The 2018 Merton Society Weekend - Photo © Bertie Beor-Roberts -

Thanking our donors

Merton was established by philanthropy and has been sustained by benefactors ever since. Gifts and bequests have supported the intellectual and educational mission of the college for over 750 years, ever since Walter de Merton's endowment of the College in 1264. Manuscripts consulted by researchers today still bear the names of their medieval donors. Mertonians are commemorated in the names of teaching and seminar rooms, and the tradition of supporting students' education dates back at least to John Wyliot's endowment of scholarships, known as Postmasterships, in the 14th century.

Among the most ancient traditions still observed by the College are the commemoration services for our Founder and Benefactors, which take place every year on the third Sunday of Michaelmas Term and on Shrove Tuesday. During the service, the Chaplain reads the Benefactors' Prayer which lists, in chronological order, the names of our major benefactors since the College's foundation.

To express our gratitude, the Governing Body has created a series of giving circles for our major donors. Divided into levels by donation amount, the different circles are named after significant figures and dates in the history of the College:

£1,264 per year (over 30s)

£126.40 (under 30s or left in last five years)

£12.64 (students or left in past year)

1264 Society
Cumulative giving of £10,000+ Patrons
Cumulative giving of £25,000+
(or £10,000+ for those under 30)
Rochester Benefactors
Cumulative giving of £50,000+ Clare Benefactors
Cumulative giving of £100,000+ Ela of Warwick Benefactors
Cumulative giving of £250,000+ Peter of Abingdon Benefactors
Cumulative giving of £500,000+ Warden's Court of Benefactors
Pledging a gift in your will Founder's Society

All donors in these circles are recognised by the Governing Body and acknowledged for the significant contribution they make to the College. Each year, 1264 Society members, Patrons, Benefactors and Founder’s Society members are listed in the Donor Report, unless they wish to remain anonymous. To inform us of your preferences in this respect, please contact the Development Office team.

Exclusive events are also held on a regular basis for 1264 Society members, Benefactors and those who are planning to remember Merton in their wills.

If you would like more information about the giving circles above, please contact the Development team at or by phone on + 44(0)1865 276316.