The Almshouses

the Bishop King’s Almshouses, Worminghall

In the days before social housing was provided by the State, wealthy men and women often founded Almshouses for the poor and homeless from their own fortunes, and with a trust set up to maintain them for the future. The stately Jacobean brick and stone Almshouse in Worminghall was built in 1675 using funds provided by the will of John King, and in memory of his father Henry King, Bishop of Chichester (1642-1646), son in turn, of John King, Bishop of London (1611-1621) born in Worminghall. John King’s charitable bequest provided the funds from his lands in Kent and, together with his wife Ann Russell, dedicated the building ‘to sustain six poor old men and four old women’. The Almshouse is, in the shape of a letter ‘H’ in memory of Bishop Henry and is Grade 2* listed.

The cartouche, restored in 2011, over the main entrance depicting the arms of King impaling those of Russell with the following inscription: ‘To God and the poor, John King Esq., son of Henry King, Bishop of Chichester, and grandson of John King, Lord Bishop of London, and Ann his wife, daughter of Sir William Russell was Strensham, Baronet, dedicates this foundation for six poore single men and fower women. Anno Domini 1675’. Portraits of the benefactors may be seen in the hall of Christchurch College in Oxford.

In 1964 the building, which had fallen into disrepair, was renovated and the number of Almshouses reduced from 10 to 6, each with independent front door access to a living room, WC and kitchen on the ground floor and a staircase to a bedroom and bathroom upstairs. The building is set back from the main road and is surrounded by lawns, gardens and allotments, each resident having their own plots to cultivate as they choose.

Shield with Bishop’s Mitre

Bishop Kings Almshouses is a registered Charity administered by a Board of local volunteer Trustees. The Charity is a member of the Almshouse Association.

Whenever a vacancy arises it is announced in the Bernwode News and posted on village noticeboards and local digital media.

If you’d like more information please contact the Clerk, David McBain, on:

07795 590022


Please be mindful that this is private property and not open to visitors other than by appointment.

Transcripts of documents or panels held in the Church:

the King Family

Worminghall Charities

the Bread Charity 19th Century Photograph

Bequest panels: NorthSouthTranscript

The lands belonging to the Bread Charities in Shabbington and Oakley have long since been sold.
(contrary to Tanner, Pepper’s Hill Farm in Shabbington, not Oakley)

the Kings at Christ Church, Oxford