A History of the County of Essex: Volume 4, Ongar Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1956.
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The foundation statutes of Harsnett's schools at Chigwell (1629) provided that two boys from Lambourne should be taught at the English school at Chigwell and two at the Latin school. (fn. 1) In 1734 Sir John Fortescue-Aland, lord of the manor of Lambourne and owner of Knolls Hill in Stapleford Abbots, founded a free school in Stapleford Abbots, at which twenty boys from Lambourne were to be given places. (fn. 2)
There was no school in Lambourne in 1807 except a Sunday school with twenty pupils. (fn. 3) Twenty places were still available at the Stapleford Abbots school, but not all of these were filled. (fn. 4) In 1818 there was still no day school at Lambourne, but by 1833 much progress had been made. All the available places in the free school were taken and a day school had been founded at Abridge. In 1833 there were 64 pupils at this school, of whom 50 paid fees and 14 were paid for by benefactors. (fn. 5) The school was probably then under church guidance, and in about 1835 it seems to have passed under more direct church control. The chapel of ease at Abridge was used as a schoolroom for girls and the Wesleyan chapel hired for the teaching of boys. In 1838 the annual expenses were about £70, towards which subscribers gave £40. About £7 was collected at the annual sermon and further income was derived from the weekly fee of 2d. for each child. About 80 children were on the roll, but the average attendance was low. (fn. 6)
The population of Lambourne was increasing steadily at this time and in 1839 there were still some 50 children not attending a school of any kind. In 1838 local churchmen set up a committee, with the rector as secretary, to build a new school at Abridge. Subscriptions were collected, chiefly from local landowners, and the rector approached the government and the National Society for grants. After a delay due to difficulties over a site and to the National Society's dispute with the government in 1839, building started in 1841-2 on a site given by W. J. Lockwood of Dews Hall and his son W. M. Wood. The National Society gave £40, the government £54, and the Diocesan Board £20. A further £199 was given by 35 subscribers, including Lady Mildmay, owner of Battles Hall in Stapleford Abbots, Archer Houblon, owner of Bobbingworth Hall, the rector and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, the patron of the living. (fn. 7) The school was situated on the west side of Hoe Lane at Abridge. (fn. 8) It seems to have been a National School and for some years to have remained closely connected with the Sunday school. In 1846-7 there were 68 pupils under a master and two mistresses who between them received £60 a year and had the use of a house rent-free. (fn. 9) Attendance declined slightly in subsequent years. In 1851-2 there were 62 children present when the inspector visited the 'neat schoolrooms'. He found the equipment poor, the master untrained, the educational standard low, but the children 'nice and well-behaved'. (fn. 10) In 1859 an inspector found a slight improvement in standard but only 52 children in attendance. (fn. 11) In 1871, when there was said to be accommodation for 62 children, the attendance was still about 52. (fn. 12) At this time the school was in financial difficulty and soon after (probably in 1878) it was discontinued as the result of the building of a Board School.
In 1874 a school board of five members was set up for Lambourne and Stapleford Abbots (q.v.) which had been united into a single school district according to the recommendation of the Education Department. (fn. 13) The first plans submitted by the board were rejected by the Education Department as too expensive, but after this delay the board school was opened in September 1878, on or near the site of the former National School. (fn. 14) It had accommodation for about 150 pupils and a teacher's house was attached. (fn. 15) Within a few years it was receiving an annual grant, amounting to £72 in 1886, £103 in 1893, and £130 in 1902. The average attendance rose from 104 in 1886 to 120 in 1893 and 125 in 1902. (fn. 16) By 1904, when the accommodation was said to be for 178, there were 141 children under 4 teachers and a monitress. (fn. 17)
By the Education Act of 1902 the school passed under the administration of the Essex Education Committee, Ongar District. Its average attendance was 127 in 1915 and 130 in 1938. In 1914 it was enlarged to accommodate 196 and in 1936 2 acres were added to the site. In 1947 it was reorganized for mixed juniors and infants. (fn. 18) In May 1952 there were 3 teachers and 106 children. (fn. 19) The school is a single-storied building of brown and red brick, with teacher's house attached.
There was a private school at Abridge in 1845, kept by Mrs. Sarah Giles. (fn. 20)