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t have now the pleasure to transcribe the names and benefactions of those charitable persons who bequeathed example and evidence to the present and future generations of Wednesbury, "that as the tree is known by its fruit, so living faith will be manifested in good works, which God hath ordained that we should walk in them."
Sir Henry Beaumont, Knt, Lord of the Manor of Wednesbury, by will, dated Nov. 10th, 1471, directed that his body should be buried in the parish church of Wednesbury, and left for the use of the said church one hundred shillings.
John Comberford, Gentleman, of the parish of Wednesbury, by his will, dated April 23rd, 1559, gave to the churchwardens six and eightpence "to bestow on the church;" also, another "six and eightpence to the church for his burial." He also directed that his body should be buried in the parish church of Wednesbury.
Thomas Parkes, Gentleman, gave by will, dated January lltb, 1602, to the poor people of Wednesbury ten pounds, to be paid yearly by twenty shillings a year to the vicar of Wednesbury and the churchwardens, to the use of the poor, to be given every Good Friday, for ten years." Also the said Thomas Parkes gave a school-house, a certain tenement in Wednesbury, and a close, called " Clay Pit Leasowe," to maintain a schoolmaster to teach ten poor children of the parish, for the term of fourscore years after his decease. He also gave a cottage, situate in Wednesbury, to be set apart as an almshouse, for two persons, for ever.*
Richard Parkes, Esquire, son of the above Thomas, did by will confirm the above, and gave forty shillings more to the school, A.D. 1617.
Dorothy Parkes, wife of the said Richard, gave a silver cup, with a cover, to be a communion cup for the church. It has the following inscrip • tion :—" The gift of Mrs. Dorothy Parkes, wife of Richard Parkes, Esq., deceased. Given A.D. 1629." Also she gave 20 shillings yearly for four sermons to be preached in this church on four festival days, yearly, for ever; and 20 shillings to the poor, yearly, for ever, to be paid from a close, called the Butts, lying in Shelfield. This close of land produced £7 per annum in 1808; one-half was paid to the vicar, and the other half to the poor.
Walter Stanley, of West Bromwich, Esq., by will, dated February 11th, 1613, gave to the poor of the parish of Wednesbury three pounds.
William Comberford, Esq., Lord of the Manor, gave the use of £20, by will, to be bestowed, for ever, every Good Friday, on the poor, in bread, A.D. 1626.
John Shelton, of West Bromwich, Esq , by will, dated February 8th, 1664, gave to the poor of Wednesbury ten pounds of lawful money.
Richard Jennings, yeoman, gave 30 shillings, yearly, for ever, to the poor of this parish—20 of it to be distributed on New Year's Day, and the other 10 shillings on Good Friday. Twenty shillings to be paid by Mr. Francis Tomkiss and his heirs for ever, for the close called King's Hill, adjoining to King's Hill Field, and for land in Monway Field; and for one croft of land lying between Heathfields and the way leading between Monway Gate and Wednesbury Bridge; and the other 10 shillings to be paid by Richard Hopkins and his heirs for ever.
Edward Dudley, of Tipton, left by will, in the year 1652, the sum of £100, the interest thereof to be paid, yearly, to the use of the poor of four parishes, viz., 40s. to the poor of Tipton, 20s. to the poor of Sedgley, 20s.
* This almshouse is lost. It would, perhaps, be as well if some of the inhabitants of Wednesbury were to endeavour to find out what is become of this and other "charities" not now enjoyed by the parish.
to the poor of Bilston, and 20s. to the poor of Wednesbury; to be distributed in two equal parts, the one at Midsummer Day, and the other at S. Thomas's Day, by the churchwardens and overseers.
Joseph Hopkins, of Birmingham, died 31st of January, 1683, and by will, dated April 7 th, 1681, gave £200 to be laid out in land for the use of the poor of this parish. Land was accordingly purchased at or near Moxley, in the parish of Darlaston, adjoining this parish, known by the names of Hoo Marsh, and Cranberry or Cranbarrow Hills, containing by estimation sixteen acres, or thereabouts, and the same remains invested in trustees. The mines under this land have been sold by the trustees, who have invested the money, viz., £1,800, in the Three per Cent. Conso. lidated Annuities, in the names of the Reverend Isaac Clarkson, John Addison, and Simeon Constable, being part of the said trustees of this charity. The Three per Cent. Consols produce £54 per annum; to which must be added the yearly rent of the land. Part of this income is disposed of annually in coats and gowns upon S. Thomas's Day, and the residue in bread and money, on the Friday before Whit Sunday, to such of the poor inhabitants of this parish as have not received parochial relief for twelve months previously.
Elizabeth Beck, of this town, ordered by will, in the year 1702, the payment often shillings annually out of three houses in this town, to the use of the poor born in the parish of Wednesbury, two of which houses she left to Joseph Nightingale and Samuel Hide, her two executors, and the other house to Isabel Holden and her heirs and executors, she or they paying the aforesaid executors and their heirs two shillings yearly, to be given on S. Thomas's Day, by the churchwardens and overseers.
John Heaton, of Wednesbury, by will, in the year 1753, directed ten shillings a year to be paid to the churchwardens of this parish, on the 24th of December, to be disposed of by them to twenty of the poorest persons, men or women, in this parish—sixpence each, and charged on a house and premises in Bridge street, in this town. This property came into the hands of Jonathan Perkins.
William Holden, of Birmingham, merchant, by will, left forty shillings annually to be given to the poor of this parish,—payable from the Three per Cent. Consols, the vicar and churchwardens being trustees for the same.
Ambrose Tibbetts, of Church Aston, in the county of Salop, in the year 1815, bequeathed £100 to be invested, and directed the minister and churchwardens, and overseers of the poor of this parish, to divide the interest in equal shares to ten poor decayed tradesmen or housekeepers of the age of fifty years or upwards, resident in this parish, not receiving alms or parochial relief, on the feast day of S. Thomas, yearly for ever. The legacy duty of £10 was deducted, and the remainder was invested in the New Four per Cent. Annuities, in the names of the Rev. Alexander Bunn Haden, Isaiah Danks, William Lees, and Josiah Stone.
Thomas Watkins, of Ardwick, near Manchester, in the year 1826, bequeathed £600 to be invested; and directed the vicar and churchwardens of this parish to apply the interest of £400 in providing for six poor men and six poor women, belonging to this parish, who shall regularly attend divine service in the parish church—one coat, with suitable linen, to each poor man, and one gown, with suitable linen, to each poor woman—on Christmas Day, yearly, or ever. The interest of £200 in providing for twelve poor women, qualified as abovementioned—one loaf each of good wheaten bread, on the first Sunday in every month. The widow of the testator generously paid the legacy duty (£60), which otherwise must have been deducted. The above £600 was invested in the New Four per Cent. Annuities, in the names of Stephen Faulkner Crowther, Samuel Addison, and John Addison.
Stephen Faulkner Crowther, of Wednesbuiy, solicitor, by will, dated November 23rd, 1829, bequeathed to the minister and churchwardens of the parish of Wednesbury for the time being £300, upon trust, to invest the same, and to divide the yearly interest thereof, according to their discretion, amongst poor persons regularly attending Divine service in the parish church. The sum of £306 10s. Stock, New Three-and-a-Half per Cent, was purchased September 14, 1830, in the names of the Rev. Isaac Clarkson, vicar, and John Addison and John Russell, churchwardens.
Thomas Rowlinson, of this parish, in the year 1821, bequeathed £100 to be invested—and directed the churchwardens to expend the interest in the purchase of bread—to be distributed amongst such poor persons, inhabitants of this parish, as they shall think proper, on Good Friday, yearly, for ever. The legacy duty (£10) was given by George Watkin Court. The above was invested in the New Four per Cent. Annuities, in the names of John Addison and John Parkes.
Thomas Griffiths, late of West Bromwich, by will, dated the 4th of May, 1848, gave the sum of £100 (duty free) to the vicar and churchwardens for the time being of the parish church of Wednesbury, to be by them invested at interest on real security; the income thereof is to be received by them, and laid out each year for ever in the purchase of 100 loaves of bread, and on the last day of July annually to distribute the same among 100 poor widows resident in the parish of Wednesbury.
Samuel Addison, late of this town, banker, by will, dated April 22nd 1849, gave the sum of £2000, duty free. The annual income arising therefrom is for ever to be laid out and applied by the vicar and churchwardens of the parish church of Wednesbury for the time being, in the purchase and finding of such suitable coats, gowns, and other articles of dress or bedding, as they or a majority of them shall think fit; and on the feast day of S. Thomas in each year for ever shall give and distribute the same unto such poor men and poor women (inhabitants of the parish of Wednesbury) as they or a major part of them shall deem fit and proper objects of this charity. The sum thus given is invested by his trustees (the Rev. I. Clarkson, Philip Williams, and Addison Russell) in the purchase of £2141 18s. in the Three per Cent. Consols. He also gave the sum of £1000, duty free; the annual income arising thereof is for ever to be applied by the incumbent and churchwardens of the new parish of S. John, Wednesbury, on Christmas Day and five other days in each year, to the purchasing of bread and other necessaries for such poor men and poor women of the parish of S. John, as the minister and churchwardens shall think proper. The amount thus given is invested in the names of his trustees, in the purchase of £1070 19s. 3d. in the Three per Cent. Consols.