Remembering John Martin

Have you heard of John Martin? Well, I recently attended a service of thanksgiving for the life of a man who is known for the foundation of the John Martin’s Charity in 1714.

John Martin was born in 1637 and died aged 77 in June 1714 leaving a wife (having been predeceased by his son).  In his lifetime he had been a Yeoman Farmer living in Hampton (Evesham).  In his Will, after making provision for his wife, he established various trusts, demonstrating his desire to help children and young people have a Christian upbringing, a good education and to help those in need.  He made a number of specific bequests  – to provide support for the poor in the parishes of Hampton, Bengeworth and All Saints/St. Lawrence, to the clergy and to the education of poor children and the “setting out yearly of boys and girls apprenticeships.”

Originally the main asset of the charity was John Martin’s land (around 92 acres), the rental from which over the first 250 years produced a modest income allowing the charity to operate in a small but valuable way during this time.  As the town of Evesham expanded the majority of the land was developed producing a larger capital sum for investment and it is these investments that continue to generate the charity’s income today.

John Martin’s tomb lies in the churchyard immediately in front of St Andrew’s Church, Hampton and each year the trustees of the charity, local congregations and representatives who have benefited from the generosity of John Martin over the years gather to give thanks for his legacy and lay a wreath in his memory.

John Martin was illiterate, unable to read or write, but was a hard working local man who wanted to provide for those less fortunate, so how marvellous that this highly respected charity has been set up and continues to do such fanastic work for the benefit of the community in which he lived over 300 years ago.John martin

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