Stondon Massey: Schools

Page 248

A History of the County of Essex: Volume 4, Ongar Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1956.

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There was a schoolmaster in Stondon Massey in 1777, but his school had been closed by 1791, when John Oldham became rector. Oldham was a subscriber to the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge and he set up a day school in the parish with a labourer's wife as the mistress. In 1807 about 12 Stondon children attended and possibly others from outside the parish. The curriculum was confined to reading, sewing, and knitting. Expenses were paid by the rector. (fn. 1) In 1818 this school, still kept by the labourer's wife, remained the only one in the parish. The mistress taught 30 or 40 pupils to read but sent them to Chipping Ongar to learn writing and arithmetic. (fn. 2) The school had come into union with the National Society in 1816, and remained so at least until 1832. During that period the number of day pupils seems to have been kept at 34, while a further 50 attended the Sunday school held in connexion with the day school. (fn. 3) In 1833 the day pupils increased considerably in numbers. They all paid fees except 6 whose fees were paid by benefactors. There were some dame schools and there was a girls' boarding-school at Stondon House, which was founded in 1824 and which by 1833 had 26 pupils. (fn. 4)

In 1844 the lord of the manor, P. H. Meyer, built a parish school with accommodation for 48 pupils. The trust deed of that year placed it in union with the National Society, required that the religious teaching should be in accordance with Anglican principles and appointed the rector and churchwardens as trustees. (fn. 5) In 1870 there were some 42 pupils, and in 1871 an inspector reported that the accommodation was sufficient for the needs of the parish. (fn. 6) Some years passed before the school received a government grant because the rector would not accept a conscience clause for the benefit of nonconformist children on the ground that the founder had specifically required that the principles of religious teaching should be Anglican. When the income of the school was reduced by the agricultural depression that began about 1875, and the rector saw that the conscience clause had been accepted in other Church schools, he also accepted the clause. (fn. 7) The school received a government grant of £51 in 1893 and one of £60 in 1899. (fn. 8) Average attendance in the 1880's was about 36. (fn. 9) The school was enlarged in 1891 for 70 children, but in spite of this there was little increase in the attendance, which averaged 39 in 1898. (fn. 10)

By the Education Act of 1902 the school passed under the administration of the Essex Education Committee, Ongar District, as a non-provided school. In 1904, when accommodation was estimated at 75, there were 45 pupils and 2 teachers. (fn. 11) In 1910 the average attendance was 31 and in 1920 it was 36. In 1930 the school was reorganized for mixed juniors and infants. Attendance subsequently increased and in 1939 the infants were being taught in the adjacent village hall. (fn. 12) In May 1952 there were 47 pupils and 2 teachers. The school was closed in 1953, the children being transferred to that at Kelvedon Hatch. (fn. 13) The building was of one story, of red brick with tiled roof. It was inscribed 'Stondon Massey National School, built 1844, enlarged 1891.' It was demolished in July 1954.


  • 1. Reeve, Stondon Massey, 47; E.R.O., D/AEM 2/4.
  • 2. Retns. Educ. Poor, H.C. 224, p.272 (1819), ix (1).
  • 3. Nat. Soc. Rep. 1816, 1818, 1828, 1832.
  • 4. Educ. Enquiry Abstr. H.C. 62, p. 290 (1835), xli. Reeve, Stondon Massey, 95,49. The Stondon House school closed before 1861.
  • 5. Reeve, op. cit. 95-96; Min. of Educ.File 13/356.
  • 6. Retns. Elem. Educ. H.C. 201, pp. 112-13 (1871), lv; Min. of Educ. File 13/356.
  • 7. Reeve, op. cit. 95-96.
  • 8. Retns. of Schs. 1893 [C. 7529], p. 716, H.C. (1894), lxv.; ibid. 1899 [Cd. 315],p. 74, H.C. (1900), lxv (2).
  • 9. Kelly's Dir. Essex (1882, 1886, 1890).
  • 10. Ibid. (1898).
  • 11. Essex Educ. Cttee. Handbk. 1904, p. 187.
  • 12. Min. of Educ. File 13/356.
  • 13. Inf. from Essex Educ. Cttee.