History and Achievements of the John Ray Trust

The Trust was set up by the Braintree District Council in 1986 to promote the work of John Ray and to bring his name back into the public domain.

The Trustees of the John Ray Trust are representatives from Braintree District Council, Trinity College, Cambridge, and local people from Braintree District representing local businesses or themselves. Currently there are 11 Trustees.

This has led the Trust along the route of the following activities.

Erecting a statue to John Ray

Originally erected outside Barclayss Bank in Braintree, the statute now stands in the garden at the front of Braintree District Museum in Manor Street.  

Opening of the John Ray Gallery, Braintree District Museum 

The Trust worked in partnership with the museum on this project, assisting both practically and financially

John Ray Bursaries

The bursaries are launched in November of each year and are payable to students from across the world – but studying in Britain - and others working within the natural sciences. They are awarded on merit to assist with the cost of short-term projects in all aspects of the sciences. Many bursaries are awarded to undergraduates to assist them with their third year projects but some have been awarded to applicants to assist with the publication of scientific books. Bursaries are generally in the region of £200 to £400. In return we ask the students for the copy of their final report. This is then made available at a research level to other students in a library in the John Ray Galley in Braintree District Museum. Over the years we have assist around eighty people in this way.

John Ray Scholarships

These are funded by a sponsor (DCH). They are available to students of natural science who were born and bred within the Braintree District. However, the criteria for this scholarship are specific and are available to young people who fit this social requirement. To date three scholarships have been awarded, a fourth is currently being processed.

Producing literature

Since 1986 the John Ray Trust has been producing literature to promote the Trust and Ray's achievements

John Ray Knot Garden

In 1986 the Braintree and Bocking Gardens Trust allocated an area that is dedicate to John Ray is maintained at our expense. The garden features plants that would have been known to Ray for their value in medicinal pastes and potions or culinary uses. Today it is a sanctuary of peace but also an educational resource. In 2009 this garden underwent major restoration funded by the Trust.

John Ray Wood

In partnership with Braintree District Council, The Notley High School, John Ray Junior School and John Ray Infants School this woodland was planted in 1994 as an aid to education but also a public area for local enjoyment.

John Ray Walk

Through Parish partnership, Essex County Council and Braintree District Council the John Ray Trust were party to the organisation of a nine mile walk from Witham to Braintree, linked by the railway line. The walk in part covers ground that Ray would have walked to school in Braintree. It also passes the place of his birth and Faulkbourne Hall where he lived for a short time.

Riverside Walk

In partnership with Halstead Town Council and the River Stour Trust we developed a riverside walk in Halstead town centre and erected interpretitive material and habitats to encourage bird, small mammals and insects as part of the Riverside Living initiative 

1999 A Conference: John Ray and his Successors: the Clergyman as Biologist.

This conference was organised by the Trust in conjunction with the Institute of Biology History Committee and the Society for the History of Natural History. It attracted more than forty papers from academics across the world and was felt to be a great success but a lot of work!

Conferance in 2005

A Conference in partnership with the British Naturalist Society to celebrate their one hundreth birthday and honouring Ray on the 300th anniversary since his death.

Concerts in St Michael's Church Braintree

As part of the conference events the Trust organised two concerts involving pupils from local schools. Through words and music we entertained audiences of more than 400 people

Braintree John Ray Rose

Bred by Colin and Heather Horner of Stansted the rose was the Trusts Millennium Celebration.


When apppropriate fund raising dinners, garden parties and fetes.

Sponsors of the John Ray Trust

The Trust launched this initiative to boost our regular income. People were invited to pay £15 per year to be a sponsor. Sponsors receive a discount to paid events plus an annual newsletter. This has floundered.

Visits to Trinity College Cambridge and the John Ray lectures

Talks to local organisations

The Trust undertake a number of talks each year to local groups. If you would be interested in a talk on the work of John Ray please do contact us. 

2010 a weekend of events to celebrate John Ray

Financed in part by a grant from the Royal Society, Braintree District Council Museum Service and the Trust shared the organisation of this weekend culminating in a John Ray Walk in Black Notley.