Clothall. Fox Lambert

Colin Wilson

Fox Lambert's almshouse at Clothall. Sep 2017
Colin Wilson
The dedication stone on Clothall almshouse. Sep 2017
Colin Wilson
OS maps Hertfordshire VIII.13 and VIII.9 1923 showing Clothall
Courtesy of Hertfordshire Archives & Local Studies

1887 was Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee. Various charities were founded in celebration, one of which was the Fox Lambert almshouses at Clothall. The dedication stone says they were provided by the rector of Clothall, the land being provided by Rev J G & Mrs  Cotton-Browne. Neither  Victoria County History nor Historical Atlas of Hertfordshire mention these almshouses.

The provision was for almshouses for poor and deserving persons, communicants of the Church of England over the age of 60 years (or one over the age of 60 years in the case of married couples). Wittering says there were 2 occupants but this probably means 2 dwellings.

According to Brenchley there was no endowment. The almshouses were maintained by several ancient charities, the oldest being that of Dr James Sibbald, rector from 1665 till 1708. The trustees were the rector and churchwardens. The Clothall Almshouse charity is registered with the Charity Commission ref 238669. The deeds are dated 4 august 1890 and scheme of 27 February 1973. The Reverend Canon Fox Lambert charity is linked. Its purpose is the general benefit of the poor.

Selling. Wittering noted in about 1973 that one of the almshouses had been sold. This may be to pay for improvements to the other. The second almshouse has since been sold, hence the Clothall Almshouse charity no longer provides accommodation. Wittering includes a photo from about 1973. Vyse, writing about 1982, noted both had been sold. Since then the almshouses have been extended, but the original dedication stone remains.

Frederick Fox Lambert was rector of Clothall from 1879 – 90 before becoming the vicar at Cheshunt. There he purchased a training college for priests, renaming it Bishops College. He was born in 1843, and died unexpectedly in 1920 after a period of ill health. His estate was over £113,000. His obituary notes he was a devout and learned man who was also a bit of a sportsman. He owned a moor in Scotland. Neither the newspaper obituary nor Brenchley refer to the almshouses.


1 Ashanger Lane, Clothall SG7 6RG
Georef:      527048 231853
Grid Ref:   51o 58′ 15″N   0o 09′ 08″W
OS 25” map Hertfordshire VIII.13 pub 1898. Building shown but not annotated as an almshouse. It is at the top left of the map, between plots 139 and 150. There is a spring recorded next to the building. The 1923 edition has a tank in place of the spring.


The Almshouses of Hertfordshire, by W O Wittering
Article in Hertfordshire Countryside  29 (187) Nov 1974. Includes a photograph

Victorian Almshouses in Hertfordshire, by James A Vyse,
A Building Conservation thesis for A A Building Conservation course 1982 – 4
A copy is held at HALS

Documents held at HALS

DP/12/29/11 Parish history research notes, some by Canon F G Brenchley
nd mid 20th century
Includes article about Clothall

DE/X976/17/42 List of incumbents at Clothall
nd [c1880 – 1906]

Hertfordshire News 28 April 1920 page 1 includes Fox Lambert’s obituary

Websites accessed Mar 2022
Notes the purpose is charitable social work activities without accommodation
Notes one almshouse sold 2 grants of probate.

This page was added on 05/03/2022.

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