Many people are aware of the large charity in London, The Henry Smith Charity, which is an independent grant-making trust and one of the 10 richest in the country.  It helps people and communities at a time of need to bring about positive change. The Trust distributed just under £40 million in 2020.  Much less well known is the small charity in Godalming, which has the same name and is a combination of the Charities of Henry Smith and Richard Champion, (Reg No 236462) and the Education Foundation of Henry Smith (Reg No 311929).

Henry Smith made a bequest in favour of the Ancient Parish of Godalming nearly 400 years ago.  Today, that bequest is prudently invested to yield a steady annual income and used to support those in need, especially children.

The work of the charity and the decisions on grant-making are overseen by a group of Trustees appointed by the Parish Church, the Town Council, the Parish Councils of Busbridge and Shackleford, and the area of Farncombe.

Applications for a grant must be made by completing an application form, available here, and be supported by a referee. Grants are available up to a value of around £300. Any information provided by the applicant is kept strictly confidential, and the charity’s privacy policy is available here.


Henry Smith, who died in 1628, was a very wealthy businessman and property owner and he generously made bequests to many towns and villages in Surrey and elsewhere. By placing his wealth in a Trust and making a very careful selection of Trustees, he was able to ensure that after his death, his wealth would continue to support those causes that he held to be most important. These included relief of the poor, helping those in need to find work, helping those being exploited as slaves, and the education of children.

Over nearly 4 centuries, the legacy of Henry Smith has provided help to millions of people and continues to do so today. The image below is of his marble memorial in All Saints Church, Wandsworth, which is close to where he was born. Please follow the link above for more information about Henry Smith.

Download a copy of the Henry Smith Charity’s Privacy Policy or Application Form

Memorial of Henry Smith at All Saints Church, Wandsworth
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