§ SIR WALTER FOSTER (Derby, Ilkeston)
I beg to ask the hon. Member for Penrith, as representing the Charity Commissioners, whether he is aware that the original deed of the charity of the Church Poor Lands at Defford, in the County of Worcester, has been lost for generations, and that the document which recites that the Trustees are to be "the landowners of Defford which are of the best, largest, and ablest estates there" is of later date; whether he is aware that the ratal qualifications of £15 proposed in the new scheme of the Charity Commissioners would practically limit the choice of Representative Trustees to some seven persons; and whether, in consideration of the fact that a majority of the old Trustees and a large majority of the inhabitants of Defford are strongly opposed to the new scheme, the Charity Commissioners will make the qualification of Trustee such as to enable Members of the working classes to be eligible as Representative Trustees?
MR. J. W. LOWTHER (Cumberland, Penrith)
The Commissioners are not aware whether the original deed of foundation is lost. The deed referred to in the former answer as original is the earliest deed providing for the qualification of Trustees among several deeds appointing Trustees and declaring Trusts. This deed is dated 1679. There is an earlier deed of 1644, which is understood to contain no such provision. The Commissioners are not aware that the proposed ratal qualification would limit the choice of Trustees to seven. The draft scheme is now in course of publication; 718 and, on the completion of the period of publication, the Commissioners will carefully consider all the objections elicited, and that of the rating qualification of the Trustees among the rest.