In 1998 all sitting almshouse residents were ambushed – and outlawed – by a judgement handed down from the court of appeal in the case of Gray v Taylor [1998] WLR 1. The effect was to reduce almshouse residents to a status equivalent to that of mere lodgers or demoted tenants (which latter connotes delinquency!) subject to summary eviction without any right of appeal. Nobody thought to inform the residents.

To this day we remain victims of this judgement. Here are links to the Gray v Taylor judgement:



To quote the judgement:

On 20th February 1997, at a meeting of the trustees, a resolution was passed that “the appointment of Dorothy Taylor be set aside on the grounds that her behaviour at Stephenson Court was vexatious and disturbed the quiet enjoyment of the almshouse”.

The evidence for the allegation of vexatiousness was never tested. The respondent (Mrs Taylor) became nonsuited when one of the appeal judges, citing clauses in the governing scheme, closed the issue as follows:

“… it is for the trustees to decide whether any of the circumstances set out in clause 46, justifying the setting aside of the appointment of an almsperson, has arisen. If any question arises as to the regularity or the validity of any decision made by the trustees, then, under clause 51, that question falls to be decided by the Charity Commissioners and not by the court.”

Order: appeal dismissed with costs  …leave to appeal to the House of Lords refused. 

Which brings us to the Charity Commission; but before proceeding thence:-

go now to Outlawed Again!