A short and informative insight into a man who left a legacy, that continues to this day, for the benefit of the people of Soham.
Benjamin Laney was born in Ipswich in 1591.
He was a student at Christ’s College, Cambridge and became a Fellow of Pembroke Hall in 1616, becoming Master from 1630.
He rose to Vice Chancellor of the University of Cambridge in 1632.
Bishop Laney became prominent within Royal circles on obtaining the role of Chaplin to King Charles I. During the English Civil War he went into exile with the future King Charles II. After the restoration of 1660, he was made Bishop of Peterborough and Lincoln in 1663. From 1667 he became the Bishop of Ely.
Bishop Laney died on 24th January 1674,and is buried in Ely Cathedral. He bequested his estate, from land, rents and property within Soham, into a charitable trust. Income from the Trust was to be used for the following:
Providing financial support, outfits, clothing, tools, instruments or books to enable beneficiaries on leaving school, university or other educational establishment to prepare for or assist their entry into a profession, trade or calling.
In awarding exhibitions or grants tenable to any secondary school, college, education, university or other institution of further education.
In otherwise promoting the education including social and physical training of beneficiaries.
This is for persons under the age of twenty five years, who satisfy all of the objects and who are resident in the parishes of Soham and Ely.
Six Trustees continue to action his will to this day. More information on land, rents and property can be found via the Soham Roots website.