Historic almshouses built for the ‘aged poor’ go up for sale at auction
- Credit: Archant
Three Victorian almshouses built to house impoverished couples in Norfolk are for sale for £200,000-£220,000.
The almshouses in Fakenham Road, East Bilney, near Dereham are coming under the hammer after the trustees of the board in charge of them decided to sell because of the cost of improving them. The last occupants left around six years ago.
The almshouses bear plaques relating to their fascinating history.
They were built in 1838 by Rebecca Pearce, endowed by husband William, believed to be a politician, with an address in Whitehall as well as Richmond, Surrey.
He married Rebecca, the youngest daughter of Rev Christopher Crowe Munnings, a Cambridge scholar, who was rector of Bilney and Beetley from 1756-1782.
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The husband and wife had the homes built to house ‘three aged poor couples.’
A plaque indicates that rent paid by the benefactors was £60 a year with the words in latin: ‘Gloria Deo in Excelsis’ meaing Glory to God in the Highest.
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The three cottages each have a lounge with a bedroom area off this, a separate kitchen and bathroom.
At the rear are a range of outhouses and the properties share gardens and a parking area.
Bryan Baxter, auctioneer at Auction House, said: “These Grade II listed, highly individual former almshouses are now vacant and in need of modernisation. The potential exists to convert the property into a stylish individual home, holiday accommodation, retained as starter homes or homes for the elderly, subject to obtaining appropriate planning permission.”
Almshouses were often targeted at the poor or their widows, and at elderly people who could no longer pay rent.
They were usually maintained by a charity or the trustees of a bequest. Alms were money or services donated to support the poor.
Almshouses were originally formed as extensions of the church system and were later adapted by local officials and authorities.
The online auction is on December 8 at 11am.