Tidenham including Lancaut: Education

Pages 78-79

A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 10, Westbury and Whitstone Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1972.

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In 1600 Thomas Lewis was presented for teaching a school at Tidenham without licence; Lewis was also said to be slack in attending church and to have missed the Easter communion. (fn. 1) In 1736 Bridget Madocke of the family settled at Wibdon granted 7¼ a. land to the parish, £2 10s. of the proceeds to be used for teaching six poor children to read and £2 to be paid to the minister for giving them instruction in the catechism. The land was leased at a rent of £5 15s. in the 1760s. (fn. 2) In the early 19th century high costs were incurred in a legal action over the land (fn. 3) which swallowed up the proceeds from 1813 to at least 1833, but in 1818 four children were being educated by a private benefactor. (fn. 4) By 1818 there were also six day schools and a Sunday school in the parish, (fn. 5) and in 1833 79 children were being taught at six schools; 24 of them were being educated at the expense of James Jenkins while the rest were paid for by their parents. (fn. 6) There were still three small dame schools in the parish in 1846. (fn. 7) Before 1853 the Misses Phillips of Penmoil started a school in a small building, later known as the Old School House, built on the cliffs near their house, and they continued to maintain it until 1870 or later. (fn. 8)

In 1841 the Tidenham National School (later called Tidenham Church of England School) was started in a schoolroom built north of the church on a site given by the Duke of Beaufort. (fn. 9) In 1846 a salaried master and mistress were teaching 81 day pupils there; (fn. 10) in 1855 the average attendance was 40, the fall being presumably explained by the opening of two other schools in the parish, at Tutshill and Tidenham Chase. In 1855 the income of the Tidenham National School included school pence, voluntary contributions, and the £2 10s. from the Madocke charity, although the greater proportion came from other sources not specified; each child then paid 1d. but it was proposed to relate the pence roughly to parents' income by charging 1d. for a labourer's child, 2d. for a tradesman's, and 4d. for a farmer's. Evening classes were also being held at the school on four nights a week in the 1850s. (fn. 11) The school was enlarged in 1880 (fn. 12) and the average attendance was 85 in 1885; (fn. 13) it rose to III in 1904 (fn. 14) but fell steadily during the early 20th century to 38 in 1936. (fn. 15) Tutshill Church of England School was built by subscription in 1848 and in 1856 its income came from voluntary contributions, pence, and other sources including collections in church; a deficiency was supplied by the vicar. The average attendance was then 40. Evening classes were taught by the curate on two nights a week. The school was enlarged in 1871 (fn. 16) and rebuilt in 1893, (fn. 17) and the average attendance rose to 70 in 1885, (fn. 18) 95 in 1910, and 191 in 1932, but there was a fall to 165 by 1936. (fn. 19) Another Church of England school was established c. 1850 in a schoolroom built by subscription in Rosemary Lane on Tidenham Chase; it was rebuilt in 1871. (fn. 20) At the latter date its income came from voluntary contributions and pence, and average attendance was 55; (fn. 21) attendance had fallen to 33 by 1904 (fn. 22) and to 29 by 1910, but there was a revival to 55 by 1936. (fn. 23)

A school established at Beachley in a small stone building by the chapel there in 1836 evidently had its origin in the group of pupils supported by James Jenkins in 1833. (fn. 24) In 1846 it comprised a Sunday and day school affiliated to the National Society, and had c. 60 pupils taught by a salaried mistress. Apart from a grant from the society, the income was from subscriptions and pence. (fn. 25) In the early 1850s the school was managed by the clergy of Tidenham parish. It was then being largely supported by Robert Castle Jenkins who owned the building, (fn. 26) and it continued to rely on the support of the Jenkins and later the Curre families until the First World War, when it apparently closed. (fn. 27) The school's average attendance was only 15 in 1885 because it then taught only infants, the older children of Beachley going to schools at Tidenham and Chepstow. (fn. 28)

The Tidenham Chase C. of E. School was closed in 1949 and Tidenham C. of E. School in 1953, and the children from both transferred to Tutshill C. of E. School. The average attendance at the Tutshill school was later further increased by the new housing estates built in the Tutshill and Sedbury areas and it had risen to c. 400 by 1967. In that year many of the children were transferred to the new Sedbury County Primary School which replaced an earlier school maintained at Beachley for the children of the staff at the Army Apprentices College. In 1969 the Tutshill school had an attendance of c. 170 and the Sedbury school c. 300. (fn. 29)


  • 1. G.D.R. vol. 87, f. 280v.
  • 2. 19th Rep. Com. Char. 108; a further 10s. from the profits was to be used to maintain the Madocke family's tomb and a benefactions board, and any residue to be paid to the minister for a service on Good Friday. The Madocke tomb, which stands by the south porch of the church, was given a thorough restoration in 1809-10: churchwardens' acct. bk. 1786-1830.
  • 3. According to Educ. of Poor Digest, 314, the litigation resulted from the vicar's attempt to make the lessee pay a higher rent, but 19th Rep. Com. Char. 108, states that it involved the appointment of new trustees for the charity.
  • 4. Educ. of Poor Digest, 314; Educ. Enquiry Abstract, 329.
  • 5. Educ. of Poor Digest, 314.
  • 6. Educ. Enquiry Abstract, 329.
  • 7. Church School Inquiry, 1846-7, 16-17.
  • 8. Estate plan, 1853, penes Lady Waring; Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1870), 660.
  • 9. Ed. 7/35/325; Glos. R.O., D 262/T 25A.
  • 10. Church School Inquiry 1846-7, 16-17.
  • 11. Ed. 7/35/325.
  • 12. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1894), 327.
  • 13. Ibid. (1885), 605.
  • 14. Public Elem. Schs. 1906, 190.
  • 15. Bd. of Educ. List 21, 1911 (H.M.S.O.), 167; 1922, 108, 1936, 124.
  • 16. H.O. 129/576/2/10/19; Ed. 7/35/327.
  • 17. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1906), 339.
  • 18. Ibid. (1885), 605.
  • 19. Bd. of Educ. List 21, 1911, 168; 1932, 118; 1936, 124.
  • 20. H.O. 129/576/2/10/19; Ed. 7/35/326.
  • 21. Ed. 7/35/326.
  • 22. Public Elem. Schs. 1906, 190.
  • 23. Bd. of Educ. List 21, 1911, 167; 1922, 108; 1932, 118; 1936, 124.
  • 24. Ed. 7/37; cf. above, p. 64.
  • 25. Church School Inquiry, 1846-7, 16-17.
  • 26. Ed. 7/37; G.D.R., V 6/9, letter of 20 Nov. 1854.
  • 27. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1889 and later edns.).
  • 28. Ibid. (1885), 361.
  • 29. Ex inf. Mr. J. G. Harper, head master of Tutshill C. of E. School.