Town Lands Charity
This village charity, more commonly known as the Old Town Trust, started life back in the 14th century as a ‘country’ gild (the old spelling) which had a different role to that of town guilds which were essentially associated with crafts such as butchers, bakers and weavers. The role of the country gild was often closely linked to the church and concerned itself with the poor and disadvantaged in society. The earliest record is from 1352 relating to a transaction of land back.
The transition to the charity we now know as the Old Town Trust (registered charity number 213695) took place around 1653 when the charity’s trustees took over the responsibility of the numerous small plots of land that had been gifted to the gilds over the past three centuries together with the property in The Street opposite the Blue Boar known as the Guildhall.
Today the Trust still holds these plots of land in the village and the old Guildhall which is now split into three properties. Most of the land is rented out for arable farming on an annual tenancy with tenants responsible for the maintenance of the surrounding hedges and ditches. Rents for both the land and the property are established by external estate agents and are required to fulfil the responsibility of the charity to optimise income or value to the community. ‘Value to the community’ is clearly established by the three plots of land that are not farmed which all attract a rent to the Trust but not necessarily as a level that might be achieved commercially.
- The land off Wattisfield Rd that is leased to allotment association holders.
- The land to the north of the track that leads off Wattisfield Road past the allotments leased to the Wild Wood Group
- The plot of land to the east of Townhouse Road leased to the Parish Council for use as a Play & Recreation Area
Current trustees are Richard Martineau, Hugh Reeve, Karen Rolfe, Moira Reeve and Ian Campbell.
Please contact the secretary Karen Rolfe with nay enquiries | email@example.com
Details of the Trust can be found on the Charity Commission’s website at: www.charitycommision.gov.uk