Introduction to the Charity
Why “The Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons’ Charity”?
For over 200 years the Cornwallis family has been prominent in Kent life. During that period, the family were not only landowners and farmers; they were leading lights in the county’s civic society, undertaking many public offices in serving the people of Kent, and advancing causes which helped the whole county (and indeed the country at large). It was in recognition of this service that Colonel Fiennes Stanley Wykeham Cornwallis was created Baron Cornwallis of Linton in 1927.
The close connections with Kent have been mirrored in the family’s association with Freemasonry. The first Lord Cornwallis was Provincial Grand Master of Kent from 1906 until his death in 1935. He was succeeded in this office by the second Baron who served as Provincial Grand Master of Kent until it was divided into the Masonic Provinces of East and West Kent in 1973. At that time, Lord Cornwallis became the Provincial Grand Master of East Kent until his death in 1982.
Being so prominent in public life and Freemasonry, it is not surprising that the Cornwallis family should be closely associated with charitable activity. Following the death of the first Lord, a public meeting was held in Maidstone to agree a suitable memorial to the Baron. Such was the esteem in which he was held that a collection realised an amount which in today’s terms would be £250,000. Thus it was that the Cornwallis Memorial Fund came into being, a charity which provided relief for “needy and necessitous persons in Kent”. The charity dispensed grants in support of these great objectives for seventy-five years.
With legislative changes and market turbulence over the last ten years, the operation of the charity became more difficult and the present Lord Cornwallis and the Trustees have agreed that the funds of the charity should be incorporated into the Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons’ Charity to be administered by the Freemasons of East Kent. The other funds incorporated in this new charity include the Provincial Grand Master’s Charity, the PGM’s Discretionary Fund, the Provincial Almoner’s Fund and other smaller funds which were previously administered by the Province of East Kent.
The aim of the Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons’ Charity will be to continue to support charities and voluntary organisations within the communities of the Masonic Province of East Kent as well as assisting individuals in appropriate cases.