Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: July 30, 2017.
Webpage updated: July 30, 2017




Mr John Lanyon, by his will dated September 15th 1674, gave 50 to the Old Church Almshouses (otherwise known as the Old Church Twelve's) 'for bettering the revenue thereof' but in 1821 the Charity Commissioners were 'unable to ascertain in what manner this sum was disposed of'.

He also gave 300 to Mr William Harper and seven others for the building of an almshouse for the use of the poor residing in the parish of Charles, Plymouth.  These were known as the New Church Almshouses.

In the same document he directed his executors to raise 2,000 out of his real and personal estate for the benefit of the Hospital of the Poor's Portion in Plymouth.  The principal executor was Mr Phillip Lanyon.  The surviving executors were to meet on July 25th every year to conduct their business and they were allowed to spend 3 out of the proceeds on a dinner on that day.  He also 'desired that there might be no clashing or disturbance between the trustees and the governors, assistants and wardens of the said hospital'.

Within a couple of years of the death of Mr John Lanyon the trustees had purchased the following tenements:

  • three tenements in Woolster Street, purchased for 227;
  • a tenement in Britton Street, purchased for 55;
  • a tenement called The Queen's Arms and three tenements adjoining, including the cost of repairs and expenses, 895 4s 7d;
  • a tenement called The Four Castles in Broad Street, including repairs and expenses, for 652 19s.

Thus a total amount of 1,840 3s 7d was expended.  In 1718 a garden belonging to the late Mr Saunders was purchased for 75.

There was such a surplus of money arising from the rents charged for these properties that in 1768 the trustees lent 200 to the Mayor and Corporation of Plymouth at an interest of 4% until 1806 and 5% thereafter.

At the time of the Charity Commissioners' Inquiry on January 16th 1821 the Charity held the following properties:

  • dwelling house, court, garden and warehouses belonging to the distillery (The Four Castles) in Broad Street, tenanted to Messrs Robert Fuge and Company, on a 21 years lease from Midsummer 1800 at an annual rent of 105;
  • dwelling house, court and garden in Moore's Lane (apparently this should have been Moon's Lane), Briton's Side, tenanted to Mr Amos Staton for 7 years from Midsummer 1817 at an annual rent of 26 5s;
  • dwelling house at the bottom of Market Street, tenanted annually to Mr William Cole for 18 per year;
  • dwelling house adjoining that of Mr Cole, tenanted to Mr John Bickford on a similar basis at 15 per year;
  • the Globe Public House in the Market, tenanted to Mr John Stevens for 7 years from Lady-day 1819 at an annual rental of 30;
  • two dwelling houses in Market Street, let to Mr John King and Mr John Thorn for three lives from November 30th 1792, 'all now in existence', at an annual rental of 4;
  • dwelling house in Lower Pomeroy Conduit Street, let on a yearly tenancy to Mr John Hawkins, for 10;
  • dwelling house adjoining Mr Hawkins's, let on an annual tenancy to Mr Francis Ford, 6 per year;
  • a little dwelling house in Woolster Street, let to Mr Edward Hannaford on an annual tenancy for 5 5s.

The above list does not include the 200 on loan to the Mayor and Commonalty of Plymouth, for which 10 was received each year in interest.  The garden at the Four Castles is stated to be the one bought in 1718.  The last three properties in this list are the three tenement is Woolster Street.  The Globe Public House was apparently the property referred to earlier as the Queen's Arms although the tenements mentioned were apparently not all adjoining each other as indicated in the original documentation.

There are a couple of interesting observations on the properties listed above.  At the Globe Public House the tenant was responsible for repairs to the glass and lead works.  The lease of the two dwellings in Market Street tenanted by Messrs King and Thorn was granted in consideration of a covenant for building the two houses, each of which is estimated to be worth 25 a year'.  In the cases of the two properties in Lower Pomeroy Conduit Street the tenants also had to pay a chief rent to Plymouth Corporation, a shilling in the case of Mr Hawkins and sixpence in the case of Mr Ford.  Likewise Messrs Fuge and Company had to pay the Corporation a chief rent of one shilling for their dwelling house and sixpence for their garden.  It is worth mentioning that in all except the case of the Distillery the annual rents had been considerably reduced since 1812.  For example, the Globe Public House was being let for 100 in that year.

Between the foundation of the Charity in 1679 it funded the education of boys at the Hele and Lanyon School.  At first it paid for six boys and two girls from the Hospital of the Poor's Portion but by 1721 both the supporting Charities had decided to pay for the education of boys only.  More details can be found under Hele and Lanyon School.

In the years 1832, 1836, 1838 and 1853 the Plymouth Improvement Commissioners used their statutory powers to acquire several of the Charity's properties.  It is not known which properties were purchased in which of those four years but the order in which they were originally listed is probably a clue.  The Globe Public House in Market Street was first on the list and for which the Charity received 720.  This was used to purchase Consols to the value of 863 11s 4d.  Next came the two houses in Market Street (occupied by Messrs Cole and Bickford in the list above), which earned the Charity 702 7s.  This was converted into Consols worth 767 11s 10d.  Thirdly came the two houses in Market Street previously occupied by Messrs King and Thorn, for which the Improvement Commissioners paid 353 17s 9d.  This bought Consols to the value of 374 9s 9d.

Finally, and therefore presumably the property disposed of in 1853, was part only of the two houses in Lower Pomeroy Conduit Street (Messrs Hawkins and Ford) and the 'little dwelling house' in Woolster Street (Mr Hannaford), which earned a rather measly 136 10s.  This money was used to rebuild the Charity's properties in Batter Street and Woolster Street.

By an Order of the Charity Commissioners dated May 28th 1878, the Charity disposed of a messuage and yard at number 3 Moon Street.  This was the property earlier shown as being in Moore's Lane, which must have been a misprint.  The 200 received was converted into Consols to the value of 211 1d 7d.

Finally, the Charity Commissioners by an Order dated November 28th 1879 enforced the sale of the remaining part of the houses in Lower Pomeroy Conduit Street, by then known as number 8 Lower Batter Street and number 1 Woolster Street.  The Charity received 375 for that.  The property previously in the occupation of Messrs Fuge and Company was also disposed of at that time.  This consisted of a shop and dwellings at number 29 Buckwell Street, 610; stores and cellarage in How Street at the rear of 29 Buckwell Street, 200; stabling and sheds in How Street, 460; and a shop and yard in Govett's Lane, 200.  32 5s 8d was expended to meet costs and the remainder was invested in Consols to the value of 1,849 14s 2d.

The sum of 200 loaned to Plymouth Corporation was later repaid and used to pay off a debt to the Hele's Charity.

By an Order of the Charity Commissioners dated March 27th 1906 a Scheme was established whereby the Charity should be administered as the Educational Foundation of John Lanyon.

The Lanyon Foundation continued to fund the education and maintenance of between three and six boys taken from the Workhouse or the sons of widows receiving Poor Law relief.  This ceased in May 1907 when the Hele and Lanyon School closed down following the take-over of education by the Plymouth Local Education Authority under the Education Act of 1903.  The Charity did, however, continue to fund a quarter of the former school master's pension of 75 per year. 

In 1908 the Charity had 2,060 15s 9d invested with the Official Trustees of Charitable Funds and 2,005  12s 11d lodged with the Paymaster-General by Orders of the High Court of Justice, Chancery Division.  The whole earned a yearly income of 101 12s 8d.  It was proposed as part of the above-mentioned Scheme to transfer the funds held by the Paymaster-General to the Official trustees of Charitable Funds.