Webpage created: July 30, 2017.
Webpage updated: July 30, 2017
JOSEPH JORY'S CHARITY
Mr Joseph Jory had erected twelve small almshouses or charity houses and a council room on a piece of land he owned at Coxside. By means of indentures of lease and release dated March 1st and March 2nd 1702, he granted the site, almshouses and council room to Mr Robert Berry, Mr Philip Pentyre and Mr Thomas Bound, in perpetuity, to provide accommodation for '12 poor decayed widows, having been ancient inhabitants of the town of Plymouth, or the suburbs or limits thereof'. These ladies had to be over the age of 50 years and of a sober and religious disposition. They should not be pensioners or in receipt of alms.
To support the almshouses, Mr Jory granted several messuages, rooms, lands and premises upon trust to Mr Samuel Buttrel, Mr Charles Vinsor, and Mr John Sinkin:-
There was also mention in the Charity Commission's Report of 1821 of messuages, rooms, lands and premises at Frankfort Hill, then earning £8 9s but this did not appear in the schedule of property attached to the Report. Another example was Spencer's Rooms, 'in or near Plymouth', which was being let for £7 per year at the time.
Finally, the Charity also owned some 30 acres of land known as Western Downs, in the parish of Modbury, Devon. It is not known how this land came into their possession. It included a barn and other buildings, nine fields and one little meadow. The rent had been £14 per year until 1803 when it was raised to £24 per annum. It was being rented in 1820 to Mr Humphrey Parnell.
The income from the whole of this property in 1820 was £257 10s. It is interesting to note that the income had dropped considerably after the end of the Napoleonic War: it was £403 4s in 1815. The situation could only get worse, the Charity Commission stated. When the lease expired on the property held by Mr Bate it was anticipated that the rent would fall and about £40 had been lost by the insolvency of the tenant preceding Mr Benjamin in George Street, where after claiming his goods and selling them to recover the debt, only £2 was realised after payment of expenses incurred in the process. Other tenants had also defaulted.
In 1821 the management of the property was chiefly in the hands of Mr John Trego, who was described as 'well acquainted with the value of houses in Plymouth'. He was obtaining the best rents he could. All the tenants paid their own taxes and parish rates and all but two have their properties maintained by the Charity, the exceptions (in the above list) being Mr Beckford and Mr King, who have covenanted to carry out any necessary repairs themselves. The properties occupied by Mr Phillips and Mr Ellis were in a bad state of repair at the time.
From the Charity each of the twelve widows in the almshouses in Sutton Road received £1 10s per calendar month. In 1802 they had been paid only six shillings each per month but the amount had steadily risen until the present figure was reached in 1813. The Charity paid £1 a year to a poor woman for cleaning and taking care of the council-room. Curiously she was also permitted 'to use that room as a dwelling'. Sadly there is no reference in the Report to whether or not the room was used for any meetings and if the poor woman had to remove all her possessions if they did.
The Charity paid £6 10s per annum for insurance but the repair bill fluctuated: in 1817-1818 it was £91 14s 4d; in 1818-1819 it was only £35 4s 11¾d; and in 1819-1820 it was £124 16s 2d. In the year ended May 1819 they bought twelve pairs of blankets at a cost of £7 10s and in the year to June 1820 they also paid out £2 'for a poor woman who died'.
Following the Report of 1821 lots of developments took place in respect to the property owned by the Jory Charity. In 1825 the property in Old Town Street was acquired by compulsory purchase by the Town's Improvement Commissioners. The compensation enabled them to purchase Consols to the value of £1,820 1s 9d.
Then sometime around 1878 the almshouses themselves were bought by the Great Western Railway under statutory powers. The amount received enabled the purchase of Consols to the value of £2,415 1s 11d. At about the same time the properties in Saint Andrew's Street, Finewell Street and Nut (Notte) Street were also purchased under compulsory powers and they resulted Consols to the value of £2,397 0s 1d being purchased.
By an Order of Court dated July 21st 1888 and an Order of the Charity Commissioners dated August 14th 1888, all these sums were transferred to the Official Trustees of Charitable Funds, along with £524 14s 10d cash, representing dividends, held by the Court.
The dilapidated house on the Parade was sold by auction following an Order of the Charity Commissioners dated March 12th 1886. The sale fetched £250 and this was invested in £226 14s 3d Consols and placed in the care of the Official Trustees of Charitable Funds.
In the thirty years between February 1860 and April 1890 the surplus income of the Charity, which amounted to £2330 9s 10d, was invested in Consols and transferred to the Official Trustees.
Thus by the end of the century the Charity was being funded by:-
Thus the total annual income was £500 19s 0d.
It should be mentioned that the real estate was vested in the Official Trustees of Charity Lands by an Order of the Court of Chancery dated April 16th 1861.
The Charity was latterly regulated by a Scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated March 16th 1886. There were to be five trustees and they were to meet at least twice a year. Members who failed to attend for two years were dismissed. A clerk could be appointed so long as he was not paid more than £15 per year.
Clause 31 of the Scheme spelled out exactly who was to benefit from the Charity and is worth quoting in full:
In 1908 the five trustees were: Captain Thomas Archer Julian (retired); Mr John Shelly, solicitor; Mr Thomas Bulteel JP; Mr George Hastings Inskip JP; and Mr John Bayly, solicitor. The clerk was Mr T Wolferstan, solicitor. The Charity was then maintaining 16 persons, of whom 15 received a pension of £2 10s per month and one a pension of £3. Some of the women had other pensions of between £10 and £15 per annum.