Market Lavington Museum

The Sainsbury Bread Charity

Sainsbury is one of the most common names in the old baptism registers for Market Lavington with some 250 people of that surname baptised between the 1660s and the 1830s. This puts it on a par with the commonest name in the country – Smith. The Sainsbury family were important in terms of numbers.

But some were also important in terms of status. Amongst these was Thomas Sainsbury.

Thomas Sainsbury, Market Lavington born and Lord Mayor of London in 1786

The memorial in the church chancel reads-

Thomas Sainsbury Esq son of Samuel and Elizabeth Sainsbury born the 25th December 1730 Died 16th May 1795 chosen Alderman of the Ward of Billingsgate the year 1778 Sheriff of London and Middlesex 1780 and Lord Mayor of London 1786


So Market Lavington born Thomas became Lord Mayor of London.

Three Sainsbury family members have set up a local charity, which is known as the Sainsbury Bread Charity. Thomas gave £200 to be invested with the income to be distributed amongst the poor by his will of 1795. William Sainsbury added a similar amount by his will of 1796, which came into effect when he died in 1806.

In 1833 the charity provided 668 loaves of bread shared amongst 160 families.

In  1846, Maria Sainsbury’s will added another £200 to the fund. This allowed about £16 of bread to be distributed at the start of the 20th century. In 1972 the money available was about £28.

The bread charity ticket we have at Market Lavington Museum dates from around 1960 and has been signed by the Reverend Daunford Davies.

Sainsbury Bread Charity ticket from about 1960 - now at Market Lavington Museum

Amongst many Sainsbury items we have at Market Lavington Museum there is an enormous Sainsbury family tree. The terms of the gift of this prevent us from publishing it so if you want to see it you’ll need to make a trip to Market Lavington.