Historic Background

The Bridget Collett Educational Foundation traces its origins back to the Will of Bridget Collett who died in the 1660s. She was a spinster who lived, and was buried in London and it is believed that she was related to the Collett family who lived in the Manor house Westerfield. In her Will of 23 September 1662 she left property in Claydon in trust, the profits therefrom to be used for the

'teaching and keeping to schools only of poore children borne in the said parish of Westerfield wheremost need require and not otherwise.'

For nearly 200 years, the education of children in Westerfield was provided for the most part, by the Rector of the parish and the local church, supplemented by income from the property in Claydon. Then in the 1840s, as a result of the National Schools movement, a school was established in Westerfield, utilising the former north porch of the church building. The income from the Claydon property continued to help meet the outgoings of the school, amounting to 10 in 1840! With the development and growth of free state education, alongside the gradually increasing wealth of the population over the following hundred years, the number of children in Westerfield who could qualify for financial assistance under the terms of Bridget Collett's will, dropped to negligible numbers, if any. Until the 1970s, the same property in Claydon continued to generate the very small income which was donated each year to the primary school in Westerfield until its closure in 1968. However the Trustees were able to obtain planning permission for the redevelopment of the Claydon property. The funds received from the sale of the property, together with other accumulated funds, provided a significant increase in annual income. Consequently in 1978, the Trustees applied to the Charity Commissioners for the preparation and establishment of a new, more up-to-date Scheme for the Charity. After two years or more of consultations and discussions, the present Scheme was finally sealed on February 5th 1981, and is now providing financial help each year for about fifty children and young people to assist them with their educational endeavours.