Kelvedon Hatch: Schools

Pages 71-72

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 was no day school in Kelvedon Hatch, though there were two just outside the parish boundaries. The rector was teaching reading every Sunday to about 30 'regular and orderly' children. (fn. 1) This Sunday school seems to have led to the establishment of a day school which in 1816 was attended by 13 boys and 29 girls. (fn. 2) For the next 20 years a parish school under Church direction existed in one form or another. (fn. 3) In 1818 there were 40 children in two schools, one supported by a benevolent lady and the other by the rector's wife. (fn. 4) One of these schools was later discontinued and the attempt to provide week-day schooling for boys was abandoned, although they continued to attend the Sunday school. In 1833 there was only one school in the parish, attended by about 30 girls and maintained by voluntary subscriptions. It was a dame school under the rector's control. Its mistress was in failing health and the rector was planning to build a permanent school with separate rooms for boys and girls. He collected some £75 in subscriptions and obtained the promise of a site from the lord of the manor. The National Society agreed to make a grant but the undertaking was eventually abandoned and a schoolroom was rented in which the rector set up a successful Church school. (fn. 5) In 1839, when it was still the only school in the parish, 20 boys and 30 girls attended it, paying no fees except for additional tuition in writing. The boys were given smocks, stockings, hats, and handkerchiefs and the girls complete sets of clothing. Subscriptions, including one particularly large one, amounted to £37 a year, but they were difficult to obtain. The rector also complained that many children left school for service at too early an age. (fn. 6)

By 1846-7 the school had as many as 53 boys and 33 girls in attendance, some of whom paid fees. There were a master and a mistress, earning £43 a year between them. (fn. 7) A few years later an inspector found it 'a very nice small village country school under an able and promising young master', but he thought the classrooms inconvenient and the equipment inadequate. The monitorial system seems then to have been in use. The school was situated on a green which was used as the playground. (fn. 8) In 1856-7 the school received a capitation grant of £12 18s. Most of its income, however, continued to be derived from subscriptions. (fn. 9)

In 1860 a new school was established, but it appears to have had smaller accommodation than the one it replaced. The number of children attending had dropped by 1871 to about 20 and a master was no longer employed. (fn. 10) The school was still apparently without permanent premises (fn. 11) and in 1875 a school board of five members was compulsorily established. In 1878 the board built a school in the village and the Church school was then closed. (fn. 12) Kelvedon Hatch was one of the few rural parishes in the hundred where a school board had to be formed. In this case it is significant that the lord of the manor was a Roman Catholic; he clearly gave no support to the Anglican school.

The board school, built at a cost of £1,150, had accommodation for 80 children. (fn. 13) It was enlarged in 1898. (fn. 14) The annual government grant rose from £59 in 1893 to £82 in 1899. (fn. 15) Further income was derived from the school rate, which in 1891-2 was 1s. 4d. in the £1. (fn. 16) In 1902 the school passed under the administration of the Essex Education Committee, Ongar District. There was then an average attendance of 68. (fn. 17) In 1904 there were three teachers, one of them certificated. (fn. 18) The average attendance remained about 70 until 1930, when the school was reorganized for mixed juniors and infants, after which it fell to 59 in 1938. (fn. 19) In May 1952, however, there were 111 children and 4 teachers at the school. (fn. 20) The building stands a short distance from the parish church on the Stondon Massey road. It has one story and is of yellow brick.


  • 1. E.R.O., D/AEM 2/4.
  • 2. Nat. Soc. Rep. 1816, p. 52.
  • 3. E.R.O., D/P 30/28/18.
  • 4. Retns. Educ. Poor, H.C. 224, p. 259 (1819), ix (1).
  • 5. Educ. Enquiry Abstr. H.C. 62, p. 280 (1835), xli; inf. from Nat. Soc.
  • 6. E.R.O., D/P 30/28/18.
  • 7. Nat. Soc. Enquiry into Ch. Schs. 1846-7, pp. 10-11.
  • 8. Educ. Cttee. Rep. 1853-4, p. 295.
  • 9. Mins. of Educ. Cttee. of Council, 1857 [2380], p. 97, H.C. (1857-8), xlv; Kelly's Dir. Essex (1855, 1862, 1870).
  • 10. Kelly's Dir. Essex (1862, 1874); Retns. Elem. Educ. H.C. 201, pp. 112-13 (1871), lv.
  • 11. No school is shown on O.S. 6 in. Map (1st edn.), sheet lix.
  • 12. County Companion, 1880; Min. of Educ. File 13/214; Kelly's Dir. Essex (1882).
  • 13. Kelly's Dir. Essex (1882); Min. of Educ. File 13/214.
  • 14. Min. of Educ. File 13/214.
  • 15. Retn. of Schs. 1893 [C. 7529], p. 714, H.C. (1894), lxv, ibid. 1899 [Cd. 315], p. 71, H.C. (1900), lxv(2).
  • 16. Essex Standard, 12 Sept. 1891.
  • 17. Schs. under Bd. of Educ. 1902 [Cd. 1490], p. 71, H.C. (1903), li.
  • 18. Essex Educ. Cttee. Handbk. 1904, p. 185.
  • 19. Min. of Educ. File 13/214.
  • 20. Inf. from Essex Educ. Cttee.