The Association’s Head of Member Services, Julian Marczak was delighted to be at the 150th anniversary celebrations for the Mrs de Lannoy and Haven Homes Almshouse Charity in Crowborough.

On the 14 June 2024, residents, trustees and officers, together with many others closely associated with the almshouses, all came together for a service of thanksgiving at All Saints Church, Crowborough.

A poem which had been specially written for the occasion, was read by Mary Corney, one of the present residents of Mrs de Lannoy Cottages. The trustees of the charity have kindly shared it below:

150 years of Mrs de Lannoy Cottages

Four gables, proud on Beacon Road,
proclaim their birth: 1, 8, 7, 4.
Today, the heart of Crowborough presses round:
house agents, pizzas, chapel, doctors, pub;
hedge filtering the daily traffic’s hum
and evening visits from the kebab van

It wasn’t always so, when Mrs D,
replete with widow’s unexpected wealth,
endowed this house, this sanctuary,
raised high upon a Wealden ridge.
A refuge, shelter, second chance
for “inmates with a Protestant belief”.

Not all was perfect in that quiet retreat.
The trail to toilets down the garden path
now rectified by all mod cons within
and water paid for, faults repaired
beneath the watchful eye of those
who oversee and delegate such things.

So here they came, expectant eyed,
and found a welcome they did not presume;
in hugs, warm words and friendships dear.
A garden to bring peace, a plot to tend
and, more than this, a hint of springtime
in the autumn of their days.

Still stands that need, and still they come
as widows, spinsters, married pairs
to live content in Beeches’ Haven Homes
or in Swift House, the latest of the line.
A time of rest before the evening dims.
A shaft of sunlight before shadows fall.

Peter Charles Jackson June 2024

You can also watch the service on YouTube here – To Celebrate 150 years of Crowborough Almshouses (

For 150 years, the charity has been helping elderly local people and those from further afield to find independent living in a safe and secure place in one of four almshouses.

The Crowborough Almshouses provide a friendly and caring community where older people are encouraged to live full and active lives within the setting of high quality housing, support, comfort and security.