The Mercers' Company is the trustee of the St. Paul's School's Foundation, the main objective of which is to provide financial and other support to St. Paul's School and St. Paul's Girls' School, two of the country’s leading independent schools.
John Colet, Mercer and Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, founded St Paul’s School in 1509, and entrusted his estate to the Company for the endowment of the school. It was originally situated at the east end of St. Paul’s Cathedral; in 1884 it moved to Hammersmith, and in 1904 the Foundation was enlarged to found St. Paul’s Girls’ School, also in Hammersmith. Subsequently St. Paul’s School and its Preparatory School, Colet Court, moved to their current riverside site at Barnes in 1968.
The Mercers’ Company appoints the chairman and all except two of the governors at each of the St. Paul’s Schools, which each have outstanding records of achievement in public examinations, with the majority of their students going on to prestigious universities, many to Oxford and Cambridge.
The Mercers’ Company’s links with two other leading independent schools, Abingdon School (a boys’ independent day and boarding school in Oxfordshire), and Dauntsey’s School, (a co-educational boarding and day school for 11-18 year olds in Wiltshire), also go back to Mercer founders.
William Dauntsey’s will of 1543 established the Wiltshire school and John Roysse re-founded Abingdon (which had originally been founded in 1256) in 1563. Both schools are enjoying rising popularity, with their students demonstrating both academic and extra-curricular success.
The Company has two further London Preparatory Schools in its group:
Bute House Preparatory School for Girls in Hammersmith opened in 1958 as an independent, mixed- ability preparatory school, and became Bute House Preparatory School for Girls in the early 1990s. It remains an outstandingly innovative, popular and successful school for girls aged 4 to 11.
The Hall School in Hampstead traces its roots back to 1889, but in 1920 its ownership passed to an established Mercer family and Gerard Wathen (as head from 1924 to 1955) really established The Hall as the leading North London prep school. It is described by the Good Schools Guide as the ‘top north London prep school for those looking towards the country’s top academic secondary schools'.