Kelly's Directory of Cambridgeshire 1900

Description & Travel

A cattle fair is held on the 9th of May and a pleasure fair or feast on the Monday next before the Nativity of St John the Baptist, and continues for three days. There are five clubs, viz. the Loyal Star of Charity Lodge (No. 3,710) of Odd Fellows and t he Loyal Ancient Order of Stepherds, the meetings of both being held at the Red Lion inn; the United Brethren Friendly Society, the meetings of which are held at the White Hart P.H; the Star of Providence Society, whose meetings are held at the Queen's Arms inn; and the Soham Friendly Society which meets at the Primitive Methodist school room. The Liberal and Conservative associations have also each club houses in the town, comprising large rooms for meetings and reading, the latter having a good billiard room and an excellent hall, fitted with a stage for dramatic performances.

The People's Hall, in Station road, contains reading and recreation rooms.

There are six almshouses, granted by Thomas Peachey, in April, 1582, and occupied by poor and aged persons; to these a portion of the fen lands was allotted by the Commissioners of the Bedford Level in lieu of the common rights.

Charities

In 1674 Dr. Benjamin Laney, Bishop of Ely (1667-75), bequeathed by deed 200a. Ir. 24p. of land, now (1900) producing £245 5s. yearly, in trust for binding apprentices, children of the poor inhabitants of Ely and Soham, paying not more than £20 with each. George Goward esq. by deed, in 1744, left 18 acres of land, called "Soham Cote Piece," £6 of the proceeds of which are given away annually in bread to the poor and the remainder assigned for charitable purposes to the parish of Lakenheath. Richard Bond, by deed in 1502, gave 22a. 22p. in divers parts of Soham and Fordham, in trust for the repairs of the church and highways; also three tenements near the Free school, as well as 10a. 2r. 16p. in Soham, for the benefit of the poor. Wright's gift, dating from about 1540, consists of three acres of copyhold land, called " Brook Dam Close," the produce of which is for the repairs of the church. Tyler's gift, dating from 1630, consists of three roods of land, being part of " Brook Dam Close," also for the benefit of the poor. There is also a charity, called "Soham Church Rents," the donor of which is not known; a rent-charge on land near Barway, and the like from an estate called "Lug Hill," amounting together to £ 1,13s. 4d. for the repairs of the church. By a scheme dated 25 Sept. 1896, Bond's poor charity has been united with some smaller charities and made applicable for various purposes for the benefit of the sick poor; and at the same time the charities applicable to the repairs of the church were separated and placed under distinct management. The Town Lot, or Allotment, set out in 1663 as 48 acres, but now let as 46a. 2r. 21p. is for the benefit of the most impotent of the poor of Soham. Mrs. Cawthorne, by deed in 1750, left freehold lands in Soham, 4a. 2r.; 30s. to be paid yearly to the clerk of Barway chapel, the rest to such of the sick poor as are communicants of the Church of England and not in receipt of parish relief. There is also a property called " The Hundred Acres," let in allotments, the profits from which are divided annually amongst the persons entitled to common rights on the various commons.

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