The Charities Origins
The Stretton Charities are comprised of nine individual charities of varying age and value that were formerly administered separately but are now collectively managed by the trustees.
- Church and Poor’s Land (or Denchwood Charity)
- Poor’s Plot (or Coal Charity)
- Stretton Close (or Stretton Field Charity)
- Mary Turner
- Elizabeth Taylor
- William Herbert (or School Charity)
- William Smith
- Henry Johnson
- Rhoda Marriott
Origins of the nine charities
For at least four hundred years and probably much longer, land within Stretton has been set aside for the benefit of the poor. The origins of these charity lands are not clear but three such plots still exist today.
The first is the Church and Poor’s Land made up of three fields at Denchwood, on the north side of the London Road. There appears to be no records of when or by whom this land was first set aside but its existence has confirmed when the village was enclosed by agreement in 1704. Traditionally, half of the income from this land is given to the Church Wardens for the upkeep of the church and the other half is retained for the charities.
The second ‘charity land’ is called the Poor’s Plot situated at the top of Plott Lane. This was established in the 1704 Enclosure Agreement to compensate the poor for the loss of benefit from the enclosure of the common land.
The third is a field known as Stretton Close which lies on the east side of the Fosse Way just before the boundary with Princethorpe. This was Stretton’s share of land set aside for the poor of both Stretton and Princethorpe when the latter was enclosed by Act of Parliament in 1762.
In addition to these, the Stretton Charities are comprised of a number of charitable bequests made by benefactors from as early as the 17th century. In most cases, their wishes were explicit, as demonstrated by the extracts shown.
In 1607, Mary Turner, who actually lived in Ryton, left property to provide an annual payment of £3 6s 8d to be divided among the neighbouring villages ‘towards the relief of the poor impotent and most needy people being not unthrifty nor lust lazy person’ Stretton’s share was 6s 8d.
In 1687, Elizabeth Taylor willed that from the income from her land in Stretton and Princethorpe, a payment of £3 every seventh year should be applied towards ‘putting out an apprentice’.