Fowle and Smith Charity
The Charity offers grants of up to £50 to school-leavers towards the cost of books, tools, equipment or clothing needed for further education or to start work. Children are eligible if they have lived in Stanton for at least 2 years and are now leaving school for college, apprenticeship or employment.
|Rev. Deborah Larkey (ex officio)||X|
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In 1692 Sir Thomas Fowle left £50 and in 1720 Mr Isaac Smith left £20 to create a “fund for apprenticing children”. These bequests together form the Fowle and Smith Charity and in 1739 the Charity purchased an area of land. From 1829 the land was used as allotments with the rental income going to the Charity. The land is now used for agriculture and still provides income for the Charity. Both Thomas Fowle and Isaac Smith were born in Stanton. Younger sons in large families, they had to seek employment outside the village and at the age of about 15 they were sent to London to serve their apprenticeships. At that time this meant living in the household of a craftsman for 7 years to learn his trade. The family of the apprentice had to pay a large premium for this.
Sir Thomas Fowle began his apprenticeship with a London goldsmith in 1652. In 1660 he set up his business as a goldsmith and banker in Fleet Street in London. Selling jewellery and fine silverware and providing financial services to influential people, he prospered and held high office in the Goldsmiths’ Company. When he died in 1692, Thomas was an Alderman of the City of London, had been knighted and had briefly been Member of Parliament for Devizes. He was a trusted adviser and banker to the Earl of Pembroke, who owned the village of Stanton. Thomas had acquired a considerable number of properties, including the freehold farm in Stanton and probably Manor Farm House which he left to his daughter. Seven hundred people are said to have attended Thomas’s funeral at St Dunstan-in-the-West in Fleet Street in London.
Isaac Smith began his apprenticeship with a London tailor in 1669. Tailors specialised in men’s clothing which of course was hand-made and so very expensive. Most working people could not afford new clothes but relied on the second-hand markets. There was not as much potential for becoming rich for tailors as there was for goldsmiths, especially as some customers were reluctant to pay their bills. Isaac appears to have made a good living but did not own any property. He lived in Aldersgate in London with his wife Phillis with whom he had two daughters who died in infancy. Isaac seems to have been fond of children: he left four charitable bequests for their benefit. The £20 he left for the children of Stanton is the third largest bequest in his will which, among other legacies, provides for 22 of his relatives to receive one shilling each. Isaac was buried in the church of St Anne and St Agnes in Gresham Street in London on 6 April 1720.