All throughout May, people and companies have been putting forward their very own creative stories about whatever they wish. This isn’t simply a fad but it’s actually National Tell a Story Month, the theme for 2017 is illustration which sounds very exciting. Since this doesn’t come around very often, we thought this would be a great opportunity to explore the early times of Lench’s Trust and its founder.

In 1525 there was a tanner living in Moor Street (then called Mole Street) named William Lench, not much is known of his character apart from what can be derived from him giving away all of his property to a charitable cause and the fact he had so much to dispose of in the first place.  He was gifted with foresight and decided to purchase land close to the Black Country which was likely to increase in value. If it wasn’t for Henry VIII. downplaying the value of religion at the time, William Lench’s property and valuables, would have all gone to the Gild of the Holy Cross or have been donated to the church in one way or another. In 11th March 1525 he took the better option of placing his property, land and belongings in the hands of nineteen of his close friends and on the 24th March 1525 he stated in his will that all money should be used for charity. Fifteen years later in 1540, there were twelve Trustees selected to distribute income and profits. They decided that the money should be used in two way:

  1. To repair the ruined ways and bridges in and around the town of Birmingham
  2. In bestowing the same living within the said town, where there was the greatest want

Until 1838 and the city of Birmingham was incorporated, the income of Lench’s Trust was used for these two purposes. However, after this incorporation the Trust aimed of its resources on taking care of the poor since the council was maintaining the roads and bridges. The housing (almshouses), alongside the payment of stipends (pension) took good care of the poor. It’s clear to see how well prepared for the future the Trustees were, considering state pension provision didn’t begin until 1911.

The very first reference to almshouses in the Trust’s history dates all the way back to the Digbeth Almshouses in 1639. In 1688 the Trustees built another group at the corner of Steelhouse Lane and Lancaster Street in rural surroundings with an extensive and beautiful view of the country.

Our values here at Lench’s Trust remain the same, we have and always will adapt to any changes that come along as society develops. We still provide top quality housing for up to 200 of the older generation.