Portsoken Ward. St. Botolph Aldgate. 18

Portsoken Ward. St. Botolph Aldgate.

The said Master and Wardens shall yearly appoint one of their Renter Wardens, and common Clerk of the said Company, to pay the same Ten Pounds Six Shillings upon the Eve or Vigil of St. Thomas the Apostle, next before the Birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ, by nine a Clock in the Forenoon, unto the Church Wardens of the same Parish within the same Church. At which time the four Church Wardens for the time being, or three of them at the least, shall be yearly ready there to receive the same Sum; and by them so received, the Sum of Ten Pounds Parcel thereof shall be distributed to the Poor of the same Parish in manner and form following, (viz) The same Distribution is appointed to be always made forthwith upon the Receipt thereof before twelve of the Clock of the same Day, to 60 poor People of the same Parish, by Three Shillings Four Pence to each of them: Of the which Number, 30 shall be of the Ward called, The upper End of the Parish, and 30 of the lower End of the Parish, called, The Lordship of East Smithfield.

All the said Poor People shall be warned; they of the upper End by the Parish Clerk; and they of the lower End by the Sexton, to be at the Church before nine of the Clock of the same Day. And if any of them by Sickness, or other great Lett, cannot come to the Church, they shall desire some known Neighbour to be at the Church, and receive the same for him or her. The Poor of the upper End shall always be first called; and they answer to their Names, they shall go up into the North Ile of the Choir, and shut the Partition Door to them, and see that no other be amongst them. Then shall they of the lower End be called; and as they do answer, go up into the South Ile, and shut the like Partition Door to them, and remain as aforesaid.

If any Persons remain in the Church that come to ask Alms more than is appointed, the Church Wardens shall warn them all forth; and being gone, lock all the Church Doors, that they may the more quietly distribute the Charity. Then the Church Wardens being within the Choir, shall distribute first to them of the upper End; and as they be paid, the Parish Clerk shall cross their Names in the Book, and they shall go down into the Body of the Church, for cumbring the Choir. And they of the lower End being next paid, and so cross'd, shall also go down into the Body of the Church. This done, then the Parish Clerk shall call them up near the Choir Door, and the Minister, in Presence of the Church Wardens, shall exhort them to come to the Church to serve God at the time of Common Prayers appointed, if they may, and especially upon the Sundays and other Holidays not to fail. And if any be found negligent of the same, or be of any other Misdemeanor, the Church Wardens in their Precinct shall exclude such Person, and bestow such Charity upon some more worthy Person.

This Exhortation being done, the said Poor shall all kneel down, and humbly, with Heart and Hand lifted up to God, say with the Minister openly the Lord's Prayer. And lastly, they shall say, God reward all good Benefactors, and bless the worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors: Then shall the South Church Door and Gate be set open, that they may all go out quietly three and three together.

The Six Shillings, residue of the Ten pounds Six Shillings, shall be disposed of in this manner. First, to the Company's Clerk that bringeth the Money, and payeth it, from the Merchant Taylors Hall, eight Pence; the Minister, or Curate, for his Presence and good Exhortation to the Poor, shall have eight Pence; the four Church Wardens shall have for their Pains eight Pence a piece, amounting to two Shillings eight Pence. Whensoever any of the Poor do decease, marry, or depart from the Parish, the Parish Clerk shall enter the Day of their Burial, Marriage or Departure upon their Names, and shall yearly, eight or ten Days before St. Thomas Eve, shew the same to the Church Wardens, that they may yearly make up the full Number of 60 Persons; which being so prefitted, the same Clerk shall newly enter them in two Sides of this Book, as now it is begun; And he shall keep the Book safe in the Vestry, and have for his so doing twelve Pence more. The said Clerk and Sexton for warning the said Poor, and Attendance at the Church at that time, shall have each of them six Pence; which last several Sums amount to the said six Shillings. And if the Minister or Curate be absent to give the Exhortation after Distribution, the Parish Clerk shall do the same, and have the said eight Pence for his Labour. And if any of the Church Wardens be absent at the said Distribution, then his Part shall likewise be given to them that be present. The poor Persons now set down, and hereafter to be chosen, shall receive the same Charity yearly during their Lives: (except they marry, depart the Parish, or some other lawful Impediment or Misdemeanor, or that they have such better Preferment, as the Church Wardens shall think it meet to bestow it of other more needy) And as any do decease, marry, or depart the Parish, the Church Wardens in their Precinct shall appoint the most poor and honest Persons to this Charity, respecting and preferring aged poor Widows before others.

The Copy verbatim of this above written remaineth in the Merchant Taylors Register, with a Proviso in the Contract between us in these Words, or to this Effect.

PROVIDED always, and it is ordayned and agreed by me the said Robert Dow, That if the Church Wardens of the Parish of St. Botolphs, aforesaid, or their Successors, Church Wardens for the Time being, shall be found negligent in the due paying of the said Sum of ten Pounds six Shillings, or in observing the Orders beforementioned, or if the poor Widows, the Company's Almswomen, shall not, or may not, quietly enjoy the Pews, which at the Charges of the Company have been built for their Use within the said Church, without being displaced or removed for the same; That then it shall, and may be lawful, to the Master, Wardens, and Assistants of the Company of Merchant Taylors abovesaid, (upon due, and convenient Warning first given to the said Church Wardens for the Time being, and the same not reformed) to retain the said ten Pounds six Shillings, and to pay it no more unto them for their Poor; but to give and bestow the said Charity, to, and upon whom, and in what Order and Sort they shall think most expedient, for ever.

And the Orders of electing the said poor Almswomen is appointed by the Writing under the Company's common Seal to be performed in this manner following, viz. The Alderman's Deputy, and eight ancient Parishioners of the said Parish, shall, for ever, within four Days after the Decease of such Widow, called Mr. Robert Dow his Almswoman, present to the Master, or one of his Wardens of the said Society of Merchant Taylors for the Time being, three ancient poor Widows inhabiting within the Part of the said Parish which lieth within the Freedom of London, being of honest Behaviour and Conversation, and of the Age of six and fifty Years at the least: wherein they shall prefer the Widows of Merchant Taylors, if any such shall be qualified as aforesaid. Out of which three Names so present-