Cheshunt. Turners Hill or Beaumont
A number of benefactions were amalgamated under the title of The Beaumont Charity in October 1859, under a scheme approved by the Charity Commissioners. Among them were the King James Compensation and the Spital almshouses. George Robson’s almshouse followed in 1913. The articles about these should be read in conjunction with this article. Other almshouse properties were given later. In 1873 the trustees owned 62 acres, providing an income of £216. How the charity got its name is unknown but two suggestions have been benefaction by the Beaumont family, or from lands owned at Beaumont Green.
The Beaumont Charity provides low-cost homes for needy residents of Cheshunt parish. Applicants must be in need, over 60 and have resided in Cheshunt for at least 2 years. Since 2013 these requirements have been eased so that people who have left Cheshunt can return, or elderly parents of Cheshunt residents can be closer. Two properties are allowed for non-Cheshunt people. The provision was for widows, but two women titled Miss died in 1939 and the 2021 accounts refer to couples.
Nowadays the Charity’s sole purpose is the running of the almshouses. It owns freehold properties on two sites. All 40 properties are one bedroom unfurnished. There was a paid warden at each site in accommodation provided by the Charity but that provision has since ceased. The accounts reveal a continuous process of repair and modernisation.
The Turners Hill site has twenty four terrace or semi detached bungalows:
1 – 10 The Ancient Almshouses. Also known as the King James Compensation almshouses.
11 – 14 Dewey almshouses. Given by Clara Elizabeth Dewey, by her will of 1923.
15 – 20 The War Memorial Homes of Rest
21 – 22 Norton Almshouses
23 – 26 The Anstee Almshouses
The 2017-21 accounts refer to building four new Anstee almshouses.
Homeleigh Court has four unfurnished one bedroom bungalows and 12 unfurnished one bedroom flats, consisting of:
1 – 2 King George V Jubilee Almshouses, dated 1935.
3 – 4 The War Memorial Almshouses. Built in 1953 as part of a war memorial effort and donated by Christina and Phillis Debenham of Cheshunt Park.
5 – 16 Almsflats. Built in 1982 to replace the Robson and Spital almshouses. Part of the funding was compensation paid when the Spital almshouses were demolished to make way for the M25 motorway; the rest was a loan from The Housing Association (since discharged).
The Beaumont Charity is a member of the Almshouse Association and registered with the Charity Commission ref 205825. Despite a 17th century foundation, buildings are not listed by Historic England.
There are very few anecdotes about people connected with the almshouses. Sarah Porter, giving evidence in a lease dispute case, said she had lived in the almshouse for 8 years (her son said for longer) in 1862/3. This tells us little about the almshouse, but it is interesting that her son was able to rent property locally while his mother was poor enough to require almshouse accommodation. Charlotte Howlett lived nearby and died in 1881. She made a living by doing needlework and waiting on the old people at the almshouses. Who paid for her services is not recorded. Like most places, Cheshunt celebrated Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee in 1887. Mrs Bailes provided a carriage for the ladies of the Turners Hill and Spital almshouses so they could join the festivities at Aldbury Field, and they had tea there afterwards. Miss Alice Mary Judd, age 70, collapsed outside Manor House, Cheshunt in 1939. She died soon after being admitted to hospital. Also in 1939, Miss Eliza Emma Venables died aged aged 64. She had lived in Cheshunt for fifteen years and at the Almshouses for about four years. Her parents were well-known residents in the district.
The Cheshunt War Memorial, unveiled in February 1923, is located in the centre of the almshouse grounds. It would not surprise me if it was the only one so sited. The grounds are certainly packed every Remembrance Sunday. It would be interesting to know why it was placed on more private land as opposed to the majority which are far more accessible to the public. The bonus is that it is less accessible for any vandalism.
Thanks are due to the clerk of the Beaumont Trust for permission to include photographs inside the property.
Georef: 535910 202390
Gridref: 51o 42′ 14″ 0o 02′ 05″W
OS 25” maps Hertfordshire XLI.8 pub 1914 and 1946. Note the later map shows the extra buildings
History of Hertfordshire, by John Edwin Cussans
Pages 28 and 109
Stephen Austin & Sons 1870-81; republished E P Publishing in collaboration with Hertfordshire County Library 1972 p245
Cheshunt in Hertfordshire, by Jack Edwards
2nd ed 1974 pub Broxbourne Borough Council
The Victoria County History of the County of Hertford. Ed William Page
Vol 3 pp 456-7
Issued Archibald Constable & Co 1912. Reprint by Dawsons of Pall Mall 1971 ISBN 0 7129 0477 8
This publication is available online at http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/herts/vol3/pp441-458
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
D/EDs/4/8 Beaumont Charity Scheme 31 Oct 1859
Websites accessed Oct 2021
Charity Commission https://register-of-charities.charitycommission.gov.uk/charity-search/-/charity-details/205825 includes the annual returns including properties owned.
https://thebeaumontcharity.co.uk, including links to Homeleigh Court. There are also photos of the various properties
https://www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk/memorial/253581/ has details of the war memorial, and shows some of the almshouses in the background
https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/warmemorials/cheshunt-waltham-cross-t1397.html also shows the buildings
Newspapers can be accessed on the British Newspaper archive website
Hertford Mercury and Reformer 24 May 1862 page 2 col 6 [Report of vestry meeting]. Question about legal payments. The women had not received their allowances
Herts Guardian, Agricultural Journal, and General Advertiser 16 December 1862 page 4 col 6 [Sarah Porter] had lived in the almshouse for ten or twelve years
Hertford Mercury and Reformer 18 July 1863 page 4 col 4 Sarah Porter
Hertford Mercury and Reformer 15 February 1879 Page 2 col 4. Review of The New Domesday Book of Hertfordshire, pub 1873]
Hertford Mercury and Reformer 17 December 1881 page 5 col 6 Charlotte Howlett
Hertford Mercury and Reformer 25 June 1887 page 3 Mrs Bailes carriage
Hertford Mercury and Reformer 12 May 1939 Page: 2 col 4. Death of Alice Judd
Hertford Mercury and Reformer 18 August 1939 Page 11 col 3. Death of Eliza Venables