Walter Bigg was born in Wallingford in 1605. He was apprenticed to a relative in London and became a Merchant Taylor. Bigg prospered in London and acquired land around St Giles in the Fields. During the Civil War, he fought with Parliament and took part in the siege of Basing House.

By 1646 he had become a liveryman of the Merchant Taylors’ Company and by 1653 he was on the Court of the Company, had become an alderman and was serving as a Sheriff. The following summer, he was elected Master of the Merchant Taylors’ Company.

In 1658 Bigg moved back to Wallingford, leaving his property in St Giles to finance a school in his home town. With these funds, six poor boys were able to be educated free of charge. In the early years, the Merchant Taylors’ Company provided £10 a year towards the schoolmaster’s salary.

Our History

The Walter Bigg Foundation today

The Charity’s funds were obtained from the proceeds of the sale of part of Wallingford School’s upper site.

The Trustees regularly consider opportunities to invest the capital in property to benefit Wallingford School.

Income arising from the charity’s investments is, as a first priority, applied to providing items, services and facilities for Wallingford School. As a second priority, the charity aims to promote education (including instruction in the doctrines of the Church of England and social and physical training) for young persons aged 11-25 residing in Wallingford.

Trustees work closely with Wallingford School and also assess requests for funding in connection with young people residing in Wallingford.

The Walter Bigg Foundation is now managed operationally by Merchant Taylors’ Company Charities Management.











Applying for funds

Funds are given to Wallingford School as a first priority. However, the Trustees will also consider applications from organisations, charities and individuals living in Wallingford or its environs. This geographical area is defined as the catchment area of Wallingford School. Most grants are likely to be in the region of £100 – £1,500 depending on the project.

What we fund:

  • Educational projects or activities undertaken by organisations or charities that benefit young people living in Wallingford.
  • Projects and activities undertaken by 11-25 year olds living in Wallingford that demonstrate a clear benefit to others – for example, volunteering trips in the UK and abroad.

What we don’t fund:

  • Individuals from outside Wallingford.
  • Individuals over the age of 25.
  • Organisations/charities from outside Wallingford and its environs, where the project does not benefit Wallingford residents.
  • Projects or activities that do not advance education.
  • Projects undertaken by individuals that do not benefit the wider public.
  • Charities or organisations whose main method of operation is making grants or loans to individuals.

Find out how to apply











The Board of Trustees

The composition of the Board of Trustees is as follows:

  • A minimum of five to a maximum of seven Trustees in total.
  • Up to two governors from Wallingford School, appointed by the full governing body.
  • One Director from the Merchant Taylors’ Oxfordshire Academy Trust, appointed by the Board of Directors.
  • Two Trustees appointed by the Wallingford Town Council.
  • Up to two co-opted Trustees to be nominated by existing Trustees.
  • One Trustee should be a member of the Merchant Taylors’ Company.

The Headmaster and Chairman of Wallingford School’s governing body are in attendance at the Board’s meetings.


Hugh Carter (Chairman) (Director of the Merchant Taylors’ Oxfordshire Academy Trust)
John Sichel (Merchant Taylors’ Company)
Nigel Hughes (Wallingford Town Council)
Ros Lester (Wallingford Town Council)
John Peel (Wallingford School governor)
Conor O’Callaghan (Co-opted)











Address: Walter Bigg Foundation, c/o Merchant Taylors’ Company Charities Management, 30 Threadneedle Street, London EC2R 8JB

Telephone: Jane Hindle, Merchant Taylors’ Charities Management, 020 7450 4440