Find out about how the charity was established and Edward Polehampton who bequeathed the charity in his will in 1722.
The Polehampton Charity
Legend has it that on Christmas Eve 1666 a small boy was found shivering on the steps of 'The Rose and Crown Inn'. The landlord brought the boy in, fed and clothed him and when fit, sent him on his way. The youth travelled to London where as he aged he amassed a fortune. Remembering the kindness of his childhood days he bequeathed a charity to the poor boys of Twyford.
The request came from the will of Edward Polehampton (1652 – 1722), citizen and painter-stainer of the Parish of St Sepulchre, London. The will, dated 27th July 1721, stated that from money from his personal estate he was erecting a school, a chapel and a dwelling house which on completion he intended to endow. Ten poor boys were to be chosen and taught to read and write from the ages of 8years to 15years. He appointed trustees to fulfil this wish. The Trust was re-established by Act of Parliament in 1885.
At this time the Polehampton Boys’ School was rebuilt in the High Street opposite Chiswick House, which was originally the Rose and Crown. This was used until December 1964, when the present Polehampton Church of England Junior School for both boys and girls, built by Berkshire County Council, was opened. Previously, the younger children and girls had been educated at the current Polehampton Infants’ School.
Edward Polehampton rose from a penniless wandering by to a man of wealth and distinction. It would seem that he was a versatile gentleman combining several forms of craft – he appeared as a portraitist, herald and coach painter, teacher, landlord and printseller and captain of trained bands. He was a bachelor, and would have been a generous as well as an admired man, with a pious nature, enjoying a good and successful life as an artist. Although little is known of his work today he can be remembered as an articifer in many fields and a liberal and much respected benefactor.
The only surviving painting by Polehampton is now in store, but was one of the panels in the Painted Chamber at the Painter-Stainers Hall, Little Trinity Lane, London EC4. The picture dated 1713 contains a portrait of Captain Polehampton in an oval giving his age as 61.