Langham Parochial Charities

Registered Charity number 217550.

Current Trustees: Gillian V Frisby and Terence R Manning.

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Under the auspices of Langham Parish Council, the Trustees of Langham Parochial Charities, who are elected at the Annual Parish Meeting, distribute small monetary gifts in December each year, to widows and widowers living in the village.

The gifts are funded by two ancient charities dating back to the seventeenth century at which time they would have been under the control of the Church and Overseers of the Poor. The Parish Council has been responsible for their administration since 1896. Originally for the succour of the poor, the gifts are now made to widows and widowers to acknowledge the loss of a spouse.

The Frances Clarke Gift

Roger Clarke, born in Langham in 1559, left the village for London where he became a Salter. A citizen of influence and wealth he rose to be an alderman and Sheriff of London. He died in 1608 remembering the poor of his birthplace to the tune of £6/13/4 to be distributed by his brother Bartholemew and the churchwardens. (Roger’s total estate was worth £20,000, over £2 million today.)

After Roger’s death, his widow Frances paid annuities to a number of City Companies for charitable purposes. One of these was to the Worshipful Company of Tallow Chandlers which was charged with paying £10 yearly for the “reliefe and maintenance of the poore people of the Towne of Langham in Rutland”. Frances died in 1618 and her will makes it clear that that the charity should continue after her death, which it has done. The amount was increased to £25 per annum in 1988 and is now £200.

The Billesdon’s Poor Land.

In 1685 land at Billesdon was purchased, from a legacy left by ‘Elizabeth Chamberlin of London’, in trust for the use of the “poor decayed inhabitants of Langham”. During the enclosure of Billesdon, a close of six acres was allotted in lieu of the original land. This land is still farmed, and the rent paid, in the traditional way, on Lady Day and at Michaelmas to Langham Parochial Charites.

The history of Langham charities can be found at