Benjamin Laney was born in Ipswich in 1590 and studied in Cambridge, first at Christ’s College and later at Pembroke Hall. In 1630 he was elected Master of Pembroke Hall, and in 1632 Vice Chancellor of the University. In 1639 he was appointed Chaplain to King Charles I and became a canon at Westminster. Because of his loyalty to the King he was turned out of his Mastership in 1644 by the Earl of Manchester, the Parliament's Visitor, and also lost his ecclesiastical preferments, whereupon he went abroad and attended King Charles II as Chaplin during his exile.
On the Restoration, Dr. Laney was appointed Bishop of Peterborough, but was subsequently translated to Lincoln and finally to Ely in 1667. During his episcopate at Ely he rebuilt a considerable part of the Bishop's Palace which had been allowed to fall into decay under the Commonwealth.
On January 24th 1674 Bishop Laney died at the age of 84 and was buried in the South Aisle of the Cathedral. By his will, made shortly before his death, the Bishop bequeathed £500 to Pembroke Hall and also devised his lands, messuages and hereditaments in Soham to his executors upon trust to convey them to six substantial freeholders, inhabitants of Ely or Soham, who should be charged to use the rents and profits in putting out the children of the poor inhabitants of those parishes to some honest trade, provided that not more than £10 should be allowed for any one child.
The trusts have been updated over the years.
Objectives and Activities for Public Benefit
The Charity applies money received from Rents and Other Income in one or more of the following ways, based on the original Will of Bishop Laney and subsequent changes as approved by the Charity Commissioners:
1. In providing financial assistance, 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.
2. In awarding Exhibitions or Grants tenable at any Secondary School, College of Education, or University or other institution of further (including professional and technical) education.
3. In otherwise promoting the education (including social and physical training) of *beneficiaries.
* Beneficiaries means young persons who have not attained the age of 25 years who are resident in the beneficial area.
Charity Registration No. 311306
Bishop Laney's Charity Secretary, George Court, Bartholomew's Walk, Ely, Cambs CB7 4JW