The #Blanchminster Trust Lands
The Blanchminster Trust, according to a booklet by Kathleen Beswetherick (no date given) is probably named after a Knight Templar from the age of Edward I. He was called Blankminster. His effigy can be seen in a window embrasure in the wall of St Andrew’s Church in Stratton. There are links with the Binhamy area of Stratton, too. Whatever its origins, the Blanchminster Trust is over 500 years old, so a very long-standing charity.
Pre 1744, the estates belonging to the charity were the responsibility of ‘eight men of Stratton’, used for buying armour and equipment of soldiers, relief and maintenance of the parish poor, and to defend the parish. The links were very much Stratton-based. Now, by the end of the nineteenth century, there were a few misgivings about how it was managed. Criticisms were:
1. Bude folk should not be compelled to go to Stratton for dole money.
2. Anglicans should not appear to have preferential treatment over non-conformists.
3. Documents needed to be transcribed and publicised.
4. Some trustees had a vested interest
5. Annual grants to church schools were subsidising the rates.
What is most interesting about the book is that, from an 1858 map, it lists parts of Bude properties held by the Charity, shown together with lessees and occupiers. They include properties on what is now King Street, Lansdown Road and some part of the Strand. Some buildings were on Tapson’s Terrace which now houses the Tiandi and other businesses. The Terrace was named after one Elsworthy Tapson who erected them as quality lodgings. In 1930, a disastrous fire in one of the shops, a ladies’ outfitters, did £1000 of damage to the building. The Globe Inn nearby was rebuilt in its present style in 1908 on the site of the Old Canal Inn. The current Nat West Bank was formerly Bude’s main Post Office. The present Barclays Bank used to be called Blanchminster House, run as a hotel by the Edgecumbe family until 1925. The current police station was built in 1946.
In 1931, what was known as Garden Terrace became Lansdown Road. No 21 was the London Inn (now occupied by Metters and Welby). The Lansdown Bakery is almost unchanged since 1921. Mrs Ann Sampson held the tenancy and the place was renowned for her home-made biscuits. By the side of the shop is a doorway, leading into a yard containing a building now used as a bakery. This was once a chapel seating 60 people. Around 1819, the lease of two cottages on this land was rented to Richard Bevan who pioneered Methodism in Bude, along with Samuel Brown. A description written in 1922 by Rev. Schofield says: “Its walls were of mud, its roof thatched. Three of its sides were blank walls and there were but two windows to let in the daylight. A pupil was erected at one end and a small gallery for children at the other. The entrance to the Chapel was through a long, dark, narrow passage…a stable was adjoining and oft times the services would be unceremoniously disturbed by the erratic movements and unreasonable pranks of the horse inside”. The building was used by the Wesleyans until 1835.
King Street was something of a problem for the Charity. The houses (according to the 1889 accounts) when obtained were mainly dilapidated with no sanitary provision, so cost a considerable amount to repair. There were often complaints about these properties, such as in 1900 when W Wonnacott complained that the tenants were using his field (Sullivan’s Meadow) to dry their clothes. Poultry also caused offence. No more than six hens were to be kept in any back yard, and no cockerels. At no 10, it was reported that 10 people were living there, so the number was requested to be reduced. Morality also kicked in: In 1902, the Clerk was requested to write to a certain tenant stating that it is commonly reported that this tenant is harbouring a woman, not his wife, and is requested to immediately arrange for her to leave or his tenancy would be terminated”. I’m not sure if the man had a wife, and if so, where he kept her!