Richard Aldworth left other legacies to the town – money for 10 gowns for 5 poor aged men and 5 women, given at the patronal feast of St Michael every year. A 1d loaf (one penny) was given out at the church door after the service and there was even enough to pay the Vicar to preach a ‘godlie sermon’ once a year.
When the school closed, the charitable funds were invested and provided money to pay for scholarships for 'poor clever boys' to attend the town’s Queen Mary’s Grammar school for boys, which had been founded in 1558 when Mary Tudor and Philip of Spain were monarchs.
The most famous scholar was John Arlott, poet and cricket commentator. When the girls’ High School was founded in 1908, a lesser number of girls could also apply for funds to pay their termly school fees. The children had to show their school reports to one of the charity trustees. It wasn’t until 1944 that children were chosen by the infamous 11+ exam to get a place in a grammar school, which would be free. Aldworth scholars had to reach a standard in tests and were awarded about £3 a term. George Willis was also an Aldworth Scholar and later became chairman of the trust for over 40 years. He was the founder of the Willis Museum.
The charity still exists and is able to offer small amounts for educational purpose to young people in the Borough.
Guest blog from Debbie Reavell from the Basingstoke Heritage Society