Scope and Content

In 1639 Sir George Croke of Studley Manor granted an annual income of £90 from his lands at Easington in the parish of Chilton (Bucks.). Of this sum, £60 was to be paid towards maintaining eight people in an almshouse he had built at Studley. Another £20 was bestowed on the minister and chapel of Studley, and the remaining £10 to the vicar of Chilton (the parish of Sir George's birth). By orders of 1639 Sir George and his heirs were to choose the almspeople, or else (by default) the electors were to be the owners of the manor houses of Waterstock and Studley. After the death of Thomas Croke, Sir George's son, who had no male issue, an inquisition of 1704 appointed Alexander Croke and seven others as trustees, although the legality of this decision was disputed. Under the original bequest the almshouse occupiers were to be four men over 60 and four women over 50, chosen from Chilton, Waterstock and Beckley parishes in order. Each person received 2s. a week, fuel and clothing, and among the attributes of their character had to be well reputed of for religion and good conversation, 'and there were to be noe cursers nor common haunters of alehouses...noe busie bodies'.

In 1668 the almshouses received a further endowment of 20s. from land called Bunces Close in Easington, then from the time of enclosure in 1831 they were paid rent by Alexander Croke from a 2-acre allotment he was granted in Otmoor.

The charity was regulated by a Commissioners' Scheme in 1880, which ordered that no more almspeople were to be housed until there were fewer than four of them, and appointments were to be made by seven trustees. After a period of inactivity immediately before and after the Second World War, the number of trustees was reduced, by an order dated 1959, to 'four competent persons' in the Beckley area (which includes Studley), each appointed for a term of five years.

The records in this collection include title deeds, copies of orders, accounts, legal dispute papers, and correspondence files. They were deposited by the chairman of the trustees in April 1994 (accession 3805), and October 1995 (accession 4027). For records of the Croke family and Studley Estate see collection E26.

Catalogued by Mark Priddey, October & November 1995.

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