Jane Cart Trust

To provide support to church of England Clergy widows/ers and the maiden daughters of clergy (the latter when aged over 45) and where that member of the clergy currently or in the past lives/lived or works/worked in the Diocese of St.Albans

Jane Cart Trust

The Community Foundation manages the day to day operations of the Jane Cart’s Trust. This is a specialist fund with applications being considered by Trust members- to find out more please speak with Hannan Ali (Grants & Programmes Manager) or email hannan.ali@blcf.org.uk


Jane Cart died in 1736 at the age of 83 years. Born in Dunstable, she retired there after the death of her husband in 1706. Not only did she out live him, but also her nine children, and all her brothers and sisters. The family distilling business in the City of London had been very successful, so she was left a very wealthy widow. Being a vigorous supporter of the Church, she contributed generously to charitable causes in the area, building alms houses, co-founding a boys’ school, donating communion plate for local churches etc. Shortly before her death she took steps to perpetuate these good works by setting up a Trust with five Trustees and a Clerk, to which she transferred all her properties, and which was charged with the task of administering the properties and distributing the annual revenue to specific beneficiaries.

After her death her Will transferred her other investments to the Trust along with further specific instructions. Any annual surplus after these instructions had been satisfied, the Trustees were to distribute to deserving persons within categories stipulated by her.

These are clearly expressed in the dedication inscribed on her Memorial in the north aisle of the Priory Church in Dunstable, of which the following is an extract:

“Besides several other useful and lasting benefactions, the Surplus of a large Estate by her bequeathed for the annual Relief of poor Clergymen their Widows and Daughters, will be (it is hop’d) an abiding Memorial of her pure Religion, and hearty Affection to the Church of England to the latest Posterity.”

Since that time Mrs Jane Cart’s Trust, and its successive Trustees, have continued to manage the Trust’s assets and for many years they have distributed available surpluses by making cash donations to deserving clergy and their dependents.

The Trust originated from the benefactions of Mrs Jane Cart (1653 – 1736), a resident of Dunstable, and for many years the Trust ran a group of Almshouses in Dunstable for single women. With their sale, the Trust now supports other Almshouses or other charities housing single women in need near Dunstable.

  • General Living Costs - payment up to £1,000 
  • Special Needs Criteria - a maximum payment of £5,000
  • Retiring Clergy - one off £1,000 payment
  • Retreats for Clergy - minimum 15 years in the ministry


The object of the Charity is to provide support to Church of England clergy, clergy widows/ers and the maiden daughters of clergy (the latter when aged over 45) and where that member of the clergy currently or in the past lives/lived or works/worked in the Diocese of St. Albans.

Grants Criteria

The Trust now makes grants according to the following categories:

General Living Costs – assistance with day to day living expenses to relieve the burden of those on low incomes. The general payment under this category is currently £1,000 per year.

Special Needs – capital (one off purchases/repairs) or revenue payments for expenses with a maximum payment of £5,000. Higher sums can be considered in exceptional circumstances and only at the discretion of the Trustees according to the funds available at the time. Qualifying issues might include, for example, convalescent or recuperative care, medical equipment or treatment not available through the NHS, capital purchases to improve the home or other pressing needs.

Retiring Clergya one off £1,000 payment to clergy from the Diocese of St Albans only, upon their retirement. In this instance, the grant should be made automatically, on receipt of a request from the Diocese, but please contact us if this isn’t the case.

Retreats for Clergy – meeting the costs of a retreat at St Mary & Martha or a simialr venue to any member of the clergy in the Diocese of St Albans after 15 years in ministry. Again, the Diocese should contact qualifying clergy to arrange this.

A copy of the application form can be found here: JCT application form updated May 2021.

Last Updated: 25th May 2021