Our History and Origins
Chippenham Borough Lands Charity has a broad and rich history dating back to the rule of Queen Mary in the sixteenth century.
Our Charity was first established after Queen Mary granted a Royal Charter to Chippenham in 1554. She gave Crown Land to the Borough and the income was split between paying for two local Members of Parliament and the upkeep of the bridge over the River Avon.
After a period when the relevant Council assumed all properties, debts and assets from the Bailiff and Burgesses, including the Borough lands, a proposed road scheme led to the careful study of the charters and deeds relating to the Borough Lands which confirmed that the Borough Lands was, a charitable trust and not property of the Council. Further investigation found that they Council had unlawfully acquired the lands and so financial reparation had to be given to compensate for the loss.
On 18th April 1990, the Charity Commission granted a scheme called The Charities (Borough Lands Charity) Chippenham Order and the new Trustees took office. This led to the deeds, documents and assets being formally handed over to the Trustees in October 1990. As a result, the Charity had a large amount of money, some of which was Capital (could not be invested) and some Income (available to spend).
The Charity Commission required a large sum to be spent quickly, leading to the decision of giving money back to the community by funding Community Centres in Pewsham and Kingsley Road and the building of three hospices and a hospital.
Today, the Charity has:
- Lands: Our Lands, some of which generate rental income, are used for the benefit of the Chippenham populace.
- Investments: Our investments generate income, which the Charity uses to fund our work.