Month: April 2017

Shearsby, 21 December 1836: St. Thomas’s Day distribution of coals for the poor

The Parliamentary papers of 1839 list the various charities across the county of Leicestershire providing for the relief of the poor. The account for the parish of Shearsby notes two such charities and the efforts those responsible for them were making to ensure that their efforts would be, in our terms, sustainable.
Both the charities of John Seale and Simon Ward started out with a capital of 30 pounds each, with the interest to be distributed to the poor of the parish at set times of the year. Seale’s Charity provided coals on St. Thomas’s day, appropriately the shortest day of the year; while Ward’s charity gave out bread on Christmas day.

Some 50 years before 1839 Seale’s charity had evolved to provide ongoing and practical help for the housing needs of the parish. Three tenements had been built, sharing one roof and a small garden at the entrance to the village from the Leicester road. By 1836 these were in bad repair, but had been bringing in a rent of £1 10s a year. It was this rental charge that had been used to buy the coal distributed each December by the churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor, with a preference for the most aged and widows. However the tenants had recently been given notice to quit and the charge increased to a fair annual rent of £3 per year.

Ward’s Charity had followed a similar path in 1832. £20 had been spent on the purchase of a house and carpenter’s shop in the lane leading to the Old Crown pub. An additional £4 0s 2d had been spent on legal expenses and 9s on journeys to Lutterworth to arrange the purchase. The balance of £5 10s 10d was retained by the parish at 5% interest. From the interest on the capital and the rent from the carpenter’s shop the charity gained the £1 10s it distributed as bread on Christmas day. The plan was to charge £1 10s as rent so that the charity could keep up its commitments.

Great Britain. Commissioners Appointed to Enquire concerning Charities in England and Wales. (1839) The reports of the Commissioners Appointed in pursuance of Various Acts of Parliament, to Enquire concerning Charities in England and Wales [Leicester]
https://hdl.handle.net/2027/hvd.32044106491384?urlappend=%3Bseq=333

Note

I found this information searching through the digitised books through the HathiTrust Digital Library. I am sure there are more interesting nuggets to be found there.

Nigel Walker has also found and transcribed the same report on the Shearsby charities and added his thoughts on the Shearsby parish history group site. The formation of the Lutterworth Poor Law Union in December 1835 would have had an impact on the continuation of the village charities.

Walton Road, 20 May 1893: A fatal accident

When William Henry Read set off that Saturday morning on his usual round, he must have been hoping for more luck with his horse. He had had several accidents with other horses recently and this one was known to be highly mettled, with a strong dislike for the whip. The route took him as far as Rugby and back through Lutterworth: over fifteen miles each way. He had ten-year old Bertie Clowes along for company.

They had started home from Rugby with a large load at around five o’clock, stopping off at the King’s Arms in Lutterworth and the Dog and Gun at Walton. While they were on the stretch between Walton and Shearsby Read whipped the horse and it sprang forward suddenly. He had been standing on the footboard, leaning on the load and the jolt caused him to fall head first out of the cart.

Bertie Clowes managed to stop the horse and tried to speak to Read, but got no answer. As there was no-one else around he drove the cart himself on to the village to seek for help.

In the mean time a cyclist from Leicester, Thomas Haines, on his way between Walton and Bruntingthorpe, encountered Read lying at the side of the road. He turned the body over but found that him to be dead.

At the inquest held in Bruntingthorpe the following Tuesday, a Mr. R. Steele, surgeon from Peatling Magna, stated his opinion that death was instantaneous, resulting from a dislocation of the spine. The deceased, it was said, had not had too much to drink, the horse had not shied and the load had not slipped. The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

In 1891 William Henry Read had been living with his uncle, Thomas W. Read, a fellmonger and his wife Zillah on Back Lane, along with their 1 year old son John, his 80-year old grandmother Hannah and Matilda Palmer, a domestic servant from Walton. Bertie Clowes lived with his father William, a fellmonger’s labourer on the Bank.

Although alcohol was dismissed as a factor in this case, the suspicion that Shearsby carriers made too many stops at inns along their routes was well founded. The previous year another local labourer had been fined for being drunk in charge of his cart and crashing it into another on the road near Great Wigston (Wigston Magna).

Leicester Chronicle and the Leicestershire Mercury (Leicester, England), Saturday, May 27, 1893; pg. 3;

Leicester Chronicle and the Leicestershire Mercury (Leicester, England), Saturday, January 16, 1892