Continuing the charitable tradition begun by William & Ann Walker
Ann Walker’s Will
Ann wrote her final will in 1841. It was proved in May 1854, shortly after she died. Apart from several specific bequests and legacies, her entire estate was left to her nephew Evan Charles Sutherland. Evan was, in fact, the secondary beneficiary: in the will Ann specified her eldest nephew, George Sackville Sutherland, as the primary beneficiary. But as “little Sackville” had died in 1843 (between the date of Ann’s will and her death) the estate passed to Evan. The will was worded as follows:
“To the use of my nephew George Sackville Sutherland and his assigns during his life… To the use of the first and every other son of my said nephew successively and the heirs of the body of every such son And in default of such issue To the use of the first and every other daughter of my said nephew successively and the heirs of the body of every such daughter And in default of such issue To the use of my nephew Evan Charles Sutherland and his assigns”
Ann had a life interest in the Shibden Hall Estate – this was entailed to Anne’s cousin John Lister, as Ann’s will makes clear:
“after his [John Lister’s] decease I give and devise the same to such person and persons for such estate and estates and under and subject to such and the same limitations and conditions as are expressed and declared in and by the last Will and Testament of my late friend Mrs Anne Lister of and concerning her estate at Shibden Hall”
Additionally, Ann made the following personal bequests:
- “Pew №1 in the North Chapel of the Parish Church of Halifax aforesaid to John Lister”
- “Miss Marian Lister sister of my said late friend and her assigns shall and may if unmarried at the time of my decease receive and take so long as she shall continue unmarried one annual sum or yearly rent charge of three hundred pounds of lawful money of Great Britain”
- “I give and bequeath to my said niece Mary Sutherland a legacy of three thousand pounds”
- “To my said niece Elizabeth Sutherland a legacy of two thousand pounds”
- “To my said niece Ann Walker Sutherland a legacy of two thousand pounds”
- “and to my said nephew Evan Charles Sutherland a legacy of three thousand pounds”
- “I bequeath to the said William Gray my executor hereinafter named a legacy of five hundred pounds as a small acknowledgement for the trouble he will experience in the execution of the trusts of this my Will”
- “To Sybella Cameron daughter of Lady Vere Cameron and God-daughter of my said late friend Mrs Anne Lister a legacy of two hundred pounds”
- “And to Marianna Percy Belcombe daughter of Doctor Belcombe of York and also God-daughter of my said late friend a legacy of one hundred pounds”
Niece Mary Sutherland had died in 1845; all the other recipients were alive at the time of Ann’s death. Sibella Cameron was about six and Mariana’s niece (“little Mariana”) was 12.
Ann Walker’s Charity
Ann’s will also made provision for a sum of £10 to be distributed to the poor of Lightcliffe on Christmas day every year. As the will states:
“this bequest as a substitution for and in satisfaction of a similar bequest made by my uncle William Walker Esquire but which has been discontinued from circumstances rendering it not legally payable.”
This is the bequest, from William Walker’s will, proved on 15 February 1810:
“I also give to my said Executors and Trustees and their Heirs one Annuity clear yearly Rent or Sum of ten Pounds, Upon Trust that they or the Survivors or Survivor of them or his Heirs shall and do distribute the same at the Chapel of Lightcliffe on Christmas Day in every Year for ever to and amongst such poor persons of the Township of Hipperholme aforesaid as they shall think fit, the Sum of two Pounds, Part thereof, being the Interest of fifty Pounds paid to me under the Will of the late James Gleadhill, and the residue thereof I declare to be a Donation from myself, and I also charge my Estates hereinafter given to my said Brother to and with the Payment of the same.”
The bequest is summarised in A Concise History of the Parish and Vicarage of Halifax, published in 1836:
“William Walker of Crownest, esquire, by his will, dated the 19th August 1809, gave to his executors and trustees, and their heirs, an annuity, clear yearly rent or sum of £10, upon trust, that they or the survivors or survivor of them, and his heirs, should distribute the same at the chapel at Lightcliffe, on Christmas day, in every year, amongst such poor persons of the township of Hipperholme, as they see fit”
£2 of this £10 was derived from a 1789 gift of £50 from a James Gledhill (the James “Gleadhill” of the will) to William Walker, the interest on which to be distributed to the poor of Lightcliffe on Christmas day. From the same 1836 volume:
“The sum of £10 a year is regularly paid, and £8 thereof is distributed by the executors of the testator on Christmas day, among poor people of Hipperholme, in money or clothing, and the sum of 40s. a year, under Gledhill’s gift, is applied, one half in linen, to eight poor women, and the other half to the use of a Sunday school.”
We are not exactly sure of the circumstances rendering the William Walker bequest not legally payable, but it appears that the charity became void under the law of mortmain, which was a series of Acts of Parliament dating from 1259 restricting the transfer of property to the church, in order to evade feudal obligations.
Ann requested in her will that after her death her executor, William Gray, should invest enough of her personal estate in consolidated 3% annuities (a type of government bond, known as “consols”) to generate an annual return of £10. Ten pounds is 3% of 333 pounds, 6 shillings and 8 pence, and this amount of consols was duly purchased.
The £10 consol dividends were received and distributed each year until 1888, when the interest rate on the bonds was reduced to 2¾%. The rate was further reduced to 2½% in 1903, reducing the yield to 8 pounds, 6 shillings and 8 pence:
£8.6.8 shared between 56 people equates to approximately 3 shillings (or 15p), each. In 1926 this equated to a real (income equivalent) value of about £50 today.
By 1971 (the year when decimalised currency was introduced in the UK), individual beneficiaries of Ann’s charity were only receiving 40 or 45p each:
Sometime during the 1970s as the real value of the payments sank to nominal values, the charity became unviable, and the payments ceased.
The In Search of Ann Walker Appeal
Measured against the UK’s RPI (Retail Price Index), £10 in 1854 would be worth around £1000 today. Since 2020 In Search of Ann Walker has been raising money for a local food bank, in the first year we raised over £1300 for Wyke Foodbank. In 2021, £1686 was raised for Brighouse Central Foodbank and this year (2022) we hope to raise another £1000 for Brighouse.
If you wish to contribute, please visit this link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/in-search-of-ann-walker
- Prerogative Court copy of Ann Walker’s will: The National Archives, ref: PROB 11/2192/68
- Prerogative Court copy of William Walker’s will: The National Archives, ref: CN 89
- A Concise History of the Parish and Vicarage of Halifax, in the County of York, John Crabtree, 1836
- Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statutes_of_Mortmain
- Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consol_(bond)
- Multiple of average income calculated by MeasuringWorth.com: https://www.measuringworth.com/calculators/ukcompare/
How to cite this article:
Martin Walker & In Search of Ann Walker (2022) “Ann Walker’s Fundraising Appeal”: In Search of Ann Walker [Accessed “add Date”]