("The quality of mercy is not strained; it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It is twice blest; it blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.")  (Merchant of Venice).

ALICE le PALMER, nee de Heriz, of Stapleford, married John le Palmer, who in 1302-3 was Mayor of Nottingham, and twice later. She devoted herself for many years to the building and repairing of Trent Bridge —a work then regarded as a religious duty, for there was no obligation on local authorities to do such work. In this task she collected, expended and gave "great sums for the common utility of all persons passing." She and her husband founded a chantry for divine service in a chapel on the bridge.

Four hundred years before, (924 or 918) Edward the Elder had commanded a bridge to be built over the Trent. Was this order carried out? If so, was it a foot-bridge only? And was it a wooden structure? Whatever was done, this very early bridge had doubtless been many times repaired and extended, but in Alice Palmer's time there was great need for improvement, and she did it. (See "West Bridgford: Then and Now").

JOHN de PLUMPTRE was Mayor of Nottingham in 1385, 1394, and the year following, and a fourth year in 1408. He was a merchant of the staple of Calais, that is, a buyer and exporter of wool, and it may be of leather. He lived in the Poultry, then called Cuckstool Row, at the corner of Peck Lane, where the Flying Horse Inn now stands., and the garden went down to St. Peter's Gate. He had by energy, prudence, and economy acquired wealth, and he long pondered as to how he could give part of it to God, and his poorer neighbours; the result being that he decided to build a House of God for two chaplains and "thirteen poor widows, broken down of age, and depressed by poverty,"—as he beautifully expressed it. This was done in 1390, twenty-five years before his death, and King Richard II., being at Nottingham Castle, on July 8th, 1392, gave his approval.

He endowed the Hospital with properties in various parts of the town, and later added his own house as a part of the endowment. His wife died twelve years before himself, and she left some woollen cloth for the poor women, and five years later his elder brother Henry bequeathed his bed, and 12d. for every bed occupied in the hospital, and John in 1415 made his will and gave 20s. to each widow " dwelling there, serving God, and praying for me."

Some of the descendants of John Plumptre acted unworthily in the administration of the charity, but "Huntingdon Plumptre, Doctor of physick .... in 1645, being then eminent in his profession, and a person of great note for wit and learning, as formerly he had been for poetry when he printed his book of Epigrams and Batrachomyomachia, for in the year 1650 he pulled the hospital down and rebuilt it as it now appears, and advanced the rents, so that the monthly allowance to the poor is double to what it was anciently." (Thoroton)

In 1823-4 the hospital was again entirely demolished and rebuilt.

After five hundred years the endowment continues— Nottingham's oldest Charity, and Plumptre Square its honoured location.

THOMAS GUNTHORPE, Parson of Babworth, in 1518, cf his good, charitable and virtuous disposition, agreed with the bailiffs and commonalty of Retford that they should at his own proper costs and expenses build and set up in timber workmanship and all other things necessary to a school-house in Retford upon such a convenient ground in the town as could be devised between the said parties. (Piercy, p. 20). And so a start was given to East Retford Grammar School, which after four hundred years was so excellently developed by the Rev. T. Gough.

SIR THOMAS LOVELL, (d. 1524) K.G., Co-founder of Nottingham High School, some time Chancellor of the Exchequer, Speaker of the House of Commons, Treasurer of the King's Household, High Steward of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, Constable of the Tower of London, Governor of Nottingham Castle, Treasurer of Lincoln's Inn, Knight of the Garter, etc.

Sir Thomas cannot in any sense be called a Nottingham man, and yet he rendered a service to the town which has continued to operate for over four hundred years. He was not a stranger, for he accompanied Henry VII to the battle of Stoke, 1487, and as one of the officers, would probably be present at the Council of War which the King held in Nottingham Castle. As Governor of the Castle he may have repeatedly visited the town, and so have come under the influence of Mrs. Agnes Mellers, which she used for good. Kings founded Grammar Schools, and here was a widow woman wanted to found one. She wisely thought it well to go under the shadow of a great statesman, and so it came to pass that in the foundation deed the founders are Sir Thomas Lovell and Dame Agnes Mellers. This provision would give permanency and protection, for when a few years later everything was upset, the Free School not only escaped interference, but property was given to it by the Commissioners. (See Mr. S. Comer's paper on the 400th Anniversary, with the portrait of Sir Thomas, from a medallion found in the British Museum by Sir John Charles Robinson, a native of Nottingham, (which see).

AGNES MELLERS, see "Families."

DR. THOMAS MAGNUS, (d. 1550), about whose birth and education there has been controversy, was well educated, and had great ability in acquiring knowledge, and in using it when obtained, so that, joined with courtesy and industry, he the more readily made his way. Having been trained for the priestly office, he was fortunate in coming under the notice of Cardinal Wolsey, through whose influence he first went to Oxford University, and afterwards he became one of the King's Chaplains. Under the Cardinal's directions he was employed in State affairs of great importance, particularly in Prance and Scotland, and so he continued and secured promotion. Among many offices that he held he was Archdeacon for the East Riding, (1504) one of the State Committee for governing the North, which committee had the power of life and death, and used it; Canon of Windsor, 1520. He had a house at Sibthorpe, near Bingham, belonging to the defunct College, whose emoluments he had appropriated, and he directed that if he died at Sibthorpe he should be buried in Newark Church, "where he was baptised." Wolsey, after his fall, 1529-30, wanted to stay at the Sibthorpe house, but Magnus said it was "unmeet," and too limited.

Magnus became the greatest pluralist of his time, but we can forgive him on account of his great benefaction to Newark Grammar School, which foundation dates from 1238, and to which he gave some two thousand acres of land and many houses, directing the Trustees to provide two secular honest priests, one to have sufficient cunning and learning to teach grammar, and the other to have cunning and learning to teach plain song, descant, and to play on the organs. The provisions in the deeds he executed are given in Cornelius Brown's "History of Newark." Evidently the Archdeacon believed in hard work, for he directed that the school should begin at six in the morning, working till nine, then go to breakfast or drinking, resuming school from ten to twelve, and then go to their dinner till one or half past, resuming school until six, then departing for their suppers. Poor lads! They were to be allowed on some afternoons to be present at Mass, and when licensed of their masters to take recreation and disport in good manner.

Dr. Magnus, was buried at Sessay, in Yorkshire, of which church he was "parson."

GEORGE STRELLEY, (1610-1673) was Mayor of Plymouth in 1667, in which year "the Guildhall was new built." On a very ornate tablet in the outer South aisle of St. Andrew's Church (surmounted by the family arms) he is described as descended from Strelleys of Strelley. The tablet was erected by his widow, Ann, daughter of John St. Amand, of Mansfield, and so one may bear with the inscription:—

"Ransack this lower Orbe youle scarcely find Such Peace such piety in one behinde Diamonds have flaws, (His actions were so just) His name had none. His fame survives his dust. True Charity and zeale adorne his Herse And scorne the flatterys of a Poets' Verse." In the year of his mayoralty he built and endowed a Free Grammar School at Bulwell "for the educating and teaching young children."He was then described as late of Hemshill, which is a mile west of the school. For over two hundred years the school continued its work, and the income was then converted into four scholarships of £15 each. The building still stands on Quarry Road. (See T.S.T. 1907, 1916 and Bulwell in "Old Notts. Suburbs.")

HENRY WALTERS was Steward to Gilbert and John, Earls of Clare, and he in 1692 erected a free school for the children of Haughton with Bothamsall, Elksley, Gamston, West Drayton, Milton and Bevercotes villages, near adjoining to it, and he endowed it with £25 per annum for the master, and provision for coals, books, and ministers visiting. He also gave £20 a year towards the maintenance of four ministers' widows.

ABEL COLLIN, see "Families."

CHARLES' THOMPSON, (d. 1784) of Mansfield, was a commercial traveller, and afterwards a cloth merchant. He travelled much in foreign countries, and prospered. He was at Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, when in ten minutes the greater part of the city was destroyed by earthquake, and 40,000 to 50,000 people perished. He in some way escaped, and having recovered £7,000 he resolved to return home, and spend his time in visiting and relieving the poor, and other works of prayer, meditation, and usefulness. He daily walked to what is now called "Thompson's Grave," overlooking the town, and by his will he left considerable bequests for the poor, to be spent in clothes, and bread, and education in day schools, a part of which went to endow "Thompson's School," and part to augment Brunt's Charity. There was a great public funeral.

MISS ELIZABETH BAINBRIDGE, (1716-1798), Woodborough Hall. Throsby refers to her extensive charities, "and merciful and pious deeds which have made her name dear to all who know her." "Her Fromety Feasts at sheep shearing," says Mr. Buckland's "History" (p. 22), "are still a tradition." She gave £1,000 towards the formation of the General Hospital. It is possible that she gave the poor houses and gardens and other lands at Woodborough. "She lived a plain life, was known by her old red cloak, and delighted to make people happy." "Happiness," says Thorsby, "she must possess in a superlative degree," and he was so charmed with her benevolent character and reputation that he went into ecstasies and exclaimed; "May her death be like the setting sun, in a light and calm evening when his rays on leaving us form a splendid and magnificent scene." (p. 35).

EDMUND HART, (1774-1832), 11, Red Lion Street, Nottingham, and afterwards Poplar, "brought up to a mechanical business," in the latter part of his career devoted himself to prescribing and dispensing medicine for the poor, and never put the question, "Shall I be paid?" He gratuitously vaccinated thousands of the children of the poor, and the Nottingham Town Council, in recognition of his benevolent labours, presented him, in 1813, with the freedom of the town. He, in 1828, published a book entitled "Philosophical Enquiries," which showed careful observation and thought as to the operations of Nature.

MARY CHAMBERS, (d. 1848), was a notable example of the attainment of knowledge under difficulties. In spite of total blindness she obtained an accurate, and even critical acquaintance with ancient and modern languages, rarely acquired by those who enjoy the blessings of sight, and used her acquaintance for the benefit of the rising generation. She established a home and school for the Blind in a small house in Park Street, Nottingham, which was the origin of the Royal Institution for the Blind in Clarendon Street, where her raised globes and arithmetical board may still be seen. (T. C. Hine).

GEORGE GILL, (1778-1855), was born at Wilford, where his father was curate and schoolmaster (1782-1805) and doubtless educated his son, whom he apprenticed to a hosier. At twenty-one he commenced business on his own account, and later became lace, thread and yam commission agent. He took an active part in public affairs where he considered the welfare of the people was concerned. He was. Sheriff in 1816, and was connected with High Pavement Chapel, but in his old age becoming stone deaf he attended the meetings of the Friends for the sake of quietness, and not being troubled with books. He determined to devote his money to three or four objects as follows:—He wanted the young people who had left school to have the chance of obtaining a higher or superior education, at a moderate cost; so he bought land in College Street, promoted the erection of the People's College by public subscription, and established classes for teaching such subjects as are now taught at University College, a facility previously unknown in the locality, and sensible young fellows availed themselves of the day or evening classes, and were thus fitted to become good business men. Mr. Gill's contributions amounted to £3,000.

He would benefit the aged, and so erected the Working Men's Retreat in Plantagenet Street, and he gave a rent charge of £15 a year on No. 1 College Streeet to secure repairs. Good old John Potchett, a worn out schoolmaster, who as Librarian at the Mechanics' Hall was of great service to young men, was one of the first participants in the benefit.

He wanted to wean ordinary working men from the public house, and from enforced attendance there at the Sick Clubs. So he bought the Mansion in Beck Lane (now Heathcote Street) built by Alderman C. L. Morley, of the Pottery, and for many years used as the School of Art and Design, and he enlarged and adapted it at a cost of £4,000 for all kinds of useful objects. It has never quite risen to the full service contemplated.

He would benefit the sick poor, and so gave £1,000 to the General Hospital towards the cost of a new Chapel and Day Ward.

There were other benefactions, and in 1854 a special vote of the Town Council thanked him for his various munificent donations, and Gill Street was so named in his honour.

FRANCIS BUTCHER GILL, (d. 1884, aged 76), was the son of George Gill. He was a silk merchant in Hounds Gate, and for some years resided at Beeston, and carried on the silk mill there. He was Sheriff in 1838, but was a man of quiet and retiring disposition. He joined with others in the building of churches and schools in Nottingham. In 1870 he founded a charity with £34,793, vested in twelve trustees, the income to be devoted to pensions of £20 each per annum to widows, and fatherless maiden daughters of clergymen, or of professional persons, or others who have occupied a like position in society. Members of the Church of England are usually preferred. There are sixty-nine pensioners, and the changes are about four a year. He also left £30 a year payable to the vicar of Christ's Church, Radford, in aid of a Scripture Reader, etc.

MISS ANN BURTON, of Spaniel Row, Nottingham, erected and by Deed of Gift dated 15th November, 1859, settled in trust twenty-four dwellings, situate on London Road and Rye Hill Street, for the benefit of widows, widowers, or unmarried persons, over sixty years of age, in needy circumstances, in whatsoever religious persuasion, and these were also endowed, the recipients now having the somewhat reduced allowance of fifteen shillings per month. The large grass lawn with the flower beds has a very pleasing appearance. People tell with what pleasure Miss Burton, who selected and appointed the first trustees and inmates, went to the persons who became the first occupiers, saying, "Would you like to have one of my almshouses, because if you would, you shall," as she had inscribed over the entrance, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

Mrs. Gilbert in her "Recollections" refers to "Miss H.," evidently meaning Miss Burton, "whose father was a prosperous saddler in Spaniel Row," "inheriting her father's fortune, which accumulated, and who, living a quiet life died exceedingly wealthy," and she had a will drawn up, but it was not signed when sudden fatal illness seized her, the consequence being that a disliked cousin came in for a large fortune, (p. 23).

Rye-hill Street.—A well-known engraving is entitled "A South view of Nottingham from the Ryehills, 1745," and probably alludes to disused earthworks of warlike times, the street being named in remembrance.

MISS MARY S. NORRIS in 1884 desired to perpetuate the memory of her brother, James Smith Norris, and so she instructed Mr. Watson Fothergill to build eight cottage residences on Sherwood Rise, and endowed them with £22 a year each house, payable quarterly, for the benefit of higher class ladies of superior education, but of reduced circumstances. The houses were not to be of the ordinary almshouse distinctive class, but of a somewhat better type. The brother to be commemorated was an Engineer and Surveyor who lived in Blue Coat Street. He had been an assistant to Thomas Hawksley, the Water Engineer, and often gave evidence in arbitration cases, being exceedingly deliberate in manner, and one whom no counsel could irritate or hasten.

William Gilstrap
Sir William Gilstrap

SIR WILLIAM GILSTRAP, Bart., (1816-1896), maltster, Newark, and later at Famham Park, Bury St. Edmunds, J.P., High Sheriff of Suffolk in 1866. He founded scholarships, and gave other benefactions to the Royal School of Music. He erected and endowed the Newark Free Library. He gave largely towards the conversion of the old Castle grounds from a cattle market to be pleasure grounds. Many other local charities were aided by him. His baronetcy was conferred in 1887 on the occasion of the Queen's Jubilee.

The MISSES E. and M. CULLEN, of Park Valley, Nottingham, in 1882 caused to be erected in memory of their brother James, twelve memorial houses at Sherwood, and vested them in trustees. Miss Cullen gave a cheque to Mr. W. Roberts of Beeston, for £5,000, and said, "Go, buy the land and build the houses," and he did it faithfully and well.

Miss Cullen afterwards gave another sum of £4,000 for endowment towards upkeep and allowance. She died in 1900.

The charity was for the benefit of ladies in reduced circumstances.

Zachariah Green
Zachariah Green

Canon Godber
Canon Godber

ZACHARIAH GREEN, (1817-1897), Hucknall, was a stocking maker, to whom a monument stands in the Market square, erected by public subscription, and tells that "he was gifted with the art of healing, and spent his life in alleviating the sufferings of his fellow men." The memorial fountain, which cost over £400, has on one face a good medallion portrait.

CANON JOHN HANKIN GODBER, (1834-1906), born at Hucknall, devoted his benefactions to the church of that parish. Twenty-seven of the stained glass windows, by Kempe, and the mosaics adorning the walls of the church, were paid for by him, and his other benefactions amounted to many thousands of pounds. While admiring the motive, and the beauty of some of the windows, it is to be regretted that those on the north side were not left with clear glass, leaving sufficient light reserved for the Bible, Prayer and Hymn books to be read distinctly. It is however, a beautiful parish church, by successive enlargements greatly improved, and especially so by the restoration of the ancient Lady Chapel as a War Memorial, increasing the light; chaste and restful for private prayer.

HERBERT BYNG PAGET, (1845-1914), was partner with John Edward Ellis in the Hucknall Collieries.

He lived in his early days at Loughborough, and in his later days at Darley Dale. He considered that employers have duties to their workpeople beyond mere wages, and in 1878 he wrote one of the partners in the Colliery, "I have been responsible for bringing many workmen into the parish, and wish to do my share in providing for their spiritual needs." He therefore gave £10,000 as an increase to the endowment of Hucknall Church, so as to provide additional clerical help. He, in 1887, in conjunction with Mr. Ellis, built the Free Library at a cost of £2,000, and they gave it to the town. The institution is supported by a penny rate, and by contributions from the Byron Charity and friends. In 1896 a Technical School was built for evening science and art classes, and he gave £500 toward the cost.

SIR CHARLES SEELY, Bart., (1834-1915), of Sherwood Lodge, Arnold, and Brooke, Isle of Wight, was of an old Lincoln family, where hits father for many years carried on an extensive business as Corn Merchant and Miller, under the style of Keyworth & Seely, and who was for many years M.P. for that city. In 1868 Charles Seely, Junr., became a candidate for election for Nottingham, but he did not then secure election, being returned, however, the year following. About that time he purchased the Babbington Collieries, which had been in low water for some time for lack of capital and business enterprise. The Franco-German War succeeded, and the Collieries became a very profitable concern. He had extensive Collieries at Tibshelf, and so became a large employer of labour, and as such he was just and generous to his workpeople. He purchased large areas of land with a view to colliery developments.

He was active in Volunteer service, and passed through the several stages until he became Colonel, and after serving thirty years, he in 1879, resigned his commission. He was J.P. for both Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, and was High Sheriff of the former in 1890. He was Vice-Chairman of the first Nottinghamshire County Council. He was repeatedly elected M.P. for Nottingham. He took an active part in charitable and public affairs. He built and endowed Daybrook Church, which is regarded as the most beautiful parish church in the county. He gave ten thousand pounds to the Convalescent Homes for building, and two thousand for furnishing, with other valuable additions. He devoted much time to the Nottingham General Hospital, being for seventeen years Chairman of the House Committee and Monthly Board. His contributions to the Hospital, and its convalescent houses, "The Cedars,", etc., extending over twenty years of service, were estimated at £100,000.

He was made a baronet in 1896, and a Knight of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. At the request of the Nottingham City Council he sat for his portrait, which now hangs in the Grand Jury room at the Guildhall, and the Freedom of the City was presented to him in recognition of his distinguished services. The like honour was bestowed on him by the City of Lincoln.

In the churchyard at Brooke, the entrance to which has the inscription, "An house of prayer for all people," is a simple tomb on which the names are inscribed of Charles Seely, his wife, father and mother, without any titles. We are all on a level here.

MRS. SEELY, (1837-1894) was an excellent woman, full of active sympathy and helpfulness. She passed away before the baronetcy came. In the North wall of the chancel of Daybrook Church is an altar-tomb of great beauty, placed there by Sir Charles, on which is inscribed, "In affectionate memory of the gentle and good woman who inspired her husband to build and adorn this church." It is a fine example of the skill of Sir Thomas Brock, B.A.

MISS CATHERINE BAYLEY, (1840-1921) Lenton Abbey, founded and largely aided to maintain the Beeston Orphanage and the Nottingham Day Nursery— one of the first creches in the country. Her houses were used in the War for a Red Cross Hospital, and a War Hospital Supply Depot.

WILLIAM WOODSEND, (1814-1889), was a joiner, carrying on business on Derby Road, Nottingham. He was an industrious, straight-forward business man, who took no part in public affairs beyond the fact that for fifty years he was connected with the St. James' Church Sunday School in Rutland Street, both as a teacher and superintendent, for he was a deeply religious man. Now for the sequel, by which we are reminded of Dr. Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford, who said, "My father left me—not broad acres—but the priceless heritage of a good name." The three sons of William Woodsend, Thomas, (of Liverpool) James William, (of Nottingham) and George Arthur (of Tun-bridge Wells) with a "desire to perpetuate the memory of their good father, who by his patient perseverance, and in his daily life, showed them an excellent example," built on Derby Road, Lenton, a set of six almshouses of a superior type of domestic convenience, and endowed them for aged poor persons, preference being given to such as have been in better circumstances, and to women who have been employed as governesses, school teachers, nurses, etc.