OLD PLYMOUTH . UK
www.oldplymouth.uk
 

  Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: July 30, 2017.
Webpage updated: July 30, 2017

        

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JOSEPH JORY'S CHARITY

Mr Joseph Jory had erected twelve small almshouses or charity houses and a council room on a piece of land he owned at Coxside.  By means of indentures of lease and release dated March 1st and March 2nd 1702, he granted the site, almshouses and council room to Mr Robert Berry, Mr Philip Pentyre and Mr Thomas Bound, in perpetuity, to provide accommodation for '12 poor decayed widows, having been ancient inhabitants of the town of Plymouth, or the suburbs or limits thereof'.  These ladies had to be over the age of 50 years and of a sober and religious disposition.  They should not be pensioners or in receipt of alms.

To support the almshouses, Mr Jory granted several messuages, rooms, lands and premises upon trust to Mr Samuel Buttrel, Mr Charles Vinsor, and Mr John Sinkin:-

  • a house in Old Town Street, on the corner of Treville Street, let for 7 years from Lady Day 1816 to Mr Isaac Beckford for 60 per annum (as at 1820);
  • a house in George Street adjoining the old theatre, let yearly and rented in 1820 by Mr Levi Benjamin for 17;
  • a house adjoining the property in George Street (above), let yearly and rented in 1820 by Miss Catherine Wills for 15;
  • a house on the south side of The Parade, or New Quay, let for 7 years from Lady Day 1814 to Mr Henry Bate for 30 per annum (as at 1820);
  • a house in Saint Andrew's Street, let on a yearly tenancy, and rented in 1820 by Mr William Phillips for 16;
  • a malt house at the rear of the house in Saint Andrew's Street but fronting Finewell Street, let for 7 years from Midsummer 1817 to Mr John King at a rental of 20 per year (as at 1820);
  • a house in Saint Andrew's Street, adjoining the property above, let yearly and rented  in 1820 by Mr John Ellis at 10;
  • a house in Saint Andrew's Street adjoining that rented by Mr Ellis, let annually and rented in 1820 by Mrs Judith Barns for 6;
  • a house on the corner of Saint Andrew's Street and the higher end of Nut Street, adjoining the property rented by Mrs Barns, let on an annual tenancy and rented in 1820 by Mr Philip Lowman for 10;
  • a house in Saint Andrew's Street, adjoining the one occupied by Mr Lowman, let annually and rented in 1820 by a Mrs Davis for 6;
  • a house in Saint Andrew's Street adjoining the one let to Mrs Davis, also let annually and rented in 1820 by Mr Levi Abraham for 6;
  • a house in Saint Andrew's Street adjoining the one occupied by Mr Abraham, let yearly and rented in 1820 by Mr Joseph Blake for 9 10s;
  •  a house in Saint Andrew's Street adjoining the one occupied by Mr Blake, let annually and rented in 1820 by Mr James Wall for 7;
  • a house in Saint Andrew's Street, adjoining the one let to Mr Wall, let yearly and in 1820 being rented by Mrs Burrows for 6;
  • a house in Saint Andrew's Street adjoining the property rented by Mrs Davis, to be let from Michaelmas 1820 to a Mr Pearse for 5 - it is not clear if this is the same property noted above as being rented by Mr Abraham;
  • an old house, rebuilt in 1816, adjoining the property to be rented to Mr Pearse, originally rented at 16 a year but ion 1820 was let to Mr Joseph Shapcott for 10.

There was also mention in the Charity Commission's Report of 1821 of messuages, rooms, lands and premises at Frankfort Hill, then earning 8 9s but this did not appear in the schedule of property attached to the Report.  Another example was Spencer's Rooms, 'in or near Plymouth', which was being let for 7 per year at the time.

Finally, the Charity also owned some 30 acres of land known as Western Downs, in the parish of Modbury, Devon.  It is not known how this land came into their possession.  It included a barn and other buildings, nine fields and one little meadow.  The rent had been 14 per year until 1803 when it was raised to 24 per annum.  It was being rented in 1820 to Mr Humphrey Parnell.

The income from the whole of this property in 1820 was 257 10s.  It is interesting to note that the income had dropped considerably after the end of the Napoleonic War: it was 403 4s in 1815.  The situation could only get worse, the Charity Commission stated.  When the lease expired on the property held by Mr Bate it was anticipated that the rent would fall and about 40 had been lost by the insolvency of the tenant preceding Mr Benjamin in George Street, where after claiming his goods and selling them to recover the debt, only 2 was realised after payment of expenses incurred in the process.  Other tenants had also defaulted.

In 1821 the management of the property was chiefly in the hands of Mr John Trego, who was described as 'well acquainted with the value of houses in Plymouth'.  He was obtaining the best rents he could.  All the tenants paid their own taxes and parish rates and all but two have their properties maintained by the Charity, the exceptions (in the above list) being Mr Beckford and Mr King, who have covenanted to carry out any necessary repairs themselves.  The properties occupied by Mr Phillips and Mr Ellis were in a bad state of repair at the time.

From the Charity each of the twelve widows in the almshouses in Sutton Road received 1 10s per calendar month.  In 1802 they had been paid only six shillings each per month but the amount had steadily risen until the present figure was reached in 1813.  The Charity paid 1 a year to a poor woman for cleaning and taking care of the council-room.  Curiously she was also permitted 'to use that room as a dwelling'.  Sadly there is no reference in the Report to whether or not the room was used for any meetings and if the poor woman had to remove all her possessions if they did.

The Charity paid 6 10s per annum for insurance but the repair bill fluctuated: in 1817-1818 it was 91 14s 4d; in 1818-1819 it was only 35 4s 11d; and in 1819-1820 it was 124 16s 2d.  In the year ended May 1819 they bought twelve pairs of blankets at a cost of 7 10s and in the year to June 1820 they also paid out 2 'for a poor woman who died'.

Following the Report of 1821 lots of developments took place in respect to the property owned by the Jory Charity.  In 1825 the property in Old Town Street was acquired by compulsory purchase by the Town's Improvement Commissioners.  The compensation enabled them to purchase Consols to the value of 1,820 1s 9d.

Then sometime around 1878 the almshouses themselves were bought by the Great Western Railway under statutory powers.  The amount received enabled the purchase of Consols to the value of 2,415 1s 11d.  At about the same time the properties in Saint Andrew's Street, Finewell Street and Nut (Notte) Street were also purchased under compulsory powers and they resulted Consols to the value of 2,397 0s 1d being purchased.

By an Order of Court dated July 21st 1888 and an Order of the Charity Commissioners dated August 14th 1888, all these sums were transferred to the Official Trustees of Charitable Funds, along with 524 14s 10d cash, representing dividends, held by the Court.

The dilapidated house on the Parade was sold by auction following an Order of the Charity Commissioners dated March 12th 1886.  The sale fetched 250 and this was invested in 226 14s 3d Consols and placed in the care of the Official Trustees of Charitable Funds.

In the thirty years between February 1860 and April 1890 the surplus income of the Charity, which amounted to 2330 9s 10d, was invested in Consols and transferred to the Official Trustees.

Thus by the end of the century the Charity was being funded by:-

  • a dwelling house, number 1 George Street, let for 14 years from June 24th 1895, for which the tenant, Mr Joseph Allen paid a gross yearly rent of 115;
  • a dwelling house, number 2 George Street, let on a yearly tenancy, for which the executors of Mr C G Edwards paid a gross sum of 94 10s 0d;
  • the property known as Western Downs and Three Acres, 36 acres 3 roods and 33 perches in extent, in the parish of Modbury, let on a yearly tenancy, for which Mr John Trigg was paying 44 per annum;
  • Consols to the value of 8,043 10s 11d vested with the Official Trustees of Charitable Funds and which earned 201 1s 8d; and
  • Consols to the value of 1,854 17s 4d vested with the Paymaster-General to the credit of 'In the matter of the Plymouth Paving Acts, the account the Reverend Robert Hawker and others'.  This earned an income of 46 7s 4d.

Thus the total annual income was 500 19s 0d.

It should be mentioned that the real estate was vested in the Official Trustees of Charity Lands by an Order of the Court of Chancery dated April 16th 1861.

The Charity was latterly regulated by a Scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated March 16th 1886.  There were to be five trustees and they were to meet at least twice a year.  Members who failed to attend for two years were dismissed.  A clerk could be appointed so long as he was not paid more than 15 per year.

Clause 31 of the Scheme spelled out exactly who was to benefit from the Charity and is worth quoting in full:

'The Trustees shall apply the said net yearly income in the payment of annual pensions to poor widows of good character of the age of 50 years or upwards, who shall have resided in the Town of Plymouth or the suburbs or limits thereof, for at least seven years next preceding the time of their appointment, who shall not during that period, have received Poor Law relief, and who from age, ill health, accident, or infirmity, shall be unable to maintain themselves by their own exertions; with a preference for those persons who, being otherwise qualified as aforesaid, shall have become e reduced by misfortune from better circumstances'.

In 1908 the five trustees were: Captain Thomas Archer Julian (retired); Mr John Shelly, solicitor; Mr Thomas Bulteel JP; Mr George Hastings Inskip JP; and Mr John Bayly, solicitor.  The clerk was Mr T Wolferstan, solicitor.  The Charity was then maintaining 16 persons, of whom 15 received a pension of 2 10s per month and one a pension of 3.  Some of the women had other pensions of between 10 and 15 per annum.