The Dunn’s Charity for the Benefit of the Poor of Kildale

In the churchyard at Kildale is an 18th-century chest tomb, which is a Listed Monument in its own right1North York Moors National Park. (2022). HER No: 17021 Available online at: https://www.northyorkmoors.org.uk/discover/archaeology/her-map [Accessed 15 Jun. 2022]..

Detail of the inscription.

The inscription is weathered and covered with moss and lichen so very hard to read but Cedric Anthony provides a transcript in his book ‘Glimpses of Kildale History2Anthony, Cedric. “Glimpses of Kildale History”. Geni Printing. 2012.:

Here lyeth the body of Joseph Dunn who died ye 10th day of March 1716 aged 82 years. He left to ye poor of Kildale xxs, of Commondale, xxs, of Danby xxs, of Westerdale xs, to be paid upon his gravestone by equal portions on ye 1st day of May and ye 11th November for ever.

The ‘xxs‘ and ‘xs‘ refer to amounts of money, 20 and 10 shillings respectively, roughly equivalent to £143.45 and £71.78 in today’s money 3Bankofengland.co.uk. (2021). Inflation calculator. [online] Available at: https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/monetary-policy/inflation/inflation-calculator [Accessed 15 Jun. 2022]..

The charity bequest was administered by the descendents of Joseph Dunn, with the money coming from a charge on the rental income of lands left by Dunn. Three trustees were required to select who would benefit. It was decreed that the 20 shillings  should be distributed to ‘the most necessitous poor not receiving Parish Relief4Anthony, Cedric. “Glimpses of Kildale History”. Geni Printing. 2012..

The last recipient was a Miss Close in 1979, but by this time the value had diminished. In 1995, the charity was wound up with the proceeds of £24.59 going to the Kildale Children’s Party Fund5Ibid..

The act of distributing bequests on a gravestone is not so unusual. From an article referring to a 1865 report6Britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk. (2022). Local Notes and Querics. | Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald | Saturday 26 July 1873 | British Newspaper Archive. [online] Available at: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000228/18730726/008/0005 [Accessed 15 Jun. 2022].:

On Good Friday, the Rev. Mr. Abbit, the rector of Old St. Bartholomew the Great, London, according to annual custom, distributed the sixpences some hundred years bequeathed by a lady, by dropping them upon her grave, when they were picked up by aged women.

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