The Pemberton Almshouses, St Peter’s Street
“I am the Pemberton Almshouses on St Peter’s Street, almost opposite the Church. You see the spike, like an arrow, on top of my gate. Some say Roger Pemberton left money to build me, as penance, for shooting a widow by accident.
I was completed in 1629 to house six poor but respectable widows, who through no fault of their own, had fallen on hard times. Two from St Peter’s, two from St Stephen’s, and one each from St Michael’s and Shenley. All six had their own front door, pleasantly light room, 18 feet by 14 feet, and their own piece of garden.
Roger Pemberton was a very generous man, leaving money towards their clothing, stockings, shoes and linen as well as meat, bread, drink and firewood. The Pemberton family charity looked after me for over 300 years! I was threatened with demolition in 1929, but survived, only being sold in 1944. Nowadays the Council owns me. Today, men as well as women live within my walls.”
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