The first charity, ‘The Common Pasture’ was created in 1880. In 1905 part of this was converted to an ‘educational trust’. The ‘combined’ bit was introduced in 1924 to merge the five, by then, individual charities into one. This was confirmed by the Charity Commission in 1963 and comprises the Charity called the Common Pasture (1899), the Charity of William Cadge (1905), the Charity known as the Almshouse Charity and the Bridewell Meadow Charity (1865), the Charity known as the Poor’s Land or Goose Croft (1914) and the Charity known as the Collins Dole (1914). The Trustees at that time were a gentleman, a farmer, an ironmonger, a physician and surgeon, a miller, a bank agent, a tea dealer and the vicar of the parish of Clare. Since then, the vicar of the parish church of St Peter and St Paul has always been a ‘de facto’ Trustee.
The Charities is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of three buildings which are the Almshouses in Church Lane. Land responsibilities cover Clare Common, the allotments, the Upper Common and Goosecroft.
According to the deeds of the charity, residency of an Almshouse of the Charities is restricted to single females. Vacancies when they arise are advertised locally.
The Lower Common
This land is managed by The Charities on behalf of Defra, the Dedham Vale and Stour Valley Trust and Historic England. Although essentially private land for grazing, members of the public may cross the common using the designated footpaths.
The Lower Common has had different names in the past: Clare Common, Clare Camp, Ebury, Clare Manor, the Anglo-British Camp. A Wikipedia article, Clare Camp describes the history and other features.
Allotments are allocated by the Land Sub-committee of the Charities. Rents are in-line with local allotment associations and are subject to annual review. Contact the Clerk to The Trustees.
The Upper Common
This is managed by a tenant farmer for which The Charities receives an annual rent.
This is a parcel of land adjacent to the road leading to Chilton Street and is managed by a tenant farmer for which The Charities receives an annual rent.
Grants are available to individuals or to organisations for the benefit of residents of Clare. Grants may be given for the purchase of books and equipment. Contact the Clerk to The Trustees.
The Charities, through the Trustees, are now able to make small grants to individuals who find themselves in need of a little extra financial help. These grants may be available from the Charities by application in writing to the Clerk to the Trustees – see address below.
The Combined Charities covers two registered charities:
Contact: Ron Longland, Clerk & Treasurer
23 Clarence Road, Clare CO10 8QN
T: 01787 277 769 E: ron.longland(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)btinternet.com