Our Purpose

Newark & Sherwood District Council is the Sole Trustee of the Gilstrap Charity and has set-up a Committee called the Trustee Board of the Gilstrap & William Edward Knight Charities to undertake the Trustee role. The membership of the Trustee Board is drawn from the Council’s Newark Wards to reflect the fact that the Charity’s purpose is to benefit residents of the Town.

The Charity has established a funding pot with the express purpose of inviting funding applications for projects, events and initiatives which reflect the Charity’s purposes and objectives.

Any application for funding must demonstrate benefit to the inhabitants of Newark.


In 1883 Sir (then Mr.) William Gilstrap gave land in Castle Gate on trust to the Borough of Newark for the purposes of a library. He intended to give further land to the Charity but died before giving effect to that wish..

His successor, Lieutenant Colonel John McRae Gilstrap, subsequently conveyed five parcels of land to the Charity with the intention that the income should be applied to support the library.

Various parcels of land were then sold with a result that the only land remaining in the ownership of the Charity was 1.7 acres of land at Chestnut Avenue, Newark which is currently used as an open space/play area. This land has been allocated for residential development. The Charity is in the process of disposing of this parcel of land and will use the income generated from the capital receipt to further the objectives of the Charity.

In addition to giving Newark a new library, Sir William Gilstrap also gave the Borough of Newark additional land which currently comprises the Castle Grounds.

In 1884 the former Borough of Newark made a “one off” payment to the Charity of £1,200.00 to effectively buy out the Charity and to lay out the Castle Grounds as “public walks and pleasure grounds.” This was agreed and approved by Sir William Gilstrap.

In August 1990, following the relocation of the County Council library to alternative premises, the Charity Commission made a new scheme in respect of the Gilstrap Charity and the District Council was appointed Sole Trustee. The Scheme required that the former library building be used as “an educational centre for the purpose of advancing public knowledge and understanding of features of historic interest in the area of benefit” (the former Borough of Newark) as constituted in 1883.

On 5 March 2013 an amendment was made to the 1990 Scheme which enabled the District Council to sell or lease the building. The new scheme also extended the area of benefit of the charity to the Parish of Newark.

On 1 April 2013 the Charity leased the former library to Nottinghamshire County Council for a term of 7 years without exclusion of Landlord and Tenant Act rights.

The County Council sought a renewal of the lease in 2020 which was granted for a further 7 years.

The Charity has retained possession of the public toilets located at the rear of the building. These are operated and managed by the District Council. An external organisation is contracted for the cleaning of the toilets.

Projects supported by the charity



Committed the sum of £5,930.00

The Charity supported funding for 3 public events planned in 2022 to interpret and enhance the stories of Newark Castle. Events to include: live performances of drama and music; demonstrations such as sword fighting and falconry; castle tours; outdoor crafts such as willow weaving and woodturning; and fun activities for people of all ages.



Committed the sum of £1,918.00

The Charity supported the production of the town trails leaflets, which had been adapted in light of the pandemic in 2020/2021.



Committed up to a maximum of £7,000 for each event.

The charity has supported a number of historic re-enactment events for 2019, 2020 and 2021.



Applications for funding for events, projects or other initiatives should be sent to the Clerk to the Gilstrap Charity at:

Castle House
Great North Road
NG24 1BY

Or by email to clerk@thegilstrapcharity.org

It will be a condition of any grant funding awarded that:

1. Approval must be sought for any subsequent changes to the submitted project outline.
2. If any grant awarded is surplus to requirements this should be returned to the Charity.
3. If funding is awarded the applicant will be required to provide progress reports to the Trustees and a post event/project evaluation report.
4. The applicant will ensure that all necessary licences, consents and other approvals are obtained.
5. The grant must be spent within 12 months of being awarded.
6. Proof of expenditure will be required.
7. Any publicity associated with the event or project the grant is awarded for must acknowledge the Gilstrap Trust’s contribution and include the Trust logo and website address.

Please find attached link to the Background Information (PDF File, 109kb) relating to Grant Awards and the Application for Grant Aid Support (PDF File, 90kb) .

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