David Reid gave a short history of the two charities of which he is a member. Updated from the Barlestone Book July 2016
In 1698 the then rector of Market Bosworth and his French wife had a son (Ferrand Spence)
In 1640 Ferdinand became one of the first spies this country ever had. He was employed by the GPO and intercepted letters
He was sponsored by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
His will left money in trust for the poor in the Market Bosworth area, of which there are 8 persons in Barlestone who still get to benefit from this trust.
As a matter of interest the present Clerk to the Spence Charity bought a Shakespearean book which gave acknowledgement of Ferdinand Spence for the translation.
The trustee board is made up of representatives of each village in the Market Bosworth Diocese.
THE BULL PIECE
The field has been used for the benefit of the poor since time immemorial. In 1638 this area of land was known as the 'Poore Mans Piece' and in 1678 as the 'Parsons Close' It is not known when the name was changed to the Bull Piece, this usually being where the church kept a bull for servicing the cows of the parish, the villagers paying for its services. The Bull Piece, containing about an acre and a rood, was laid open to a part of the Glebe until 1856 when it was fenced off. The rent of the field was distributed by the Parish Officers in clothing. The field still exists and is rented from the church by the Parish Council as a recreational area.
Mr. William Sills of Leamington Priors left £498. 12s 4d and his widow Mrs. Emma Sills, left £107 16s 4d, the interest of both sums to be distributed every Christmas in coals and blankets annually to the deserving poor of Barlestone at the discretion of the Trustees, the Minister and the Churchwardens.