The Hillersdon Trust
The Hillersdon Trust was created in 1623 when Sir Thomas Hillersdon left about 6 acres of land (2 small fields) between the White Hart and Little Lane in trust to maintain the church building and the churchyard.
Since then, the churchyard has reached capacity and been closed. When that happens, responsibility for maintaining the churchyard passes to the Parish Council.
So, in 2014, the Trustees decided to enlarge the objects to benefit the whole community in Hockliffe. The Charity Commission was prepared to allow the following change:
“to meet the cost of the maintenance and upkeep of the Parish Church of St. Nicholas, Hockliffe, and, subject thereto, for any other charitable purpose for the benefit of the residents of the civic parish of Hockliffe.”
So, income from the Trust is firstly applied to maintain the church building and thereafter for the benefit of the Hockliffe residents.
For some years, part of the land was used for allotments, but when the allotments ceased, the fields were let to a local farmer grazing sheep. The income is now £600p.a, enough to do minor repairs in the church, but never enough to do anything for anyone else.
Most people have heard of West Charity which was set up in 1690 to contribute to the education of young people in parishes of Hockliffe and Chalgrave. For a long time, West Charity owned a field in Milton Keynes which was sold when the new city was built. It now has capital of over £800,000 and the income is distributed to Hockliffe and Chalgrave young people every year.
The Hillersdon Trustees’ ambition (and indeed their legal duty) is to increase the charity’s income so that more can be done to the church building and for Hockliffe residents.
Summary by Julia Dickens, Trustee
Charity Registration no. 263902
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