- 1713-1892 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
Name of creator
This was the largest charitable trust administered by the Quakers in Norfolk: the estate was managed by the Trustees and the accounts audited by a Committee appointed by the Quarterly Meeting. The estate was bequeathed by Thomas Buckingham in his will dated 17 October 1702, to John Hubbard and others for the benefit of Friends belonging to the Meetings of Kings Lynn, Stoke, Upwell, Downham, Hillgay and Wells. The revenue was intended for the poor of those meetings and any surplus was to be used by the Quarterly Meeting for their poor 'Provided ... that the same be never sold neither any part nor parts thereof but continually to be kept and the Revenues thereof for the use of the Poor Quakers for ever' (Descriptions of Trust Property as sent to the Commissioners on Charitable Trusts, 1854. SF 257). In 1851 Norfolk and Norwich Quarterly Meeting was united with that of Cambridge and Huntingdon but the income from the charity was restricted to objects within the limits of the original Norfolk and Norwich Quarterly Meeting.
The estate consisted of 9 acres of land at Runcton and South Lynn, near Lynn South Gates, valued at £10 per annum; 18 acres in South Lynn at £13 6s. per annum: 14 acres in St Mary's in Marshland at £11 per annum: houses in South Lynn with a garden and orchard adjoining to serve as a burial ground and for Friends' horses, and these were valued at £7 per annum; two plots at Downham of 2 acres and 3 acres respectively, valued at £1 an acre; 50 acres with houses and barns at Islington in Marshland, valued at £29 per annum; and houses, tenements, malthouses and yards in South Lynn at £18 5s. per annum (Descriptions of Trust Property as sent to the Commissioners on Charitable Trusts, 1854. SF 257).
In 1754, Lynn Monthly Meeting reported that the trust was in debt and in 1764 an inquiry was ordered: John Gurney, Richard Ransome and Simon Bale were appointed to inquire into deficiencies and these Friends issued their report in 1766 (Norfolk and Norwich Quarterly Meeting. Minute Book 1763-1781. SF 5). Many grounds for complaint were discovered: the lands at Downham once rented at £5 were only yielding £4 per annum and it was suggested that this rent could be improved, particularly in view of the good timber on the land; the farm at Islington was badly managed and was let to an old man for £29 per annum and the suggestion was made that, after the tenant's death, the farm should be let for £35; the 14 acres of land at St Mary's fetched only £12 per annum, but it warranted a price of at least £1 an acre; the 9 acres at Lynn Southgates were well used and were leased at 30s. an acre "but a considerable sum have been disbursed to put them in the order they now are" (Norfolk and Norwich Quarterly Meeting. Minute Book 1763-1781. SF 5); 12 acres in South Lynn fetched £9 12s. per annum and deserved a price of £1 an acre, but the lease had another seven years to run: a further 6 acres in Lynn were not leased but if this was done the land could fetch £1 or 25s. an acre; the houses in South Lynn were all tenanted and in good repair but it was thought that the house and malthouse could fetch more than £18 per annum and that the three small tenements, let for £4 per annum, could be greatly improved if £30 or £40 was spent on them. The income from the estate was gradually increased and by 1839 the Quarterly Meeting was able to report that the rents had risen from the original £93 11s. per annum to £233 6s. 6d. per annum ("The Society of Friends and its treatment of its poor", M.F. Lloyd Pritchard. Friends' Historical Journal 1947 and 1948).
Despite the clause in Thomas Buckingham's will forbidding the sale of the estate, the composition of the estate changed considerably. In 1798 the Eau Brink Commissioners by Act of Parliament took 5 acres 19 perches of land in St Mary's and the purchase-money was invested in £365 17s. 2d. 3 per cent consols. In 1845, 2 acres and 23 perches of the land at Lynn Southgates were bought by Lynn and Ely Railway Company for £600: it was discovered that in fact 2 acres 1 rood 11 perches had been taken and an additional £49 was paid (Descriptions of Trust Property as sent to the Commissioners on Charitable Trusts 1854. SF 257). The £600 was invested in 3 per cent consols and the £49 in 3.25 per cent consols. Certain lands at Islington were exchanged during the 19th century to obtain a plot of 21 acres 2 roods 27 perches intersecting the farm at Islington and this transaction increased the income by £12 19s. per annum. The houses in South Lynn were demolished in the 1820s and the site and adjoining land were let on a 99 year building lease at an annual rent of £45, later increased to £50.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
System of arrangement
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
Conditions governing reproduction
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script notes
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
Subject access points
Place access points
Name access points
Genre access points
Description control area
Rules and/or conventions used
Dates of creation revision deletion
Created 19/11/2004 by Droip. Modified 23/01/2012 by Obdrd.