The Bequest of Mark Smithson of Aldborough

The Church of St Andrew, in Aldborough in the Diocese of Ripon has a huge board on the wall inside the church tower where the full text of Mark Smithson’s bequest is written. The shelf for the bread for the poor is still there just inside the door. I think it’s used for hymn books now! His tomb is outside the church below the tower.

The Bequest
Mark Smithson esq of Aldborough hath by his last will dated the 12 May 1787 bequeathed to the Vicar and the two church-wardens so much money as would purchase Three thousand three hundred and thirty three pounds six shillings and eight pence. Three per cent Bank-Annuities to be vested in them so as to receive the Dividends and Interest being fifty pounds half yearly to be applied by them to the use of the township of Aldborough in the manner following. Viz, Ten Pounds a year for ever to the ringers of the said town, to be paid at Christmas provided they always ring a peel on Thursday evenings and likewise on Sundays before Morning Service: Thirty two-penny-loaves to be distributed by the Churchwardens every Sunday to so many of the most necessitous Poor who shall attend Divine Service, and to no others unless prevented by sickness: Ten Pounds in Money at Christmas to be laid out in the purchase of Butchers Meat to be distributed to the said poor at two different times.

Five shillings a piece to be given to Thirty of the most necessitous poor on St. Thomas’ day. Ten stuff-Gowns, Ten woolly-Petticoats and Ten black-stuff-Bonnets to be given to the Ten most ancient poor Women of the said Town. The remainder of this Bequest for the first year only, to be expended in the purchase of an additional Bell and better paving for the aisles of the church, and other ornamental repairs in the inside thereof; and ever after the first year, to be applied by the Vicar and church-wardens for the Relief of the most deserving poor of Aldborough either daily or weekly, as shall seem to them most necessary, by an Allowance of Coals in Winter at times as usual, and in repairing their Houses when wanted.

And in case of any misapplication of the said dividends the Testator ordered, that the said Bank Annuities should devolve unto his wife Mrs Clare Smithson, and her heirs.

NB. Those Annuities could not be transferred to the Vicar and churchwardens as a body corporate without an Act of Parliament, and therefore were transferred to the Rev. Henry Goodricke, J ? Wilkinson, Clerks Mrs Clare Smithson & Peter Earnshaw in trust for the charity.

In 1783 Mr Smithson gave a handsome new minute clock made by Messrs. Clementshaw for this church.

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