Moreton: School

Pages 138-139

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

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In 1807 there were two private day schools in Moreton, both of them elementary. In one a master taught some 28 children, mostly boys, of whom 9 had their fees paid by benefactors. In the other a dame taught some 37 children, mostly girls, the fees of 17 of whom were similarly paid. The rector, William Wilson, was troubled because both teachers appeared to be nonconformists; he himself had tried unsuccessfully to establish a Sunday school. (fn. 1) By 1818 there were a Sunday school and a day school with more than 20 pupils, under the control of Wilson and the Rector of High Laver; only one of the two earlier day schools seems to have survived. (fn. 2) Meanwhile Wilson was planning to build a permanent schoolroom. He collected subscriptions (fn. 3) and, in his will of 1821, provided for its endowment. Having redeemed the Land Tax of £23 4s. a year on his living, he directed that this sum should be paid annually by future rectors for the support of the school. He made further arrangements which resulted in £400 3 per cent. Reduced Annuities being added to the endowment. He required that the teachers should be Anglicans and should teach Church doctrine to their pupils. 'I do not', he wrote, 'feel disposed to allow more than £22 a year for the master's salary.' The education was to be elementary and fees were to be paid, if the parents could afford them. (fn. 4)

In 1821 the school was built on a site, purchased for £15, on the north of the Fyfield road, about 300 yds. west of the church. Subscribers nominated pupils in numbers proportionate to the amount of their subscription, but any Moreton child could attend by right. (fn. 5) There were 62 pupils in 1828, 76 in 1833, 70 in 1835, and 56 in 1846-7. (fn. 6) Most pupils paid 1d. a week; a few paid more. (fn. 7) Some Bobbingworth children seem to have attended, their fees being paid by Capel Cure; in 1823 he paid 4s. a week for the schooling of 12 boys. (fn. 8) The master received at least some of the fees in addition to his £22 salary, and his wife was paid for teaching the girls. (fn. 9) Further income came to the school from charity sermons and private subscriptions. (fn. 10)

After 1850 the school proved sufficient for the falling population of the parish. In 1867 there were 67 pupils, (fn. 11) but in 1871 only about 50. (fn. 12) An inspector reported in 1871 that accommodation was necessary for 82 children to ensure universal elementary education in the parish and that 87 places were available at the school. (fn. 13) By 1880 average attendance had fallen to 47, (fn. 14) but it subsequently increased to 76 in 1899, (fn. 15) possibly owing to the closing of a private school in the parish. (fn. 16) The annual grant also increased from £28 13s. in 1880 to £65 10s. in 1899. (fn. 17) In 1888 the Charity Commissioners allowed the sale of stock worth £150 towards the £170 needed for a new teacher's residence and in 1909 a further sale was permitted to provide funds for a playground. (fn. 18) In a scheme of 1896 the Charity Commissioners directed that the trustees were to be the minister, 3 members elected by the subscribers, and 3 others to be co-opted; the teacher was to be an Anglican and the religious teaching was to be in accordance with Church doctrine, but admission was not to be refused on denominational grounds. (fn. 19)

By the Education Act of 1902 the school passed under the administration of the Essex Education Committee, Ongar District. In 1904 there were 3 teachers and 98 children. (fn. 20) Average attendance fell from 72 in 1914 to 54 in 1929. In 1936 the school was reorganized for mixed juniors and infants, the seniors attending the new Ongar Senior School. In 1950 it was granted 'aided status'. (fn. 21) In May 1952 there were 3 teachers and 59 pupils. (fn. 22)

Soon after the foundation of the school in 1821, it was described as 'a neat building with a centre containing convenient apartments for the master and mistress'. (fn. 23) There was a wing for boys and one for girls. Additions in 1888 evidently spoilt the symmetry of the early building. (fn. 24) New classrooms have been added on the east side and a new master's house on the west. The buildings are of gault brick.


  • 1. E.R.O., D/AEM 2/4.
  • 2. Retns. Educ. Poor, H.C. 224, p. 262 (1819), ix (1).
  • 3. Inscription on present school building, 1952.
  • 4. E.R.O., D/P 72/25/1.
  • 5. Rep. Com. Char. (Essex), H.C. 216, pp. 230-2 (1835), xxi (1).
  • 6. Nat. Soc. Rep. 1828, p. 70; Educ. Enquiry Abstr. H.C. 62, p. 283 (1835), xli; Nat. Soc. Enquiry into Church Schools, 1846-7, pp. 12-13.
  • 7. Rep. Com. Char. (Essex), pp. 230-32.
  • 8. E.R.O., D/P 72/25/1; D/DCc E6.
  • 9. Ibid.; Nat. Soc. Enquiry into Church Schools, 1846-7.
  • 10. E.R.O., D/P 72/25/1.
  • 11. V.C.H. Essex, ii, 558.
  • 12. Retns. Elem. Educ. H.C. 201, pp. 112-13 (1871), lv.
  • 13. Min. of Educ. File 13/269.
  • 14. Rep. of Educ. Cttee. of Council, 1880 [C. 2948-1], p. 578, H.C. (1881), xxxii.
  • 15. Retn. Schools, 1899 [Cd. 315], p. 72, H.C. (1900), lxv (2).
  • 16. Retns. Elem. Educ. (1871), pp. 112- 13.
  • 17. Rep. of Educ. Cttee. of Council, 1880, p. 578; Retn. Schools, 1899, p. 72.
  • 18. Min. of Educ. File 13/269.
  • 19. Ibid.
  • 20. Essex Educ. Cttee. Handbk. 1904, 185.
  • 21. Min. of Educ. File 13/269.
  • 22. Inf. from Essex Educ. Cttee.
  • 23. T. Wright, Hist. Essex, ii, 353.
  • 24. W. Talbot, MS. Hist. Moreton.