Mount Bures Community Web Site

The Thomas Love Charity
Mount Bures is one of the 12 Parishes who`s householders are entitled to the proceeds of this charity
Thomas Love, a beggar amassed a considerable fortune from his stop -watch professional begging.
He was so predictable that residents knew within the day and hour when there would be a knock at the door.

He directed that on his death, the interest derived from this money
should be spent within the villages who had
been so kind to him and where his alms were collected.

This plaque stand above the porch door to St Johns Church in Mount Bures.

The twelve parishes mentioned were:-
Great and Lt.Horkesley, Boxted, Langham,Wormingford, Fordham, Aldham, Lexden, W.Bergholt, Mount Bures, Ardleigh and Nayland

Who was Thomas Rich
I can find no personal records of Thomas online.
We do know his family emigrated from France in 1307.

Ref:- Thomas Rych married daughter of Fisher; died before father; will dated 1553
Son Thomas Rych, baptized at Lexden, 7 March 1567

So here we have father and son, the son would have been to young so it must have been Thomas Snr who is dealing in land purchases.

Very wealthy family, having their own coat of arms.

Extracts from local books referring to Thomas Rich

Shrebb we now know as Shrub End.
Here we see the Rich family acquiring land, cannot substantiate its our Thomas


"Thomas Love in his will dated 1564 gave by his will the sum of £120 to Thomas Rich in trust for which he was to pay £6.00 a year to the poor or until such time that he should buy land and then the yearly rent from that, should be distributed on Shrovetide to the 12 parishes he frequented" -

Taken from the Book "Hundred of Lexden"

Thomas Rich subsequently purchased the land at Lexden, to the west of Colchester.

When was this land Purchased

The purchase of this land could well have been circa 1570, if we take this text from the "History of the County of Essex - Colchester"

Thomas Love, by will dated 1565, gave to Thomas Rich £120 to buy land to provide a yearly rent of £6 for the poor of Lexden and 11 other parishes, and Rich, by will dated 1570, endowed the charity with land in Lexden.

Distribution of Rent before the Land Sale

The distribution of the rent from this land amounted to £14. 6s 2d per parish which took place at Shrovetide. (Today we know Shrovetide as Shrove Tuesday or the first day of Lent)

From County records, we know the income from the land was £6 in 1626, £12 in 1676, £24 in 1786, and £30 in 1828 until 1842

Lexden's share was usually distributed in bread with Swinnerton's charity.

Where was this 26 acres of land ?
References to the location of Loves Land:

Essex County Records Document D/DU 728/4
Dates of Creation 1862

Deed of Field called 10 acre Field on S. side of Lexden Road, Lexden subject to right of pasture from Lammas (August 1st) to Candlemas (February 2nd), property of the trustees of Love's Charity of parishes of Great and Lt.Horkesley, Boxted, Langham,Wormingford, Fordham, Aldham, Lexden, W.Bergholt, Mount Bures and Ardleigh, and Nayland, Suffolk, formerly property of Colchester Corporation.

Essex County Records Document:- D/DU 870/2 Deeds of lands
Dates of Creation 1779-1908

Comprising Lexden Park in Lexden: , West on lands belonging to Loves Charity and East on lands of Colchester Corporation;
2 parcels called Fowles lands or new field on North side of highway from Colchester to Lexden Street (8 acres and 6 acres); 2 further parcels on North side of said high road called Loves Land, abutting Holly Lodge (London Rd, Lexden);

Essex County Records Documents D/DEI T405
Grant and Conveyance of Right of Common over Field part of Love's Land
15th February 1843

'….All that piece or parcel of land commonly called or known by the name of Love's Land situate lying and being in the Field in Lexden aforesaid bounded on the North by the Road leading from Colchester to Lexden on the East by Land formerly belonging to Thomas Anderson afterwards to Alexander Fordyee Miller then to Henry Hayward and now to Henry Vint Esquire on the South by Land late belonging to John William Rayner….'

Lease of Lands as Nursery Garden ground situate at Lexden for a term of 10 years from Michaelmas 1881
30th October 1882

'….All those two pieces or parcels of land (being part of Loves Charity Land) situate lying and being in the parish of Lexden in the County of Essex on the North side of the road leading from Colchester to London and containing twelve acres or thereabouts as the same lands were together late in the occupation of William Fenner ….'

The lands may have been on Lexden Heath which was annexed (bought!) in 1820/1 by the multiple landowners of Lexden, G R Errington and J Papillon, when common land in the area
was enclosed in great quantity. Between them they acquired over 2,000 acres of land.

Lexden Heath was a large area of common land used for grazing, horse races and military camps; it was enclosed by Act of Parliament in 1821.

This enlarged the estate of the Lord of the Manor, the Reverend John Rawstorn Papillon, who was an acquaintance of Jane Austen and whose niece married Jane's brother Henry.

Straight Road was created at this time to make a way across the new enclosure's to the hamlet of Shrub End, which became a separate parish in 1845

Courtesy of the Lexden History Group

In the above references it mentions "bounded on the North by the Road leading from Colchester to Lexden"
This would be the road indicated in blue on the above map

Lexden Heath area centered on the junction with Straight Rd and London Rd.
Heath Road still exists today, but Heath Farm long sinced demolished for housing

Lexden Park is situated around the Church Lane area of Colchester

In essence there was not one parcel of land but two or more.

When was the land sold and the proceeds gave to Charity ?

(a) Quote:- This legacy laid out in the purchase of about 26 acres of land in Lexden, close to the town of Colchester,
Let for £30 a year from 1828 to 1842; but now greatly increased in value being in great demand for building purposes.

(b) In Whites Directory, the charity is listed in all 12 parishes dated 1848.

(c) Straight Road was created at this time to make a way across the new enclosure's to the Hamlet of Shrub End, which became
a separate parish in 1845.

I think we can safely say the land was sold between 1842 and 1848, perhaps even earlier ( 1842 - 1845) as Straight Road was constructed in 1845

Why was it Sold

Colchester town was expanding and now extending out to the new suburbs of Shrub End and Bottle End ( South of Lexden).
Consequently, land around Lexden in the early 1880`s was now in high demand and the value rapidly increased.
Like todays land speculators, it was now an ideal time to sell and take a profit from the original £120 invested

How much did the sale realise financially

When the land was sold in the mid 1800`s, the sum raised was £5926.17.9d, which was subsequently invested in 3 per Cent Consolidated Bonds.

Distribution of the finances

This money was divided up and shared out amongst the 12 parishes.
Speculation:- each parish received nearly £600 to be invested in the Consolidated Bonds, each having their own "Loves Charity with a local Board of Trustees"

In 1992, the Mount Bures parish share of the charity was £13, distributed amongst the elderly pensioners not owning their own home.

It was left to particular parishes to decide how the yearly donation was to be distributed.
Great Horkesley distributed the fundsi n 1990 to those parishioners, again not owning their own homes to 11 people at £5 each

The share belonging to Aldham was shared among the poor parishioners in 1830 at £2.10 each
Subsequent years it was distributed as bread and blankets
Little Horkesley distributed £7 in 1864 and £50 in 1992

Local "Love Charities" were not obliged to keep the money in these Bonds, but use their own discretion to obtain the best interest rate.

Typically Easy Access investments during 2011 - 2014 only realised around a 1% interest rate
One parish has only £140 in the fund, so at 1% interest, that is only achieving an addition of £1.40 year.
I suspect this is why most of the parishes have seen their capital diminish to such an unsustainable level.

By 2014, most parishes were considering winding up the Charity


Local Information on some of the local charities
Mount Bures

Emphasis in Mount Bures was given to
donating money to those parishioners who lived in council Houses or tithe cottages.
However, with a combination of low income and now with very few needy parishioners only one recipient received any funds
during 2009.
During the latter years the income derived from the charity has gradually diminished to a very low level, making it difficult to offer any serious financial gift to the needy.

Great Horkesley
During the earlier years it is documented that there were gifts donated in severe cases of hardship for items such as, coal, shoes and clothing. These seem to be "one off" issues where hardship of one kind or another was being experienced by some individuals and the charities help
them out. Where funds were available, it helped out a good number of people during the Christmas period.

The original money was invested at some time in the history of this charity, in government bonds. These were subsequently, in more modern
times, cashed in and the money raised, invested in a Trustees Savings Bank account and later this was transferred to a Post Office Savings account.

This is an extract from the records the Trustees hold, which date back to 1938.
The first entry in the record of 1938 was to give 34 gifts of eight shillings and one of £1 to recipients who were deemed as in need at Christmas.
The total given at this time was therefore just £14, 12shillings.

Subsequently, in 1939 this was repeated to 36 recipients.

Later, in 1957, 23 gifts of 10 Shillings were given.
In 1966 21 gifts of £1, 10shillings were given.
In 1971 28 gifts of £1.50p were given.
In 1977 24 gifts of £2 were given.
In 1982 12 gifts of £5 were given.
In 1988 11 gifts of £5 were given.
In 1993 11 gifts of £5 were given.
In 1999 7 gifts of £5 were given.
In 2003 6 gifts of £5 were given.
It can be seen that as the value of money increase, proportionately the number of recipients diminishes.

Acknowledgment to Brian Drury, Trustee at Gt Horkesley for kindly donating this information

Lexden's share was usually distributed in bread with Swinnerton's charity.
In 1964 Lexden received £11 4s. 8d. from the two charities which was distributed in gifts, and a similar sum in 1990.

Long Term Future
Both the parishes of Mount Bures and Gt Horkesley are now in the situation that the income derived from their investments has fallen to such
an extent, consideration may have to be made about its long term future.

It would be interesting to know if the other ten parishes are in the same predicament, but that requires far more time than I have to spare.

What would £120 be worth today
King Edward IV borrowed money but left £140 in debt outstanding
Obviously there is no definitive answer to what that £120 is worth today, but this gives you some idea.

As reported in The Times, , New College, Oxford has found in its archives that, on 18th July 1461, King Edward IV borrowed 240 pounds.
The King repaid 100 pounds but the balance has remained outstanding ever since.

Experts busily calculated the sum in today's terms. One person estimates 400,000 pounds (excluding interest) based on a comparison of wheat, hay, slate and brick prices.
A second person (a stockbroker who referred to the Bank of England's table of equivalent values of the pound from the year 1270) reckons a more conservative £53,515 pound

(a) Aldham, Gt Horkesley, Lt Horkesley, Langham, West Bergholt and Ardleigh parish web sites

1943, Essex County Council
Link to

(c) British History-on-line

(d) Colchester and Essex Record Office, Colchester and North-East Essex Branch"
Thomas Love's Charity, Langham: misc papers c1734-1915 (D/DJ; C 114

(e) SEAX - Essex County Records at Chelmsford have the reference D/DEI T405 as giving the deeds and details of the bequeathed lands -
"Deeds of Lands in Lexden belonging to Love's Charity (12a) Common of pasture on Love's Land and Lammas Land".
They also say see D/DEI T51 -

(f)reference to Thomas Rych or Rich


(1) John Rawston Papillon, inherited lands from his godmother and second cousin once removed. Buried at Lexden in 1837 bequeathing
his lands to his wife Elizabeth

(2) Thomas Rich was born on Lexden before 1533, with date unknown for his death

Ref "Godliness and Governance in Tudor Colchester"
Alderman Robert Leche, John Bird and Draper Robert Middleton were also buying up Chantry Lands. Lexden lands were sold to
Thomas Rich
and in 1552 three more local men, Richard Godfrey, William Peverell and Robert Lambert were also buying up land

These two references confirm that in the Lexden area, at least seven gentlemen of wealth were purchasing land during the mid 1500`s with
great enthusiasm.
Would we call them today "land speculators ?"

I am endeavouring to locate the exact area of land in Lexden
from the Essex RO.

Research by Alan Beales, John Cowlin and Liz White from the Lexden History Group .26/01/2014
Brian Drury from Gt. Horkesley.....09/02/2014
Essex Records Office, Jane Bass...27/02/2014