Londina Illustrata. Graphic and Historical Memorials of Monasteries, Churches, Chapels, Schools, Charitable Foundations, Palaces, Halls, Courts, Processions, Places of Early Amusement, and Modern Present Theatres, in the Cities and Suburbs of London and Westminster, Volume 2

Wilkinson, Robert
1819-1825

Meggs' Almshouses, Whitechapel Road.

Meggs' Almshouses, Whitechapel Road.

Megg's Alms Houses.

The Almshouses built and endowed by William Meggs, Esq. in the year 1658, are situated in the Whitechapel Road on the south side. The building is on a moderate, or rather contracted scale, and exhibits but three external entrances, and but one story in height; containing nine windows to each floor in front; over the uppermost of which, in the centre, are placed the Founder's arms, carved in stone, agreeably to the tenor of his will. To each of these Houses is attached a small garden; but since their first erection the buildings altogether have been repaired, improved, and further endowed by Benjamin Goodwin, Esq. formerly of Saint Edmond Bury, and many years an inhabitant of this parish, anno 1767; from which improved state our view is correctly drawn.

Although Mr. Meggs caused these Houses to be built in 1658, it does not appear he had entirely made up his mind as to the intended extent of endowment until seventeen years afterwards; and even then, as himself states, he had altered his intention as to the power of placing poor people in them.

By his will, which is dated A.D. 1675, he bequeaths 1200l. to be laid out in the purchase of land for their maintenance. The inmates are to receive two shillings per week, and a sack of coals each at Christmas: the residue of the rents is directed to be laid out in repairs. The persons to be chosen into these Houses are described in his will, "decayed inhabitants of this Upper Hamlet of Whitechapel; and my mind and will is, that none but single persons shall inhabit or dwell in any of the said Houses, nor any more than one person in each room, nor any under the age of fifty years at the least, nor any person that shall not frequent the church to hear divine service at the usual times of assembling, according to the laudable custom of the Church of England, nor any persons that are vagrants, beggars, or such as receive pensions of the parish; but only such decayed householders as are fit to partake of such a charitable gift."

The choice of persons, for the first ten years after his decease, rests with his executors (the Rector and Churchwardens recommending): after this period it is to rest with the Rector and Vestrymen of the Upper Hamlet of Whitechapel; yet "none is to be admitted without the approbation and consent of the Rector."

Thinking that the above bequeathed 1200l. would be insufficient for the support of these Houses, in a codicil he orders 300l. to be added to the 1200l. and to be laid out in the purchase of land. He increases the allowance from two shillings to two shillings and sixpence, and directs a greater quantity of coals to be given. And his regard for the poor people is thus farther expressed: "This being done, if there shall be an overplus of rent, the said to be for the repair of the said Almshouses, when need shall be, or the further and better relief of any of the said poor people, that should lie sick and weak at any time: my hope is, that my executor will have a great care in performing my mind and will herein for the relief and comfort of these poor people; for it is my mind and will they should be well provided for; and, although I did never affect vain glory, yet I think it not amiss, soon after my decease, that my executor should cause a stone to be set up under my arms, where there is a place left for it to be engraven and cut, declaring whose gift it is, and what maintenance is left."

In a sheet written with his own hand, and added as a codicil to his will, dated February 1677, he says, "I have altered my mind as to that point (i. e. the power of placing poor people into the Almshouses), and do hereby declare my mind, that my nephew, William Goulston, whom I have made my executor, with advice of counsel, shall have full power to purchase land for the said sum of 1500l. and to order and appoint all things touching the same, the placing and appointing what poor shall come in upon the death of any of the said poor people; of whose Christian care in this charitable work I doubt not in the least, as he will answer to God the contrary of not performing my mind and meaning herein."

This nephew William Goulston (or Sir William, as he is afterwards called) seems to have little regarded this solemn injunction of his uncle, and to have ill performed his trust. For the execution of the will and codicils was resisted by the Goulstons, and the business thrown into Chancery. The Lord Keeper decreed that the will and codicil be performed by the defendants Goulstons, and land be purchased. He also decreed that the Rector and Churchwardens should have the nomination of the poor people, and the defendant Goulston and his heirs, the approval.

From some cause, not now to be ascertained, this decree was never carried fully into effect. No land was ever purchased, and the only remains of 1500l. at present is 1300l. South Sea Annuities, payable at the Accomptant General's office.

Such a sum as this was, being altogether unequal to the maintenance and repair of the Houses, they of course soon became a heap of ruins. But in the year 1767, Benjamin Goodwin rebuilt them, and bestowed 1000l. 3 per cent. reduced, for their better support; and 100l. 3 per cent. reduced, the interest to be laid out in coals.

The parish from its funds have lately added 50l. per annum, and other benefactions have been bestowed; £ s. d. "1798. Daniel Peacock, for the poor Women in Meggs' Almshouses, 5 per cent. Navy . . . . . 100 0 0 "1813. Mrs. Anne Rutter gave to the 12 widows, residing in Meggs' Almshouses, per annum . . . 3 0 0 "1818. Luke Flood, Esq. (late Treasurer), the interest to be divided annually among the 12 widows at the Almshouses, New South Sea Stock . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 400 0 0 From the Table of Benefactors in Whitechapel Church. so that the inmates are now made comfortable, and the Houses are kept in good repair by the Churchwardens for the time being.

In the chancel of the parish church of St. Mary, Whitechapel, are the following monuments:

"M.S. To the memory of Judith Meggs, widow, the beloved wife of William Meggs, of this parish, Esq. &c. 1662, aged 83. And the said William her husband, 1620.

"William Meggs, Esq. and James Meggs, D.D. their two sons, caused this monument to be erected.

"William Meggs, Esq. 1678, who was a most worthy member of this parish, and the principal benefactor towards the re-edifying of this house of God. His loving nephew, Sir William Goulston, Knt in much gratitude erected this monument."

North West View of the Antient Structure of Merchant-Taylors Hall, and the Alms-Houses adjoining in Threadneedle Street.

 

The Almshouses built and endowed by William Meggs, Esq. in the year , are situated in the on the south side. The building is on a moderate, or rather contracted scale, and exhibits but external entrances, and but story in height; containing windows to each floor in front; over the uppermost of which, in the centre, are placed the Founder's arms, carved in stone, agreeably to the tenor of his will. To each of these Houses is attached a small garden; but since their erection the buildings altogether have been repaired, improved, and further endowed by Benjamin Goodwin, Esq. formerly of Saint Edmond Bury, and many years an inhabitant of this parish, anno ; from which improved state our view is correctly drawn.

Although Mr. Meggs caused these Houses to be built in , it does not appear he had entirely made up his mind as to the intended extent of endowment until years afterwards; and even then, as himself states, he had altered his intention as to the power of placing poor people in them.

By his will, which is dated A.D. , he bequeaths to be laid out in the purchase of land for their maintenance. The inmates are to receive per week, and a sack of coals each at Christmas: the residue of the rents is directed to be laid out in repairs. into these Houses are described in his will, "decayed inhabitants of this Upper Hamlet of Whitechapel; and my mind and will is, that none but single persons shall inhabit or dwell in any of the said Houses, nor any more than person in each room, nor any under the age of years at the least, nor any person that shall not frequent the church to hear divine service at the usual times of assembling, according to the laudable custom of the Church of England, nor any persons that are vagrants, beggars, or such as receive pensions of the parish; but only such decayed householders as are fit to partake of such a charitable gift."

The choice of persons, for the years after his decease, rests with his executors (the Rector and Churchwardens recommending): after this period it is to rest with the Rector and Vestrymen of the Upper Hamlet of Whitechapel; yet "none is to be admitted without the approbation and consent of the Rector."

Thinking that the above bequeathed would be insufficient for the support of these Houses, in a codicil he orders to be added to the and to be laid out in the purchase of land. He increases the allowance from to and sixpence, and directs a greater quantity of coals to be given. And his regard for the poor people is thus farther expressed: "This being done, if there shall be an overplus of rent, the said to be for the repair of the said Almshouses, when need shall be, or the further and better relief of any of the said poor people, that should lie sick and weak at any time: my hope is, that my executor will have a great care in performing my mind and will herein for the relief and comfort of these poor people; for it is my mind and will they should be well provided for; and, although I did never affect vain glory, yet I think it not amiss, soon after my decease, that my executor should cause a stone to be set up under my arms, where there is a place left for it to be engraven and cut, declaring whose gift it is, and what maintenance is left."

In a sheet written with his own hand, and added as a codicil to his will, dated , he says, "I have altered my mind as to that point (i. e. the power of placing poor people into the Almshouses), and do hereby declare my mind, that my nephew, William Goulston, whom I have made my executor, with advice of counsel, shall have full power to purchase land for the said sum of and to order and appoint all things touching the same, the placing and appointing what poor shall come in upon the

92

death of any of the said poor people; of whose Christian care in this charitable work I doubt not in the least, as he will answer to God the contrary of not performing my mind and meaning herein."

This nephew William Goulston (or William, as he is afterwards called) seems to have little regarded this solemn injunction of his uncle, and to have ill performed his trust. For the execution of the will and codicils was resisted by the Goulstons, and the business thrown into Chancery. The Lord Keeper decreed that the will and codicil be performed by the defendants Goulstons, and land be purchased. He also decreed that the Rector and Churchwardens should have the nomination of the poor people, and the defendant Goulston and his heirs, the approval.

From some cause, not now to be ascertained, this decree was never carried fully into effect. No land was ever purchased, and the only remains of at present is South Sea Annuities, payable at the Accomptant General's office.

Such a sum as this was, being altogether unequal to the maintenance and repair of the Houses, they of course soon became a heap of ruins. But in the year , Benjamin Goodwin rebuilt them, and bestowed per cent. reduced, for their better support; and per cent. reduced, the interest to be laid out in coals.

The parish from its funds have lately added per annum, and other benefactions have been bestowed;[*]  so that the inmates are now made comfortable, and the Houses are kept in good repair by the Churchwardens for the time being.

In the chancel of the parish church of St. Mary, Whitechapel, are the following monuments:

" To the memory of Judith Meggs, widow, the beloved wife of William Meggs, of this parish, Esq. &c. , aged . And the said William her husband, .

"William Meggs, Esq. and James Meggs, D.D. their sons, caused this monument to be erected.

"William Meggs, Esq. , who was a most worthy member of this parish, and the principal benefactor towards the re-edifying of this house of God. His loving nephew, Sir William Goulston, Knt in much gratitude erected this monument."

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Footnotes:

[*] £ s. d. "1798. Daniel Peacock, for the poor Women in Meggs' Almshouses, 5 per cent. Navy . . . . . 100 0 0 "1813. Mrs. Anne Rutter gave to the 12 widows, residing in Meggs' Almshouses, per annum . . . 3 0 0 "1818. Luke Flood, Esq. (late Treasurer), the interest to be divided annually among the 12 widows at the Almshouses, New South Sea Stock . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 400 0 0 From the Table of Benefactors in Whitechapel Church.

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 Title Page
collapseCourts, Halls, and Public Buildings
collapseSchools
collapseAlms-Houses, Hospitals, &c.
collapsePlaces of Amusement
collapseMiscellaneous Objects of Antiquity
collapseAncient and Modern Theatres
collapseTheatres
The Bull and the Bear Baiting,
The Red Bull Playhouse, Clerkenwell.
Fortune Theatre
Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre
D'Avenant's Theatre Otherwise the Duke's Theatre, Little Lincoln's Inn Fields
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
Destruction of Drury Lane Theatre by Fire
Opening of Drury Lane New Theatre
Theatre Royal, Covent Garden
The New Theatre Royal, Covent Garden.
Theatre Royal, Haymarket
New Theatre Royal, Haymarket
The King's Theatre, or the Italian Opera, Haymarket
Theatre in Goodman's Fields. The whole of Goodman's Fields was formerly a farm belonging to the Abbey of Nuns, of the Order of St. Clare, called the Minories or Minoresses, from certain poor ladies of that order; and so late as the time of Stow, when he wrote his Survey in 1598, was let out in gardens, and for grazing horses. One Trolop, and afterwards Goodman, were the farmers there. But Goodman's son being heir by his father's purchase, let the grounds in parcels, and lived like a gentleman on its produce. He lies buried in St. Botolph's church, Aldgate.
The Royalty Theatre, Wellclose Square
The Tennis Court Theatre, Bear Yard, Little Lincoln's Inn Fields
Olympic Theatre, Newcastle Street, Strand
Sadler's Wells.
The Pantheon Theatre, Oxford Street
Strand Theatre, the Sans Pareil
Astley's Amphitheatre, Westminster Road
The Regency Theatre. Tottenham Street Tottenham Court Road
The Cobourg Theatre
Royal Circus or Surrey Theatre
Lyceum Theatre, or English Opera, Strand.
Theatre in Tankard Street, Ipswich
Checks and Tickets of Admission to the public Theatres and other Places of Amusement.

Title page of Vol. 2 reads: Theatrum illustrata. Graphic and historic memorials of ancient playhouses, modern theatres and other places of public amusement in the cities and suburbs of London & Westminster with scenic and incidental illustrations from the time of Shakspear to the present period.

This object is in collection:
Edwin C. Bolles papers
Subjects
London (England)--Antiquities
London (England)--Description and Travel
Wilkinson, Robert, d. ca. 1825
Bolles, Edwin Courtlandt
Permanent URL
http://hdl.handle.net/10427/53839
ID: tufts:MS004.002.057.001.00001
To Cite: DCA Citation Guide
Usage: Detailed Rights