Memorial CXXIV: Preferments awarded to former Scholars

Pages 479-483

Memorials of the Guild of Merchant Taylors of the Fraternity of St. John the Baptist in the City of London. Originally published by Harrison, London, 1875.

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a. Walter Fish's Battelings at St. John's Oxford (1580).

1. Following upon Sir Thomas White's foundation came the devise of Walter Fish, by Will dated 17th September 1580, 22nd Elizabeth, of a house and tenement in Cannon Street, London (now No. 60 Cannon Street and No. 16 Nicholas Lane), to the Merchant Taylors' Company for ever upon trust, "to employ the rent of the said premises between five poor studious scholars of St. John's, Oxford, which should be most like to bend their studies to divinity, to be yearly divided between them towards the amount of their victuals and battelings (fn. 1)

2. To carry out this gift to the advantage of the student, the Court arranged in 1581, "that Mr. Will. H. Abram, of London, vyntner, shalbe spoken unto by Mr. Anthony Ratcliffe, a lovinge brother of this mystery, To take order that the schollers in St. John's Colledge, in Oxforde, which are to receive the exhibicon of Mr. Walter Ffysshe, called by the name of his battellings, shalbe paide quarterly there, and their quittance there to be taken and sente upp hither, where the sayd M. Abraham shalbe repayde agayne for the same." (fn. 2) But these scholarships (now 48l. each) have for many years been paid at the Hall of the Company.

3. "A Committee of the Court of Assistants of the Merchant Taylors' Company having assembled on the 7th April 1868, and the opinion of Mr. Cookson, (fn. 3) of the Chancery Bar, touching the administration of Walter Fish's gift, having been read and considered, and the resolution of Court holden on the 26th March last having been also read. Resolved:—

"1st. That it be recommended to the Court to require from each exhibitioner who has proceeded to his degree of B.A., in addition to the certificate (fn. 4) of good conduct and residence, a certificate from the College authorities of the exhibitioner's studious application to Divinity, and of his attending each term the lectures of the Regius Professor of Hebrew, or his deputy, and one of the following lectures:—

"The Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History.

"The Regius Professor of Divinity.

"The Regius Professor of Pastoral Theology.

"The Ireland Professor Exegetical Theology.

"The Margaret Professor of Divinity.

4. "And that in reckoning the period of residence each year shall be considered as consisting of three terms (Trinity and Act being one), and that the certificate show residence of six weeks at least in each term.

"2nd. That in awarding Fish's exhibitions to scholars who have been at Merchant Taylors' School, it be recommended to the Court to give a preference to those scholars who have attained honours in Moderations.

"3rd. That from the dividends of 1,389l. 18s. 1d., 3l. per cent. Reduced Annuities now belonging to the fund, a new exhibition be maintained of 40l. a year, to be increased from time to time as the Court may direct. That it be called Fish's New Exhibition, and be tenable for the same term and under the same regulations as the original exhibitions.

"4th. That, with the view to augment the said new exhibition, all unclaimed rents and income, and share of rent and income, that may have arisen during any vacancies, and all other unappropriated sums, be invested and added to the said capital sum of 1,389l. 18s. 1d. Reduced Annuities."

And these Minutes were confirmed by the Court of the 30th April 1868.

b. John Vernon's Scholarships at St. John's, Oxford (1615).

This testator by will, (fn. 5) dated 10th October 1815, gave (inter alia) 1,500l. for the purchase of land, the rent whereof as to part thereof he directed to be paid yearly for ever, as follows:—

To four poor scholars and students in Divinity in St. John's, Oxford, 16l. yearly,—viz., 4l. a man, to be elected by the Master, Wardens, and Assistants, to continue no longer than they should study Divinity, and remain in the said College, or stand in the liking of the said Master, Wardens, and Assistants, and so to be disposed of from one to another for ever.

By order of Court of 5th February 1857, these exhibitions were increased to 10l. per annum each, and the excess was directed to be paid out of the Corporate Funds. These exhibitions are paid half yearly upon the production of a certificate of residence and good conduct, signed by the President or VicePresident of St. John's.

c. John Wooller's Scholarship At St. John's, Oxford (1617).

1. This testator by will, (fn. 6) dated 26th November 1617, devised property in Thames Street to the Master and Wardens of the Merchant Taylors' Company. To bestow (inter alia) yearly for ever 40s. to a poor scholar of the College of St. John in Oxford, as should have most need and intending to study divinity.

2. These are made up to 10l. each by the Company, by Order of Court of 5th February 1857, and are granted in these terms:

"You are elected to a Wooller's exhibition of 10l. per annum, to be enjoyed by you till you shall be of the standing for the Degree of Master of Arts, and during actual residence only."

"The exhibition is payable at the Hall half yearly, upon the production of a certificate of residence, signed by the President or Vice-President of the College."

d. John Juxon's Scholarship at Oxford or Cambridge (1626).

This testator by will, (fn. 7) dated 17th August 1626, granted to the Master and Wardens of the Merchant Taylors' Company for ever an annuity of 12l., which is subject to a land-tax of 2l. 8s., issuing out of lands at Mortlake, Surrey, to be by them paid according as they should think fit, at or before the Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, to some poor scholars; the one year in Oxford, and the other year in Cambridge for ever. The Company bear the land-tax out of their corporate funds, and pay the gift without deduction to a meritorious scholar at Oxford and Cambridge alternately to enable him to purchase books with which to prosecute his studies.

e. Reorganization of the Foregoing, 1873–4.

1. With regard to the preferments awarded to past Scholars of the Company's School in actual residence at the Universities, it will be observed that there are five Fish Exhibitions of 48l. one "New Fish" of 40l. Four Vernon Exhibitions and one Wooller Exhibition, each of 10l. per annum, all attached to St. John's College, Oxford, and all for the benefit of "poor students in Divinity."

2. These exhibitions are tenable for five years during residence, under certain restrictions and regulations. It seldom, however, happens that they are held their full time. Consequently vacancies occur most irregularly. And it frequently happens that one Scholar holds two exhibitions; that is, either a "Fish" or a "New Fish," in conjunction with a "Vernon" or a "Wooller." It is suggested that it would be advantageous if these exhibitions, all established with the same intention, could be consolidated, and two exhibitions (called perhaps the "Fish" and the "Vernon and Wooller" Exhibitions) were established annually in their place, one of greater value, one of less.

3. Some more direct test of the relative merits of the Candidates would be obtained by an Examination for these Exhibitions once a year, and a set portion of Divinity could be offered, the rest of the examination being in Classical subjects, and bearing directly upon the College Lectures and work of the Candidates during the year previous.

The authorities of St. John's College are willing to co-operate with the Court and to conduct the Examination, utilising for this purpose the College Terminal Examination. (fn. 8)

At Moderations.
First Class 5 guineas.
A double First 10 "
At Oxford In Final Schools.
First Class in Classics 15 guineas.
Or in Law, or History, or Natural Science, or Theology 10 "
Or if 2 or more Classes, then the reward of each.
At Cambridge
1st Class in Classical Tripos 15 guineas.
For a wrangler in the first 15 15 "
" " next 15 10 "
" below this 5 "


  • 1. See Mem. LX.
  • 2. Court Minutes, 7th March 1581.
  • 3. See Appendix M (3) 1856.
  • 4. See Appendix N (1).
  • 5. Printed in extenso in Wilson, vol. i., p. 193; and in Mem. LXXV., p. 306.
  • 6. Printed in Wilson, vol. i., p. 194.
  • 7. Wilson, vol. i., p. 227; and Court Minutes, 11th November 1633.
  • 8. Grant of Books for University Honors.—Not unfrequently the Court notices the success of former scholars by voting to them books on their appearing in the Class Lists—