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History & Heritage

History and Heritage

The Trust was originally founded in 1393 by Sir Richard de Abberbury by Royal Licence, granted by King Richard II.  It was a custom of the period for wealthy landowners to provide for the sick and aged who, in return, prayed for the wellbeing of their benefactors in this life and for their souls in the life to come.  The Trust was re-founded in 1602 by Queen Elizabeth I. It is the oldest charity in Berkshire;  it has been under the patronage of the Hartley Russell family since 1632.

The Trust’s original accommodation at Donnington Hospital was built to house a Minister and twelve poor men.  Over the centuries further almshouses have been added and the Trust now has over 70 homes. 

In 2010 the Trust assumed responsibility for Jesus Hospital, an independent almshouse charity located in Bray, Berkshire.  Jesus Hospital was originally under the patronage of The Worshipful Company of Fishmongers who had administered Jesus Hospital since its foundation in 1602.