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Purton Stoke Poor's Platt ... 382 year old charity!
On 19th November in 1631 King Charles I granted the poor of Purton Stoke 25 acres of land in the Braden Forest (it was later found to be 29 acres) to compensate them for the loss of their ancient rights to graze their cattle and to gather wood for fences and firewood etc. This was confirmed on 2nd June 1657 by Letters Patent by Oliver Cromwell, and Decree of the Court of Exchequer and Decree of the Court of Exchequer on the tenth day of July in eighth year of his reign,1735. Unfortunately over the next 100 years this was taken over by the overseers of the poor at Purton to use for their poor. The poor of Purton Stoke eventually said stop, this has gone too far and we want it to be restored to its original use as decreed by Charles I. They employed a solicitor from London at enormous expense to plead their case and so it was on 20th August in 1733 the case was heard by the Attorney General in the upstairs room at the Bell Inn. The minutes of that Inquisition were recorded and are reproduced here!.

Chalking the Bellows !

For many years, until WW2, the letting of the field for grazing took place in the upstairs room at The Bell Inn The farmers gathered there and the bidding began. A bellows was handed round and each farmer chalked his bid on it. When it went around all the bidders without being chalked any more the last chalked bid could rent the land for that year.
Now the Charity lets the land for about £1200-1500, and this is distributed to registered residents of Purton Stoke.