Charities and Charitable Works

This is very much a work in progress as we try to tie up loose ends, tracking down the when, where and who. I am very grateful to Sue Cowling and Steve Williams for their book  on Alms and Legacies in Stowmarket  which has been invaluable for filling in some blanks.

Poor’s Estate
The origins of this estate seems not fully known, but it was under the management of the churchwardens and overseers of Stowmarket and Stowupland. It provided them with the means to distribute relief to the poor of Stowupland as described in the report of the commissioners of the poor in 1837.

  • A small dwelling house with outbuildings and 22 acres of land in Stowupland, let to Martha Wilding at a yearly rent of 35 pounds.
  • A cottage and piece of land called Colemans (18 acres) and The Town Meadow (3 acres ) let to John Stedman, at a  yearly rent of £30.

The rents after deducting necessary expenses were given in money and coal to poor widows and also among other poor persons of Stowupland in proportion to the size of their families.

Blackerby’s gift
Under this donation a coat was given once in four years to a poor man of Stowupland. Thomas Blakerby’s will of 1687 states “I give to 2 honest poor men of Stowmarket and to 1 of Stowupland a cloth gown of violet colour to be faced with yellow bays or serge and the letters TB to be set on the sleeve or breast of every gown and those that wear the same gowns shall from time to time be appointed by the minister churchwardens and overseers of the poor”.

{“Alms and Legacies – a History of the Stowmarket Charities” by Sue Cowling and Steve Williams, 2012.}

17th century.

In her will Dorothy Pooley of Stowmarket gave 40s to the poor of Stowupland to be administered by the minister and churchwardens

In his will John Codde of Stowupland gave £3 to be distributed to the poor of Stowupland on the day of his burial.

19th century

In 1862 The Stowmarket and Stowupland charities were revised by the commissioners after  alleged mismanagement by John George Hart. £2 from the Spoonmans charity was given annually to Stowmarket National School (Church of England) along with £15 from the Poor’s Estate  to Stowmarket British School (Non-Conformist).

1864 Poor Rate Book – Stowupland

Owner – Stonham Feoffees:  Occupiers – William Gosling, land/Town Farm 22a 1r 1p

                                                                           – Samuel Diaper, land & barn Gipping Rd 23a 1r 26p

Owner – Stowmarket Feoffees:  Occupiers – Spencer Freeman, lands & barn Spoonmans 19a 3r 26p

Owner – Stowupland Feoffees:  Occ -William Freeman, Pitmans Meadow, 3a 0r 27p

                                                                    – Zeph Stedman, Land & barn, Stonham Rd 26a 0r 32p

                                                                      -Wm Wilding, house & farm, Town Farm 28a 3r 20p

                                                                      – Watling, cottage & garden m Saxon Street 0a 0r 24p

                                                                        -Hart, cottage & garden m Saxon Street 0a 0r 39p

                                                                      -John Stedman, Stowupland Town meadow : 3 acres (tm 337 adj to The Vicarage)

Owner – Bramford Feoffees: occ – Thomas Cuthbert House & farm Mill street 12a 2r 26p

Owner – Gipping Feoffees: occupier -Samuel Draper land & barn Gipping Rd 12a 1r 2p

                                                                       Late barbrake, cottage & garden – – –

                                                                      John Ames, cottage & garden 0a 0r 23p

Owner – Ashfield Feoffees: occupier – Wm Lankester, land & barn Hoowood 39a 2r 4p

Owner John Barnes: occupier – Wm Lankester, Rent charge -Hoowood

Owner Rev W Steggall occ Christorpher Ryall, house & farm Mount Pleasant 16a 1r 18p

Bramford Farm, Mill Street.

 ‘In 1703, Wm Acton gave to the poor of Bramford £200, to be laid out in land, for a quarterly distribution of bread, meat etc It was laid out in the purchase of a cottage & 14 acres of land, at Stowupland, now let for £20 a year. The land was exonerated from tithes by Nathaniel Acton Esq in 1796′.Whites 1855, p437 {ECA}

location of Hoowood

 Hoowood, Howgate and  Mount Pleasant seem to have a shared past

In the 17th century 44 acres were purchased in Stowupland on behalf of a Great Ashfield charity, this land was known as Hoowood. See also   Hoowood and Great Ashfield charity (2021 NL).                  .

Spoonmans Farm.

In 1586 James Rivett gave land that was situated North East of Spoonmans farm and became known as Spoonmans. The area amounted to 20 a 2 r 3  and included a barn, it yielded in the early years £4.13s.4p for the poor. { Cowling and  Williams, 2012}, 
From 1716 Terrier for Stowmarket ‘ A tenement barn & four peice of land lyeing in Stowupland containing seven acres …now in the occupation of \robert Osbourn Senior at the yearly rent of six pounds ten shillings.{ECA}
‘In monies Forty Five Pounds …applyed to the purchase of a Field called Spoonmans’
Addition to the above dated June 1725, ‘a field called Spoonmans… now occ James Dalton at yearly rent £6… purchased with £45 & £60 raised by parishoners … to complete purchase'{ECA}.
By 1828 Spoonmans land was being let for a period of 11 years at £40 a year.  ( Cowling and  Williams,2012}

1855 – Land & Spoonmans barn – , owner Stowmarket feoffees, occupier Spencer Freeman (he also owned part of the land) {ECA}

By 1862 The Stowmarket and Stowupland charities were revised by the commissioners after the mismanagement of John George Hart, £2 from the Spoonmans charity was given annually to Stowmarket National School (Church of England){Cowling and Williams, 2021}

In 1921 an indenture ( 1921 spoonmans indenture) was signed between the trustees of Stowmarket Charity Estates and Stowupland Parish Council agreeing to the lease of lands for 8 years at an annual rent of £35.00



An area of 4 fields between what is now the A1120 and Gipping Lane was owned for many centuries by the Earl Stonham Feoffees. It was called by variations of the name Thrandestones , it is now known as Trinity Meadows.

Symmys, Saxham Street.

15th century -A feoffment to property called Symmys in Saxton Street, being held under Thorney Halle is mentioned in Hollingsworth(p108)  but not much more is known

Town Farm. Saxham Street

Townsland and Calthorpe Charity

In 2010, the charity made a donation to the Stowupland PCC and £20.00 gifts to 23 elderly residents at Christmas. {From Stowupland Parish Council Annual report 2010}