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The story behind ancient Beverley charity

An ancient Beverley charity, dating back to the mid 19th century and originally set up to reward female domestic servants, will be making awards again this year. The Turner’s Trust is named after Matthew Turner, a well-to-do printer who lived in Beverley, and who died in 1856. He left several investments and decreed the income be used to reward ladies in domestic service. They had to be of good character, ‘live-in” at their place of employment, which had to be within eight miles of Beverley Guildhall and have worked for the same family for ten years or more.

In 1939 the number of applicants was about 100 but by 2011 the numbers of those qualifying had reduced to 11 and none were residential. With approval from the Charity Commission the criteria for awards was then changed: Candidates still need to live within eight miles of Beverley Guildhall but now need only to have worked for the same family for more than five hours a week and  have worked for them for four or more years.

Awards start at £100.  Trustees include the Mayor of Beverley and the Vicars of The Minster and St Mary’s. Anyone interested can apply to The Clerk to the Trustees at ian_merryweather@hotmail.co.uk. Closing date for this years awards 13 October 2017.

Matthew Turner was buried in Coronation Gardens in Beverley. It’s said he guarded jealously some of the town’s privileges and often criticised the Town Council when he considered they did not spend the taxpayer’s money correctly.