The original provision by Mary Parminter was for four women “of approved good character for religion and morality as well as possessed of some small independent property and shall have been and shall continue in the ordinary habit of being industriously engaged in plain work knitting spinning or some other such female employment of equal neatness and cleanliness suitable for an inhabitant of such an habitation towards their own livelihood and support.” So although these were women in need they still had to have some independent source of income. The charity provided them with free accommodation and a small annual grant of cash but nothing else. One of the women was required to act as schoolmistress “teaching reading and plain work to the six poor female children hereinafter mentioned”.
For many years, the school provided basic education for girls who would otherwise have had no opportunity. They learned to read and write and to improve their abilities in needlework and other practical skills, to enable them to gain useful employment. In 1911 the school was closed following the Education Act which provided for universal general education and laid down standards which this little pioneering school was unable to meet.
In 1968 it was decided to upgrade the accommodation in accordance with modern housing standards. The four Alms cottages adjoining the Chapel were reduced to two, with shared bathroom and WC and in 1997 these were eventually merged into one single residence, with the other original rooms now used as a community room, vestry and kitchen for the Chapel.
In 1969 three new modern bungalows were erected and in 1977 two further bungalows were built, including one larger one suitable for occupation by a married couple. Otherwise, preference is still given to single women, although there is no longer a specific age limit attached to residence.
The Trust is a member of the Almshouses Association and is a registered Charity no 210057. Currently all six almshouses are occupied and no vacancy is likely to arise in the near future. The Trust does not keep a waiting list for occupancy.