1617- LOCAL CHARITIES.
There have been many benefactors attempting to donate towards the decoration, function or maintenance of the church or bridges, and much bestowed for the education or care of the poor in our village.
This has been listed separately in the Chronological section. Some details of the land are that there were about 50 acres scattered throughout the parish. This was mainly in Collier Street, with other pieces at Benover and Laddingford, plus Burnt Oak and a small field near “Borges Bank”, (Burgess Bank near the start of Benover Road). The 1818 tenant was Lawrence Starnes who paid £ 50 rent to the master of Cleaves school.
In her will dated October 27th 1617, Mrs Julian Kenward devised two pieces of land in the parish of Tudeley, of about six acres. The rent was to be used such that the churchwardens of Yalding, could provide 6 men’s and women’s changes, and 4 gowns, all for the poor of the parish. This operated as a separate charity for many years, even after the land was sold for £269 3s 7d, and the interest was thereafter continued in its use for the poor.
BENTLETT’S FARM ( otherwise known as PEST HOUSE).
This was a farm at Woolsey, Laddingford, of 17 acres, with a cottage, barn and stable. It had been bought from a Thomas Turner for £ 200 as detailed in a deed of 1641. This money had come from, £ 100 in a deed of Mrs Julian Kenward, and £ 50 each from Thomas and John Twiffen. The income of any rent was to be used by the churchwardens and overseers, to provide a schoolmaster to teach five children of the poor of the parish, and in default of a master, ‘to be paid on Candlemas-day and 1st August, amongst the aged and impotent poor as should live orderly and be of honest behaviour.’ In 1837 the tenant farmers were Thomas and Alfred White, with half of the £ 25 rent going to the master of Cleaves, and half in charities to the poor. The 1888 tenant was John Middleton, paying a rent of £ 30.
ALCHORN’S CHARITY SCHOOL.
This school was founded by Mrs Elizabeth Alchorne of Crowhurst, Sussex, and her sister Mrs Bennet Warde in 1711. In this she had purchased Clarke’s Farm, Benover, together with a house near Yalding Bridge, commonly called The Brewhouse, so that the rents and profits could be used towards a free school, to instruct and teach 20 poor children of the village. The girls were to be taught to read English, knitting and plain work for service, whilst the boys were to be taught as suitable preparation for the ‘free school.’ The first school dame appointed by the trustees was an Anne Norton, and thereafter by ‘the issue of her body.’ At the end of the 18th century the farm tenant was Lawrence Foster, and by 1818 it was his son-in –law John Clark, who was paying the rent of £ 8 10s, plus some books, to the schoolmaster William Warrington. William stated that he had been schoolmaster for about 25 years, previously it had