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ECR 60 10

Reference code

ECR 60 10


King's Scholars



Administrative / Biographical history

The Foundation Charter refers to an establishment of twenty-five scholars, increased in the Statutes to seventy. They were to be poor and indigent - though the later stipulation that their personal incomes were not to exceed five marks a year suggests that better-off boys were not excluded - and were not to be sons of villeins or suffering from any serious physical handicap, such as would prevent ordination. A preference was to be given to boys who came from places where Eton and King's had estates, with a preference for Buckinghamshire and Cambridgeshire, and "due respect" was to be given to those who had been choristers at Eton or at King's. Those born outside England were not eligible. Every year the Provost of King's and two of its Fellows, known for the purpose as Posers, came over to Eton and with their Eton colleagues examined the scholars at the top of the school, and candidates for admission to Eton, placing their names in order on two rolls. As vacancies occurred during the year the next boy on the appropriate roll was summoned to fill it. Thus a vacancy at King's removed an Eton scholar and created a vacancy here, filled by the next boy on the Eton roll. Whereas age alone provided a steady turnover among Eton scholars, vacancies were much rarer at King's, whose complement of 70 members included those who had already obtained degrees. Death and later marriage of fellows were the main causes of vacancy here and there were years in which only two or three of the boys on the King's roll gained a place there. Commissioners to reform Cambridge University and its Colleges were appointed in 1856 and the new Statutes of King's, passed in 1861, altered the College from a body of seventy to one of forty-six Fellows and forty-eight scholars. Twenty-four only of these scholarships were reserved to Etonians (though not until 1873 was an Open Scholarship first offered and a non-Etonian fellow elected) and if no suitable King's Scholar was found the award was thrown open to Oppidans. Furthermore, all the boys elected to King's were to go into residence the following October as a matter of course, and the scholarships were opened to all British-born subjects. The new Eton Statutes of 1871 made no mention of any link with King's or of any geographical preference for candidates with links to either College's estates or choirs.


1444 - 1965

Content description

These records relate principally to the election of boys to the foundations of Eton and of King's College Cambridge under the old system, with a few items relating to the scholarships and exhibitions provided for superannuated Eton scholars i.e. those boys who had reached the age at which they had to leave Eton but for whom there was no vacancy at King's.


Little survives before 1696

Associated material

For the original statutes relating to King's Scholars see ECR 58, and for subsequent alterations ECR 60/1. ECR 60/2 includes papers on scholarships to King's College. ECR 60/6/3 is informative on the revision of the King's Statutes as they affected Eton and the papers of the New Governing Body (ECR 60/7) include material on the revision of the Eton Statutes, although the question of the scholars caused less difficulty than that of the Fellows. Details on further statute revision, including the definition of British-born, may be found in the files of Provosts and Bursars, and COLL/B5/7 deals with maintenance of the scholars 1901 - 1924. Earlier accounts may be found in the audit books. For correspondence on fee reductions for King's Scholars see COLL/PG/12.
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