The Waltham St Lawrence Charities in their present form are governed by Schemes of the Charity Commission dated 13 March 2009 and 12 April 2011. Prior to this revision, there were three distinct charities, each with its own funds and with different charitable purposes: the Foot, Knight and Newbery Relief in Need Charity, the Wandesford and How Educational Charity, and the Beale and Braybrooke Relief in Sickness Charity (previously the Dispensary Trust).
These charities had in turn evolved from other earlier charities established in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries and were named after the original benefactors. The earliest and most significant of these benefactors was Ralph Newbery, under the terms of whose will his son, Francis, in 1608 put the house which is now the Bell Inn into trust for the poor of the parish.
Now all the charities have been amalgamated into a single charity and the previously limited charitable purposes have been expanded to allow the Trustees of the Charities to promote any charitable purpose in the parish.
A document from some 150 years ago gives a fascinating insight into the background of the Charities:
The following charities are regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 18 August 1864, namely:—
In 1652 Richard How, by deed, gave land at Finchampsted, one-fourth part of the rent to be employed in maintaining one or more poor child or children at school. The land was sold in 1904 and the proceeds invested in £600 consols, this parish being entitled to one-fourth part of the dividends amounting to £3 15s. a year.
Michael Wandesford, founded by will 1712, endowment 2 acres in this parish, let at £6 a year, and £18 consols, representing part of proceeds of the sale in 1897 of land at Beenhams Heath, which had been acquired under the Enclosure Act, applicable for educational purposes.
Francis Newbery, by deed 2 March 1608, settled a house and land for the benefit of the most poor and needy inhabitants. The endowment now consists of an inn known as 'The Bell' and 1 acre let at £85 per annum, vested in the People's Refreshment House Association, and £42 consols, representing the other part of proceeds of the sale above referred to.
Sir Thomas Foote's charity, founded by will, formerly included in the charities of St. Benet, Gracechurch Street, London. The share of this parish is represented by £56 4s. 6d. 2½ per cent. annuities, producing £1 8s. a year.
Mrs. Elizabeth Knight, as appears from a tablet in the church, by will, 1681, gave a rent-charge of 40s. issuing out of land called Marsland, now the property of Mr. J. H. Bulkley, applicable for the benefit of poor widows.
Under the scheme above referred to the income of the educational foundation of Richard How and Michael Wandesford is applied mainly in payment of apprenticeship fees for teaching girls dressmaking, the net income of the charities of Francis Newbery and Sir Thomas Foote in grants to a nursing association and in aid of the funds of a clothing club, and in tickets to about fifty poor persons, being widows or sick or infirm, of the value of 5s. to 10s. each. The trustees are also empowered by the scheme to apply out of the same charities an annual sum not exceeding £20 towards the support of a school or schools for the benefit of the children of poor inhabitants of the parish. This option, however, is not exercised. The income of Elizabeth Knight's charity is divided among twenty poor widows in sums of 2s. each at Christmas.
In 1873 the Rev. Edwin James Parker, rector, by his will proved at London 16 May of the same year, bequeathed £300 consols, the dividends, amounting to £7 10s., to be applied towards payment of the current annual expenses of All Saints' Church.
The several sums of stock above mentioned are held by the official trustees.
The dispensary, at which a doctor attends twice weekly, was erected at the cost of Mr. W. L. Beale, on land conveyed by deed 4 December 1889. It is let at £14 a year, which is applied in the upkeep of the premises.