Town Lands Trust

The Trust is an old village charity. Set up by decree in 1637, “for the good and ease” of the inhabitants of East Leake, it is still in operation today.

Requesting Grants from the Trust Today

Any financial support given by the Trust must fit the founding principle of helping the community of East Leake. Anybody – either an individual or a group – may submit a grant request to the Secretary. Whilst most requests benefit many people in the village, grants have in exceptional circumstances been made to specific individuals.

Criteria for success

  • Strong preference for one-off capital projects (i.e. providing something specific)
  • Evidence that any remaining funds needed for a whole project are available from other sources. The Trustees are unlikely to support a project which has only a modest chance of being completed.
  • Avoid requests for help with general running expenses.
  • Project / need MUST be East Leake based.
  • Some form of justification for the project / need will be expected
  • Be realistic. Bear in mind that the total of grants made by the Trustees in any year is unlikely to exceed £2,000.


Applications may be discussed informally with the Secretary (Conrad Oatey), who can advise on the best method of application and the likely timings for any decision. This may be done by telephone (01509 852549) or by email

If you decide to proceed with an application, it should be submitted in writing to:

East Leake Town Lands Trust, 7 Hall Gardens, East Leake, LE12 6NA

History of the Trust

It was during the reign of Elizabeth I that caring for the poor was made a statutory parish responsibility – an obligation regarded for the most part with little enthusiasm. There was some philanthropy about, however, and in East Leake it took tangible form when, by a decree in the High Court of Chancery at Westminster in November 1637, lands were passed by Thomas and Richard Patrick into a trust “for the good and ease” of the inhabitants of East Leake.

The original trustees included the lords of two of East Leake’s manors, the Rector, and six of the principal local landowners. The duty passed mostly from father to son, but in 1808 a new deed was drawn up; this listed all the trustees from 1637, and added 10 new ones. Some of the names are still familiar today as road names – Angrave, Wootton, Burrows, Woodroffe. The same deed records the Trust’s allocation of land under the 1798 Enclosure Act: 21 acres at the north end of what is now Gotham Road.

The Trust’s income traditionally came from letting the land to local farmers, who maintained it with varying levels of competence. And so it would have remained, with the Trust’s capacity to disburse funds constrained by the generally downward trend of agricultural values – except for the arrival of the railways. In 1897, the Great Central Railway paid the Trust £566 when the cutting was driven through to Rushcliffe. This represented a large capital sum in those days, and the interest from it increased the Trust’s income very considerably. In addition, gypsum mining was being developed in the area from round about the turn of the century. In 1919, Mr O W Porritt (mine-owner) and Mr S Crosland (businessman) attempted to buy the Town Lands and the gypsum beneath them. Although the Charity Commissioners approved the sale, it fell through, fortunately for the Trust, which subsequently benefited from the royalties paid by British Plaster Board when the gypsum was extracted.

In the early days, the Trust fulfilled its obligations by a straight transfer of rental and investment interest to the Poor Rate Overseer. After the 1929 Local Government Act did away with the old Union Workhouse system and replaced the Guardians with Public Assistance Boards under the jurisdiction of local councils, the Trustees no longer had a specific target for their funds. They took the view that they should help with capital finance to benefit the village, but that the maintenance of projects, once up and running, should be the responsibility of the beneficiary (a principle established way back in 1911, when Rushcliffe Golf Club asked for funds to mend a fence and got a very short answer).

The Parish Council successfully applied on a number of occasions for help with the gradual acquisition of street lights, and in 1932 appealed to the Trust to release funds for the purchase of coal and food to help those worst affected by the Depression. It was during the same period that, partly as an emergency scheme to give employment, the Trust paid for laying out the Memorial Gardens. Also in the 1930s, they supported the Village Hall founding committee, the (George VI) Coronation Committee and the East Leake Scouts. Ever since then, practically all the various uniformed and other voluntary organisations and local charities have benefited from donations, at some time or other. Much more recently, the Trustees have felt able to look favourably on individual requests, where by implication the community as a whole can be said to derive benefit.


2019 – 2020

Annual Report