Sheffield Town Trust was established by Thomas de Furnival, Lord of the Manor of Hallam, in 1297. In return for a considerable amount of independence from manorial control, the Sheffield Town Trust was given responsibility for maintaining the town’s water supply and the roads and bridges. The early accounts of the Trust reveal regular payments for repairs to the town’s wells and bridges, particularly the large well known as Barker’s Pool and to the Lady’s Bridge. They also paid for a ‘scavenger’ to keep the roads clear of manure and other rubbish.
As the town grew, the Town Trust invested in companies that piped water in from the surrounding countryside; that built and maintained the major roads in and out of the town, including the Snake Pass; and in the company that made the River Don navigable so that goods could be brought in and out of the town by river. In the 19th century, the Trust was a major contributor to the building of the ‘new’ Town Hall and Courthouse near Castlegate and they also helped to finance the building of town centre roads, e.g., Leopold Street.
In 1898, the Trust purchased the Botanical Gardens saving them from closure (the Gardens are now leased to Sheffield City Council) and, in 1927, they contributed £10,000 to the purchase of Ecclesall Woods by the Council.
The Town Trust’s charitable work can also be traced back to its earliest days with the accounts showing numerous grants to individuals in need and to organisations working to help others. More recently these have included Sheffield Children’s Hospital, St Luke’s Hospice and Fareshare Yorkshire. Please read more about our history shown on a separate page.
THE TOWN TRUST TODAY
Sheffield Town Trust has been supporting and helping the people of Sheffield for over 700 years. It has been fortunate in having many benefactors and now uses the income from a portfolio of property and investments to support on average 140 local charities, groups and organisations each year, either on an annual basis via our subscription list or with a one-off grant.
We are approached by many different organisations who need help in many varied ways. This can include the costs of running a small group (for children, for the elderly or for those with serious illness); the costs towards protecting our built heritage and environment; or vital refurbishment of premises. We also support annual and one-off events throughout the city. In fact, we will consider a grant for most things as long as it benefits Sheffield and its inhabitants in a charitable or public way. To apply for a grant from the Sheffield Town Trust, go to our Applications page
Registered Charity Number 223760