The Report of the Commissioners Concerning Charities: Containing that Part which Relates to the County of Devon (3 vols.),
Exeter, T. Besley (1826-30), Volume 1, p. 3.

Provided by Michael Steer

In 1818, as a result of debates and arguments that even now remain obscure, the Parliament of Great Britain launched a detailed and elaborate investigation into the activities of charitable trusts in England and Wales called The Charity Commission or The Brougham Commission. This first inquiry eventually lasted for 19 years, and the 32 reports published contain 26,987 pages of material. 228,880 endowments for charity were reported. The commission consisted of a series of four commissions for the years 1818, 1819-30, 1831-34, and 1835-7. The enquiry was brought about through the efforts of Henry Brougham, who later served as one of the commissioners. The rare book from which the section on Revelstoke is extracted was produced from a digital copy held by the Bodleian Library that can be downloaded from Google Books. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. Those on which copyright has expired are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.


Mary Sayer's Gift

It appears from a tablet in the parish church that Mary Sayer, by will in 1701 gave a rent charge of 20 shillings per annum for ever, issued out of a moiety of Perry tenement in Cleyhanger to trustees in trust to bestow the same yearly in bread on such people in the parish as the major part of the trustees should think to be in want, within one week next after the 2nd day of February for ever.

Montague Baker Bere Esq is the owner of Perry tenement. James Gambleu, the tenant pays the annuity regularly; it is laid out in bread which is distributed on the Sunday next after the 2nd day of February, yearly amongst the poor, by the parishioners at vestry. The inhabitants are requested by a notice to assist at the distribution. No trustees are in existence, and we have found no other record of the charity.

Hannah Nutcombe Bluett's Gift

Hannah Nutcombe Bluett by her deed enrolled in Chancery, in 1747, gave an annuity of 3l, paid for out of a moiety of West Cleyhanger tenement, in trust for teaching as many of the poorest children of this parish to read, and for buying books for them, as the annuity should be sufficient to answer; and in case there should not be a sufficient number of such children, any other children in any neighbouring parish were to have the benefit of the charity.

Miss Nutcombe and her two sisters, the daughters of the late Chancellor Nutcombe are the owners of this estate and Philip Merson occupies it. The annuity is regularly paid

John Norman's Gift and Buckland Nutcombe Bluett's Gift

Buckland Nutcombe Bluett, by will dated 26th April 1785, after reciting that the Rev Mr Beadon had received of the executor of Mr John Norman of Tiverton, deceased, 50l and 3l 15s for the interest thereof, which had been bequeathed to them by the said Mr J Norman, in trust for the teaching of poor children of the parish of Cleyhanger to read the bible, and that he had therewith and with added money of his own added thereto, purchased £10 at three per cent reduced stock, then standing in the names of Mr Beadon and himself; and that he had, out of the dividends, paid persons for teaching the said children to read and write and bought books for their instruction in the Christian religion, by which means he had probably expended more than the annual dividends, as would appear by his housekeeping accounts, directed that his rights in the said stock, and the dividend thereof, should be applied as he had hitherto applied the same, and that his executor should transfer the said 100l stock to the rector of the parish of Cleyhanger for the time being, and such other gentlemen as for the time being should be principal rated payer to the poor of the same parish; and in order to do complete justice to the said charity, and least contrary to his apprehension, there should be any money of the charity remaining in his hands unapplied he gave to the rector of Cleyhanger for the time being for the poor thereof 25l in discharge of all demands upon him or his estate on the accounts aforesaid, to be by them applied either in the further purchase of stock in the said three per cent annuities, which he most wished to have done, or otherwise as they should think most conducive to the benefit of the said charity.

The legacy with some small addition was probably laid out in the same stock as the sum of 150l stock belonging to the charity, is now standing in the name of Miss Nutcombe and others, but the rector's name is not amongst them.

The dividends arising from this stock together with the annuity of 3l given by Mrs H N Bluett, amounting in the whole to 7l 10s (which sum is increased to 9l by Miss Nutcombe and her sister are paid to a school mistress for teaching to read, all the poor children of the parish whose parents wish for their instruction. At the time of our investigation in 1819, she had about 30 children under her tuition.