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A Brief History of our Village Charity

The charity, as we know it today, is regulated by a Scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 29th August 1974 which modernised the original Scheme which established the Charity on 10th May 1889.

The 1889 Scheme brought together “the Charities of Laurence Denton and John Brown “The Poor’s Land” and the Charities of William Cooke and Henry Smith, so far as they are applicable for the benefit of the poor of the Parish”. Henry Smith was born in Wandsworth in May 1548 and died in on 3rd January 1628. He was a salter by trade who grew rich and purchased estates in various parts of England. He had no children and during his lifetime created a number of charitable trusts for the relief of the poor; one such trust was for the relief of the poor of 202 specific parishes, of which Buckland was one.

Before 1889 the Henry Smith Charity distributed its income to each parish which was then applied by “The Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor”. Under the 1889 Scheme the Trustees of the Buckland Parochial Charity consisted of “five competent persons, namely three Ex-officio Trustees and two Representative Trustees”. The Ex-officio Trustees were the Rector and Churchwardens and the Representative Trustees were appointed by the Vestry of the Parish of Buckland.

This was, of course, before the present Parish Council was created in 1894, following which it took over the responsibility for appointing Trustees. The 1974 Scheme provided for four Trustees to be nominated by the Parish Council and for the Nominative Trustees to be empowered to co-opt up to two further Trustees who “shall be persons who through residence, occupation or employment, or otherwise have special knowledge of the area of the parish of Buckland as constituted in the year 1889”. The 1974 Scheme makes no provision for Ex-officio Trustees.

The Trustees nominated by the Parish Council serve for a term of four years and any Trustees co-opted by the Nominative Trustees serve for five years; all are then eligible for reappointment. The Nominative Trustees may but are not required to be members of the Parish Council and there are no specific directions as to who they shall be.

The current Nominative Trustees are Liz Vahey (Chair), Martin Cantor (Treasurer), Debbie Jones (Clerk) and Amanda Oakes-Smith. The Nominative Trustees have chosen not to co-opt any Representative Trustees.

The Trustees may appoint one of their number as Clerk “who shall be dismissable at their pleasure or some other fit person at such reasonable salary as they think fit”. There is no evidence in the Charity’s files that any Clerk has been remunerated in recent years nor have they always been a Trustee. One hundred years ago, a fee of one guinea was paid.

10th May 2021