The Langport Town Trust was established in 1888 following the dissolution of the Borough of Langport Eastover under the Municipal Corporations Act 1883.
The Trust document itself was sealed on 23rd November 1888 and set out the terms of the scheme, which even now forms the basis under which the Trust operates.
It was initially agreed that the Trustees should be made up of 10 competent persons comprising 4 “representative” Trustees, from organisations such as the school, the Church and the Langport District Drainage Board, and 6 “co-operative” Trustees representing the `guiding lights’ of the Town. The Trust lands were at this time vested in the Official Custodian for Charities.
The original scheme was amended in 1901, 1920, 1934, 1935 and 1966 when the Official Custodian for Charities was discharged and the Trust property was then vested in the Parish Council of Langport, which was appointed as Trustee. This means that the members of the Town Council are required to adhere to the Rules and Regulations of the governing document and relevant Charities Acts.
The most recent amendment to the Scheme came about in 2006 when the Charity Commission recommended that there was a need to simplify the objectives of the Charity.
The objectives contained in the original Trust deed required the Trust:
- To maintain, toll free, the Corn, Pig, sheep and cattle markets in or near Langport. 2. To maintain the Langport Fire Brigade and Engines.
- To maintain and improve the Public Library and Reading Room in Langport.
- To accumulate any residues and apply the accumulations from time to time for any of the above mentioned purposes, or otherwise for the public benefit of the inhabitants of Langport.
The view of the Charity Commission was that this no longer reflected the current situation and they recommended that the objective of the Trust should be changed to read :
The objective of the charity is to benefit the inhabitants of the town of Langport in particular, but not exclusively, by the maintenance, improvement or provision of public amenities.
This was agreed by the Councillors serving at the time and the revised scheme was sealed on 7 November 2006.
The principal functions of the Town Trust are:
- The management and maintenance of the building known as Langport Town Hall, which comprises the original Town Hall and the former British Legion Institute. Accommodation in this building is currently leased to various tenants. The Undercroft Market area is due to be let to sell cut flowers, plants and produce.
- The management of the building known as The Hanging Chapel. This is currently leased to the Portcullis Freemasons Lodge.
- The control of the Fishing Rights on the River Parrett, from Huish Bridge to Monks Lease Clyse, which are currently leased out to the Langport and District Angling Association.
- The management of the Bagehot Memorial Fund, set up to oversee refurbishment of the grave of Walter Bagehot, located in All Saints’ Churchyard, and to raise awareness of Walter Bagehot within Langport and the surrounding district.
Although the Town Council is the sole Trustee of the Langport Town Trust, Councillors fulfil the role of Trustee on being elected to Council.
The affairs of the Trust are handled independently from those of the Town Council with each body holding its own monthly meeting. Agendas and Minutes of Town Trust meetings can be found here.
Finances are dealt with independently using separate bank accounts and auditing procedures. The Town Trust publishes its annual accounts on the Charity Commission website in accordance with current legislation.
Councillors, are expected to keep their Trust and Council duties separate and are called on to declare any interest they may have in the business to be conducted at the start of every Trust meeting. They must only act in the best interest of the Trust and not for their own private gain, or that of their relatives or friends.
At the present time the Clerk to the Trustees, or Administrator, is the Town Clerk and is not a trustee but is employed by the Council to fulfil that role.
This Grade 1 listed building and Scheduled Monument is owned by Langport Town Trust. Formally known as the Chantry of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is a 15th century structure with 12th century origins. Over the centuries it has housed the town hall, a Sunday School, an armoury, a museum, grammar school and, since 1891, the Portcullis Lodge of Freemasons. The name ‘Hanging Chapel’ refers to its position over the road, and not, as is sometimes claimed,
Ridgway Hall, in Stacey’s Court, Bow Street is owned by Langport Town Trust and is available for hire by the public, community groups and businesses. Ridgway Hall has two main meeting areas and a smaller lounge room. The Main Hall The main hall is suitable for larger gatherings, fitness classes, live performances and parties and will happily accommodate more vigorous activities such as children’s sports and discos (with lighting) or bouncy castles with various large
Located in the centre of the town, the Grade 2 listed Town Hall was built in 1733 and is owned by the Town Trust. The Town Clerk’s office is here, and it’s where the Town Council normally meets. Langport Town Hall At various times the building has housed the town’s horse-drawn fire engine, the cells and the county court. It was also used as a market area. The building is now home to Langport Town
The Walter Bagehot Town Garden To the rear of the Town Hall lies the Walter Bagehot Town Garden, which was reconstructed and given to the Town Trust by Tesco when they developed their supermarket in North Street. With seats and picnic tables it is a popular place to eat your lunch, and there’s a great view over the moor to the railway viaduct. A footpath leads from the garden to the Tesco supermarket. The garden
The Langport Town Trust currently have monthly meetings, usually on the 3rd Tuesday of each month, after the full council meeting. To view agendas and minutes click on the links below For a history and description of what the Trust does, please click here. Langport Town Trust Agendas & Minutes 15th May 2018 Minutes 19th June 2018 Agenda Minutes 17th July 2018 Agenda Minutes 18th September 2018 Agenda Minutes