The Fund was founded in the Will of Mrs Friederica Frances Swinburne (1842-1916), a worshipper at the leading London Anglo-Catholic church, All Saints, Margaret Street.

Fr H. F. B. Mackay, Vicar of All Saints from 1908, a – if not the – leading figure in London Anglo-Catholicism of the period, can be assumed to have played a significant part in inspiring the Fund’s creation and shaping the provisions for it in Mrs Swinburne’s Will. His obituary notice for her in the All Saints Parish Paper offers a pen portrait of the woman whom he describes in it as ‘one of the greatest friends I ever had’.

The Fund is thought to have been named after the Revd William Henry Cleaver, a noted Anglo-Catholic preacher who died on 17 July 1909, just over a year before Mrs Swinburne made her Will (dated 6 August 1910).

The choice of the twelve original Trustees appointed in Mrs Swinburne’s Will, together with the provision that, when vacancies arose, new Trustees should be appointed during his lifetime by the second Viscount Halifax (President of the English Church Union), says much about both

  • the genesis of the Fund at All Saints’, Margaret Street (with which five of the twelve were closely associated) and

  • the intention to support ordinands committed to Anglo-Catholicism (many of the twelve being leading figures within the Anglo-Catholic movement).

For most of the Fund’s first quarter century, the Trustees were chaired by the Revd Dr Darwell Stone (Principal of Pusey House, Oxford). During this period the Trustees defined their policies. Creation of the Anglo-Catholic Ordination Candidates Fund (ACOCF) in 1927 resulted in an agreement that the Cleaver Fund would concentrate on Oxford and Cambridge graduates training in theological colleges and ACOCF on other candidates. (The Fund now also offers grants to graduates of any university, non-graduates and ordinands training on courses.)

Records covering the period from 1941 to 1976 have not survived. In 1960 and 1963 schemes empowered the Trustees to give grants additionally to clergy of any church of the Anglican Communion ‘to enable them to pursue their studies in theology or related subjects in such manner as the Trustees may approve’ and to give grants not just to Church of England ordinands but to ordinands of any church in the Anglican Communion.

Since 1976 a number of significant developments have occurred.

  • Canon Jeremy Haselock, appointed as Clerk in 1979, was probably the first Clerk not to have been a staff member of the Church Union.

  • Miss Shirley Dex became the first female Trustee in 1990 and the first Vice-Chairman in 2001. Mrs Daphne Brotherton, appointed as a Trustee in 1994, became the first female Chairman in 2001. Since the appointment of Mrs Margaret Laird OBE as a Trustee in 2001, the six lay Trustees have always included three women.

  • From 2007 to 2018 annual study days for ordinands were held, initially funded by a generous legacy from Professor Roy Porter (Chairman, 1988-2001).