Collections Home



Make a comment

Doling out Food

Bequests or Doles were once a welcome part of peasant life. They could be of money, fuel, clothing or food. Though charity laws say that bequests must be honoured most trusts simply ran out of funds or needy recipients. Almost all of the doles remaining are to do with food, and a couple of them are well worth having. The Tichborne Dole is a gallon of flour for every adult and a half gallon for every child in the parishes of Tichborne and Cheriton. Apparently there are about 900 parishioners entitled, though luckily they don’t all turn up for the family ‘carrying’ the custom have to buy most of the flour themselves in fear of a legendary curse if they don’t! The Biddenden Dole is also worthwhile. When Collections was there it was a loaf of bread, 2lbs of tea and a sizeable slab of cheese, though the trustees did mention it varies according to money and supplies available. At the other end of the scale Carlow’s Charity in Woodbridge, originally provided for ‘Twenty Shillings Worth of Bread’ (quite a bit in 1738) for the poor of the town but by 1983 the offering was a small bun for the single ‘poor’ recipient who appeared - and she didn’t want to give her name in case she was thought to be accepting charity.