The History of Lincoln Waites

Sir Thomas White's Charity

(ref: The Reports of the Commissioners Appointed in Pursuance of Various Acts of Parliament to Enquire Concerning Charities in England and Wales - Relating to the County of Lincoln - 1819-1837. (pub. Henry Gray, Leicester Square, London) Pages 360 and 361.)

Sir Thomas is honoured by being included as one of the four statues around the Clock Tower in Leicester city centre. This photograph of that statue is reproduced here with permission of Wendy Faulkner (Clerk to the Trustees, Sir Thomas White Charity, Leicester).

This charity was established by Sir Thomas White (1492-1567), a Knight and an Alderman of the City of London. Sir Thomas White became Lord Mayor of London. The charity's funding and the scope of assistance available from it issued from an initial sum of £2,000, which Sir Thomas gave to the City of Bristol, for them to purchase lands and property to rent out, in order to obtain an income for the Charity.

The deed, dated 1 July 1566, was made between three parties, namely: (i) The City of Bristol (its Mayor and Corporation), (ii) The Scholars of Saint John the Baptist (i.e. St John's College, in the University of Oxford, founded by Sir Thomas himself) and (iii) the Master and Wardens of the Merchant Taylors (of the fraternity of Saint John the Baptist, in the City of London).


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The deed required that (from the profits gained from rents) the City of Bristol send £104 to each of 24 Towns and Cities in England, once a year, "the order therein set down, in perpetuity, for ever". The Corporations receiving this money (of which Lincoln was one) were required to make interest-free loans, of £25 each, for a term of ten years, to four young men, "being of honest fame and name", occupiers of and freemen of the receiving town or city. The Corporations were allowed to keep the remaining £4 "for their trouble".

The idea was that these loans would enable these young men to set up in business, or help them in their existing businesses. At the end of the ten year term, the money was to be repaid to the receiving corporation, to be re-lent to four more young men. In fact it was a very early business start-up programme to assist people to become self-employed.

If the borrower failed to repay after ten years, interest was levied at a rate of five percent.


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There appear to have been many years where the council felt unable to lend out all of the money available to them. This may be because the prospective borrowers were unable to provide security on the loan.

Recipients of Sir Thomas White's Charity mentioned on this Web Site


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