The Merchants House of Glasgow was founded in 1605 to represent the interests of the city's merchants and to provide charitable assistance for members and their relatives in hard times. The House had an important role in local government and until 1833 it was strongly represented on the town council. In recent times the organisation has concentrated on charitable activities.
In 1735 Zachary Boyd (1585-1653) gave £1,000 Scots to the Merchants House on condition that, after his death, the money should be used to support a theology student at the University. This bursary was subsequently combined with another, instituted in 1726 by a printer, Robert Sanders, to create the Boyd and Sanders Bursary. The bursary is awarded by the Merchants House for distinction in the first year of the Bachelor of Divinity course.
The Merchants House also offers a bursary annually to a student intending to follow a career in commerce or industry, to enable him or her to spend time abroad while learning a foreign language.