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Extract from the will of the late Mr. E. Silcocks, 22 November 1899:

I now give to my nephew Edward Silcocks and son of my brother Frederick Silcocks a life interest in the following property namely a field situated near Monkley Lane or Road Common Road in the county of Somerset one of which I purchased of Messrs. Skurrays and others containing about 4 acres and at his death to his male heir for ever subject to the following special conditions namely that a charge shall be on this particular ground of 4 per annum on the first day of August in every year to the overseers for the time being together with my heir-at-law jointly to supply 4 of the oldest poor women and 4 of the oldest poor men in the village proper on the 31st day of August in every year for ever the same persons to have it every year and when one die then another elected with 10/-d. worth of wearing apparel each for ever

Letter to the Parish Clerk from the Charity Commission dated 17th October 1958:

County - Somerset.
Place - Rode
Charities -  1. Webb & Yerbury
                  2. Silcocks


In reply to your letter of 27th September, I have to point out that the administration of the Charities is a matter for the trustees and not for the Parish Council.  It is appreciated that you act as correspondent of the trustees and I am to say that the benefits of the Charities numbered (1) above should be confined to poor persons residing within the area of the Ancient Parish of Rode (Road) as constituted in the years 1578 and 1705 when the Charities were founded.  It is understood that Roadhill (Christ Church) is an Ecclesiastical Parish formed out of the Civil  Parish of North Bradley and it would not appear that North Bradley was part of the Ancient Parish of Rode.

In respect of he Charity numbered (2) above, the relevant words in the testator's Will proved the 22nd November 1899, are, as you are no doubt aware “to supply 4 of the oldest poor women and 4 of the oldest poor men in the Village Proper apparel each”.  The Commissioners cannot give an authoritative opinion on the subject but it would appear that the expression "Village Proper" used by the testator in his Will means so much of the village as was situated in the Civil Parish of Road in the County of Somerset, at the date of the Will.

In the census of 1901, Road Hill (Christ Church) is recorded as an Ecclesiastical Parish in the County of Wilts.

Letter to the Chairman of the Parish Council from the Charity Commission dated 1st October 1996:


Thank you for your letter of 19 September regarding the above Charity.

I am afraid that I can be of no help with the identification of the field.  I have searched all our records for the Charity, but the field number was never mentioned, and, like you, we have relied in the past on the somewhat unusual terms of Mr. Silcocks’ will.

As far as Mr. Chatfield is concerned, I think it would be reasonable to approach him again and, if he repeats that the land has been given to his sister, he should be asked to provide evidence of that.  Clearly, the fact that he was willing to pay up to this year casts doubt on his claim to have given the land away.  One presumes that this may in fact be related to the proceedings between his wife and himself, as indeed might Mrs. Chatfield’s offer of payment.

Inflation has of course minimised the usefulness of this periodic charge, and I wonder whether the trustees might find it preferable to suggest to Mr. Chatfield that a one-off payment be made to end the charge once for all.  I enclose a booklet on disposing of Charity land, most of which is irrelevant, but page 22 explains the procedure for ending such a periodic charge.  A payment of 40 would achieve this.  You will also see that where the payment is under 500, legal expenses have to be met by the landowner, and this includes costs incurred by the charity in proving legal title, if that were required.  I would have thought that it would be in everyone’s interests to bring this charge to an end.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like to discuss the matter further, but if I do not hear from you within three months, I will assume the matter has been satisfactorily settled.

Response to the Charity Commission from the Parish Council dated 12th January 1998:

The Edward Silcocks Charity Reg. No. 239319

With reference to your letter dated 1st October 1996, we would like to inform you that the  sum of 40.00 has been received and distributed to close the charity.