The French Church of Norwich came to an end in 1832 when the community had been fully integrated into Norwich non-conformist life. The Trustees of the Norwich French Church looked for a use for the church.

Attorney General Columbine convinced the Court that the church belonged to the Norwich French Church Charity.
The Trustees proposed to use the church as a private school, and later a Sunday school. However, both proposals were declined by the Court.

A trustee proposed a Scheme finally accepted by the Court.
Henry Martineau, the trustee, had two uncles who were directors (trustees) at the London French Hospital, an Alms House for people of French Huguenot decent. Thus there was a close connection between the two charities.

The Scheme proposed:

  1. To keeping St Mary the Less Church, with monuments and tombs in repair;
  2. To apprenticing poor boys of Norwich with a preference for those of French Protestant decent;
  3. For the balance to be paid to the French Protestant Hospital in London. This was on the condition that two or more inmates should be received and kept there, a preference being given to those who were decedents of the French Protestants whose families were or had been resident in Norwich.

The Board of Trustees to the Norwich French Church Charity would include three French Hospital London trustees, with the rest being from Norwich. All vacancies were to be filled on the nomination of the Directors of the French Hospital London.

It is recorded that the Norwich French Church Charity borrowed £400 from the French Hospital London to erect farm buildings in order to maintain the rent. The charity owned a number of properties that had been bequeathed to the French Church. These included buildings in St George’s Colgate Street, St Saviours Estate, and a Caister & Stoke Estate. The income from these properties supported the funding of apprentices.
The charity has gradually sold off its property over time.

The Norwich French Church Charity was established by the Charity Commission (set up in 1853) and the Scheme was later amended in 1927 and 1962. The charity was to be responsible for the income arising from the church and its other properties. After expenses, the income from the church was to be divided equally between apprentices in Norwich, and The French Hospital London. The income from other properties was to support apprentices.

The church was sold by the Trustees. The proceeds were invested to provide an annual income to support the education and training of vulnerable young people in Norwich, and older people at The French Hospital. The French Hospital had moved to Rochester in 1959.

On behalf of the French Hospital the Norwich French Church Charity began to offer financial assistance to local charitable organisations that support older people in need. The grants are to support older people in Norwich to remain in their homes independently.

More info about St Mary The Less.
More info about the French Hospital.

Other Huguenot charities which offer educational grants, include:

The French Huguenot Church of London Charitable Trust
The Westminster French Protestant School Foundation