A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 10, Cheveley, Flendish, Staine and Staploe Hundreds (North-Eastern Cambridgeshire). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2002.
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Raye's school was established in 1568 under the will of John Raye, proved 1560, who left a house and land to support it. (fn. 1) The endowment, sold to buy 50 a. of arable, was supplemented in 1709 with a sum given by Henry, Lord Jermyn (d. 1708), and used to buy 24 a. in Worlington and Freckenham (Suff.). (fn. 2) The land in Cheveley was exchanged with the duke of Rutland c. 1820 (fn. 3) and again at inclosure in 1844, (fn. 4) being sold in 1927. (fn. 5) The last of the Suffolk land was sold between 1891 and 1922. (fn. 6)
The school at first taught writing and Latin grammar, and entry was restricted from 1709 to Cheveley-born boys who could already read. (fn. 7) The rule was probably still in force in 1722, when the master was a graduate in holy orders. (fn. 8) No new governors were appointed after 1709. In 1810 the master, nominated by the rector, provided a free education for Cheveley boys in reading, writing, and arithmetic. In 1837 up to 50 were registered but attendance was irregular. The reading requirement for entry was dropped in 1835. (fn. 9)
The school was reconstituted in 1854 with new governors. Earlier taught in the south transept of the church, it moved to a house in High Street given by the 5th duke of Rutland. Welltrained masters were to provide 'all the branches of a sound middle class education', including land surveying and book-keeping. Fifty boys were being taught in 1865 but few stayed beyond the age of 14 (fn. 10) and the school did not provide a true grammar-school education. Priorities were re-evaluated in the 1870s, when the trustees were anxious above all to keep the endowment under local control. (fn. 11) Formally, a Charity Commission scheme of 1881 attempted to turn Raye's into an elementary school with an upper department teaching science and practical subjects, (fn. 12) but in fact there was no demand in the village for such accomplishments and the school closed in 1873, boys instead attending the National school. (fn. 13) The closure was regularized in 1891, when part of the endowment was transferred to the National school and the remainder diverted into grants to Cheveley children going beyond elementary schooling. (fn. 14) Such grants continued in the 1960s, when they were still useful and appreciated, (fn. 15) and their scope was widened under a Charity Commission scheme of 1976. (fn. 16)
A girls' school was founded under the will of John Warren, dated 1748 and effective in 1754, who left an endowment in stock to teach reading, writing, and domestic skills to the poor. In 1837 an 'efficient' schoolmistress was instructing c. 24 girls up to the age of 10 in reading and sewing. Another dozen paid fees to learn writing and arithmetic or to stay on beyond that age. (fn. 17) In 1861 funds were raised to build a new National school on a site at the corner of High Street and Park Lane given by the 6th duke of Rutland. (fn. 18) It opened in 1862, (fn. 19) and was extended in 1873 to take the boys from Raye's school. (fn. 20) It remained an elementary school, then a primary school, serving the parish, (fn. 21) and from 1978 was the central school of a short-lived federation with the schools in Ashley, Kirtling, and Woodditton parishes. In the 1980s and 1990s, after the others had closed, it served the four parishes as Cheveley Church of England (Controlled) community primary school. (fn. 22)