Charitable Philanthropist


During my recent visit to St Mary’s in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, I noticed a memorial stone high up on the west wall of the north aisle.  Now I don’t usually pay a lot of attention to such things as they tend to be simple family markers, but this one was specific about a charitable donation by the daughter of a former resident of Tadcaster.  It seems as if the estate of Henrietta Dawson’s (who died in London in 1796) invested £10,387 (approx £915k/$1480k in today’s money) in foundation for a charity which specified that:

  • £15 per annum to be paid to 10 widows or single women above 30 years of respectable families
  • £10 per annum to be paid to 10 women of like description
  • 10 shillings per annum to said women for wearing apparel
  • 10 pence per annum to each of the 20 women for fuel
  • £10 per annum to an Apothecary for medicine and attendance
  • £10 per annum to the clergyman of Tadcaster for preaching a sermon at agreed services
  • Interest to be divided between the said women for the payment of rent.
  • Interest on another sum of £656.15s.10d (£58k/$94k ) to be equally divided between 2 of the women receiving £15 and 2 of the said women receiving £10 per annum upon the condition they instruct 10 children each in reading, writing, etc.

Definitely something for a social historian to go at (who, why, how, does it still occur, etc).  I’m not sure there are many people today who would dispose of their wealth in such a way.  I thought the incentive to teach children to read particularly enlightened.


4 thoughts on “Charitable Philanthropist

  1. Fascinating! I’m interested in family history and it’s amazing what you can find out and how philanthropic people seemed to be. Mostly, it seemed that those with money felt that they were lucky/privileged to be in such a position and wanted to help others better themselves.
    It would be interesting to know more about Henrietta as her bequests are very much aimed at women rather than ‘the poor’ which seemed to be more common …..

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