Thomas Brewer, a wealthy yeoman farmer, lived in the White House, Winthorpe. He could have been a bachelor or a widower as there is no mention of family in his Will, dated 1616. His brother, William, resided in Newark and two sisters and an aunt were also mentioned in his will.
The White House stood just below the village hall and & public road passed in front of it to join the present Drive, continuing into Holme Lane. The Rectory was also on this road on the left going down to Holme Lane, so that Brewer and the Rector (Roger Bacon) were near neighbours.
In his will Brewer said:-
"I give to Mr. Roger Bacon my Gray Fylle .............
I give to Mrs. Bacon my Bay Fillie"
To the children of eighteen families he left either a "ewe and a lamb" or money, generally 10s.
Seventy adults were mentioned, including four servants and four tenants, and each received a horse, cow, sheep or money the sums varying from 5s to £5.
Money was also left to benefit the people of Winthorpe and this is best written in Brewer's own words.
"I give to the Towne of Winthorpe £20 which my will is to continue for ever and to have it lett forth yearly at 20d the pound to four inhabitants of Winthorpe everyone of them putinge in two suerties for the payment yearly of the money and stocke to the parson of the Towne and the Church Wardens for the tyme being and they the said parson and Church Wardens to deale the yearly use of the money to the poore of the Towne of Winthorpe at St Thomas the Apostle Day and Good Friday by even Portions at their Discretion, the said parson and Church Wardens allowing themselves yearly 1s a peece out of the said use money for their paynes and I further give to the Towne of Winthorpe for ever my new Whyte House in Winthorpe and two oxgangs (amount ploughed by an ox in one day) of arable land, meadow and pasture ........... which house and land shall be let forth for the yearly rent at the discretion of the parson and Church Wardens for the time being for the poore of the said Towne of Winthorpe........"
The account books for Brewer's Charity go back to 1774 and the name of Roger Pocklington, the banker, appears on the first existing page. In this year money was given to seven parishioners, the sums varying from 5s to 15s In 1813 "the sum of £3 8s 8d was paid for Ann Worstingholme's orphan" and in 1822, £6 was paid for an apprenticeship for him. From 1822, £5, half year's salary, was paid to the schoolmaster. In 1831 August 29th, Widow Asline died of cholera. 1868 payment of 10s to John Drury after a railway accident and £9 2s 0d for 13 tons of coal. 1896, £1 Is 0d for a nurse for one week for Thos Butterworth. These and many other interesting items have been recorded over the years.
When Roger Pocklington made the Hall Estate he exchanged Brewer's White House for the Skelton farmhouse. This was the central section of the present houses (Alms Houses on Chapel Lane) and it was made into three cottages. Two houses were added at one end and one at the other end for a total cost of £89 9s 10½d. This was 1809-12. These six cottages were occupied until 1974. The conversion to four homes was completed in 1978 at an approximate cost of £44,000. Up to 1974 the occupants received gifts of coal or money. Today money is generally given, not only to occupiers of Brewer's Houses, but to other parishioners in Winthorpe, Holme and Langford.
Miss E.E. Euston.
Extract From Focal Point. April 1981.
Further readings can be found in
Thomas Brewer's Charity in Volume 1.
Thomas Brewer's Will in Volume 4.
People mentioned in Thomas Brewer's Will in Volume 4.
Thomas Brewer's Charity Trustees in Volume 4.
Winthorpe in the Early 17th Century in Volume 4.