Webpage created: August 03, 2017.
Webpage updated: August 03, 2017
DAME HANNAH ROGERS' CHARITY
Dame Hannah Rogers, wife of Sir John Rogers, the third baronet, by her will dated September 8th 1764 gave to Mr James Walker, Mr William Brent, Mr Thomas Vivian, Mr Addis Archer and Mr Henry White, the sum of £10,000, on trust, to be invested and the interest to be used to provided and maintain a school for the education of poor, unfortunate children. The bequest only became operative after the death of her husband. Admission to the school was to be restricted to children from the counties of Devon and Cornwall.
The trustees were to be paid £5 5s each out of the income of the funds and not more than £1 1s annually should be spent on a dinner for the trustees, to be held upon the completion of the accounts.
By a codicil to the will, dated April 11th 1766, Dame Hannah revoked the appointment of Mr James Walker, Mr William Brent and Mr Thomas Vivian, and appointed in their stead Mr Henry Tolcher and Mr Thomas Millicent.
It would appear that Dame Hannah Rogers must have died soon after this because on July 2nd 1766 the Court of Chancery ruled the money should be paid into a bank and used to purchase three per cent annuities, the income from which must be paid to Sir John Rogers during his lifetime. In fact the legacy was used to acquire 3% Consols to the value of £18,735 0s 10d. Sir John Rogers died on December 18th 1773.
By an Order of the Court of Chancery dated July 25th 1787 it was agreed that the trustees 'should rent a house near Plymouth, belonging to John Comins, at a yearly rent of £25, or any other house near Plymouth thy might judge more convenient for the purpose of the charity, at a yearly rent not exceeding £40' and that 45 poor and unfortunate children between the ages of 8 and 14 should be given education and clothing prior to being apprenticed out. Curiously, there is no mention in this early documentation that the Charity should be confined to females and yet at a later date the Charity Commissioners stated that 'this charity has always, since its first establishment, been confined to female children'.
The Charity did not commence, however, until a Court Order dated November 3rd 1787 authorised the stock to be transferred from the bank to the surviving trustees, Mr Addis Archer, Mr Henry Tolcher and Mr Henry White.
Sir John Leman Rogers and Mr Richard Julian had become trustees by 1807, when they appointed a Mr Thomas Cleather as the Charity's clerk and treasurer. This turned out not to be a wise choice. Upon his death in February 1819 it was discovered that he was insolvent, a bad situation that was made worse by a system of bank pass-books that seems to have caused great confusion at the Plymouth bank of Sir William Elford & Company. As the Charity Commissioners stated: 'It appears to us that there was a considerable inaccuracy on the part of the bankers in the mode in which these entries were made.' Some of the Charity's money was being paid into Mr Cleather's private account at the same Bank and in many cases the pass-book entries did not agree with the ledger account entries.
The trustees were also a bit lax as they were only meeting once a year, on Midsummer-day, instead of half-yearly as required by the Court of Chancery, and they also failed to keep a book of minutes of their meetings, also in default of the Court. They were keeping a record of all the children who attended the School. A further transgression appears in the accounts for the year ended June 24th 1820: they paid £2 2s for the trustees' dinner.
SEE also Dame Hannah Rogers' School.