Christ's Hospital Endowment at Potterhanworth (CHE)

The Trustees of the CHE are aware that many village residents are not familiar with the origin, purpose and aims of the Christ’s Hospital Charitable Trust. We wish to address this gap of information.

The CHE was founded by a wealthy philanthropist Dr. Richard Smith who was born at Welton in the 16th C, but was a physician in the parish of Christchurch in London. He was a physician of the Courts and nobles of the day. He acquired lands in Lincolnshire, particularly around Welton and Potterhanworth where he bought the Manor house, farmland and associated property. At its peak in 1910 this Potterhanworth land holding was in the region of 1220 acres.

Having seen much of the poverty and lack of opportunity associated with the lack of education in the working classes of London who could not afford school, he vowed to set up a school similar to the Bluecoat Charity School in London. As a result he became a generous benefactor and bequeathed in his will the entire Lordship of the Manor of Potterhanworth for the purpose of founding  a Hospital or School for the maintenance of education of twelve poor boys from Potterhanworth, Welton and Lincoln. The foundation was to be known as the “Christ’s Hospital Foundation at Lincoln”. The terms and conditions stated how many children from each parish and Lincoln city should benefit.

This Trust set out very clear guidelines to ensure that the objectives of the benefactor were followed. Much of mainstream education has now come under state control so, obviously, the objectives have changed accordingly. However the fundamental principles of the Trust must still be followed and the Trust is regulated by a scheme set up by the Board of Education on 8th Sept 1914, and is now in the form of a revised version of 1982. In the early period of the Trust’s existence the Lincoln administrators were unfairly favouring the Lincoln children who were receiving the majority of the funding. After many years of dispute and political fighting Potterhanworth and Welton were able to acquire their share of the fund. This agreement was finalised in 1883.

When state education became compulsory for all, the fund was also used to provide further education of a vocational nature such as training in domestic skills and apprenticeships. Since then of course state further education has filled the gap.

The Potterhanworth fund was mainly in the form of land, property and investments. Unfortunately the fund was not always well managed and began to dwindle. In the 1970’s there was a strong movement by the Trustees of the time to rectify this situation to utilise and manage the assets in a better way by selling land and property. This strategy was very successful and that sound management has continued to the present day, ensuring that village children continue to benefit from the fund. This improvement in the finances provided the opportunity in 1993 to replace the old outdated buildings with the modern Memorial hall.

It is important to appreciate that the fundamental purpose of the fund is for the education of village children. Indeed one key element of the official Charities Commission Scheme is that application of income should be used “In providing for any school in the parish or substantially serving the same such special benefits not normally provided by Lincolnshire Education Authority as may from time to time be agreed between the school governors and the Trustees, after consultation with the LEA.” This is why the Memorial Hall is dedicated to Pre-school and the Primary school during school term and school hours. The Hall is available for public use at all other times.

 There are other directives which essentially refer to provision of assistance for further advancement of educational activities either outside the school curriculum or education after school age and up to the age of 25.

In order to fulfil the needs of Pre-school and school, the field behind the hall is an essential ingredient of that package to give the children outdoor space for sport activities, and play space at break times during school hours. To satisfy these obligations a lease agreement with LCC is in place which stipulates that the field is used for “educational purposes only and is not for public use”. This lease has been in place for over 30 years, and does not forbid use of the field for managed village functions if LCC permission, via the school is granted. The lease agreement demands that LCC maintain the field and ensure that it is in a fit and safe state for the school children at all times.

We hope that this brief summary of the history and purpose of the Trust has helped to dispel any conjecture about the motives of the Trustees.