Non-educational Charities, High Ham Parish

Non-Educational Charities, High Ham Parish

Trustees: Mr John Vigar (High Ham),  Mrs Molly Cullen (Low Ham), and Mrs Paula Fisher (Henley)

The villages of High Ham, Low Ham, Henley, Picts Hill and Ham Down are all part of the parish. If anyone from the parish would like to apply to the Charity for a donation, please either write to or give your name to one of the Trustees. If you would prefer to sign a ready-prepared written request, they are available from High Ham Church porch.

All applications are considered in the strictest confidence and are the decision of the entire Committee of Trustees.

History of the Non-Educational Charities, High Ham Parish

The origins of the High Ham Non-educational charities date as far back as the 1600s,  and vary from the provision of bibles, Common Prayer Books, bread, coal, clothing, coal and wood, to apprenticeships for up to 2 children from the parish each year.

Some donors specified the exact date distribution was to be made. Reverend Charles Morgan, late Rector of the parish, wished bread to be distributed to the poor every year on his birthday, December 27th. The trustees of another of the charities were instructed to give linen cloth every Easter Monday, and wood on December 8th.

Arabella Morgan left money in trust to the Minister and Churchwardens who were instructed to invest in a savings bank or in Government Securities. It was the interest or dividends from these investments that protected the income which was to be spent on the poor, elderly and those in need of assistance. Money for the apprenticeships was raised by the Lady Dionis Hext and Lord Stawell’s Apprenticing Charity.

It is the dividends from these very same investments all those years ago that still provide an income for the Trustees of High Ham Charities Non-educational to distribute today. They have progressed from calico and linen, to more practical help.

The Minute Book used today has entries as far back as 1857, and lists the Langport Building Society as one of the investments along with money from Trustees held in ‘the chest in the church’.

The Trust is written in such a way that anyone wishing to benefit from the charities has to apply personally. A meeting of the Trustees is held every year as the governing documents demand, and the distribution of the year’s income is discussed in the strictest confidence. It is also a legal requirement that the Trustees are seen to donate all annual income and not accumulate funds.