Our History

The Prestbury United Charities (PUC) are able to help those in need who live in the areas of Cheltenham with PostCodes beginning GL50, GL51, GL52 and GL53 but with a preference to those who live in the ecclesiastical Parish of Prestbury and the adjoining parishes of Southam and Swindon Village.

The Prestbury United Charities were formed from a number of small village charities. The earliest of these was founded 20th December 1646 and known as Poor’s Ground.  Its object was to pay the whole yearly income to the churchwardens for the relief of the poor inhabitants of Prestbury.  There was an almshouse in Prestbury consisting of six rooms and a small garden where eleven people lived.  In the centre of the house was the inscription ‘The gift of Ann Goodrich for the religious poor of 1720’.  The almshouse had no funds for its maintenance and so was generally maintained by the Poor’s Ground charity.

Local signage harks back to the PUC’s history

During the 19th century several people left money to be invested and the interest was to be used to help the poor of the parish.  They were:  Mary Ellis; Thomas Bagshott De La Bere; Hester Ann Durham; Mary Durham; John Surman Surman and George Perton.  The above eight charities were amalgamated in a Scheme dated 12th May 1891 to be administered under the title of ‘The Prestbury Parochial Charities’.  Mrs Margaret Ann Ryley by her will proved on 14th February 1923 left £200 to be invested.  The annual income was to be applied by the vicar and churchwardens of St Mary’s Prestbury in the purchase of coal and blankets for distribution annually amongst the poor.  The above 9 charities were then amalgamated to form Prestbury United Charities by a Scheme sealed by the Charity Commissioners on 3rd June 1969.

The Charities originally owned two properties: Anne Goodrich Cottages and York Row – both in the High Street Prestbury – but had no working capital.

In 1954, the two Anne Goodrich Cottages were sold to the then Cheltenham Rural District Council, who erected six new dwellings on the site – the Charities retaining the right to nominate the residents for two of them.

In February 1988, York Row was sold. A bungalow was purchased from the proceeds, with the residual money being invested to produce an income. This income was used partly to maintain this dwelling but largely for Relief of Need.  In 2011 the bungalow was sold and the charity uses all its income for the Relief in Need within the ecclesiastical Parish of Prestbury and the adjoining Parishes of Swindon Village and Southam, which was the function of the original Charities.

St. Mary’s Church, Prestbury