The Kent Kingdon Trustt was established under the will of Kent Kingdon (1810-1889), an Exeter cabinet maker who died on 2 April 1889. The will laid down detailed instructions for the administration of his generous bequest. The Trustees were to meet on his birthday, 24 April to select books for the Library. Every third year no books were to selected but "a good work of art" was to be chosen for the Royal Albert Memorial Museum collection.
Kent Kingdon had fixed ideas on what he preferred: "if a painting I prefer a good landscape", and as far as books were concerned "no theological works or works of fiction of any sort or kind". In the early part of the twentieth century the funds facilitated the purchase of many items but over the years they were eroded by inflation. From the 1970s the fund became dormant but in 1994 the Trust was revived and the income which had accrued over the previous twenty years reinvested. Some of the earlier stipulations of the will have been dropped, for example the limitation of trustees to "gentlemen" and the requirement that every seven years the interior of the Museum be decorated in "grey and black but no gilding as I consider that exhibition rooms should be kept in very quiet good taste". Nevertheless the intention of the present trustees is to continue the spirit of Kent Kingdon's wishes and the Trust is now once more able to assist the Library and Museum with purchases, although on a much more modest scale than at the start of the century.