Charities – by Mike Parcell.
Over the centuries several philanthropists have left bequests for the setting up of Charitable Trust Funds with a view to disbursing financial aid to the poor and needy of the Parish.
Nicholas Smith, so the story goes, was a wealthy man seeking somewhere to settle down. He travelled far and wide but it was not till he arrived here that he received a friendly welcome. He settled down at Cotchford Farm and in his will of 1634 left money to be given to the poor every year on Good Friday from the site of his tomb close to the south door of the Church. This old ceremony continues today.
Richard Randes was Rector at St Mary’s from 1822 to his death in 1840. In his will he endowed a school at Fishlake, near Doncaster, left £20 a year to the library at Trinity College, Oxford and endowed Hartfield’s first school with £20 a year to pay the schoolmaster.
In 1900 John Hooker died and left the vast sum of £1000 (£100,000 in today’s money) to distribute among the poor of the Parish for life’s necessaries.