The East Riding Clergy Charitable Society began in 1781 at the prompting of the Reverend Thomas Constable, rector of Sigglesthorne. The idea lying behind the society was to provide relief for widows, orphans and the distressed families of poor clergy through subscriptions and donations. The rules were drawn up on 12 July 1781, with 20 per annum giving a subscriber governorship for life and 1 per annum buying them this role for one year. The governors elected the president, vice president and treasurer. The first president was the Reverend Richard Oliver, archdeacon of the East Riding, with Constable as vice president. Stewards were elected for districts with the job of collecting subscriptions. These included a number of local gentry members and members of the Hull merchant community such as Christopher and Joseph Sykes, Thomas Grimston, Ralph Creyke and Richard Gee. However, the society was largely run by and for clergy from 1781.
In its first year the East Riding Clergy Charitable Society earned 58 15s 6d in subscriptions and 113 19s 6d in donations and began considering applications for aid, particularly from the widows of poor clergy. The archive contains all the financial records from 1781 and indicates that by the 1950s and 1960s the society held nearly 10,000 in stock and paid out over 500 per annum in pensions and grants. From the 1890s it involved itself in schemes for life insurance for the clergy as a means of protecting their dependants.