A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 11, Bisley and Longtree Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1976.
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An unlicensed schoolmaster was recorded at Horsley in 1602. (fn. 1) Edward Webb (d. 1751) left £200 for the poor. (fn. 2) In 1752 the money was vested in trustees to purchase land for a free school, where a master in communion with the established church was to teach the catechism, reading, writing, and accounting; £155 was spent in purchasing land in 1755, and the remaining £45, with an additional £30, was handed over to the trustees by Elizabeth Castleman in 1775 and the interest was applied to the school. Anne Wight of Tetbury, by will dated 1788, left £100 for the school and in 1789 a further £30 was bequeathed by Sarah Wilbraham. In 1789 £450 was laid out on land at Twatley in the north part of the parish, sold to the school at a beneficial price by Henry Stephens, lord of the manor; the income of the school supported 25 children at that date. Further bequests to the school came from Henry Sheppard who gave 1 a. of land at Tickmorend and from Mary Frost who, by will dated 1819, left £90 to be invested in stock. (fn. 3)
The school did not have a proper building in 1818, when the master's salary was c. £50 yearly. (fn. 4) The premises, situated at Tickmorend, became dilapidated and were away from the populous part of the parish, so in 1824 a new school was built on an unconsecrated part of the churchyard with a grant from the National Society and subscriptions. In 1828 the income from the charities was £66 a year; books were purchased with the help of casual donations and the buildings and furnishings were maintained by Edward Wilbraham. (fn. 5) In 1833 there were 120 children at the school, then known as the Horsley Free school, and charges were made for those children taught to write on paper. (fn. 6) In 1854 the average attendance was 75. (fn. 7) The school funds were augmented by a bequest of £300 from Edward Wilbraham in 1863, a gift made by the Revd. W. H. Bathurst in 1866 which yielded an annual income of £46, and a further grant by Bathurst of £100 in 1868 which was used for a master's house and a boys' playground. (fn. 8) The school was rebuilt in 1894, (fn. 9) and c. 1910, when it was called Horsley C. of E. school, it had 173 pupils. (fn. 10) It was again rebuilt in 1912. (fn. 11) The number of pupils had declined to 139 by 1922 and to 120 by 1936. (fn. 12) In 1972 there were 43 children on the roll. (fn. 13)
Three other schools, some of which may have been in the Nailsworth part of the parish, were recorded at Horsley in 1833. An infants' school with 20 pupils had started in 1832 and was supported by the parents. Books were supplied by Miss L. Young. (fn. 14) It may have been the infants' day-school with 81 pupils recorded in 1846 (fn. 15) but its further history is obscure and it may have amalgamated with the parish school. (fn. 16) Another school had been started in the parish in 1823 and had 14 pupils in 1833 when it was supported by the parents. The third school had started in 1829, and by 1833 contained 137 children taught by a master and a mistress. (fn. 17) The size of the school makes it likely that it served the part of the parish later transferred to Nailsworth. A Wesleyan school at Downend was mentioned in 1879 but no other record of a day-school has been found there and it may have been a Sunday school only. (fn. 18)