The Charity now in being was registered in March 1897. However, the Charity dates back a very long way, in most instances to the 1600’s, as can be seen later in this history.
What we know of the 1800’s prior to 1896. In 1843 Mr H Ames became Secretary and he remained so for 25 years. No books used by him can be found locally, but may be in the County archives. When he retired in 1868 a clean sweep appears to have been made. A new minute book was started as well as an accounts ledger (weighing some 14 lbs) which is leather covered, beautifully kept from 1969 right up to date and probably good for another 50 years. The Trustees administered under the wrong name – they called it “Fordred’s Charity”. This is a smaller, but older Trust, administered from Brabourne, as he explained later. SELLINDGE Charity originated partly from an unknown donor/or donors and from Sarah Godfrey who had connections with the parish.
For some years the Trust was administered by Mr Sedgewick, who was a Solicitor at Hythe and his family owned large tracts of land between Hythe and Dover. He is recorded as having administered the Charity for some years and may indeed have contributed to the assets or his family may have done – the records are not clear. It was here that the Charity Commission scheme was introduced, as following the Charitable Acts of 1853 and 1894 it became a necessary thing to do. It was originally put forward as “The Unknown Donor’s Charity (Otherwise Sedgwick’s Charity) and Sarah Godfrey Charity”. The Application was dated 31st January 1896.
On 2nd of March 1897 the Charity Commission ordered the two Charities to be administered as one.
Sarah Godfrey of Hammersmith in 1635 gave Pysings Cottage, Moorstock and an acre of land to the Parish. Three Cottages were added. Demolished in 1860, they were replaced by four Trust Cottages at a cost of £577.48.
E. Sedgwick a Hythe Solicitor and Landowner was employed in the early nineteenth century to administer Charities set up by unknown donors:
- Four acres called Roysfield, Harringe Lane and two acres near the church (the Parish Field)
- Swan House, with two acres built in 1634 (later the Poorhouses) given in 1816
- 14 acres (Great Knoll, Little Knoll and Little Barrington) in Swan Lane
- A plot at the Leas
Some of the lands were entrusted to the Parish Churchwarden and Overseas producing £20.00 per annum. Later the £20.00 together with Fordred’s Charity were used to buy coal. In 1868, for example, 27 tonnes were distributed to 74 people.