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- Original (As enacted)
This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).
"It is not possible to foresee or foretell from what classes or " conditions of life the future wielders of power in this country " will be drawn. Some may be as in the past men of wealth and " famous descent ; some may belong to the world of trade and " business ; others may spring from the ranks of the manual toilers. " To none of these in the midst of their strenuous and responsible" labours could the spirit and anodyne of Chequers do anything " but good. In the city-bred man especially, the periodic contact " with the most typical rural life would create and preserve a just " sense of proportion between the claims of town and country. To " the revolutionary statesman the antiquity and calm tenacity of " Chequers and its annals might suggest some saving virtues in the " continuity of English history and exercise a check upon too hasty " upheavals, whilst even the most reactionary could scarcely be " insensible to the spirit of human freedom which permeates the " countryside of Hampden Burke and Milton. " Apart from these more subtle influences, the better the health. " of our rulers the more sanely will they rule and the inducement " to spend two days a week in the high and pure air of the Chiltern " hills and woods will, it is hoped, benefit the nation as well as its '' chosen leaders. The main features of this scheme are therefore " designed not merely to make Chequers available as the official " country residence of the Prime Minister of the day, but to " tempt him to visit it regularly and to make it possible for him " to live there, even though his income should be limited to his " salary." THIS INDENTURE is accordingly made the twenty-fourth day of November One thousand nine hundred and seventeen between Sir Arthur Hamilton Lee of Chequers in the county of Buckingham of the first part Dame Ruth Moore Lee the wife of the said Sir Arthur Hamilton Lee of the second part Allan Ernest Messer and Arthur Edward Nicholls both of No. 14 Old Jewry Chambers in the City of London Solicitors of the third part and The Public Trustee of the fourth part Whereas the said Sir Arthur Hamilton Lee is desirous of transferring forthwith the ownership of the Chequers Estate together with certain chattels as a free gift (in trust) to the nation subject to the conditions hereinafter set forth And whereas the said Sir Arthur Hamilton Lee also desires to create a trust fund for maintaining the Chequers Estate And whereas under and by virtue of two indentures of lease short particulars of which are set forth in the schedule hereto the said Sir Arthur Hamilton Lee and Ruth Moore Lee became and at law remain lessees of the greater part of the hereditaments hereinafter conveyed and settled for the term of twenty-one years from the twenty-ninth day of September one thousand nine hundred and nine and thereafter for their joint lives and for the life of the survivor of them at certain rents and subject to certain covenants and conditions in the said indentures respectively contained And whereas under and by virtue of an indenture dated the fifth day of April one thousand nine hundred and seventeen and made between Mary Ruth Falcke of the one part and the said Allan Ernest Messer and Arthur Edward Nicholls of the other part the fee simple and inheritance of the said hereditaments and of certain adjoining hereditaments (all herein-after shortly collectively called "the Chequers Estate") was duly conveyed unto and to the use of the said Allan Ernest Messer and Arthur Edward Nicholls as joint tenants with the benefit of and subject to the said leases And whereas the fee simple and inheritance of the Chequers Estate was in fact purchased by and conveyed to the said Allan Ernest Messer and Arthur Edward Nicholls as agents for and with the moneys of the said Sir Arthur Hamilton Lee and the same estate is. now held by them in trust for him And whereas the said Sir Arthur Hamilton Lee is also the absolute owner ,o£ the furniture pictures tapestry books manuscripts china relics works of art silver, linen and other effects now in and about the Mansion House of Chequers And whereas the trusts hereinafter declared in relation to the Chequers Estate and the said trust fund would infringe certain rules of law unless these presents were confirmed and made valid by Act of Parliament and it is intended that a Bill shall be introduced into Parliament for; the confirmation of these presents accordingly And whereas it is intended that the said Bill shall constitute the Commissioners of Works as defined by the Interpretation Act 1889 or some other-,body, into a statutory corporation and that the legal ownership of the Chequers Estate shall be vested in the said Commissioners of Works or other body as custodian trustee and that such trust fund shall be vested in the Public Trustee but that the administration of the trusts shall be confided to a body of administrative trustees consisting from time to time of the holders of certain offices hereinafter mentioned Now this indenture witnesseth as follows :—
1The Prime Minister.
(a)" The settlor" shall mean the said Sir Arthur Hamilton Lee.
(b)" Lady Lee " shall mean Ruth Moore Lee his present wife.
(c)"The custodian trustee" shall mean the Commissioners of Works or such corporate body as may be appointed in that behalf by the said intended Act of Parliament.
(d)" The Act" shall mean the said intended Act of Parliament confirming these presents if and when the same shall receive the Royal assent.
(e)" The administrative trustees" shall mean a body consisting of the persons respectively who shall for the time being occupy the following offices, viz. :—
2The said Allan Ernest Messer and Arthur Edward Nicholls as trustees and by the direction of the settlor hereby convey and the settlor and Lady Lee for the purpose of extinguishing their said leasehold interests hereby surrender and assign unto the settlor and his heirs All that mansion house known as " Chequers " situate in the parish of Ellesborough in the county of Buckingham with the gardens pleasure grounds woods stables coachhouses lodges and cottages usually occupied in connection therewith And also all those freehold hereditaments farms farmhouses and lands situate in the parishes of Ellesborough and Great and Little Kimble in the county of Buckingham all which said hereditaments (excluding the area known as Coombe Hill which has already been conveyed to the said national trust for places of historic interest) contain in the whole one thousand two hundred and thirty-two acres or thereabouts and are more particularly delineated on the plan hereto annexed and are thereon coloured red and blue Together also with all tithes and tithe rentcharges in lieu of tithes issuing or arising out of the said hereditaments or any part or parts thereof which are now vested in the said Allan Ernest Messer and Arthur Edward Nicholls in trust for the settlor And also all the manors or lordships or reputed manors or lordships of Ellesborough Chequers and Mordaunts and of Great Kimble and Little Kimble in the county of Buckingham And also all that the advowson of the parish church of Ellesborough in the same county To hold the same respectively unto the settlor and his heirs To the use of the settlor during his life without impeachment of waste and if Lady Lee shall survive the settlor then to the use of Lady Lee during her life without impeachment of waste and upon the determination or failure of the foregoing uses To the use of the custodian trustee its successors and assigns in fee simple upon the trusts hereinafter declared in relation thereto. III.—Assignment op Chattels.
3In further pursuance of the premises the settlor as settlor hereby declares that he will henceforth hold and stand possessed of all such furniture pictures tapestry books manuscripts china relics works of art silver linen and other effects now in and about the said mansion house of Chequers and its curtilage as are more particularly specified in an inventory which is to remain in the settlor's possession so long as he retains the right of residence at Chequers (but subject nevertheless to the right hereinafter reserved to add to weed out or improve by purchase sale or exchange the collections therein described) Upon trust for the personal use and enjoyment of himself the settlor during his life and if Lady Lee shall survive the settlor then in trust to permit and suffer Lady Lee to have the personal use and enjoyment thereof during her life and upon the determination or failure of the foregoing trusts Upon trust to deliver the said furniture pictures tapestry books manuscript china relics works of art silver linen and other effects to the custodian trustee upon the trusts hereinafter declared in relation thereto. IV.—Trusts.
4The custodian trustee shall hold the said hereditaments conveyed by clause 2 of these presents after the cesser of the prior trusts in favour of the settlor and Lady Lee or after the prior determination thereof in their lifetime or in the lifetime of the survivor of them Upon trust to let the administrative trustees (hereinafter appointed) into possession of the said Chequers Estate and receipt of the rents and profits thereof except as herein provided and into possession of the said manors and advowson and into possession of the said furniture pictures tapestry books manuscripts china relics works of art silver linen and other effects and to permit and suffer them without any inquiry interference or question whatsoever to manage the same as if they were absolute owners thereof Provided nevertheless as follows :—
(a)That if the settlor and Lady Lee or the survivor of them shall at any time surrender their his or her life interest in the said premises so as to accelerate the preceding trust then at the request of the parties or party surrendering the same the custodian trustee shall permit them him or her to retain during their his or her lives or life without impeachment of waste any part of the Chequers Estate not exceeding an area of five acres and not being at any point nearer to the mansion house of Chequers than one-third of a mile as a site for a small house as a residence for them him or her (such residence after the death of the survivor of them to be available for the secretary and curator hereinafter mentioned) ;
(b)That the settlor and Lady Lee shall have the right of burial on the hill called " Beacon Hill" ; and
(c)That in the event of and notwithstanding such surrender of such life interest or interests the settlor (if then living) is to have control and management and to receive for his own benefit the profits of the Chequers farms and of the woodlands during his life or for such shorter period as he may determine and to appoint (in consultation with the administrative trustees and with the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries) the first manager after his death or prior surrender of the interests reserved to him under this sub-clause. V.—Covenants by Sir Arthur Hamilton Lee to provide a Sum or Fifty-five thousand Pounds War Stock for Upkeep of the Estate and for delivery of Farming Stock.
5The settlor hereby covenants with the Public Trustee as follows :—
(a)That he or his legal personal representatives will as soon as possible but not later than three calendar months after His Majesty's assent shall have been given to the Act create the Chequers Trust Fund by paying to the Public Trustee or transferring to him fifty five thousand pounds five per cent. War Loan Stock of or guaranteed by the United Kingdom with liberty to the Public Trustee (by the direction of the settlor or the administrative trustees) to vary and transpose the same from time to time for other investments of a kind authorised by law for the investment of trust funds Provided that during the continuance of the present war no reinvestment shall be made except in war loans of or guaranteed by the United Kingdom :
(b)That on the death of the settlor or at such earlier date as he may appoint the whole of the live and dead farming stock on the Chequers farms belonging to him shall be handed over to the custodian trustee in order that the said farms may be carried on as fully stocked under the trusts hereinafter declared. VI.—Trusts of the Sum of £55,000.
6The Public Trustee shall pay the income of the Chequers Trust Fund to the settlor during his life so long as he does not surrender his life interest in the Chequers estate for his own absolute use and benefit and after the death of the settlor such income shall be paid to Lady Lee if she shall survive him during her life or so long as she does not surrender her life interest in the Chequers Estate for her absolute use and benefit and after the death of the survivor of the settlor and Lady Lee or such earlier date as they he or she may appoint the said income shall be paid to the account of the Administrative Trustees at such bank as they shall from time to time direct and the receipt of any cashier of such bank shall be a sufficient discharge to the Public Trustee therefor. VII.—The Trusts to be administered by the Administrative Trustees.
7During the joint lives of the settlor and Lady Lee and the life of the survivor of them the Administrative Trustees shall have no administrative functions unless the settlor and Lady Lee or the survivor of them previously surrender their rights in the Chequers Estate and in the Chequers Trust Fund in which case the following duties shall he accelerated.
8After the death of the survivor of the settlor and Lady Lee or such earlier date at which they or the survivor of them may have surrendered their his or her rights in the Chequers Estate and the Chequers Trust Fund the Administrative Trustees shall administer the said hereditaments hereby conveyed and the said furniture pictures tapestry books manuscripts china relics works of art silver linen and other effects hereby assigned and also the income of the Chequers Trust Fund according to the following trusts viz. :—
(a)As to the Mansion House and grounds and the said furniture pictures tapestry books manuscripts china relics works of art silver linen and other effects hereby assigned upon trust to keep the same in good repair and condition with a staff of not less than four resident indoor servants and with the necessary number of gardeners and labourers and properly warmed and lighted and generally in a fit state as a furnished residence fit for occupation and upon further trust to permit and suffer the Prime Minister for the time being to occupy use and enjoy the same as a furnished country residence for such periods continuous or discontinuous as he may in his absolute discretion think fit.
(b)But if any Prime Minister shall decline to avail himself of the rights hereby conferred upon him then so long as he shall so decline similar rights shall be offered by the Administrative Trustees to the following persons and in the following order viz. :—
The Chancellor of the Exchequer for the time being The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs for the time being The Secretary of State for the Colonies for the time being The United States Ambassador at the Court of Saint James's for the time being The President of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries for the time being The First Lord of the Admiralty for the time being The Secretary of State for War for the time being The Speaker of the House of Commons for the time being The Lord Chief Justice of England for the time being or to the respective persons for the time being holding similar positions to the above :
Provided that it shall be lawful for the Prime Minister at any time (notwithstanding that he may have declined to avail himself of the rights hereby conferred upon him) to occupy use and enjoy the said mansion house and premises on his giving to the Administrative Trustees three calendar months' notice in writing of his intention so to do.
(c)As to the Chequers Farms the Administrative Trustees shall permit and suffer the same or such of them as may be mutually agreed upon to be occupied and carried on as model farms by the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries or such other Board or Minister of State as shall for the time being hare the general conduct of the agricultural interests of the State along with all such stock live and dead belonging to the settlor as may be upon such farms at the death of the settlor (but reserving the right to cut and sell timber and timber trees) rent free but upon the terms that if any net profit be made in any year by the said Board or Minister by the working of the said farms collectively or of such of them as such Board or Minister may accept then that such net profit shall be handed over to the Administrative Trustees to be applied by them as income of the Chequers Trust Fund.
(d)But if the said Board of Agriculture and Fisheries or Minister shall at any time refuse to carry on the said farms or shall accept some only of them or shall after the acceptance of all or any of them desire at any time to surrender them or any of them then and in any and every such case the Administrative Trustees may either arrange to farm the land themselves or shall lease or let the said farms to any person or persons or body or bodies corporate at a fair agricultural rent for such terms of years and upon such conditions and generally in such manner as the Administrative Trustees shall in their absolute discretion consider proper and desirable (but reserving the right to cut and sell timber and timber trees) and if required the custodian trustee shall join in any such lease for the purpose of passing the legal estate to the tenant or lessee for the term granted.
(e)As to the income of the Chequers Trust Fund the Administrative Trustees shall apply the same from time to time to the following purposes or any of them viz. :—
(i)In payment of the annual fees of the Public Trustee and of rates and other necessary outgoings and expenses ;
(ii)In payment of the wages and board wages of not less than four resident indoor servants at Chequers ;
(iii)In the upkeep of the gardens and pleasure grounds including the wages of gardeners and labourers the annual sum thus expended not to exceed five hundred pounds ;
(iv)In the repair and maintenance of the buildings of or occupied in connection with Chequers and grounds ;
(v)In the maintenance and renovation of the furniture and fixtures at Chequers and the purchase where deemed necessary of new or additional furniture for which purpose mot less than one hundred pounds shall be set aside in each year and accumulated until wanted ;
(vi)In payment of any expenses of the Administrative Trustees necessarily incurred by them;
(vii)In payment to the Prime Minister or other official occupant for the time being of the mansion house and grounds of a sum of fifteen pounds for every week end actually spent by him at Chequers to cover any expenses thereby incurred by him for which purpose a " week end" shall be deemed to be any continuous period of not less than thirty-six hours during any seven consecutive days:
Provided that if the income shall at any time be more than sufficient to meet the above-mentioned current payments and to make reasonable provision for the expenditure occurring only at longer intervals than a year such surplus shall be , used in increasing the said payment above marked (vii). VIII.—Proceedings of Administrative Trustees.
9Each administrative trustee shall hold office so long only as he holds the official position by virtue of which he shall be one of the administrative trustees.
(f)The several persons referred to in the last preceding paragraph shall whilst the present constitution of the United Kingdom remains substantially intact respectively mean the respective officials now popularly known as (1) " Prime Minister" (2) " Speaker of the House of Commons" (3) Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs " (4) " Chancellor of the Exchequer " (5) " President of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries " (6) " First Commissioner of Works" (7) "Lord Chief Justice of England" (8) "Chairman of the Executive Committee of the National Trust for Places of Historic Interest" and (9) "Director of the National Gallery in London " notwithstanding that their titles and functions may from time to time be changed but if any change in the constitution of the United Kingdom shall he made either by the extension of local self-government to England Scotland Ireland and Wales respectively or any one or more of them or by a closer federation of the various component parts of what is popularly known as " the British Empire" then and in such case the political officials above referred to shall be those officials holding such offices respectively in the ministry responsible to that Parliament which shall be supreme over all subordinate legislatures Provided that if the seat of the said supreme Government of the Empire should be elsewhere than in the United Kingdom then the benefits of the trusts shall be transferred to the officials of whatever Government is holding the next highest authority and which has its administrative centre in England.
(g)"Chequers and grounds" shall mean such part of the hereditaments hereinafter described and conveyed as is delineated and coloured red on the plan hereto annexed.
(h)" Chequers Farms" shall mean such part of the hereditaments hereinafter described and conveyed as is delineated and coloured blue on the said plan hereto annexed.
(i)"The Chequers Trust Fund" shall mean a sum of not less than fifty-five thousand pounds (which may be added to from time to time) to be paid by the settlor as hereinafter provided and the investments for the time being representing the same. II.—Conveyance of Real Estate.
10After the determination of the uses and trusts hereinbefore declared in favour of the settlor and Lady Lee respectively or any part thereof it shall be incumbent on the administrative trustees to hold at least one meeting in every twelve calendar months and at least one such meeting in every three years shall be held at Chequers.
11All meetings of the administrative trustees shall be convened either in the name of the Prime Minister for the time being or failing him in the names of two other administrative trustees and the notice of each meeting shall be sent to each of the administrative trustees by post The failure of any such notice to reach its destination shall not invalidate or affect the acts or decisions of the majority of the administrative trustees present and voting at any such meeting.
12The Prime Minister shall act as chairman of the meetings of the administrative trustees but if he is not present at any meeting the administrative trustees present shall nominate a chairman ad hoc.
13The administrative trustees shall not be bound to act unanimously but provided that a quorum of at least four of them be present at a meeting they shall act according to the votes of the majority of those present and voting If a quorum be not present at a duly convened meeting within thirty minutes after the time named in the notice convening the same such meeting shall stand adjourned for one week to the same hour and notice of such adjournment shall be given to each of the administrative trustees.
14The administrative trustees may from time to time employ any agent and in particular may from time to time appoint and dismiss a secretary and curator whose duty it shall be to keep records of all meetings issue notices by the direction of the chairman or acting chairman, and generally to superintend the details of administration to make payments out of the Chequers Trust Fund and generally to act as the agent of the administrative trustees. IX.—General Provisions.
15It being one of the main objects of the settlor that the present external and internal features of Chequers shall be preserved intact as far as possible it is hereby expressly declared that:—
(a)The name of " Chequers " shall never be changed ;
(b)The architectural features of the mansion house the surrounding gardens garden houses walls and stone pavements shall be preserved intact and in particular none of the brick or stonework chimneys tiled roofs and windows are to be plastered over or otherwise covered or altered ;
(c)No new buildings of any kind (including conservatories and greenhouses) are to be erected within two hundred yards of any part of the mansion house ;
(d)No alteration is to be made in the interior panelling or other woodwork (which is to be kept unpainted) chimney pieces ornamental plaster ceilings and friezes oak floors window glass (whether heraldic or plain) particularly in the following rooms viz. : the great hall (including upper passage) the stone hall the dining room the study (or Constable room) the white and little parlours the great parlour the Hawtrey room anteroom and prison room the long gallery the Cromwell passage the north and south garden halls the main staircase and the damask and state bedrooms ;
(e)The furniture (except bedroom and office furniture) is so far as possible to be retained in the rooms in which such furniture was used at the time of transfer to the administrative trustees ;
(f)All pictures tapestry books manuscripts china relic and works of art as specified in the catalogue mentioned in clause o after they have been handed over to the administrative trustees are never to be removed from the mansion house except for the purpose of effecting necessary repairs or restorations Provided that nothing herein contained shall be deemed to fetter the right of the settlor and Lady Lee or the survivor of them while they he or she shall remain in occupation of the Chequers Estate to make such additions to or alterations in the mansion house (exterior and interior) and the contents thereof as they he or she may think fit.
16If and as the settlor and Lady Lee or the survivor of them desire to improve the collections of furniture pictures tapestry books china works of art silver linen and other effects hereby settled during their lives and the life of the survivor of them or during such shorter period as they or the survivor of them shall remain in occupation of the Chequers Estate it shall be lawful for them or the survivor of them during such periods to add to weed out and improve by purchase sale or exchange any of the said collections of furniture pictures tapestry books china works of art silver linen and other effects which they or the survivor of them in their his or her absolute discretion may think capable of improvement or unworthy of being retained as the case may be.
17The woods and shrubberies and trees whether on the grounds forming part of Chequers and grounds or on any of the Chequers farms are not to be cleared or cut down but merely thinned cropped and replanted from time to time in accordance with the most approved methods of forestry under the direction of such competent person as shall from time to time be appointed for that purpose by the administrative trustees and all net profit derived from the sale of timber and timber trees is after the death of the settlor to be treated as income of the Chequers Trust Fund.
18The administrative trustees shall have full power after the death of the settlor and with the consent of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries (if tenants) to sell all or any of the Chequers farms (except such as are hatched black on the said plan and which form an integral part of the park lands round the mansion house) if they think it expedient so to do and the purchase moneys shall be added to the capital of the Chequers Trust Fund but they shall have no power to sell Chequers and grounds or the excepted farms or the woods or any part thereof.
19If after the deaths of the settlor and Lady Lee the administrative trustees consider it desirable to add to or modify any of the detailed provisions or powers of these presents consistently with preserving intact the main provisions of the trust in favour of successive Prime Ministers and other high officials hereinbefore contained and of clauses 15 17 and 18 above it shall be lawful for them to do so by any deed or deeds with the sanction of a judge of the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice.
20If for any reason whatsoever the trusts of these presents should completely fail or if Chequers should be left unoccupied by any of the official persons for whose benefit the said trusts are intended for a continuous period of upwards of twenty consecutive years then and in such case if the settlor and Lady Lee or either of them shall then be living the whole of the real and personal estate comprised in and settled by these presents shall be conveyed and transferred free of expense to the settlor and Lady Lee or the survivor of them for their his or her absolute benefit but if both the settlor and Lady Lee shall then be dead then the whole of the said real and personal estate (except the pictures relics and works of art and the Chequers Trust Fund) shall be sold and the net proceeds of such, sale shall be added to the capital of the Chequers trust fund which trust fund shall thenceforth be held by the Public Trustee Upon trust to pay the income thereof to the Trustees of the National Gallery in London to be applied by them for or towards the purchase of additional pictures for the nation and in that event the whole of the pictures relics and works of art hereby settled shall be handed over to the Trustees of the said National Gallery for exhibition in any of the National Collections.
21These presents are conditional on the Act being passed and receiving His Majesty's assent within three months of the date hereof and if the Act shall not have been passed and received such assend within such period or within such further period as the settlor shall in writing agree to these presents and everything herein contained shall be void and of none effect. In witness &c. The SCHEDULE above referred to.
|Date of Lease.||Parties.|
|(1) 8th November 1909|
Ponsonby Bagot and Villiers Spencer Bagot of first part.
Henry Jacob Delaval Astley of second part.
Sir Arthur Hamilton Lee and Lady Lee of third part.
|(2) 6th April 1911|
Henry Jacob Delaval Astley of first part.
The Honourable Ralph Pelham Nevill and the Honourable Charles Gathorne Gathorne Hardy the second part. Sir Arthur Hamilton Lee and Lady Lee of third part.
|Signed sealed and delivered by the above-named Sir Arthur Hamilton Lee in the presence of|
(Signed) ARTHUR HAMILTON LEE.
Faith Moore, Spinster,
17, Berkeley Square,
London, W. Edward Henry Carson, M.P., P.C.,
5, Eaton Place,
|Sigued sealed and delivered by the above-named Dame Ruth Moore Lee in the presence of|
(Signed) RUTH MOORE LEE.
Faith Moore, Spinster. 17, Berkeley Square,
London, W. Edward Henry Carson, M.P., P.C.,
5, Eaton Place,
|Signed sealed and delivered by the above-named Allan Ernest Messer and Arthur Edward Nicholls in the presence of|
(Signed) ALLAN E. MESSER.
(Signed) ARTHUR E. NICHOLLS.
W. A. Frith, Solicitor,
Irene Saunders, Spinster,
Clerks with Messrs. Lawrance, Webster & Nicholls,
14, Old Jewry Chambers, E.C.
|Sealed with the Official Seal of the Public Trustee in the presence of—|
(Signed) C. J. STEWART,
J. Stocker, Civil Servant,
Public Trustee Department,
Kingsway, W.C. The Official Seal of the Public Trustee.
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