Wonersh Charities & Trusts

Very many letters and documents are summarised and published online in Surrey History Centre Archives, particularly collections WON Part 1 & WON Part 2, in particular regarding the Poor Law Records in WON/18/  , with details and histories given in a printed booklet “Wonersh Charities” dated 1908, ref WON/14/26. Documents may be found by paging down manually in a relevant collection or else from the ADVANCED SEARCH page.

A parliamentary report in 1777 recorded parish workhouses in operation at Chiddingfold, Hambledon, Haslemere, and Witley. In around 1785, Hambledon and the nearby parishes of Bramley, Chiddingfold and Dunsfold formed a union which set up workhouse for the elderly and infirm and children. The union erected a workhouse at Hambledon in 1786.

Responsibility for administration of the Poor Law in Wonersh rested with the Parish until the Law was amended in 1834 (Overseers of the Poor SHC doc WON/18/1-102). The local workhouse used by the Parish of Wonersh was originally at Cranley, later renamed Cranleigh. It was too expensive for a small village to run and was sold in 1842 to Lord Grantley, who apparently was very slow to pay. He used it as a corn store, however shortly afterwards it burned down. In 1836 the Hambledon Poor Law Union was formed to serve the needs of many local parishes. It took over the existing Hambledon Gilbert Union workhouse and there was also an infirmary block and a mortuary built in the 1870s, and these buildings later became Hambledon Hospital, which closed in 1948. Our Burial Registers contain many references to folk from these places. See also alternative information on the Poor Law and also the Surrey History Centre Records .

Wonersh United Charities

The Charity Commissioners Scheme brought together various charities in 1911 (see SHC doc WON/14/24-29). These included the charities of Charlotte Earle (Dowager Lady Grantley), Grantley, Gwynne, Thomas Mitchell, Henry Smith’s Charity, William Stanton and Matilda Wells. This charity is still extant distributing small payments twice a year to deserving people of Wonersh, Blackheath and Shamley Green. The Trustees include the vicars of Wonersh with Blackheath and of Shamley Green.

Beatrice Elliott Cook Trust

Established 1933 – still extant. Financial provision for the Cemetery extension. 

John & Mary Carslake Trust

Established 1972. Trustees were independent of the church but income from the Trust was used for certain specified Church expenditure, including upkeep & repair of building & furniture.  Trust wound up in 2008. 

School House Trust

Est 1842 and 1932, combined into one scheme 1990. Income from house and land adjacent to the school distributed to Wonersh & Shamley Green School. Trustees are Vicars and churchwardens of Wonersh and Shamley Green churches. 

Wonersh Church Green Trust

Wonersh Church Green Trust was established 1950 by Beatrice Cook; the trustees manage the land adjacent to the church as an open space for the village.

Richard Gwynn’s Charity

Established 1698 (see SHC doc WON/14/1-13 & 30-32). Richard Gwinn was a citizen of London and retired clothworker, and owner of Wonersh Park. The Gwinne Educational Charity was wound up in 2002 with the capital used for the benefit of Wonersh & Shamley Green School. The distribution of penny loaves was carried out until about 1910. The loaves were deposited on his gravestone ready to be handed out after the morning service each Sunday. 

Extract from the tomb of Richard Gwinne, citizen of London & clothmaker, in the South Chapel:-

And amongst the rest of his
charityes he hath left to this
Parish that of twelve four penny
loaves should be given to the twelve
poor people on every Sunday for
ever, and also schooling for six
boys for ever. In all he hath left
twenty pounds a year to continue for ever
for the bread and for the schooling

Bridgham Trust

Established 1565 (see SHC doc WON/14/34). The Report of Commissioners dated 1825 recorded the deed that set up the Trust dating back at least to the time of the incumbency of John Holt (1557-65), identifying farm buildings and 22 acres in Wonersh. Income from the Trust made provision for the upkeep of the church and services and the parishioners neither contributed nor were expected to contribute. The Trust is mentioned in 1793 when the farm was leased to John Ironside and income used to pay in part for the rebuilding of the church. The Church Land Charity was incorporated into the formal Charity Commissioners scheme in 1954, providing around £100 annually for the maintenance of the church. It was wound up in Sept 2001. 

William Stanton’s Charity

Established 1871/2 (see SHC Doc WON/14/14-22 & 33). He was a coal-merchant of Bramley. £1000 invested in the name of Wonersh Poor, the dividends to be laid out half in clothing and half in firing. 

Henry Smith's Charity

1650 Henry Smith’s Charity (see SHC doc WON/14/35-52) - whereby the Churchwardens and Overseers of the poor of Parishes around the country, including Wonersh, are charged with administration of the income allotted to the parish. 

Henry Chennell’s Charity

Established 1671 (see SHC doc WON/14/53). Annual income of £4 towards the schooling and teaching in English of six poor boys of the Parish of Wonersh. There was a 17th C epitaph on marble within the communion rails recorded by Manning & Bray which no longer exists. He bequeathed £4 a year derived from property in St Mary’s Guildford for “the schooling and teaching of English to 6 poor boys for ever”. He may be considered as the founder of the village school in the parish. His will is quoted in the Charity Commissioners Report 1825; he directed that the 6 boys  “should learn the Church Catechism, and should appear at the church at Wonersh at such times yearly as the Vicar there for the time being, or the laws of the Church require, there to be examined by the said Vicar in the said Catechism, and publicly say the same and to give account thereof.” We learn from the report that William Simmons was subsequently a school master of the Parish of Wonersh appointed by the minister and churchwardens, and the boys were catechised publicly in the church during the season of Lent. After the foundation of the Wonersh National School in 1842 the annuity was paid to the School managers. Henry Chennell’s (Cheynell) life covered the period of the struggle between the Church and Puritanism, the Laudian dominance under Charles I, the Civil War, the triumph of the anti-church party, the Commonwealth and the Restoration. It is implied that Wonersh knew something of the discordant parties during these times and that he was instrument in success of smoothing over difficulties.

(The Cheynells were Rectors of Cranleigh during this period and it is possible that he is one and the same)

Henry Chalner’s Charity

16th & 17th Century, four charities from the family in support of the poor (SHC doc ref WON/14/54). The earliest deed in the SHC (doc G70/48/1/1) is dated 1568. These were described in 1825 by the Charity Commissioners as “the Lost Charities of Henry and Thomas Chalner”. Note that Henry Chalner was identified as a trustee of the Bridgham Trust (see above). 

The Rt Hon Charlotte Earle Dowager Lady Grantley’s Charity.

Lady Grantley's Charity was established 1876 (SHC doc WON/14/55& 56). £1000  dividends from Consols Legacy Trust to be paid to the poor. 

Grantley Charity

No information.

Matilda Sarah Wells Charity

Established 1900 (SHC doc WON/14/57-61). See monument on south wall of nave. Investment of £90 in Consolidated Stock. 

Thomas Mitchell Charity

1616 – 10 shillings yearly rent from property in Shere, and 56/-  to be used for benefit of the poor (SHC Ref G70/48/2/..)



Paul Sellin, 31/10/2013