Mount Bures Community Web Site

The Henry Smith Charity

For many decades certain land owners in the parish payed an annual land rent to this charity.


In 1578 Sir Thomas Sackville sold his Manor of Mount Bures to the Dister family. He placed on the land a yearly fee of £25 which has been paid by all subsequent owners of the Hall Manor Lands up to 1986.
Sir Thomas and his ancestors had owned the village Manor since shortly after Domesday so it has been one of their oldest possessions. The £25 annual land rent was apparently still levied when Richard Sackville, 3rd Earl of Dorset mortgaged some of his lands to Henry "Dog" Smith in 1623.
A 1791 Act of Parliament was seen to concern lands within "Smiths Charities" and Mount Bures featured within these. "Dog Smith" had become a very rich man becoming an Alderman of London whose trustees with many other powerful men had made exchanges of lands within these Smiths Charities.
If this Act of Parliament were to be studied more fully perhaps extra information could be gained about this old charity.
However, as with the Tithe Commutations earlier it became possible to redeem the £25 land rent by paying a lump sum of its value.
When in 1986 Bill McMaster who then owned Hall Farm partly retired, he sold 80 acres of the old Manor Lands.
The new owner of that area agreed to pay off the whole commutation, a value for the £25 land rent.
Thus no further demands for "Smiths Charity" have been received from the London solicitors who administered this ancient portfolio.

It would appear that Mount Bures Hall landowners paid this levy from 1578 until 1986

Mount Bures its Lands and People (1996) Ida McMaster and Kathleen Evans
1791 Act of Parliament:- Mcmaster Collection of Documents. University of Essex Sloman Library.
Knowle and the Sackvilles:- V Sackville - West 1922 Ernest Benn Ltd London
The History of the Sackville Family:- 2 Vols C.J. Phillips, Cassell London 1922

Further information of this ancient charity can be found at:-

The Henry Smith Charity was founded in 1628 with the objects of relieving and where possible releasing people from need and suffering. These objects continue in the grant making policy today. The Henry Smith Charity makes grants totalling over £20 million per annum for a wide range of purposes across the UK, funded from investments.

Grants go towards:-
(a)For hospitals, hospices and other forms of residential care
(b)For the relief of poor, aged or sick persons and their spouses, widows, widowers and dependants.
(c)For the relief of poor, aged or sick members of the clergy and their spouses, widows, widowers and dependants.
(d)For the relief, rehabilitation and training of disabled persons including disabled ex-Servicemen and war widows.
(e)For any medical research
(f)For the promotion of moral welfare or social service.