Madras College

Endowment Trust

History of the Endowment Trust


The above Order in Council was made by Her Majesty the Queen on the advice of her Privy Council on 16th October 1968. The Trust makes grants to Madras College which enhance activities in sport, art, music, IT, library, etc, and pupils benefit (probably unknowingly) from this support. It also makes awards to pupils going on to higher education courses, providing bursaries, each for up to four years, for approximately ten students per year. The School puts pupils forward for these awards. Another aspect of the Trust's work is in awarding travel grants to former pupils (particularly useful for those taking a 'gap' year) and pupils should be aware that they need to apply by letter for such grants. We now give details of the history of the Trust.

The Madras College (St Andrews) Trust originated in an Indenture and Declaration of Trust by the Reverend Andrew Bell dated 14 July 1831. It 'bequeathed certain funds and estates for educational purposes.' Before this time there had been schools in St Andrews initially for boys destined for the Church. There had been for a few hundred years before Dr Bell established our fine school, some educational establishments serving both sexes, providing a rather basic level of instruction. What Dr Bell did was to use his wealth to transform those existing schools into a single school well fitted to meet the needs of its day and to be run on the monitorial system which he had pioneered. The College provided an outstanding education and many families moved to St Andrews so that their children could benefit from this education. The school grew rapidly after its foundation and by 1860 there were well over 1000 pupils at Madras. The school had many boarders and there were houses around the town for them run by masters at the school.

When the school was founded there was no headmaster - the senior masters of each department were largely independent and received fees from the pupils. The Trust set up by Dr Bell in 1831 was run by four Trustees, Robert Haldane the first minister of Holy Trinity, George Buist the second minister of Holy Trinity, William Haig the Provost of St Andrews, and Andrew Alexander the Professor of Greek at St Andrews University. The Trustees co-ordinated the essentially independent Departments into Madras College.

In 1880 the Trustees of Madras College (at this time the Provost of St Andrews, two St Andrews Ministers, and the Sheriff of Fifeshire) issued the following advertisement for the school:

The peculiar advantages which distinguish this Educational Institution, consist in the appointment of a Head Master, with a complete Staff of Assistants for each department of instruction. English, Writing, Arithmetic, Classics, Modern Languages, Mathematics and Drawing, are each superintended by a Master, whose professional training has been specially devoted to the subject which he teaches. By this arrangement, Parents are enabled to secure for their Sons a First-class Education, either Classical or Commercial. Special Classes can also be attended in preparation for the Army or Navy, and Oxford Examinations, and for Farming and Engineering pursuits. The extreme moderateness of the Fees, and the proverbial healthiness of St Andrews, form additional claims to the consideration of Parents and Guardians.

After the high point of over 1000 pupils in 1860, numbers dwindled and by 1890 there were 107 pupils in the primary and 90 in the upper school. Major changes came into effect through Commissioners appointed under the Educational Endowments (Scotland) Act of 1882. They proposed a Scheme which was approved by Her Majesty Queen Victoria on 3rd May 1888. As a consequence of the Scheme a rector was appointed in 1889 and a board of governors replaced the Trustees who had run the school up to that time. The Trustees continued to administer Dr Bell's Trust in a form similar to that of the present Madras College (St Andrews) Trust Scheme. New educational methods and subjects were introduced, all of which have been greatly developed over the years under the aegis of Fife County Council, Regional Council, and Fife Council, i.e., the Local Government administration, into a large modern and well equipped school, albeit on two separate sites. Everyone with an interest in the school is aware of the successes of both teachers and pupils (approximately 1,700) which speak for themselves.

Perhaps the least known of Dr Bell's legacy is the Endowment Fund he left to the school, and it has played a very significant part in the life of the school over the years, and is increasingly doing so. The present Trust Scheme came into force in 1968 and replaced the Scheme of 1888. The most valuable part of the Trust lies in the grants it makes to the school every year, to be used at the school's discretion, and supporting activities in sport, art, music, IT, library, etc thus enhancing the life and work of Madras College.

Under changes to the Regulation of Charities in Scotland, the Endowment is now a registered Charity in Scotland under The Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Bill, the Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) 2005 has been passed and financial statements of our finances are passed to the Scottish Charity Regulator by our Auditor.

The Governors of the Trust are its Trustees for the purpose of Charity Law and these Trustees are nominated by the nominating bodies: Presbytery of the Church of Scotland, St Andrews (1), University Court of the University of St Andrews (1), Senatus of the University of St Andrews (1), Fife Council (4). Rector of Madras College ex officio.

The principal objectives of the Trustees are to provide grants for the general benefits of Madras College, and also bursaries for pupils, and former pupils, of Madras College attending universities approved by the Trustees. The day-to-day administration of the Trust is carried out by the Clerk who receives an Honorarium and is responsible to the Chairman. Trustees do not receive any remuneration, ie, they work as Trustees on a purely voluntary and unpaid basis.


"The funds left by Dr Bell are administered by Trustees since Madras is the only school in Fife to retain its original endowment - all others have been amalgamated into the Fife Educational Trust, whose income is used for the benefit of all other Fife schools.  

Awards Ceremony

The Trust sponsor numerous prizes at the Madras College Annual Prize giving ceremony.


 The Trust also makes awards to pupils going on to higher education courses, providing bursaries, each for up to four years, for approximately ten students per year. The School puts pupils forward for these awards.

Travel Grants

 Are you in S6 and looking to take an Educational GAP year or Summer volunteering overseas before starting your further education course? 

Are you looking for help with funding your travel?  

Madras College Endowment Trust is offering 3 travel grants of up to £200 (subject to availability).

For more information and application form please visit


Closing date 31st May