, —
1. A rent-charge of £38 issuing out of two houses in Garlick Hill, and a cooperage and four houses in Sugar-loaf Court, in the city of London, the property of the governors and guardians of the Foundling Hospital.
A yearly deduction of £7. 12s. is made from this rent-charge, which we presume to be in respect of land-tax.
2. A sum of £950 Three per Cent. Consols, standing in the name of the late Sir George Cornewall, the annual dividends of which amount to £28. 10s.
This stock would seem to have been purchased partly with the money received by the sale of several houses in Presteign, mortgaged to the trustees about the year 1755 for securing the sum of £200. (such sum having arisen from unappropriated accumulations of income in their hands, and which houses came into the possession of the trustees by the subsequent foreclosure of the mortgage), and partly with accumulations from savings of income.
3. A sum of £124. 6s. 11d. Three and a Half per Cent. Annuities, also purchased from savings, and standing in the name of the late Sir George Cornewall, the annual dividends which amount to £1. 7s.
The income of the charity, amounting to £63. 5s., is applied by the trustees in the first place, in the discharge of the following annual payments: —
Salary of the schoolmaster after mentioned
Poor maids' money
The poor of Dorstone
The poor of Michaelchurch
The remainder of the income is expended in repairs of the school premises and other incidental expenses.
The school is carried on in a stone building in the village of Dorstone. Attached to it is a dwelling-house for the schoolmaster containing seven rooms. The premises are in good repair. The schoolmaster is appointed by the trustees. He has no other emolument besides the salary of £35 and the use of the above mentioned house rent free.
The school is open to all poor children belonging to the parishes of Dorstone, Clifford, and Michaelchurch.
They are taught reading, writing, and arithmetic free of charge, but find their own books, and some of them pay a small sum in the winter towards the expense of firing.
The average number of children attending the school is 48. The schoolmaster does not take pay scholars.
The annuity of £10 charged for that purpose is paid to a poor maid belonging to one of the parishes of Dorstone, Michaelchurch, and Clifford in rotation as prescribed by the Will. The payment is made to the claimant on her producing testimonials of her being a proper object of the charity, signed by the minister, churchwardens, and principal inhabitants of the parish in which she resides.
The charge of £4 a-year for the poor of Dorstone and Michaelchurch is regularly paid to the overseers of those two parishes in equal shares. The share of this Dorston parish is added to the other charity money hereafter mentioned.
With respect to the donor's bequest of an annuity of £4 for preaching eight sermons yearly in Michaelchurch, it appears that in 1833 the trustees came to a resolution that: that they would only pay the annuity to the minister of Michaelchurch on his producing a certificate signed by the churchwardens of the parish that he had preached eight sermons in the church on the six Wednesdays in Lent and the two following Wednesdays. The present minister of Michaelchurch has refused to comply with this resolution, in consequence whereof the payment of the annuity has been suspended for the last four years.
All the information that we could obtain respecting the sum of £100 directed by the donor's Will to be lent to young tradesmen, dwellers in the six parishes there mentioned, was, that the objects contemplated had received no benefit from the bequest for many years past.