Oakley Charities

There are a number of local charities affiliated with Oakley. Please follow the links for more information.


Originally called the Poor Folks' charity was founded in or about the year 1623–4. The trust estate now consists of a field on the Oxford Road let at £480 a year, for the general benefit of the poor. Traditionally this was wholly distributed to 20 ‘needy’ widows and widowers in Oakley Parish at Christmas. The charity has three trustees, one of whom is the vicar. Distribution has ceased since 2016, whilst the trustees look for more innovative ways of distributing the funds for the benefit of Oakley residents, since ‘needy’ widows and widowers were increasingly difficult to identify.


Near Brill Church are four alms-houses which were founded in 1591 by Alice Carter. Very little is known of the Carters who founded these alms-houses. There were originally five alms-houses, but they were re-built in 1842, the number was reduced to four. The original inmates had to give to Alice Carter one red rose or posy of flowers on St John Baptist’s Day. Nowadays, income comes from rental of Brill allotments and interest on investments.

Although this is a Brill Charity, some of the yearly distribution is given to Oakley villagers. One Oakley trustee sits on the charity and allocates to the Oakley recipients.


On 12th May 1664, John Hart of Cottisford (a village in north-east Oxfordshire) bequeathed to the churchwardens and overseers of the poor of Oakley, one annuity from a yearly rent charge of £3 to be paid for the training of one honest, godly, poor boy in some good trade. The annuity was however very irregularly paid. The rent was often retained by the overseer until it amounted to a large enough sum for apprenticing boys, who were sons of poor labourers and these were selected by the vestry. By the twentieth century, the charity was receiving an income of around £2 10s (£2.50) and would assist apprenticing Oakley boys until around 1986, when the last boy received assistance in his apprenticeship. Costs were then hugely outstripping the charity’s income and the charity was wound up in 2013.

Oakley Relief in Need Charity

The charity can trace its origins back to the closing years of the reign of King James I, when Brill, Boarstall and Oakley were in the heart of Bernwood Forest. King James was always short of money and as a means of raising funds, he decided on a policy of disafforestation. (Disafforestation is the process of removing Royal status from a forest). Because of the hardship of what we would now call Privatisation, a 220-acre area called Poor Folks’ Pasture allowing villagers to keep livestock and grow crops.

The scheme was brought up to date in 1963 following the new Charities Act of 1960, but in 1971 it was agreed that the Brill and Oakley charities separate, and a new scheme came into force. At the 1971 split, the Brill Charity received around £5,500, it closed Charity and distributed the assets. However, the Oakley Charity was renamed Oakley Relief In Need and received the land, which at that time amounted to 111 acres.

The charity is now administered by eight trustees, meets at least twice a year in November and June. The charity allocates several thousand pounds per year; distributing Christmas money, paying for Christmas parcels, providing money for text books for Oakley students at University; paying for Aid-Call telephones for Oakley residents living alone; paying for Hospital Transport and ad-hoc projects.

In October/November annually, the charity requests Oakley residents to submit applications for Christmas and University distributions. At other times, requests can be made personally to the chairman or trustees.