In 1639, two wealthy brothers William and Robert Paine (aka Payne) procured a grant of land in the town of Ipswich from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In about 1649 Robert offered to “erect an edifice for the purpose of a grammar school, provided the town or any particular inhabitant of the town would devote, set apart or give any land or other annuity for the yearly maintenance of a schoolmaster. Within one year the town granted to Robert Paine, William Paine, Major Daniel Denison and William Bartholomew “in trust for the use of schools” certain lands and appointed eight trustees to manage and regulate “the schools and the affairs thereof.”
Upon his death in 1660 William Paine bequeathed the 27 acres of land on Little Neck to be held in trust forever for the benefit of the Ipswich Public Schools and specified that the land should “be and remain to the benefit of said school of Ipswich forever … said land not to be sold nor wasted.” The trust leased grazing rights to the land to farmers, and turned all the proceeds over to the schools. The trustees became known as the Feoffees (pronounced “feffees”) of the Ipswich Grammar School.
By the 21st Century, the Trust was leasing cottages that had been built on the land, but was contributing nothing to the schools. By vote of the 2011 fall Town Meeting, Little Neck was sold to the 166 cottage owners for $31 million. The net gain of $25 million became a new Trust to benefit the Ipswich schools.