Ottery Feoffee Charity

Meaning of “Feoffee”

The word “Feoffee” is of ancient origin being derived from Anglo-French. A Feoffee was a person entrusted to hold land and apply the rents and profits for the relief of poverty in a particular locality. 

Early History

The earliest record of this charity is a Deed dated 18th January 1440, whereby John Lawrence gave four houses and certain lands in the parish of Ottery St. Mary to be held by twelve Trustees upon trust for the benefit of elderly parishioners. 

On the 17th of March 1590, Henry Beaumont vested land near Ilminster, Somerset, in the Feoffees. This has since been sold and the proceeds applied towards the costs of building new flats for the elderly and disabled. 

Early in the reign of Elizabeth I, six Almshouses were built in Sandhill Street by Robert Hone, whose daughter Joan was the mother of Sir Thomas Bodley, the founder of the famous Bodleian Library at Oxford.

About 1562, William Sherman of Knightstone, Ottery St. Mary, who was a very wealthy merchant, founded Almshouses in Yonder Street. This property being in a very dilapidated state in 1837, was rebuilt by the Feoffees at a cost of £410!

Today there are 22 flats, which provide accommodation for 26 elderly people. 

Sherman House, Yonder Street consists of 12 flats, modernised in 1972.
Nos. 1-6 Yonder Corner, Chapel Lane being 6 ground floor flats, built in 1970 and
Robert Hone House, Sandhill Street being 4 flats for elderly married couples; built in 1974. 

Ottery Feoffee Day Centre

The Day Centre in Brook Street was opened in October 1971 to provide recreational facilities for the elderly and disabled of Ottery St. Mary and the surrounding district. To enquire about a one-off or regular booking please Contact Us.  Facilities for providing light refreshments are available. 


The present Charity is administered by a maximum of twelve Trustees, including two representatives nominated by the Town Council. 

Trustee Body

The charity is run in accordance with schemes prepared by the Charity Commission. A comprehensive scheme was sealed on 22nd February 1980 and subsequent schemes made minor alterations to it. 

The Charity is administered by voluntary Trustees. Day to Day administration is carried out by the Clerk and Warden.


Contact us

For further information about available accommodation or to use the day centre please:

Complete the contact form and we will respond as soon as possible

Or telephone Tina Collins, Clerk to the Trustees, on 07865 098 253

Or email


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