A 170 year-old 'Victorian gem' set in its own churchyard in the heart of the pretty village of Kidmore End, South Oxfordshire, four miles north west of Reading.
In the 1880s a school was built to the northwest, this was closed in 1985 and was converted into four almshouses. A common room was built between these two in 1998 and is used for residents’ social activities and meetings.
The almshouses are set back from the road behind a belt of trees in the middle of nowhere. The simplicity of the architecture makes a moving composition.
The founder Henry Alnut, a barrister at Middle Temple and Lord Mayor of London, was brought up nearby at Ipsden. A misogynist all his life he died unmarried in 1724. He left nothing to his relations but instead willed his lands at Ipsden for the building and endowing of an almshouse ‘for twelve poor men’.
He also set up a school for poor boys together with annual apprenticeships. The local wheelwright family of Paddicks took two apprentices a year over a span of eighty years. Henry Alnut asked to be buried at Ipsden ‘as near my father and mother as might be’. His friend and executor Richard Clement finished the building and saw to it that £425 was bequeathed in perpetuity to the almshouses, chaplaincy and school.
In 1952 Major Alfred Allnatt, a philanthropist and descendant of the founder restored the whole set of buildings. The name Alnutt changes its spelling over decades, but the almshouses remain virtually unaltered.