The Townland Trust is a village charity established in the 1600s to benefit the poor of the village and St. Mary’s Church.
The Trust’s first responsibility is to maintain its assets, for example, a grant towards the maintenance of the church building and churchyard, heating and lighting for services, insurance etc. After these have been discharged, some or all of the remainder of the income can be divided between the church and the village's needs. The income is divided on a 50:50 basis.
Anyone from the village in any form of need can apply to the Trust for assistance. The Trust’s finances do not enable it to make regular payments to support individuals, but it can make small(ish) one-off payments to help in times of difficulty or particular need. The amount of grant given is at the discretion of the trustees and is confidential. Grants do not have to be repaid if the applicant’s circumstances change at a later date.
As people do not always like to approach the Trust themselves, if you are aware of anyone who might benefit by help from the Trust, please have a quiet word with one of the trustees. All requests for help are treated in utmost confidence and are known only to the trustees (all beneficiaries must live in the village).
The present Townland Trust has grown from 2 old charities:
1. Leggett’s Gift – On 20th April 1568, Henry Leggett charged that the income from a piece of land, 40 shillings at that time, should be distributed amongst the poor of the village, together with other money subscribed by other inhabitants of Sweffling. It was originally used to buy coal for the winter and bread.
2. Feoffes Estate - In 1699, Ezra Crisp conveyed to the Rector, as trustee, and his successors, and other trustees, two houses and 6 acres of land in Sweffling to keep in repair and good order the church and churchyard, and for payment of other charges on the inhabitants of the parish of Sweffling.
Over the years, the charities have been amalgamated and evolved into what is now known as the Townland Trust. It is registered as a charity with the Charity Commissioners.
Originally its income came from rent from several cottages and parcels of land, but over the centuries, most of these were sold
The Trust now holds assets as investments accrued from the sale of land and property over the years. It still holds one cottage, currently known as Rodwell’s Cottage and the Townland Meadow and pavilion, which are held as village amenities.
The Trust’s income comes from the cottage rental, interest on investments accrued over the years, donations from the fete and a small amount of rent/fees from the meadow.
The Townland Trust is independent of the church and any other village organisation. According to the Charity Charter, the Rector is the chairman of the trustees, but this post can be delegated by the agreement of the other trustees. There are normally 4 other trustees. There is no time limit to the service of a trustee. Under the conditions of the Trust, trustees and their families are not permitted to benefit from the Trust.
When we meet (& how often)
The Trust’s AGM is held each November, and everyone is welcome to attend. The date will be published on the village website.
Hiring the Townland Meadow
Did you know that you can hire the Townland Meadow, including the pavilion but excluding the tennis court, for family birthday parties, celebrations etc.? If you are interested in following this up, please contact Sandy Rowe on 01728 663753 for hire charges and conditions of hire.
Key contacts (Trustees)
The Rev. Martin Percival (Chairman)
Mr Andy Franklin
Mrs Sandy Rowe
Mrs Jill Sedge
Mrs Sheila Tesh