Friern Barnet
Charities for the poor


Victoria County History



T F T Baker, C R Elrington (Editors), A P Baggs, Diane K Bolton, M A Hicks, R B Pugh

Year published


Supporting documents




Comment on this article
Double click anywhere on the text to add an annotation in-line

Citation Show another format:

'Friern Barnet: Charities for the poor', A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 6: Friern Barnet, Finchley, Hornsey with Highgate (1980), pp. 36-37. URL: Date accessed: 29 November 2014.


(Min 3 characters)


In 1610 Lawrence Campe (d. 1613) gave a rent-charge in the City of London, from which £1 a year was to be divided equally among eight poor people of Friern Barnet. (fn. 85) In 1612 he gave a rent-charge of £8 6s. 8d. on land in Hertfordshire: £7 16s. was to be disbursed at the rate of 1s. monthly to twelve inmates of the alms-houses that he had erected in Friern Barnet, £1 6s. 8d. was for repairs, and the churchwardens were to keep the remaining 4s. (fn. 86) The total endowment of £9 6s. 8d. was paid in 1902 by the London Parochial Charities. (fn. 87) Campe's widow married Thomas Tooke (d. 1670), who assigned £3 a year to the poor from lands at Wormley (Herts.). (fn. 88) His gift may have been the so-called turnpike bond, first mentioned in 1729. Payment was due from John Nicholl the younger (d. 1747), whose son-in-law the duke of Chandos (d. 1789) paid the interest, until in 1785 the principal was exacted to meet repairs. (fn. 89)

Campe's six alms-houses were built on 1½ a. of copyhold land called Tromers, (fn. 90) and included two communal rooms for prayer and for washing, baking, or brewing. The founder's detailed statutes were largely ignored in the 18th century. After repairs in 1728 a seventh tenement was substituted for the communal rooms and by 1828 prayers were no longer said. (fn. 91) Although restored in 1854, (fn. 92) prayers had again ceased by 1883 (fn. 93) and in 1889 it was claimed that alms-people were chosen without regard for religious beliefs. In 1778 one tenement was vacant and the others had nineteen occupants, including two families. Eight inmates were then considered unsuitable (fn. 94) and in 1828 they included a woman of evil reputation and natives of other parishes. (fn. 95) The alms-houses were used as a school between 1809 and 1853, (fn. 96) housing the schoolmaster and schoolmistress in 1828 (fn. 97) and the sexton in 1838. (fn. 98) There were 21 inhabitants in 1851, including 8 old people and, in two of the tenements, the families of the schoolmaster and schoolmistress and the parish clerk. (fn. 99) The inmates numbered 16 in 1871, 17 in 1897, and 7 in 1938. (fn. 1) In 1903 they had to be aged over 70, of twenty years' residence in Friern Barnet, with an annual income of not less than £31, and not in receipt of poor-relief. (fn. 2) Weekly pensions had been appropriated to other uses by 1795 (fn. 3) but were restored in 1837 (fn. 4) and finally withdrawn in 1961. (fn. 5)

The alms-houses were largely rebuilt in 1728 after a fire, (fn. 6) with help from a gift from Mrs. King of Friern House, and repaired in 1785-6, (fn. 7) 1809, (fn. 8) and 1843. (fn. 9) In 1855 John Miles subscribed £100 to augment the endowment and annual collections were started, (fn. 10) and in 1868 George Knights Smith gave the ground rents of nos. 1-7 Carlisle Place, worth £14. (fn. 11) Nevertheless the income was only £28 in 1867-8, including rent of £6 from 1 a. which had been allotted to the poor of Friern Barnet at the inclosure of Finchley common. (fn. 12) The sale of that land in 1889 brought £845, (fn. 13) and a Diamond Jubilee appeal raised over £600 for improvements to the fabric. (fn. 14) A Scheme of 1896 vested the alms-houses and the money raised by the sale of the Finchley allotment, collectively known as the Consolidated Almshouse Charity of Lawrence Campe, in the rector, churchwardens, and three representatives of Friern Barnet U.D.C. (fn. 15) Income rose to £169 in 1898 (fn. 16) but had fallen to £118 by 1920-1, when there was a deficit. (fn. 17) The council requisitioned the alms-houses (fn. 18) and restored three tenements c. 1946 (fn. 19) and the others after 1956, (fn. 20) partly at the trustees' expense. (fn. 21) After the leases of Carlisle Place had expired in 1953, some land was sold for £1,196 to the Eastern Electricity Board in 1962 and for £800 to Friern Barnet U.D.C. in 1964. (fn. 22) From 1959 the houses in Carlisle Place were unlet, depriving the charity of rent and in 1961 causing the pensions to be stopped. In 1962 an income of £175 from increased investments was sufficient to maintain the building (fn. 23) and between 1971 and 1974 the income was c. £1,000. (fn. 24) Further grants were made by Barnet L.B., and a Scheme of 1976 provided that inmates should contribute towards running costs. (fn. 25)

The alms-houses, (fn. 26) on the east side of Friern Barnet Lane, are of brick with stone dressings and tiled roofs. No trace remains of the stucco added in 1843. (fn. 27) The doorways of 1612 have four-centred tops and the low windows have three lights on the ground floor and two on the first. (fn. 28) The row faces south-west and was separated from the road by a short garden with trees (fn. 29) which had disappeared by 1957.

The alms-houses received several further endowments. Samuel Dorman (d. 1892) left £500, invested on the death of his widow in 1932. (fn. 30) Miss Sarah Anne Wilson in 1920 left the residue of her estate, £504. (fn. 31) In 1926-7 £200 was received from a fund known as the Holden bequest. (fn. 32) Sydney Simmons left sums totalling £1,320, paid over between 1926 and 1929; (fn. 33) a further £134 was paid on the death of his wife in 1936. (fn. 34) Henry Broadway Barnes (d. 1934) left £1,000. (fn. 35) He and Simmons were commemorated by a plaque inside the building. (fn. 36)


85 18th Rep. Com. Char. H.C. 62, p. 383 (1828), xx.
86 Ibid. pp. 382-3.
87 M.R.O., D.R.O. 12/I/F1/3.
88 C 2/403/52; Prob. 11/334 (P.C.C. 41 Duke).
89 18th Rep. Com. Char. 383; M.R.O., D.R.O. 12/I/B2/15, C1/1.
90 M.R.O., TA/FRI; Phillips, Hist. Friern Barnet, 11.
91 18th Rep. Com. Char. 381-3.
92 M.R.O., D.R.O. 12/I/K2/1 (ann. rep. for 1854).
93 Ibid. III/1/1.
94 Ibid. I/C1/1.
95 18th Rep. Com. Char. 382.
96 See p. 34.
97 18th Rep. Com. Char. 382.
98 M.R.O., D.R.O. 12/I/H/S.
99 H.O. 107/1701/1B f. 337.
1 M.R.O., D.R.O. 12/I/F1/3; Acc. 410/94h (cutting); R.G. 10/1334 ff. 71-2.
2 M.R.O., D.R.O. 12/I/F1/3.
3 Gent. Mag. lxv(1), 633.
4 M.R.O., D.R.O. 12/I/C1/2.
5 Char. Com. files.
6 18th Rep. Com. Char. 382.
7 M.R.O., D.R.O. 12/I/C1/1.
8 Ibid. G1/2.
9 Thorne, Environs, 32.
10 M.R.O., D.R.O. 12/I/K2/1 (1855).
11 Ibid. K2/1 (1868).
12 General Digest of Endowed Chars. H.C. 433(11), pp. 4-5 (1867-8), lii(1).
13 Char. Com. files; M.R.O., D.R.O. 12/I/C1/3.
14 M.R.O., D.R.O. 12/I/K2/3 (1898).
15 Char. Com. files.
16 M.R.O., D.R.O. 12/I/K2/3.
17 Ibid. F1/3.
18 Ibid. F1/4, p. 93.
19 Ibid. pp. 93-4.
20 Ibid. p. 213.
21 Ibid.; Friern Barnet U.D. Official Guide [c. 1948], 20.
22 M.R.O., D.R.O. 12/I/F1/4, pp. 109, 126, 144; Char. Com. files.
23 Char. Com. files.
24 Char. Com. files; M.R.O., D.R.O. 12/I/F1/4, pp. 158 sqq.; F1/5.
25 Char. Com. files.
26 See plate facing p. 33.
27 Thorne, Environs, 32.
28 Pevsner, Mdx. 57; Hist. Mon. Com. Mdx. 27-8 and plate 66.
29 Thorne, Environs, 32.
30 Char. Com. files; M.R.O., D.R.O. 12/I/F1/4, p. 40.
31 M.R.O., D.R.O. 12/I/F1/3.
32 Ibid. F1/5.
33 Ibid. F1/4, p. 18; F1/5.
34 Ibid. F1/4, p. 71; F1/5; Char. Com. files.
35 M.R.O., D.R.O. 12/I/F1/4, p. 55; Char. Com. files.
36 M.R.O., D.R.O. 12/I/F1/4, p. 57.