Webpage created: June 30, 2017.
Webpage updated: July 30, 2017
SIR JOHN GAYER'S GIFT
It is recorded in the Charity Commission's Report of 1821 that Plymouth Corporation owned an estate known as Tor, or Oaten Arish, in the hamlet of Weston Peverel, in the parish of Saint Andrew's, and that it was supposed to have been a gift from Sir John Gayer. It was apparently listed in a Return to the Charity Commissioners dated 1786.
This estate comprised about twelve acres and on Lady-Day 1807 it was let by a committee of Plymouth Corporation to one Mr William Hill at a rent of £80. However, because of the depreciation of the value of the land in the three or four years before the Report was compiled (i.e. 1816-20), it had been necessary to reduce the rent to £65 per annum.
Out of that sum, £8 was paid to the vicar of Charles Church for preaching sermons preparatory to the administration of the sacrament and a further £1 4s was paid to the clerk and sexton of Charles Church merely for their attendance. In addition, a sum of £4 was paid to the Hospital of the Orphan's Aid and after the payment of a chief rent of five shillings, the residue of the rent was distributed to the poor.
It is known that the rent was further reduced and in 1849 stood at £44 18s per year, out of which the same payments as stated above were made. At that time the money was distributed to the poor in the form of shirts, shifts, petticoats and other clothing, supplemented by money from other local charities.
In due course the Charity Commissioners ordered that the land at Tor be sold and the money received invested in Consols. Three small parcels were sold on May 5th 1871 and earned £569. On January 6th 1874 a small piece comprising 1,317 square feet was sold for £16 9s 3d. Another small parcel was sold on September 10th 1888, for which £250 was received. Finally, on May 30th 1899 just over 13 acres was sold for £10,650. These sums were combined with amounts from other charities and a total of £11,934 6s 3d invested in Consols in the name of the Official Trustees of Charitable Funds.
That amount was reduced to £11,346 19s 6d when Consols to the value of £587 6s 9d were sold by Order of the Charity Commissioners and the proceeds passed to the Hospital of the Orphan's Aid.
By an Order of the Charity Commissioners dated October 20th 1905, Sir John Gayer's Gift was combined with others to form a unified scheme operated by Plymouth Corporation and from part of that, known as the Almshouses and Pension Charity, the vicar of Charles Church continued to receive his £8 per year for a sacramental lecture which he delivered once a month on a Thursday.