The Relief in Need Charity is comprised of four charities:
6) The Charity Known as the Allotment for the Poor.
This arose following the Inclosures Act of 1829, when an award was made to the Bardwell Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor of 28 acres of land, including Littlemore Green. This land was awarded in compensation for the loss of the right to cut fuel on the heath, and a new charity was created, called the Allotment for the Poor, commonly referred to as the Fuel Allotment. Its sole purpose was to provide coal to those in need, and a coal house was built at the end of the Garden of Bell Cottage to store the fuel. This charity was managed by the churchwardens, not the Town Wardens, and when the Charity Commission arrangement was made in 1883, it was not thought necessary to include the Fuel Allotment. It was not until 1960 that this was brought under the aegis of the Charity Commission, and a subsidiary scheme was established in respect of it to include it as part of the Bardwell Charities.
7) The Charity called the Eleemosynary Charity
This has no historical context; it was created in 1906 by the Charity Commission, redefining the Poor's Branch of the 1883 Scheme as a registered charity in its own right, governed by the Trustees constituted by that Scheme. In 1960, it was included with the Allotment for the Poor in the subsidiary Scheme of that year.
8) The Charity of Susan Addison
Miss Susan Addison, who for many years lived and farmed at Beech Farm, died in 1917, bequeathing to the Charity Trustees three cottages which she owned in Quaker Lane. Two of the cottages were to be used as accommodation for Old Age Pensioners, at a rent of just one shilling a year each. The third cottage was to be let at a commercial rent to provide an income for maintenance. However, the Trustees, for some reason, did not take on this cottage, and by the 1960s the remaining two had become run down for lack of money to maintain them. The cottages were demolished, and the site was sold in 1969, when the money was passed to the Charity Commissioner to be invested.
9) The Charity of the Reverend Arthur Philip Dunlap
The Reverend Dunlap was Rector of Bardwell from 1852 until his retirement in 1890. He died in 1895, leaving in his will an amount of £100 to be invested in Government Securities under the names of the Rector and churchwardens of Bardwell. The income generated was to provide an annual dinner on Easter Day for ten old men and ten old women of the parish. The Easter dinner was still being paid for in 1964, but by 1967 it had been replaced by a cash payment.
When the Charity Commission Scheme of 1883 was drawn up, it was decided to exclude the Allotment for the Poor, as it was of recent origin and had only one function, that of supplying fuel to those in need. The other three charities listed above, of course, did not exist at that time, and were covered by various additional Schemes. It was agreed in 1978 by both the Charity Commission and the Bardwell Trustees that the various documents governing different aspects of the structure of the Charities had become both confused and confusing. The decision was made to produce a revised Scheme to consolidate the disparate elements, which, after lengthy deliberations resulted in the Scheme dated November 4th 1984. This remains the governing document of the Bardwell Charities today.
History of Littlemore Green
Littlemore Green, which forms part of the Allotment for the Poor Charity, is the oldest recorded place name in Bardwell to be still in use, first occurring in a tax return of 1283. Its meaning of "little marsh" reflects the original wet nature of the land. "Green" is used in Suffolk for an area of common pasture, where the rights to graze animals were attached to specific houses, but not, as is sometimes mistakenly believed, to everyone in the community. Settlement on the margin of the Green was well established by about 1290, probably on the northern side, and there are many documentary references to the Green from the 15th century onwards.
The Green was, by agreement, included as part of the Allotment for the Poor by the Inclosures Act of 1829. It measured 2 acres 3 roods and 25 perches, and the Act required the Green to "remain open as heretofore" and to be let out as pasture, with the rents applied to the relief of the poor. The Tithe map of 1839 lists the Green in the ownership of the Rector, Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor, and shows the large stretch of water that almost bisected the Green at that time.
Throughout the rest of the 19th century and part of the 20th, the Green continued to be let as grazing, but it was also used for various recreational activities, including of course the Fair. The origins of Bardwell Fair are unknown. In 1803 and 1805, it was mentioned by David Davenport, the Rector of Bardwell, as "Bardwell Stall Fair", and a poem written by the Honington poet Robert Bloomfield in 1802 is thought to be possibly based on his childhood memories of Bardwell Fair, which would take it back to the 1770s. By 1858, it had taken the form we are familiar with today, the travelling funfair, and this has been an annual event in Bardwell ever since, only stopping during the two world wars.
Another event on the Green much enjoyed by Bardwell people was the annual bonfire on November 5th, although residents living nearby were often concerned for the safety of their thatched roofs.
During the 1980's, the Bardwell Players used the Green for outdoor performances, and in 1974 it played an important role in the “Dad’s Army” episode, “The Honourable Man”. In 2012, as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations, a new event was born, "Cars on Bardwell Green", and this proved so successful that it has been repeated each year since.
By the 1950s, the income from the Green did not cover its costs. A proposal was made to Bardwell Parish Council that they might take it over, but this was declined, and in 1960 Littlemore Green was incorporated into the Subsidiary Scheme with the rest of the Allotment for the Poor land. Since then, the Green has been maintained by the Trustees, funded by the income from hire, and the Relief in Need rents.