1663 Harvey’s Homes

Richard Harvey, Merchant of Exeter. By his will dated 1663, left this property. His place of birth rebuilt 1842. For the use as a Hospital for Residents of Chard.


Richard Harvey was born in Chard, in his will he left his lands in Cambrideshire and Norfolk to the ‘poore of Chard’. Unfortunately, a Richard Opie took possession of these lands claiming that Richard Harvey had died intestate. To their credit the Portreeves and Burgesses of Chard pursued him through the courts for 26 years until in 1698 the hospital opened its doors,


Harveys is an almshouse. Throughout the 19th Century (in fact well into the 20th Century) the residents of Harveys ’Hospital’ were known as inmates.


The portreve, besides his other offices, has the government of an hospital endowed with two estates by a Mr Harvey, for the use and benefit of old and infirm parishioners, who have generally been chosen by the said portreve and burgesses.

From The History of Antiquities of Somerset

On 21st June 1823 the trustees resolved:


*There should be no admissions till the numbers were down to 14 and to be kept at that number

*There would be no admissions unless previously approved by the trustees


On 27th June 1842 (following the rebuilding of Harveys) the trustees resolved that the letters RH be worn on the right sleeve, as required by the will of Richard Harvey.





Harvey’s Charity Trustees rebuilt again in 1870 using the original stone. The Almshouses consist of 2 ranges divided by a central courtyard which is enclosed by high walls on the east and west sides. There is a symmetrical 2 storey street front of Ham Hill stone in a 19 century Tudor style. The chimney stacks are octagonal stone grouped with four in centre and in pairs to sides. The archway entrance is heavily molded with rectangular dripmould, carved spandrels and foliage label stops. A wide flight of steps leads up to the main door.


The word inmate was dropped for the first time in December 1954 and was replaced with resident.

It was decided in 1967 plans should be prepared to convert the existing 16 units to 8.


Initially, the revenues form the estate of Richard Harvey were used to pay the ‘inmates’ at Harveys and ‘outpay’ for other poor people in Chard. As costs went up outpay ceased. By the 1950’s pay to the residents had ceased and then after the 1972 modernization residents paid contribution for occupying their flats.