Almshouses are unfurnished dwellings, usually specially designed with the needs of older people in mind. They aim to provide convenient and comfortable accommodation in a local setting which allows residents to come and go as they please.
Warmington has three almshouses in Church Lane, and over the doorways you can see the sign “built and endowed by the Ladies Charlotte and Fanny Proby ”
Lady Charlotte was born in 1788 and her sister Frances in 1789. It is hard for us now, in the days of the welfare state, to imagine quite what life was like in Warmington in those far off times but for many rural life was full of hardship and poverty. Lady Charlotte was renowned for her many acts of kindnesses and was apparently long remembered by the people of the village for her charitable works. Her letters and journals also give an insight into the life of the times and she described the village as “full of ague and fever”
The almshouses were built around 1860-62 with funding from Lady Charlotte for the purpose of supporting and maintaining 3 poor and needy persons. This was formalised in a Trust on 15th July 1862 which was supposed to be endowed with a sum of £3000 for maintenance and also from which each of the 3 'inmates' were to be given 10 shillings a week together with 2 tons of coal. However, no fund was left in her will for this purpose although the Earl of Carysfort (the 3rd Earl – her brother) was appointed as Trustee.
In 1896 the 4th Earl found this Trust Deed amongst papers stored with his solicitor and established that some funds had existed in the 3rd Earl's will. He had these reinstated to the value they would have achieved had they been used for their intended purpose and the Trust was re-formed by a new Deed in August 1896 requiring the Lord or Lady of the manor of Elton to be the Trustee and be solely responsible for appointing the inmates and also of reporting yearly to the Overseers of the Poor in the Parish of Warmington.
The next major legislative change was in 1963 when the Trust came under the regulation of the Charity Commission and this was defined in a 'Scheme' document which was further revised in 1995. Under this Scheme a new Trust was set up as under the regulation of the Charity Commission with the Lord or Lady of the Manor as the first Trustee together with 4 other appointed trustees from the village.
By 2007 the almshouses had deteriorated to such an extent that a major refurbishment was judged to be necessary in order for them to continue to be used. After consulting the Almshouse Association and others, this major refurbishment project was undertaken with financial support from the Charity Bank and the Almshouse Association with the aim of updating the accomodation to be fit for the 21st century including new kitchens, new bedrooms, new bathrooms with wet room showers, new roofing and other refurbishment work to eliminate damp, replace the electrical and heating systems and improve the insulation. This was a considerable workload for the trustees who saw it through to its completion and re-opening in late 2008 with 3 new occupants in residence by early 2009.
Since then considerable work has been done to ensure that the Trust remains financially and legally viable and the rules governing the charity have been updated and approved by the Charity Commission. The Trust is now administered by 6 volunteer Trustees, 2 of whom are appointed by the Parish Council with the other 4 being co-opted from within the village. The Lord of the Manor remains a trustee but has not been active as such for many years. Most of the routine work on the almshouses is now undertaken by the Trustees with some valuable project work being undertaken by groups of pupils from Prince William School and other village residents..
In common with the majority of almshouses in the UK the 'inmates' (now termed 'residents') no longer receive a 'pension' and have to pay a suitable contribution to the Trust.
As part of the governing rules the Trustees are required to maintain a list of people who might wish to occupy an almshouse should one become vacant, so if you, or someone you know, thinks that you might be interested in this then please let us know by using the registration form link below – or by writing to:
The Clerk to the Trustees
Warmington Almshouses Charitable Trust
9 Church Lane