A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 8, Warminster, Westbury and Whorwellsdown Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1965.
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SCHOOLS. (fn. 1)
In 1835 there were said to be 18 schools within the ancient parish. In the town of Westbury there were an infants' school, and 5 daily schools: in Westbury Leigh there were 6 schools, in Bratton 3, in Dilton Marsh 2, and in Heywood 1. (fn. 2) Brief accounts of some of these schools, and of others which were established later, are given below.
WESTBURY, LAVERTON INSTITUTE SCHOOL. From a bequest of £1,000, made for educational purposes by John Matravers in 1814, £500 was to provide a school for boys and girls. (fn. 3) The first school-room was in the Bratton Road in the building later called the Old Athenaeum. (fn. 4) In 1819 24 boys attended the school, which was run on the Lancasterian system. (fn. 5) No girls' school was provided, but later the British Girls' School benefited from the bequest. For some time after 1832 the rent of the school-room was paid by William Matravers. (fn. 6) In 1833 about 50 boys were taught, besides the more usual subjects, enough geometry to qualify them for mechanical pursuits. Fees were 1d. a week. (fn. 7) By 1856 the school was associated with the British Society. (fn. 8) In 1874 the school moved to the room provided for it in the newly-built Laverton Institute. (fn. 9) In 1885 a proposal to share the income from the Matravers bequest among the other Westbury Schools met with local opposition, but henceforth the girls' school connected with the British Society received £10 a year. (fn. 10) Boys were not to be required to attend any particular Sunday school or church, but religious instruction was given at the beginning and end of every school session. (fn. 11) In 1899 another room in the Institute was used, and there was said to be accommodation for 180 boys. (fn. 12) This room was declared unsuitable in 1909, and in 1910 accommodation was reassessed at 86. (fn. 13) In 1907 the school was transferred to the Local Education Authority and its name changed from Westbury British Boys School to Westbury Laverton Institute School. (fn. 14) In 1925 the school closed and the boys joined the Senior School in Lower (now Leigh) Road, later called the Westbury County Secondary Modern School. (fn. 15)
WESTBURY, CHURCH OF ENGLAND JUNIOR SCHOOL. In 1844, largely through the efforts of the vicar, Stafford Brown, a school of about 70 children was started in a hired room. (fn. 16) This became the Church of England Day School for which premises were built with the aid of a state grant three years later at the corner of New Town and Bratton Road. (fn. 17) In 1859 a separate building was opened for girls and infants. (fn. 18) The schools were in union with the National Society. (fn. 19) They received favourable reports in 1859 and were then attended by about 60 boys, 70-80 girls, and 100 infants. (fn. 20) Some time after this the girls moved to a schoolroom in Maristow Street, and the infants to a room in Edward Street. (fn. 21) Girls and infants were subsequently moved to a Sunday-school room built in the churchyard in 1873. (fn. 22) Between 1893 and 1910 the accommodation of the three departments was estimated at about 454. (fn. 23) In 1925 the senior children moved to the Westbury Senior Council School, and the juniors were accommodated in the building in the churchyard. (fn. 24) Controlled status was granted in 1949. (fn. 25) In 1959 an entirely new building was opened at Oldfield Park with accommodation for 280 children. The churchyard premises were then handed over for the use of the Laverton County Infants' School. (fn. 26)
The school building at the corner of Bratton Road and New Town was acquired by the County Council in 1925. For a time it was used as the domestic science and woodwork centre of the Senior School in Leigh Road. It was later used as extra accommodation for the Laverton County Infants' School. (fn. 27)
WESTBURY COUNTY SECONDARY MODERN SCHOOL, Leigh Road. In 1844 a single school-room was built In 1844 a single school-room was built in Lower (now Leigh) Road as a girls' school. (fn. 28) In 1859 the school, by then associated with the British Society, had about 70 pupils. (fn. 29) Between 1893 and 1910 average attendance was about 60. (fn. 30) In 1925 two new classrooms were added, the boys brought from the Laverton Institute School, and the senior children from the Church of England School, and the school became the Westbury Senior Council School with 103 pupils. (fn. 31) Senior pupils from Westbury Leigh were admitted in 1929. (fn. 32) In 1930 the school was enlarged to accommodate children over 11 from Heywood, Chapmanslade, Corsley, Dilton Marsh, Erlestoke, Bratton, and Edington. Between 1931 and 1950 new classrooms for teaching practical subjects, and a kitchen and dining hall were added. Since 1945 the school has been known as the Westbury County Secondary Modern School and has accommodation for 348 children. (fn. 33)
Between 1950 and 1960 numbers increased to 475 and much extra temporary accommodation was needed. In 1960 a major building programme was proposed to bring the buildings up to Ministry of Education standards. Since c. 1953 the school has developed the teaching of rural subjects and provides special courses in these for children from Warminster, Trowbridge, and Bradford-on-Avon, as well as from the Westbury area. Extended courses for pupils up to 16 or 17 years were established in 1960. (fn. 34)
LAVERTON COUNTY (INFANTS) SCHOOL.Before 1884 some infants attended the girls' school in Lower Road. (fn. 35) That year a school was built by Abraham Laverton in Bratton Road close to the Laverton Institute. (fn. 36) The school was associated with the British Society, (fn. 37) and opened in 1885 with 73 children. (fn. 38) Between 1893 and 1910 accommodation was assessed at 144, but average attendance was 55 in 1908 and 46 in 1910. (fn. 39) The school was transferred to the Local Education Authority in 1928. (fn. 40)
For a time the building, formerly belonging to the National Schools at the corner of New Town and Bratton Road was used as an extra class-room. (fn. 41) In 1958 the premises in the churchyard of the former Church of England Junior school became the main building of the Laverton County Infants' School.
WESTBURY LEIGH, CHURCH OF ENGLAND SCHOOL. About 80 children were said to be attending 6 dayschools in Westbury Leigh in 1833. (fn. 42) In 1859 it was proposed to amalgamate the 2 existing schools, which had between 60 and 70 pupils each. One of these schools was supported by Mrs. Phipps. (fn. 43) By 1893 a National School with accommodation for 125 children had been opened. (fn. 44) In 1910 the accommodation of the mixed department was 126, of the infant department 50, and average attendance figures were 77 and 41 respectively. (fn. 45) In 1929 the senior children moved to Leigh Road Senior School, and Westbury Leigh became a junior mixed and infant school. (fn. 46) Controlled status was granted in 1950. (fn. 47)
BRATTON, BRITISH SCHOOL, AND JUNIOR AND INFANTS' SCHOOL
There were 3 schools in Bratton in 1833. (fn. 48) It is not possible to connect any of these with the 2 schools which existed in 1859. One of these was built c. 1846 with the aid of a state grant (fn. 49) and was associated with the British Society. (fn. 50) In 1859 it had over 150 pupils and was considered a satisfactory school with better conditions than those of the National School in Bratton. (fn. 51) But in 1913 the building was considered to be unsatisfactory. (fn. 52) In 1928 the school was closed, as was the Bratton National School, and all the children went to the newly-opened council school with accommodation for 120. (fn. 53) In 1931 the Bratton Council School became a junior mixed and infant school. (fn. 54)
BRATTON, NATIONAL SCHOOL. This school was built in 1846 with the aid of a state building grant and assistance from the National Society. (fn. 55) It had accommodation for about 20 children in 1858. (fn. 56) Conditions in the school were said to have improved when a vicar became resident in Bratton. (fn. 57) The school was enlarged in 1877 (fn. 58) and between 1893 and 1910 accommodation was 83, although average attendance was only 37 in the last year. (fn. 59) The school was closed in 1928 and the children transferred to the new Bratton Council School. (fn. 60)
HEYWOOD,CHURCH OF ENGLAND SCHOOL.Some children from Heywood attended a school in Bratton in 1833. (fn. 61) A school and school-house were built in Heywood in 1836 by Henry Gaisford Gibbs Ludlow. (fn. 62) In 1859 it was called Heywood House School and 50 children were doing 'fairly well' there, although in 1857 it had had an unfavourable report. (fn. 63) Elsewhere in the village between 20 and 30 children worked under a dame. (fn. 64) In 1885 the trustees of the school became tenants at will of Endymion Porter, of Heywood House, and at the same time it was agreed that religious instruction should be in accordance with the 'principles of the Church of England as understood by Evangelical and Protestant churchmen'. The lessor was to determine any dispute which might arise as to the interpretation of a document or teaching. (fn. 65) In 1910 the accommodation of the mixed department was estimated at 81, and of the infant department at 29. Average attendance was 82. (fn. 66) In 1930 the senior children were removed to the Leigh Road, Westbury, Senior School, and the school became a junior mixed and infant school. (fn. 67) Controlled status was granted in 1948. (fn. 68)
DILTON MARSH, CHURCH OF ENGLAND (JUNIOR) SCHOOL. There were 2 schools at Dilton Marsh in 1833. (fn. 69) In c. 1847 a school in union with the National Society was built with the aid of a state grant. (fn. 70) In 1910 accommodation was 178 and average attendance was 135. (fn. 71) In 1937 the senior children were moved to the Senior School in Leigh Road, Westbury, leaving a junior mixed and infant school with accommodation for 150 children. (fn. 72) In 1938 the infants were moved to Dilton Marsh Council School, which opened as an infant school that year. (fn. 73) The junior school became known as the Dilton Marsh Junior Church of England School. (fn. 74)
DILTON MARSH, INFANTS SCHOOL.A school associated with the British Society was built at Dilton Marsh in 1865. (fn. 75) The building was enlarged in 1884, (fn. 76) and in 1893 had accommodation for 134 children. (fn. 77) In 1906 management was assumed by the Board of Education. (fn. 78) In 1910 the senior department had accommodation for 102 and the infant department 54. (fn. 79) The senior children were transferred to the Senior School in Leigh Road, Westbury, in 1930. (fn. 80) From 1930 until 1938 the school was for mixed juniors and infants but in 1938 became a school for infants only with accommodation for 94 children. (fn. 81)
CHAPMANSLADE, CHURCH OF ENGLAND SCHOOL. A National School was built in Chapmanslade in 1875. (fn. 82) In 1894 it was enlarged. (fn. 83) In 1910 accommodation in the mixed department was 59 and in the infant department 50. Average attendance at that date was 42 and 11 respectively. (fn. 84) In 1930 the school became a junior and infants' school. (fn. 85)