The Jonathan Feedham Charity
About Jonathan Feedham and the Charity established in his name
Page created by Peter Hill
In the late 1600s, Jonathan Feedham lived on the Quay, in the house now called the Granary. He died in 1718, leaving no wife or family.
In his will, he left the ‘Minister and Churchwardens of the parish of Wivenho’ the sum of fifty pounds to be laid out in the purchase of some freehold or copy hold lands, the rents and profitts thereof may for ever hereafter be received and taken by the Churchwardens and by them yearly upon New Year’s Day be paid and distributed amongst poor saylors and saylors widdows belonging to the said parish of Wivenhoe at the discretion of the Churchwardens for the time being.’
Proceeds of the Will bought land at the top of the village
In 1803, the fifty pounds was used to buy three acres of land from the Lord of the Manor near the Flag Public House. In 1863, rent from the land was six pounds a year which, a hundred years later, had risen to ten pounds a year.
This money was used to distribute as half-crown tickets for coal from Bowes, the coal merchant, or groceries from Jimmy Moore’s grocery stores. (Jimmy Moore also happened to be a Churchwarden at the time).
This land is now Feedhams Close
In 1971, the land was sold for housing, making £41,000, twice what the agent thought it would make. We now call this land FEEDHAM’S CLOSE.
At around this time, the Wivenhoe Urban District Council, as it then was, offered a plot of land next to Wyvern Court in Vanessa Drive, for a very reasonable price.
Jonatham Feedham Court and the Charity
In 1974, seven homes were built in the shape of a U, around a courtyard, and these we call JONATHAN FEEDHAM COURT.
The JONATHAN FEEDHAM CHARITY was established under a Trust Deed dated 17 May 1974 to administer these bungalows as almshouses for the benefit of ‘persons of good character who are resident in the area of the Ancient Parish of Wivenhoe’. Under the terms of this Deed, the five trustees, which includes the Rector of the Parish, must give priority to applicants who are or have been sailors, or are the widows of sailors.
In 1991, the Charity Commissioners allowed the Trustees to increase the amount of money spent on relief of poverty or distress from £50 to £1,000 out of income earned on investments. Over these last several years, the Trustees have quietly and discreetly helped a number of people with a financial difficulty.
So, Jonathan Feedham’s gift of fifty pounds in 1718 now provides homes for seven people as well as providing charitable grants of various sums around the Parish of Wivenhoe each year.
Peter Hill, Chairman of Trustees
A major project to install new drains in and around the 7 homes was followed by a project to substantialy improve the courtyard with block paving, raised flower beds and 4 benches. For more details click here.
NOTE: These almshouses are now managed by the Wivenhoe Housing Trust, along with the almshouses in Rebow Road, following a merger of the two charities in 2002. There are now ten trustees and it is a registered charity (no. 1157022). The Jonathan Feedham Charity still exists as a ‘Relief in Need’ fund managed by the trustees who are always keen to hear of a Wivenhoe resident with a financial difficulty or an organisation in need of a grant that would directly benefit one or more residents of Wivenhoe. More recently we have come to call it the Hardship Fund. The trustees are keen to see this annual income being used to help any Wivenhoe resident with a financial difficulty. Please contact Peter Hill, Chairman of Wivenhoe Housing Trust or any one of the other trustees: Rob Neve, Robert Needham (Vice-Chairman), Cllr Kevin Read, Gill Sleightholm, Colin Andrews, Colin Kelly, Sarah Richardson, Debbie-Lea Taylor and Ron Titchener. Or write to Mel Hill, Clerk to the Wivenhoe Housing Trust, 42 Braiswick, Colchester, Essex CO4 5AX. All applications are dealt with in strict confidence. Peter Hill: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 01206 823073 / 07956 202505