The Parish of Netherbury is very fortunate to have access to an ancient fund now known as Netherbury United Charities.
The names of the Founders of the different Charities and the dates and details of their gifts are fascinating. For example, the earliest known donor is Sir Nicholas Smith in the reign of Edward I, with an award documented in 1567 in the reign of Elizabeth I. Mrs. Suzannah Lake under her Will dated 9th February 1691 gave Closes of land at Combe containing about 13 acres. In 1708 Robert Brodrebb gave £200 and then between 1710 and 1725 three members of the Gollop family also made gifts. It was a member of this family who invented The Gallop Poll. Women also feature in the next century – Mary Serjeant in 1833, Mary Packer in 1861 and Hannah Clare in 1866 who gave £900, the dividends and interest to be spent in the purchase of “Bread, coal and fuel to be distributed yearly in the Parish at Christmas.”
All this, of course, took place long before the Welfare State or statutory benefits were thought of, so in many ways its provisions seem quaint and old fashioned. However the present Trustees believe this fund is still very much of value to our Parish today. We are able to respond swiftly to the needs of individuals in crisis – though, admittedly, in a very small way – and to provide much needed support year in, year out for our rural community in areas such as Education, Welfare and Village Amenities. All this is due to the generosity of benefactors who lived in this Parish hundreds of years ago.
However well organised a Welfare State seems, there are always occasions when a fund such as ours can provide swift and welcome help.
Liz Brown 01308 488216
Ros King 01308 488025