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The History Of All Saints' Wickhambrook

Sparrow's Charity And Almshouses


The Almshouses and to the right the Benefice Hall

The almshouses are believed to have been built in 1615 by an Anthony Sparrow (there were a number with that Christian name). In the will left by another Anthony Sparrow - a previous Bishop of Norwich who died 19th May 1685 in his 74th year - a sum of £3 a year was to be paid to the church wardens and overseers of the poor in Wickhambrook; this was for the upkeep of parishioners in the almshouses. Born at Depden, his birth was registered in the records of Wickhambrook as son of Samuel, baptised 7th May 1612. He became rector of Hawkedon in 1648, but was expelled after only five weeks for reading the Book of Common Prayer. He was afterwards reinstated in the living and soon after was appointed Archdeacon of Sudbury. He became Bishop of Norwich in 1676.

Almshouses Plaque

Almshouses Plaque from 1887

The Sparrow bequest was to be bestowed and laid out in firewood for the poor dwellers in his almshouses which his relative had built near the church. The original almshouses consisted of six tenements under the same roof, with about a rood and a half of garden, and were to be occupied rent-free by poor widows or maids of the age of 40 years upwards, and for want of such maids or widows then some lone man of the Parish of Wickhambrook.

The almshouses were restored in 1887 by friends of the poor of Wickhambrook, part of the cost being met by relatives of the late Nathaniel Warner Bromley Esq of Badmondisfield. They were re-thatched (in reed) by Mr F. Linnet of Hawkedon in 1967 at a cost of £675.


Almshouses in the snow [Credit M Chitock]

The almshouses are now divided into two dwellings and were greatly restored in 2004-2005 by the Wickhambrook United Charities who arranged for the work to be done. This included the complete refurbishment of the interiors, new windows, doors, oil tanks and kitchen appliances. The gardens were also completely re-landscaped.

Last Modified Saturday 09 June 2012