Charlbury Exhibition Foundation


The Charlbury Exhibition Foundation is a charity registered with the Charity Commission No 309236.

The present scheme was established in 1988 but its origins date back to bequests made by local people, Ann Walker in 1667 and Richard Eyans in 1666.

Its charitable purpose is to promote education, in particular by making grants to Charlbury residents under 25 who are on an apprenticeship or in further education.

It derives most of its income from the Old Grammar School and a grazing field, Poor Boys Close. It has seven trustees who all live locally.

NOTE: Since 2022 the Charlbury Exhibition Foundation has been undertaking an extensive programme of improvements to the Old Grammar School, a listed building dating back to 1837. In particular it has installed high-grade insulation, fitted secondary glazing and replaced the heaters. It is grateful for the generous support it has received for that work from Sustainable Charlbury and from the Beer Festival.

Because of the cost of that programme it has not been able to pay out any grants in 2022 or 2023 but it will review its grants policy in 2024.


Applications for grants should be sent to:

Applications should include the following details:

-          Name and date of birth;

-          Home address in Charlbury;

-          Schools you have attended;

-          For students:

o   The name of the university or college,

o   The title and level of your course (for example, BA Hons in European History),

o   The year of study (for example, first year, second year, …);

-          For apprentices:

o   The name of your employer,

o   The type of apprenticeship and level;

-          Outline information on the costs involved in the course or apprenticeship.


(based on the research of Lois Hey)

In 1629 in Charlbury James Walker married Ann Eyans, from a wealthy family that owned much of the land in Charlbury formerly belonging to Eynsham Abbey.

They had a daughter, Ann Walker, born in Charlbury in 1631. She died in 1667 aged just 36.

In her will Ann Walker left land at Cropredy and Shotteswell to Brasenose College, Oxford, but directed that from the income £60 a year was to fund a Grammar School in Charlbury. Brasenose College could keep £10 a year for overseeing the school, £40 was to be the schoolmaster’s annual salary, and the remaining £10 was to provide two bursaries for students, preferably from Charlbury, to study at Brasenose College.

Ann Walker’s uncle Richard Eyans was also concerned with the welfare of local children. In 1666 he gave to the town a field, now known as Poor Boys’ Close, the income from which was to be used to apprentice boys to a craft or trade.

In 1675 the townspeople of Charlbury repaired the Town House (part of the 1591 Gifford bequest, now the Old Manor House, Church Street) to provide a schoolroom and accommodation for a schoolmaster and the Grammar School opened in October 1675. It was to be forever free for the teaching of English, Latin and Greek to all boys whose parents lived in Charlbury. In 1837 a new schoolroom, now known as the Old Grammar School, was built on Grammar School Hill.

But the Grammar School declined, particularly after the British (Nonconformist) School was built on the Playing Close in 1815. The number of pupils dwindled and the Grammar School was closed in 1902.

In 1909 the Charity Commissioners drew up the Charlbury Exhibition Foundation Scheme to use the fund for Charlbury girls and boys at secondary schools. When the 1944 Education Act provided free secondary education for all, the fund was used to give grants to young people going on to higher education, thus maintaining Ann Walker’s original purpose. In 1994 the Poor Boys’ Close Charity was incorporated in the Foundation, bringing together the charities founded by Ann Walker and her uncle.

To this day Brasenose College still contributes £40 a year to the Charlbury Exhibition Foundation.

Each year the Foundation makes grants to Charlbury residents under 25 who are on an apprenticeship or in further education.

In 2021 it awarded 51 grants with a total value of £9,200.


Janet Burroughs, Chair of the CEF Trustees

Tel.: 01608 810260


William Robinson

Secretary to the CEF Trustees

Tel.: 01608 811 112


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