The Origins Of Founders Day

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John Whitgift laid the two foundation stones of his Hospital of the Holy Trinity on 22nd March 1596 and this occasion is commemorated when the staff of the Hospital, the residents of Whitgift House and the pupils of Whitgift, Trinity and Old Palace schools attend the annual service at Croydon Parish Church to give thanks for the benefactions of their Founder.
The first Founder's Day was held in 1613-14 according to the records of the Fishmonger's Company. There is an entry in the Hospital's Ledger Book referring to a bequest by Dr. William Barlow, Bishop of Lincoln and sometimes chaplain to Archbishop Whitgift. In his will he bequeated to the Worshipful Company of Fishmomgers (with which he had family connections) 100 pounds, the annual interest on which was "to be distributed for the Hospital in Croydon ... founded by my Master Archb Whitegifte"
In his will Archbishop Whitgift asked to be buried in the chapel within Croydon Parish Church and indeed it is here in St Nicolas Chapel, in the south transept, where the Founder's Tomb is situated.

On the 14th November 1888, the Founder's Tomb, which had been restored after almost complete destruction in the fire of 1867 that had burnt down the parish church, was unveiled by Archbishop Benson at a great ceremony attended by the old people and the boys of both schools. The boys had marched down from North End and Church Road (where the schools were then situated), with the masters making a fine show in their acedemicals. Thus it became the custom for the boys from both schools to march down to the parish church led by their respective Corps of Drums to gather with the brethern and sisters on the 22nd March each year, or on a nearby day when that date occurred at a week-end, during Holy Week or on Easter Monday.

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