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Y Cofiadur


Rhif 59a (1995)

The Congregational Fund Board 1695-1995 : Can these bones live ?

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During the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries the Fund received
many donations from individuals and legacies too. A solicitor used to be
retained to watch for bequests in wills as they were published and he was also
paid commission. A few legacies were earmarked. Mrs Powell's Gift (1767) gave
the interest on £ 100 for the minister at Hereford "providing he be of Calvinist
principles," and Mr Holt's (1759) provided f5 p.a., for the minister at Godalming
while William Brees(e) of Dartford left £ 100 capital (1778) to pay the minister of
Llanbrynmair (or his substitute) to teach and instruct "ten poor children born of
Welsh parents four months in every year." In the passage of time this became
impractical and led to strained relations between the church and the Board until
the matter was settled by handing over the trust to the Official Trustee.
On 6 October 1788 the treasurer reported that,
William Fuller Esq. of Lombard Street, Banker, had transferred
£ 1000 3% Annuities in Trust. the dividend thereof to be disposed of
by the Board to six Ministers at £ 5 each for ever.
Seldom had any news delighted the Board so much; it forthwith elected Fuller
an honorary member (the only one the writer can recall in the history of the
CFB). The Board and the donor were no strangers. Fuller was the Board's
banker. Moreover, for a while he had been a messenger from his church.
Thomas Peter's, known (incredibly) as Three Cranes. Being a staunch Calvinist
and evangelical, Fuller fell out with his minister's teaching which became
increasingly Sandemanian. Faith without works was hardly likely to have much
appeal for this benefactor and he and friends left the church and joined the
Little St Helens congregation. Fuller was a generous contributor to the
foundation of the Heckmondwike and Northowram Academy, the protégé of
the Northern Education Society, of which he was treasurer. He took an active
role in the King's Head Society and took the chair at meetings of the joint
committee of the KHS and CFB to find a successor to Gibbons as Tutor at
Fuller gave the Board eight injections of capital over eight years. £ 2400 in
Consols was to help Welsh ministers; £ 4000 to provide £ 10 a head to
"Congregational Ministers who are incapable to continue their labours through
age or indisposition"; £ 4000 to provide £ 10 each to ministers "in the Country"
with particular regard "to their characters and their families"; and a like amount
for the poor of London churches, £ 10 per church, "where the doctrines
frequently called Calvinistic and contained in the Assembly's Catechism are
faithfully preached." These gifts were customarily made to contributing
churches. Evidently Fuller believed in charity beginning at home.
After a ballot the first gifts of f5 were sent to three ministers in Essex and three
others living in Suffolk, Buckinghamshire and Yorkshire. Every year a different
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