William Morris – Lord Nuffield


The Nuffield name and emblem, a bull riding a bicycle, both derive from the late Lord Nuffield. Born in 1877, near Worcester, William Morris was a grandson of a farmer.

His journey began when he lived and worked in Oxford. He started by repairing Oxford graduates’ bicycles, then he progressed to making his own newer models. Inspired by the success of this business and embracing the developments being made in motoring technology, he then set up a motor car business. This business arose from a desire to produce something better than the early cars brought to him for repair Wealthy Oxford students.

Morris realised at an early stage in his businesses development that he should seek best practice in this new industry. He travelled to the emerging motor capital of Detroit to understand how the Americans were able to produce reliable cars that could undercut the price of those produced at that time in Britain.

He successfully took on Henry Ford with a new car, the Morris Cowley, mass produced on American principles. Morris continued to travel, seeking new ideas and markets. Recognising the value of travel and study, he also sent his key employees out into the world to develop themselves and introduce new concepts to his business.

Financial success brought William Morris social recognition; he was a chronic hypochondriac and conscious of his lack of education, eager to support the research of eminent physicians and gave generously to Oxford University, whose graduates had first brought him cycles and cars to mend. As a leading industrialist and philanthropist, he was ennobled as Lord Nuffield. It is estimated that during his lifetime he was able to give away more than £30,000,000.

The Nuffield Foundation

In 1943, he established the Nuffield Foundation for “the advancement of health and social well-being and the care and comfort of the aged poor”. By 1947, encouraged by Jack Maclean, Vice President of the NFU, these objectives had been widened to include agricultural advancement.

The First Scholars

The Trustees chose their first Nuffield Farming Scholars - Jane Kenyon, John Rowsell and Edward Stokes - briefing them to search out and bring back to farmers in the UK details of good and innovative agricultural husbandry, from different parts of the globe.

By 1956, the number of Scholars had increased to eight each year. Maclean was told that the farming industry should now fund the Scheme itself, since the concept was clearly successful. A fund was set up under the control of the Foundation and Scholars were selected as before.

The New Trust

In 1968, the Foundation said it could no longer administer the Scholarships. A new Trust was formed, “The UK Farming Scholarships Trust” with Jack Maclean as Chairman and John Stewart as Secretary. A modest grant was still received from the Foundation. Money was raised and special awards offered.

In 1978 the Trust changed its name to “The Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust” to recognise and honour its illustrious benefactor. Subsequently, the Trust has become a separate body, independent of the Nuffield Foundation and is registered as a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity, following its incorporation in July 2003.

A Global Scheme

In 1950, the Nuffield Foundation started a parallel scheme covering farmers from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Kenya, the Rhodesia’s and Tanganyika. These Scholars came to Britain for a study period of six months. In 1976, the Foundation asked those countries still in the scheme to fund their own awards. France joined the scheme in 1982 with the Republic of Ireland welcomed in 1998.

The Winter Conference

The Nuffield Scholars Association held its first Winter Conference, now an annual event, in 1972. In the late '70s, HRH the Duke of Gloucester agreed to become Patron, a position he holds to this day.

Nuffield Today

To date 854 Scholars from the UK and some 1666 Scholars worldwide have benefited from Jack Maclean’s proposal to Nuffield and his Foundation, that scholarships should encourage the advancement of agriculture.


For More Information

For any further details and copies of the Articles and Memorandum of Association - contact the Nuffield Director, Mike Vacher.