Francis Cotton, who lived in Conington, bequeathed £20 in 1804 so that the interest could “be laid out every year in the purchase of bread to be distributed amongst the poor of Lolworth on Christmas Day”. His grand-daughter Ann added a further £50 in 1853.
The accounts are available from 1853 and for that first year the interest from Cambridge Savings Bank was £1 and 14 shillings. Ann Cotton added a further 6 shillings to make this up to £2 to buy 14 stones of bread or 200 large loaves (see the account below).
To see the above in higher definition, click on link to PDF; 1853 accounts
These were distributed to 34 families as stated above. The accounts were signed by the Rev. Barham and Mr R. Dalton, Church Warden, who built the Grange, Lolworth. In 1977, £39 from a Silver Jubilee village barbecue was added to the fund.
About £2 was spent on the distribution of bread for about 190 years until it was discontinued in 1993 when the income was only sufficient to purchase 14 small loaves. In 2003 the Charity Commissioners indicated that the Cotton Charity had outlived its usefulness. As the proceeds could be given to the “poor” of an adjoining village, the remaining £99 in the fund was donated to the Guy Marshall Trust Fund. This was for a young man in Bar Hill who was paralysed after a motor-cycle accident and whose specially converted bungalow had been subject to an arson attack.
There is a painted board in the belfry of Lolworth church tower which gives details of the origin of the Cotton Charity.