The origins of The Rev Thomas Woolsey’s Charity (Thornhaugh and Wansford) date from the death in 1707 of the Rector, Thomas Woolsey. He left money in his will to buy land to provide income for a schoolteacher to teach four poor children of the Parish. Further land was given and the income increased by his successor Rev Benjamin Rudge.
The children were housed in a “school” within Church House opposite St Mary’s Church in Wansford until around 1870 when, following the new Elementary Education Act of 1870, the local authority built Thornhaugh School. This operated from 1877 to 1977 and was the only thatched school in the Soke of Peterborough and is now a private residence.
As the money was no longer needed for the “school” in Wansford, the present Charity was set up and approved by the Charity Commission on 8 September 1877 as an Educational Charity and a Charity for the Poor.
In March 1973, the land was sold and the proceeds used to purchase Charity Commission COIF shares. The income from the shares is placed in a deposit account, which provides the source of the grants that are awarded today.
The Charity awards grants to individuals of any age who live within the ecclesiastical parishes of Thornhaugh and Wansford in order to support their further education. We also welcome applications from non commercial, community groups which are involved in helping young people, skills development or education.
We are administered by a committee of 5 Trustees, being one Church Warden and one co-opted Trustee each from the villages of Thornhaugh and Wansford, plus the Priest in Charge (unless during an interregnum), as Chairman. The Committee meets usually twice a year and grants are usually (but not exclusively) awarded at the start of each academic year. We invite enquiries and applications for grants via this website.