- 1479-1969 (Creation)
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0.59 cubic metres
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In 1518 William Akroyd, rector of Long Marston, bequeathed land in Batley in his will to provide funds for a boy either of the kind of the founder, or from Long Marston or Hutton Wandesley, at attend the universities of Oxford or Cambridge. These scholarships were named Akroyd Exhibitions. They have on occasion also been called 'Founder's Kin Scholarships.'
The Exhibition functioned originally by assigning the trust lands directly to the chosen scholar. This led to various problems in the late seventeenth century which were investigated by a series of Inquisitions on Pious Uses. The main problems, which continued into the eighteenth century, involved the difficulty of reclaiming the lands from the scholar once he had completed his time at the University and of determining exactly which lands belonged to the Exhibition and which to the scholar in his own right. At least some of the Exhibition's land seems to have been lost in this way. Disputes also occurred over the election of scholars about the same time.
The problem involving the lands seems to have been overcome by more controlled administration of the Exhibition, achieved by the end of the eighteenth century, when there is evidence that the lands were leased out, the trustees then paying sums of money from the resulting rents to the scholars. However, it is not until the mid-nineteenth century that there is much evidence of active management by the trustees, who, prior to about 1850, concentrated on electing scholars and maintaining the level of finance customarily provided by the Exhibition.
However, the situation changed in the nineteenth century, mainly because the Exhibition had been fortunate enough to be endowed with lands in the centre of Batley, which consequently increased in value as the town grew. As a result, in 1867 the trustees commissioned a survey of the Exhibition lands with a view to increasing their revenue by granting building leases.
In 1874 the Exhibition received a new scheme of government under the Endowed Schools Act of 1869. Amended schemes followed in 1876, 1883, 1891, 1906, 1924 and 1935, all with the aim of widening the scope of the scholarship.
By the end of the nineteenth century the Exhibition was open to boys attending Yorkshire schools or colleges and could be held at Oxford or Cambridge, or as a Natural Science Exhibition at the Yorkshire College. However the position of girls was less advantageous.
Today the William Akroyd Foundation still gives scholarships to the descendants of William Akroyd's kin. But, after re-organisations in the 19th and 20th centuries, it now also gives money to Leeds University and Batley Grammar School, and funds an open scholarship, open to anyone under the age of 25 who has attended a secondary school in "the County of York" for at least two years.
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