Woodborough’s Heritage

Woodborough, a Sherwood Forest Village, recorded in Domesday

Right: The front page of the William Edge Trust Deed dated 1796 from which the following transcript was taken:-


William Edge, by his Will, bearing date 29th July 1796 and proved at York in the same year, gave all his personal estate to his wife, Mary Edge, subject to the payment of 40l. [40 pounds] which he gave to the churchwardens and overseers of the poor of the parish of Woodborough, in trust. To put the same out at interest in the public funds, and to pay the interest thereof yearly, as follows, viz., one moiety to the singers for the time being at the parish church of Woodborough, on St. Thomas’s day,  and the other moiety amongst the poor widows of Woodborough, on the same day.

This legacy has not yet been invested in the public funds according to the donor’s direction. Shortly after his death his widow gave up a part of the personal property which had belonged to him, to William Taylor, esquire, who has since paid yearly 20s. to the minister.

This legacy has not yet been invested in the public funds according to the donor’s direction. Shortly after his death his widow gave up a part of the personal property which had belonged to him, to William Taylor, esquire, who has since paid yearly 20s [20 shillings]. to the minister, and 20s. to the churchwardens, as the interest of the above mentioned 40l. [£40]. The former sum is paid by the minister to a master for teaching ten poor boys and girls of the parish to sing psalms, and the latter is distributed on the day after Christmas-day, equally amongst the poor widows of the parish.


The Woodborough Charities - Revised October 2022

The Rev’d A J Evans writing in the Woodborough Newsletter for December 1951 wrote: Samuel Eden and William Edge, to me, a newcomer, these two charities are a bit confusing, because they overlap at one point. Other recent-comers might be similarly mixed up. 

By the will of Samuel Eden, dated 1946, the interest of £1000 is for the benefit of the poor of the parish. The will says nothing about age or about widows nor does it say the money has to be distributed on Christmas Eve. Nor does it say “once on the list, always on it”: circumstances vary from year to year.

William Edge in 1796 left £1 to the poor widows of the Parish; this is now administered by the Parish Council.

William Edge also left £1 to the singers in the Church Choir on St. Thomas’s Day (21st December). There is nothing in the will about the singing of the Psalm. The custom arose that on Christmas Day, 4 days after St. Thomas, the choir remembered William Edge by singing his favourite psalm to an unusual chant he liked.

Writing in March 1969 in the Woodborough Newsletter, The Rev’d Ross Hayward said. "Not everyone has a clear idea of the charities which belong to the village (as distinct from the Church) and it might help to give some details". There are four: -

The allotments of Woodborough were (and still are) a source of income for the Woodborough Charities; they are administered by the Woodborough Parish Council, distribution of funds being 'for the poor of Woodborough at Christmas'. Nowadays recipients are generally senior citizens, possibly living alone and without private pension or employment.

The Woodborough Charities
The Charities are administered by four Trustees who are appointed by the Parish Council for a term of four years, with two members being elected or re-elected every two years. These appointments are normally dealt with at the Annual Meeting of the Parish Council. The Trustees have the responsibility of deciding the distribution of funds, the benefit being "for the poor of Woodborough at Christmas". The Trustees meet approximately six weeks before Christmas and discuss alterations to the basic list of recipients, for example, they will take into consideration any bereavement, people moving away, newcomers and any changes in circumstances, after that a list is drawn up and an amount agreed for the forthcoming Christmas distribution. The distribution is shared by the Trustees and delivered personally by them. The pensioners are very grateful for this help at a time when it is most needed.

Woodborough Charities - an update from the WPC minutes for October 2007
Cllr. John Boot had carried out some research into those Woodborough charities which directly affected the Parish Council and which were still current. There were two such charities; the Town Lands Charity (registered number 241520) and the Poor’s Land Charity (registered number 241521). The Town Lands Charity had been awarded land under the Woodborough Inclosure Award (1798). Part of that land had been sold and the proceeds invested through the Charity Commissioners. The remaining land awarded, namely a field on Foxwood Lane is still held for the benefit of the charity; it is now used as the village allotment gardens and is currently administered by the Parish Council. The Poor’s Land Charity had been awarded land in Calverton parish under the Calverton Inclosure Award. All that land was sold in 1849; the greater part of the proceeds had been applied as the Woodborough parish contribution to the special call made upon the parish for building the Basford Union Workhouse. There is a small cash balance from the sale held by the Charity which is also invested through the Charity Commissioners.

The trusts of both Charities are to apply the income for the benefit of the poor, which is normally considered by the trustees and dealt with at Christmas in every year. The capital still forms the permanent endowment of the charities. Under the provisions of the Charities Act the Charities have up to four trustees who are appointed by the Parish Council. The trustees sit for a fixed period (normally four years) and are usually eligible for re-appointment. It was agreed the rental income of £169 from the allotments for last year should be paid into the charity account.

BY ORDER OF THE CHARITY COMMISSION, upon an application made to them by the Trustees of the William Edge Charity, sealed 26th January 1897, and it appearing that the endowment of the Charity is held in part only for the purposes of an Ecclesiastical Charity:

Do hereby, in execution of the provisions of section 75(2) of the Local Government Act, 1894, Order as follows:-   

1. One half of the income of the property constituting the endowment of the Charity (consisting of the particulars specified in the Schedule hereto, and all other the endowment, if any, of the Charity) is hereby separated from the rest of that endowment, and shall henceforth be the endowment of an Ecclesiastical Charity, to be called the Ecclesiastical Charity of William Edge:

2. The Vicar and Churchwardens for the time being, of the Parish of Woodborough, are hereby appointed to be the Trustees of the said Ecclesiastical Charity:

3. The remainder of the original Charity shall henceforth be called the Eleemosynary Charity of William Edge:

4. The Governing Body of the said Eleemosynary Charity shall consist of four persons to be appointed from time to time by the Parish Council of Woodborough, to hold office for a term of four years in each case, but of the persons first so appointed, two, to be determined by lot, shall go out of office at the end of two years from the date of appointment, but shall be eligible for re-appointment:

5. The annuity or rentcharge of 40s. mentioned in the Schedule hereto is hereby vested in “The Official Trustee of Charity Lands" for all the estate and interest therein 'belonging to or held in trust for the said Ecclesiastical and Eleemosynary Charities into which the original Charity is hereby divided:

6. The said annuity or rentcharge shall be under the joint management of the Trustees of the said Ecclesiastical Charity and the Trustees of the said Eleemosynary Charity.



Samuel William Eden
Samuel Eden, a hosiery manufacturer of Mansfield died at the age of 56 on 2nd October 1909 and in his will he left £1,000 for “needy persons” of the Parish of Woodborough.

On 31 July 1961 in the High Court of Justice, the Scheme for the regulation of the charity known as “The Samuel Eden Charity” in the Parish of Woodborough in the County of Nottingham was established.
There were to be not less than three and not more than five Trustees who were authorized to use the income from the charity for the following purposes:

Currently, the charity is in a healthy financial state and money is still distributed, usually once a year in December, to residents of the village who are in need. The Samuel Eden hosiery firm continued until April 2005 when it went into liquidation.

So, who was Samuel Eden and what were his connections with Woodborough? Samuel was born in 1853. His father (also Samuel) had started a hosiery manufacturing business in 1850 in St Luke’s Street, Nottingham where Samuel was to start work and later, take over the business. By the early 1920’s the factory was on Hermitage Lane Mansfield and then moved to Sutton in Ashfield, probably in the 1930’s.

Samuel remained a bachelor until he was 49 when he married Sarah Hartshorn, a spinster of Woodborough. The marriage took place in St Ann’s Church in the Parish of St Ann’s Nottingham, on November 28th 1901. At the time Sarah was 42 years old. She was the eldest child of Francis (a butcher) and Maria Hartshorn. Her brother John was 4 years younger and she also had a half sister Alice who was 13 years younger than Sarah. Her mother Maria had died and Francis remarried. At the time of her marriage, Sarah was living with her sister and they were working as market gardeners.

After only eight years of marriage Samuel died on October 8th 1909. Sarah, who lived in Nottingham after her marriage, died on October 22nd 1936. Amongst the many bequests in her will, Sarah left £100 “to the vicar for the time being of the Parish of Woodborough” for the maintenance and upkeep of the grave of her aunt and uncle, John and Mary Richardson. It also stated that,” if it failed to be kept in proper order and condition the said £100 should be transferred to the Nottingham General Hospital.”

Another possible connection between Samuel Eden and Woodborough is that of Desborough’s factory on Shelt Hill [formerly Dark Lane]. Oral evidence suggests that at some time, Sam and Walter Desborough were managers of that factory for Samuel Eden but no written evidence has been found.



The William Edge Charity - 1796

The 'Eleemosynary Charity of William Edge' was administered by a Governing Body appointed by the Parish Council, and an 'Ecclesiastical Charity' by the Vicar and Churchwardens who were Trustees, they applied a rent charge of '40 shillings' (£2) on Hertford Manor Farm (now known as Manor Farm) of £2 per annum, benefiting half to the church and the other half to the parish. Collections by the parish were made up to about 1975, but collections by the church ceased sometime earlier. Complications arose when many years ago the farm was sold and became divided in two. The new owners, Mr Tom Potter of Lambley House and Mr J Taylor of Manor Farm, each paid 50 pence to the church and to the parish. With such trivial sums involved there should be little problem in applying to the Charity Commissioners to redeem the charity, provided of course the two farms, the church and the parish were all in agreement.

The following additional information was noted by Peter Saunders from documents held by Mrs V Sadler, clerk to Woodborough Parish Council circa 1995.

Charity Foxwood Gardens is 2.29 acres in size, a note informs that it is an ancient charity of unknown origin prior to the Inclosure Award of 1795. Peter Saunders in his notes believed that it could have been apportioned as part of Inclosure and had not been held as ‘Town Lands’ previously.

Town Lands Charity number 241520 the land was originally awarded to the Parish Officers by the Inclosure Award of 1795, the Town Lands were on Roe Hill off Field Lane. Initially they contained the Poor Houses, but after their demolition and those of Sidney Terrace, the land was used as an allotment by Mr Sidney Litchfield. The plot was 1600 sq yards approximately as was to the east of ‘The Old Peoples’ bungalows (Sidney Terrace) and to the west of Field Cottage (see map).

The land was sold in 1968 the balance received was £1578.14s 10d. The purchaser was Arthur G Clower (Development) Ltd who had planning permission to erect two properties on the plot. Mr Litchfield received £125 as compensation for vacating the allotment.   

Poor’s Land, now Woodborough Charities, is described as a “field situate in the Parish of Calverton called the Nether Close, containing 1a 1r 13p which was awarded on the Inclosure of the ‘open fields’ of that Parish to the poor of Woodborough. Whilst no documentation relating to it has been seen, the plot has been identified on the Calverton Enclosure map (see Allotments) coloured orange. Charity Book number 241521. This land seems to have been sold in 1849 to raise money to meet a special call on the parish which was a contribution to the building of Basford Workhouse. The balance of the money, £40, was invested in the name of the Official Trustees of Charitable Funds on behalf of the Charity.


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