Although the Trust in its present form dates only from 1971, its earliest origins were in 1698 when the Earl of Gainsborough, then an infant, through his mother The Hon Susanna Noel, gave six acres of land for the perpetual benefit of the poor of the Parish of Hampstead. This became known as the Wells Charity, taking its name from the Chalybeate Well built by the Earl of Gainsborough to commemorate the bequest. It was on this land that the residential estate of the Trust was built.
The origins of the Campden Charity date back to the early days of the English Civil War in 1642, when Lady Campden (a member of the Gainsborough family) made a bequest of £200, which, together with two further bequests, totalled £250.
This was used to buy land in Child’s Hill and the income from the land was to be divided: half for the perpetual benefit of the poor and needy of the Parish of Hampstead and half for apprenticeships for poor boys of the same parish. The Campden Charity existed till 1880, when it merged with the Wells Charity and the Wells and Campden Charity was established.
The Hampstead Wells and Campden Trust Book
“For the poor of Hampstead, for ever: 300 years of the Hampstead Wells Trust”
The history of the Trust by Christopher Wade (1998) can be purchased from Mr Roger Cline, CHS Publications, Flat 13, 13 Taverstock Place, London WC1H 9SH.