Each year at the Annual Village Meeting there is an item on the agenda where the accounts for the Starston Charities are presented. This is the background to these payments.
There are several small charities which come together under the heading of ‘The Starston Charity Trust’ which is registered with the Charity Commissioners and administered by Trustees from within the village. The money managed by the Trustees comes from the letting of land which is situated in the north end of the parish which is around 14 acres and is let by tender. Originally there was a Tithe charge on the land, but in 1961 the charity Trustees redeemed this by payment of a lump sum, so this land is now Tithe free.
There is also a small rent charge levied on Laurel Farm which is known as ‘Cuttings Annuity’, and this amount is paid to the Charity Trustees each year. The Cutting Annuity came from the estate of John Smith, a butcher at Harleston and one time resident of Starston who died in 1850. There was a Clause in the original Charity Account which states that the small sum shall be paid to the village school, the money to be spent on the children for educational purposes. As the village school is no more, this payment has become a Book Prize which is given to a Starston child nominated alternately by Harleston Primary School and Pulham Primary School and which is presented each year in church on Mothering Sunday.
By today’s standards the amount of money available to be distributed is not very large, but it does exist and each Christmas, under the terms of the charity, a small sum – perhaps around £50 – is given to various members or ex-members of Starston. The Starston Charities are administered by 4 Trustees – 2 Nominative Trustees and 2 Co-opted Trustees. The Nominative Trustees are appointed by Starston Parish Council and are currently Julian Lombe Taylor as chairman and Bryan Hanner. The current Co-opted Trustees are Betty McKenzie and Debbie Griffin.
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