The Association of Dunstable Charities
The Association of Dunstable Charities

Chews Foundation

Charity Reg. No. 307500


2015 is the 300th Anniversay of Chews House in High Street South which is owned by the charity and is a Grade 11 listed building, now run by the Priory Church and used as an office and meeting rooms. A flat at the back is occupied by the caretaker. The adjoining old school building, also owned by the charity is now let to the Dunstable Rep Theatre.


Grants are given to students whose families are on limited means, living within the Dunstable area, and whose parents are in sympathy with the aims of the Church of England and other Christian churches. These are for educational costs, including equipment and clothing.


Some financial assistance may also be given to enable young students, within the Dunstable area, to study music or other arts.


TRUSTEES  As at March 2020


Ex Officio

Archdeacon of Bedford                                 Churchwardens


Ven Dave Middlebrook                                      Mrs Jackie Prince 


Rector of Dunstable                                                




Representative Governors (3 year term of office)

Central Beds Council                                  Houghton Regis Town Council

 Cllr John Chatterley                                      Cllr Elaine Cooper



Dunstable Town Council (3 year term of office)


Cllr Kenson Gurney                               Cllr Alan G Corkhill


Co-optative Governors (5 year term of office)


Mr David Clarke (Vice Chairman)          Mrs Shirley Deller


Mr Hugh Garrod (Chairman)                  Mr Barry George


Cllr Miss A Sparrow



Clerk: Mrs Julie Tipler 01582 660008 


Normal Office Hours:


Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 9.00 a.m. – 2.00 p.m. 


William Chew


       William Chew Family Tree

William Chew 1656-1712. He became a member of the Distillers Company in December 1687. William was concerned about the plight of boys from poor families in Dunstable. He expressed an intention to found a school for poor boys in Dunstable but died before he could do this.


       William Chew coat of arms 

In 1703 William Chew was granted a coat of arms, showing a golden Catherine wheel and three griffins. In heraldry, griffins denote perseverance. This is the coat of arms on his memorial in the Priory Church.


       Carts Farm

This was the first farm that William Chew bought when he became wealthy. It is in Upper Gravenhust and was originally called Tewelbury. On his death, it passed to his sister Jane and is now called Carts Farm.


       Chew’s Charity School drawing

This is one of the earliest drawings of Chew’s Charity School. It opened in 1715. The almshouses, to the left, were built in 1723.


       Chew’s boys, left

The School’s uniform, provided free, is described as consisting ‘of suits lined with calico, two shirts of bleached linen, one pair of knitted stockings, shoes and caps with scarlet bands and tassels.’ The original ‘blue boys’ were made of lead. They were stolen in November 1998. The current ones are made of fibre-glass.


       School Rules

The school rules were strictly adhered to. Boys from poor families were admitted aged seven if they could read from the New Testament. Parents had to be members of the Church of England. The master was allowed to maintain discipline ‘in his own fashion.’


       Bible and Book of Common Prayer

When boys left the school, aged fourteen, they were presented with inscribed copies of the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. Many were given apprenticeships by local firms and tradesmen. The money in the first year was paid to the employer. In the second year it was given to the apprentice to buy his own tools of the trade.


       Chew’s House kneeler

In the 1980s many kneelers were produced for the Priory Church. They were designed and made by local people on local themes. This one shows Chew’s



       The Little Theatre

In 1880 the Charity School closed and was replaced by Chew’s Foundation School. It had an older age-range and the original building was no longer fit for purpose. The trustees bought the three cottages next door, demolished them and built a new school.


The new building opened in 1883. There were, by now, several other schools in Dunstable but none of them could match the standard of the Chew’s Foundation School. Dunstable Grammar School opened in 1888 and was able to provide a much better education. From this point, the Foundation School’s fortunes began to wane and it finally closed in 1905.


       Chew’s House 1915

The Master continued to live in the original building. When the school closed it was used by the trustees and many church based organisations, such as the Church of England Men’s Society (CEMS). Today it houses the Church Offices and is available for hire by local clubs and organisations.


       Chew’s School 1915

After the closing of the school, the new building was used by the local Education Authority. It later became a Library, the first full time branch library in Bedfordshire. In 1968 it became the home of The Little Theatre.


       William Chew’s memorial

William Chew’s memorial in the Priory Church is now inside the choir vestry. He died unexpectedly and without making a will, on 18th March 1712.


Grants are given to students whose families are on limited means and living within the Dunstable area.  They are for educational costs, including equipment, clothing, music and the arts.


Applications normally close at the beginning of May and payments are sent in July.


Grants are limited to a maximum of four per child.


Proof that you are in freceipt of Housing Benefit/Universal Credit is required.  However, if you are on limited means and not on Housing Benefit, you should contact the clerk to arrange an interview and complete a finance form.


The Chew's Foundation can offer help with school uniforms and Ashton Schools Foundation for some equipment. You will not be eligible for a grant from Chews Foundation if you have received one from Ashton Schools Foundation. 

Application forms are below. Please complete and return to The Clerk.

PLEASE NOTE - THE LAST DAY FOR APPLICATIONS IS FRIDAY 8TH MAY 2020. Please ensure your applications are received by this date. Thank you 





Chews Additional child forms 2022.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [62.2 KB]
ASF Equipmen Grant app form updated for [...]
Adobe Acrobat document [197.8 KB]
Chews Uniform Grant app form updated fo[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [147.2 KB]
Grant application - ANNUAL covering lett[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [67.7 KB]

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Grove House

76 High Street North




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+44 1582 660008

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