By 1822, a National School had been established in Windsor for three years and George Champagne had been a Canon of Windsor for twenty years. In that year Canon Champagne bought a number of Old South Sea annuities for £233 6s 8d and his investment was transferred into the name of the Dean and Canons.
The resulting trust deed stated that the dividend and interest from the investment were “to be expended annually between Christmas Day and Lady Day on the purchase of Clothes or Books to be distributed in equal shares among such 14 boys and girls belonging to and receiving their education at The National School at Windsor … as should upon Examination by the Vicar, Curate and Canon be deemed by them to have made the greatest progress in Religious Knowledge in the course of the preceding year”. The Canon’s endowment became known as the Champagne Gift or Champagne Prize Fund although it was sometimes popularly referred to as ‘Champney’s Gift’. A similar prize fund had been set up for the National School at Twickenham where Canon Champagne had served as Vicar from 1808 to 1818 and this came also to be administered by the Dean and Canons of Windsor.
The Royal Free School situated on Bachelors’ Acre, Windsor, succeeded the National School near the Castle and its pupils continued to benefit from Champagne’s Gift. One of the Archives team was awarded a Champagne Bible whilst a pupil at the Royal Free School in 1946!
Jill Hume (Archives volunteer)