The Charity is proud to have provided accommodation for the older person in beautiful surroundings for over 300 years. The first 9 almshouses were completed and occupied in 1710 and have been added to over the years. There are now 48, which continue to be let at very low rents: 38 for single occupancy and 10 for couples. These provide homely accommodation in a secluded community setting for up to 58 residents.
In accordance with the mandate of the Charity’s founder, the almshouses are reserved for those of “limited financial means”. The criteria for becoming an almshouse resident remain close to those specified by Michael Yoakley himself: “No busy-body, nor proud idle person, nor waster, but careful and diligent as much as in them lieth, labouring with their own hands for a maintenance, being of good life and Godly conversation as becometh the truth and the Christian religion.”
The almshouses are very popular and application to move in can often mean joining a lengthy waiting list. Cottages change hands on average at 2 per year. The suitability of an applicant for residence at Drapers Cottages will be determined by the following criteria based on terms outlined in of the will of Michael Yoakley (1707):
1. Economic – of minimal income and limited investment.
2. Health – in general good physical and mental health; able to look after themselves on a day to day basis e.g. do their own shopping, washing, cooking with minimal if any assistance.
3. Social – kind, considerate, respectful of neighbours, “of Godly life and good conversation”, an asset to the Drapers community (See the original criteria as stated by Michael Yoakley).