Lichfield Charities

The meeting on March 22nd provided an opportunity for John Wilson to share with us his knowledge of some of the Lichfield Charities, a subject he is well qualified to talk about in view of his experience as a trustee of some of them. He arrived laden with literature from which to retrieve relevant documentation, quoted with humour and enthusiasm. We journeyed from the Middle Ages with the Conduit Lands Trust, founded in 1545, which was initially concerned with free water supply but latterly with funding care and medical attention for the poor and the construction of civic buildings - including the old Swimming Baths.

Of similar age was Michael Lowe's Charity, founded in 1593 under the will of Michael Lowe, an Attorney and of the family of Lowes who had been Lords of the Manor of Tymore - long since defunct. John told us that considerable property secured the distribution of clothing and coals, in earlier days, and subsequently essential household items to individuals and equipment to organisations - an Ambulance for Voluntary Transport for the Disabled - but fuel grants continue to be made. In view of the recent imposition of VAT on fuel, perhaps this beneficence will become more widely known!

A wealthy charity, Lichfield Municipal Charities had in 1988 an income of 91,259 and an expenditure of 23,559. This trust was a product of the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835 and comprises charities in the names of many worthy individuals including Elias Ashmole. The most recent trust was established under the will of Lt. Colonel M.A. Swinfen-Braun who died in 1948 and is concerned with the promotion of the common good of the City.

This was an interesting evening, leaving one with the hope that on another occasion John would return to expand upon some of the minor charities and tell us more about St John's Hospital.

Ivor Mitchell
March 1994