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New Objectives Set for 250-year-old Almshouse Charity

Published on: 3 Oct, 2022
Updated on: 4 Oct, 2022

The 1839 Bargate stone Caleb Lovejoy almshouses in Bury Street.

Trustees of a charity with 17th-century roots, founded by a successful Guildfordian who made some of his fortune by supplying wagons to Cromwell’s army, held their annual reception last week.

Friends and supporters of Caleb Lovejoy’s Almshouse Charity recently attended the function held at St Nicolas’ Parish Centre, Bury Street on Tuesday evening (September 27). Present were HM Lord Lieutenant of Surrey and Patron of the Charity, Michael More-Molyneux, the Mayor of Guildford Dennis Booth and the High Sheriff of Surrey Christopher Critchlow.

The reception is held to celebrate the life (1603 – 1676) of the charity’s founder Caleb Lovejoy. Caleb was born near St Nicolas’ Church, and was a Royal Grammar School pupil before moving to London, where he was apprenticed to the Merchant Taylors’ Company.

He subsequently became a wealthy merchant and made provision in his will for four almshouses to be built in the Parish of St Nicolas. The, now Grade II listed, almshouses were built near the site of Caleb’s former family home in Bury Street, and close to St Nicolas’ Church. They continue to provide a home for older residents of limited financial means with local connections.

During the reception, Roger Musson, chair of the trustees, welcomed all those present and highlighted the significant restoration works that had been carried out during the year. These include restoration of the low walls either side of the front gates and replacement of iron railings on the walls, removed during World War 2, to match the new gates installed last year.

The chair also spoke of the charity’s next strategic objective, a complete refurbishment of the front of the property including cleaning and re-pointing. This will be a significant cost and his hope is that it will be possible to attract funds by way of grants to bring this to fruition once the major construction by Tiger Developments of 300 apartments on the Plaza Site, at the bottom of the Portsmouth Road and opposite the almshouses in Bury Street, is complete.

A traditional feature of the reception is a presentation by another charity and this year a compelling talk was given by Misty Bower of the Matrix Charity which supports young people in the Borough. Canapés were provided by the Clink Charity which trains serving prisoners in catering skills and is proven to have a huge impact on lowering reoffending rates.

Click here to see the Caleb Lovejoy charity website.

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Responses to New Objectives Set for 250-year-old Almshouse Charity

  1. J Holt Reply

    October 3, 2022 at 3:42 pm

    I am confused. Was this charity set up on Caleb Lovejoy’s death as suggested by the article in which case it is nearly 350 years old or was it set up 100 years later?

    Editor’s response: The charity’s origins are in a bequest made in Caleb Lovejoy’s will but that did not evolve into a charity until some time later. As it says in the article, the almshouses were not built until 1839. I have asked the charity for a specific date when the charity was established and will update this response once a response is received.

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