About UsThe charity now known as the Church Burgesses Trust has served Sheffield quietly and unobtrusively, for over 450 years. Edward VI had seized for his own use land and property belonging to the town. Protest was made but to no avail. When Queen Mary Tudor succeeded Edward, a petition was presented asking for the return of the lands. This she granted on 8 June 1554 in a royal charter which gave the land and property in trust to a new corporate body: “The Twelve Capital Burgesses and Commonalty of the Town and Parish of Sheffield in the County of York”.
Rental income from the lands, in 1554 about £30 per annum, was directed to be used to pay the stipends of three assistant priests at the parish church together with the costs of worship. Whatever was left over was to be used towards the repair of the church; repair of highways and bridges in Sheffield; and the relief of the poor and needy of the parish. Down the years the charity carefully stewarded the resources entrusted to it so that it now has annual disposable income of in excess of £1 million.
The Trust seeks to respond positively to the needs of a large modern city through its support for: the parishes carved out of the ancient Parish of Sheffield; the work of Sheffield Cathedral; organisations working for the needy and the deprived, the elderly, the marginalised and for the revitalisation of inner city communities; the Church Burgesses Educational Foundation (schools, educational organisations and individuals).
The Trust functions through a Committee structure. All Burgesses meet four times a year to consider the work and the business of the Trust, and in between times, sub-committees meet to review applications for grants and to oversee the assets of the Trust, which comprise both property in Sheffield and stocks and shares. The Trust is led by the Capital Burgess, who is one of the twelve Burgesses appointed to serve for one year in the role of Chairman. The day to day work of the Trust is directed and carried out by the Law Clerk and his staff.
Click here for a fuller history of the Trust.
See also: We of Our Bounty – a history of the Sheffield Church Burgesses by the Revd Canon Dr George Tolley, ISBN: 1 84104 004 5, which is available in the Local Studies Library, Surrey Street, Sheffield.