Courtman Charity for Education

   Humphrey Courtman was Vicar of St. Mary’s Ilkeston between 1710 and 1736 and he recognized a problem with the education of the poor.

   In their ‘History of Ilkeston’ published in 1899 Trueman and Marston noted: “The Reverend Humphrey Courtman, by his will in 1704, gave land producing 7s. per annum for the benefit of poor widows, and land producing 15s. per annum for teaching three poor children, vested in Mr. John Flamsteed. The former land was situated in the Mill Field, and the Enclosure Commissioners allotted the North Field meadow in lieu of that and Hunt’s Charity. The latter was, in 1828, let to Joseph Burrows at £2 per annum. A few trees on it produced £14, which, in 1828, was in the hands of the Vicar, who paid 14s. per annum as the interest of it. The rent and interest were then being paid to the Sunday School.”

   Nearly three centuries later the church accounts for 1992 noted a balance in the bank for the Charity of £4,536.38. In 1993 the Courtman Charity for Education was transferred to a Civil Charity and the money did not appear in any subsequent accounts.

   My interest in the topic started when I became Treasurer and came across a statement for the charity from CCLA, our Central Board of Finance investment managers, for an investment account containing some £11,000, and a linked bank account into which dividends were being paid on a quarterly basis. Peter Hodson managed to discover details of this bank account, and it became apparent that this contained around £10,000. So there was £21,000 altogether, the existence of which was a bit of a surprise!

   Quite how £4,536.38 was transformed into over £21,000 is unknown and of course may now never be known, but it did seem a shame that this pot of money was just sitting there doing nothing.

   Further research was conducted online, and it was discovered that ‘Courtman for Education’ was a charity recognized by the Charity Commission since May 26th 1964, number 527005. The listing noted that it was a ‘removed charity’, and that it was removed on September 16th 2009 on the basis that it ‘does not operate’. Correspondence ensued with the Commission in order to discover all the pertinent facts. It appears that they gave up on us because we failed to file financial details with them despite repeated requests.

   In addition to the above, the listing also noted the charitable objects as “Teaching three poor children of the Parish” and referenced the  Governing Document as “Will dated 1704 as amended on 3rd January 1994 by a resolution passed under the provisions of Section 74 (C) of the Charities Act 1993”. Further correspondence revealed the wording of the amending resolution, and it transpired that we could change our listing to show ‘voluntary removal’ in place of ‘does not operate’, as the charity income is less than £5,000 per annum.

   So this is how matters now stand; we are alive in the Charity Commission listing, and the Charitable Objects statement has been updated to reflect the wording of the 1994 amendment and now reads “Promoting the education of persons under the age of 25 years resident in the ancient parish of Ilkeston and who are in need of financial assistance and the provision in the interest of social welfare of facilities for recreation and other leisure time occupations to enable such persons so to develop their physical, mental and moral capacities that their conditions of life may be improved”.

   We will use the funding to purchase capital equipment for the Cantelupe Centre toddler group, which seems in line with the revised mandate, and everyone should note there is money available for helping worthy youth causes within the parish.

John Bell