Chapter 4: The Newton Exhibition Foundation: Newton Scholars and Costeker Exhibition

Len Green

The Newton Exhibition Foundation

On 21 November 1895 the official announcement was made of the acceptance by Her Majesty, advised by her Privy Council, of a scheme made by the Charity Commissioners relating to Hertford’s Green Coat School. The Scheme established a Governing Body consisting of eleven Governors. Two ex-officio Governors were to be the incumbents for the time being of the livings of All Saints’ and St Andrew’s; three Representative Governors were to be appointed by Hertford Borough Council, three by Hertford Municipal Charities and one by Hertfordshire County Council. The first Representative Governors were:-

For Hertford Municipal Charities: Thomas Joseph Sworder, John Robert, Cocks, Basil Jasper Gripper.

For Hertford Borough Council: James Haddon, Alfred George Page, Richard Ginn.

For Hertfordshire County Council: Alexander Peter McMullen.

There were to be two ‘Co-optative’ Governors, the first named being Robert Cocks, Gentleman (himself an old Green Coat boy) and Augustus Hawks, Solicitor. Cocks died soon after his appointment and was replaced by Charles Elton Longmore. 17 The Transitory Provisions contained one for the payment of £100 to Mr James Flack; the Governing Body agreed to this at a meeting in March 1896. 22

The income of the Foundation was to be used for two purposes:-

1) A yearly sum of not more than £60 was to be used for the clothing of not more than 35 boys to be known as Newton Scholars These boys were to be the sons of poor members of the Church of England selected from pupils at public elementary schools in the Borough by means of some form of examination approved by the Governors.

2) Exhibitions of not less than £10 and not more than £15 per annum, tenable at Hertford Grammar School (or any institution of education, higher than elementary, approved by the Governors) to be awarded to boys in need of assistance. To qualify, a boy had to have been a scholar at a public elementary school or schools in the Borough for not less than three years. Preference was to be given to members of the Church of England with a further preference, other things being equal, for Newton Scholars. The holders of these exhibitions were to be called Costeker Exhibitioners.

The income of the Foundation at the inception of the scheme, in addition to the rent of the school building and the £26 from Leicester, was £78 7s from £2849 9s 4d. New Consols and £36 13s 4d. from a similar investment of Daniel Costeker’s gift of £1333 6s 8d.

The scheme in operation

Newton Scholars were to be provided with two sets of clothing each year. The green suit previously worrn was retained initially but in 1897 was changed to a tweed suit. Later, in 1931, there was a change to grey flannel, and in 1935 it was decided that the jackets should be double-breasted. Candidates for a scholarship were to be not over eight years old, and were to be selected by examination. The first examiner was Mr J. R.Strubell, Head of the Cowper School. He also started a savings scheme for the Scholars, accepting small weekly sums to deposit in a Post Office Savings Account, the boys to be repaid their savings on leaving school.

It was agreed that Scholars were at liberty to attend any Church school in the Borough which their parents preferred. This became increasingly difficult to satisfy, as the number of Church schools decreased. After the ·. reorganisation in 1930 into junior and senior schools, no senior Church school existed. 18 At first there were 20 Newton Scholars, and the number remained with this as a maximum for some years. In 1928, an amendment was made to allow up to £100 per annum to be spent, provided the money was avail able. By this time the number of Scholars had dropped, but was then made up to 15 at an estimated annual cost of £80.

The first six Costeker Exhibitioners started at the Grammar School in January 1898 ; the number later rose to seven and remained at that total for many years. The Exhibitioners were selected by examination, the first examiner being Rev. T.J.Bell, Head of Christ’s Hospital Later examinations were conducted by Grammar School Heads. The award was for £10 per annum for three years, with possible extensions. In 1923 the upper limit of grant allowed was raised to £20, the Grammar School fees at this time being £15 15s with a six shillings games supplement. At the same time the qualifying time in an elementary school in the Borough was- reduced from three to two years.

So, with small modifications the Newton Exhibition Foundation scheme continued for about fifty years. One extra item of expenditure is recorded in 1938, when £17 2s 6d was used to repair the tomb of Daniel Costeker’s mother and stepfather in All Saint’s Churchyard. The Governors were advised that they had no authority to spend money for this purpose, but they felt they should do so, in view of Costeker’s wishes when he gave the money. To make this expenditure less obvious, they shared it between two years, by paying £8 8s 6d before 31 March and £8 14s after that date.

The Education Act of 1944

The Act of 1944 with its ‘Secondary Education for all’ provisions, meant some changes in the Foundation Scheme , and these were introduced in 1949. There were no longer Elementary Schools, so candidates for Newton Scholarships had to be pupils in local Primary Schools and they were to be chosen by examination in the year prior to their transfer to Secondary Schools.

A maximum of £13 a year was put on the provision of clothing. In 1956 a change was made in the form of the award, to vouchers to enable parents to obtain clothes of their choice for the Scholars. The vouchers, issued twice yearly, were for £4 16s for clothes and £1 10s for footwear. It was stipulated that Newton Scholars should attend

As there were no longer fees to be paid at the Grammar School, Costeker Exhibitions were to be awarded to boys at this school (or any similar institution in the town) who stayed on after the statutory leaving age of 15 years to prepare for higher education. The award was in the form of an annual grant of £45, paid termly. It was suggested that the scheme start with five Newton Scholars and three Costeker Exhibitioners but the numbers were increased as a balance had built up in the Foundation’s funds, owing to few payments having been made in the 1940s. The income of the Foundation was augmented by increased rent on the old school building. From £100 in 1947, it rose to £150 in 1960 and to £250 in 1963.

In 1968 the County Council ceased its tenancy of the building in London Road, and it was then leased to Neale’s Garage at a rent of £1000 per annum. In view of the increased income, the value of the awards was increased to £20 per annum for Newton Scholars and £60 for Costeker Exhibitioners. There were to be twelve recipients of each award; these numbers were increased to nineteen in 1971. In 1972 the London Road building was sold to Neale’s for £20, 000 which was invested for further income. By this time the Governors were seriously concerned that the income now available was not being used to the best advantage of young people in the town. As a result of exchanges with the Charity Commissioners a new scheme for the distribution of income was finally established on 24 October 1979.

The Scheme of 1979

The aim of the new scheme was stated very briefly:-

‘The Governors of the above-mentioned Charity shall apply the clear income thereof in promoting the education (including social and physical training) of persons under the age of 25 years who are attending or have attended as pupils at any school in Hertford with a preference for such persons who are members of the Church of England.

Brief though this is, the scheme introduced radical changes to the way income was to be distributed:-

Benefits are available to young people of both sexes, previously boys only were helped.

There is no examination for an award.

The upper age limit has been raised considerably.

The Governors have considerable freedom in deciding how the money available can best be used.

Since the scheme started, many young people have benefited, from Primary School children to University students Grants have been made for

essential clothing, school journeys, for help in developing musical talents from payment for recorder lessons to aid for instrumentalists taking part in concerts abroad. Support has been given to those attending courses to help in careers and for furthering special interests including physical activities. The ability of the Foundation to help has been increased

recently: the annual income from Leicester, having remained at £26 for over 200 years, increased to almost £1000 in 1985, and has remained at about that figure since.

The great difference between Gabriel Newton’s original provision of clothes and a basic education for a few boys and the present wide variety of objects of Foundation help is indicative of the great social changes since 1760. But the main aim of the Charity remains the same – to help young people develop their talents and to become responsible citizens.


17. Charles,_ later Sir Charles Elton Longmore, grandson of ‘Surly Phil’ (see Note 4.) Town Clerk of Hertford and County Treasurer, 1879- 1894; Clerk of Hertfordshire County Council from 1894 until his death.

18. Sir(William) Henry Hadow (1859 – 1937) was Chairman of the Consultative Committee of the Board of Education during the period 1920 – 34, during which time six important reports were issued. The best known was ‘The Education of the Adolescent’, familiarly known as the ‘HadowReport’, one recommendation of which was the division of elementary education by the establishment of Junior and Senior Schools, with transfer of pupils at the age of eleven. Sir Henry’s special interest was music, on which he wrote a number of books.

22. There is a strange entry at the end of the minutes of the meeting of the Green Coat School Trustees on 22 March 1895, when they approved the proposed scheme:- ‘It was reported that Mr James Flack was dead. On the motion of Mr Robert Cocks seconded by Mr Lingley it was unanimously resolved that the sum of £100 be paid to the widow of ·the late Mr James Flack as compensation’. A line was drawn through this entry and a note written by the side ‘This report not correct’. It was initialled A.H., these being the initials of Augustus Hawks who signed the minutes. The affair must have caused the Trustees some embarrassment.

This page was added on 23/02/2022.

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