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.