Minchinhampton: Education

Page 205

A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 11, Bisley and Longtree Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1976.

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A schoolmaster was recorded at Minchinhampton in 1572, (fn. 1) and in 1594 the curate was teaching a school; (fn. 2) in 1651 a school was being taught in the chancel of the church. (fn. 3) Two charity schools for boys were founded in the parish in 1699 and another, for girls, in 1759.

St. Loe (or St. Chloe) school was founded by Nathaniel Cambridge, described as a merchant of Hamburg, who left £1,000 which was used in 1698 to purchase the Seinckley manor estate; in the following year the estate was settled on trustees who were to convert St. Loe's House as a master's residence and schoolroom, where boys between the ages of 6 and 16, drawn from Woodchester parish and Rodborough tithing in Minchinhampton parish, were to be taught reading, writing, and arithmetic or accounting. (fn. 4) A further bequest was left to the school by John Yeats as described below, and Richard Cambridge, a London merchant, (fn. 5) by will dated 1702 left £100 for use of the school. No benefit was apparently received from Richard Cambridge's bequest until 1759 when his representatives gave £49 to the school; part of the sum was lost by the insolvency of a man to whom it was loaned and a rent of 18s. was charged on land to answer for the residue. (fn. 6) The Revd. Richard Bond, the nominee of the founder, became the first master of St. Loe school in 1699 (fn. 7) and his son, evidently the Revd. Nathaniel Bond of St. Loe who died in 1758, succeeded him; Joseph Hort, who succeeded the son, remained master until his death in 1813. (fn. 8) In 1794 the trustees asked Hort to reduce the large number of fee-paying boarders that he was taking to supplement his income, and Sir George Paul took advantage of the vacancy of Hort's death to persuade his fellow-trustees to bring in a restriction on the number of private pupils, as well as to introduce the Bell system and extend the course of instruction to include practical mathematics. (fn. 9) The annual income from the school's property was £110 10s. (including the 18s. for Richard Cambridge's charity) in 1826 when c. 30 boys were taught. (fn. 10) The school was reorganized by a Scheme of 1888 which instituted the payment of tuition fees by all the pupils with the exception of 10 scholarship boys, of whom half were to be drawn from the original catchment area. (fn. 11) In 1908 the school was closed and the income applied to apprenticeships, the maintenance of libraries and reading rooms, and to exhibitions at local secondary schools. (fn. 12)

In 1699 Ursula Tooke settled 20 a. of land and £80 in cash in trust to produce after her death an income of £8 for teaching six poor boys of Minchinhampton parish reading, writing, accounting, and the doctrine of the established church. (fn. 13) By his will dated 1699 Henry King left the residue of his personal estate, after various legacies, to the parishes of Minchinhampton and Rodborough in equal moieties. (fn. 14) Most of the £250 thus accruing to Minchinhampton was laid out in land in Randwick, which in 1721 was settled for teaching poor children, and another 1 a. of land at Hyde was purchased with the charity funds c. 1765. (fn. 15) The Tooke and King charities were used to support a school known as the endowed school, where in 1818 c. 14 boys and c. 8 girls were taught; the school then received £28 12s. from the Tooke charity, £32 from the King charity, and £23 from charities founded by John Yeats and Benjamin Cambridge. (fn. 16) In 1826 the school was teaching 14 children, 8 supported by the King charity and the 6 boys supported by the Tooke charity. (fn. 17) The school apparently continued to function until the opening of a new National school in the town in 1868.

The Yeats and Cambridge charities which were being applied to the endowed school in 1818 derived from the gifts of John Yeats, clothier, who by will dated 1698 left £100 to St. Loe school for apprenticeships, and Benjamin Cambridge, clothier, who by will dated 1703 left £100 to the parish for the same purpose; (fn. 18) the two bequests were used in 1736 to buy land in King's Stanley and later the trustees bought an annuity of £2 which Ursula Tooke had given to the trustees of her charity in 1699. (fn. 19) In 1826 the £23 income from the Yeats and Cambridge charities was being applied to apprentice boys from St. Loe school and from the town schools. (fn. 20)

In 1759 Rebecca Vick of Clifton settled a rentcharge of £5 4s. to pay a poor woman to teach 15 poor girls of Minchinhampton town to read. (fn. 21) The charity was being applied as intended in 1826 (fn. 22) but it is not known how long the school survived.

In 1816 a school on the Lancastrian system was started at the market-house by David Ricardo who supported it until his death in 1823. (fn. 23) About 250 boys and girls were taught in 1818, (fn. 24) when the system in the girls' section was changed to that advocated by the National Society. (fn. 25) The school had 270 pupils in 1833 when it was supported partly by school pence. (fn. 26) In 1835 the boys' section was moved to Tetbury Street. (fn. 27) In 1848, when the girls' section applied for a grant, the greater part of its income was provided by the younger David Ricardo and the rector Charles Whateley. (fn. 28) Both sections of the school were apparently replaced by the new National school.

The National school was built in 1868 on the site of the old manor-house west of the church. In 1885 it had an average attendance of 290 mixed and infant pupils, including 14 boys and 15 girls supported out of the proceeds of the parish educational charities. (fn. 29) In 1911, as the Minchinhampton Parochial school it had an average attendance of 269, falling steadily to 180 by 1936. (fn. 30) In 1973 the school, for which a new building was opened in 1969, had an attendance of 422. (fn. 31)

David Ricardo started a school at Amberley in 1836 in schoolrooms in the basement of the new church. (fn. 32) In 1847 it had an attendance of 422 boys and girls and was supported by pence, subscriptions, and collections, (fn. 33) but in 1871, when it applied for a grant, the school was teaching only 89. (fn. 34) A new building was built for it north of the church as a Jubilee memorial in 1887. (fn. 35) In 1911, as the Amberley Parochial school, it had an average attendance of 113, falling to 65 by 1936. (fn. 36) In 1973 it had an attendance of 100. (fn. 37)

At Brimscombe Ricardo established another church school in 1840. It was supported by local subscriptions, collections, and pence in 1852 when it applied for a grant. (fn. 38) In 1885 it had an average attendance of 120 boys and girls. (fn. 39) In 1911, called the Brimscombe C. of E. school, it was teaching 107 mixed and infant pupils and it maintained its size at 115 in 1936. (fn. 40) In 1973 it had an attendance of 80. (fn. 41)

An infant school supported by voluntary contributions was started in the parish in 1826, and in 1833 was teaching 57 children. (fn. 42) There was an infant school at Littleworth in 1870, (fn. 43) and one opened at Box in 1878 had an average attendance of 28 in 1885 but apparently closed soon afterwards. (fn. 44) A church Sunday school had been started by 1786, (fn. 45) and in 1817 the parish bought a house adjoining the churchyard for the use of the school and as a vestry room; (fn. 46) the school had an attendance of 210 in 1833. (fn. 47) A dissenting Sunday school with over 100 children had been started by 1818, (fn. 48) and by 1833 there were three dissenting Sunday schools; two of them, with 185 and 160 children respectively, were run by the Wesleyans of Brimscombe and Littleworth, and the other was run by the Baptists and had 170 children. (fn. 49) In 1838 it was thought that the congregations were too poor to support a dissenting day-school (fn. 50) and none was apparently ever established in the parish.


  • 1. Hockaday Abs. xliv, 1572 visit. f. 48.
  • 2. G.D.R. vol. 76, p. 199.
  • 3. Glos. R.O., P 217/CW 2/1.
  • 4. Ibid. D 2219/5/1.
  • 5. Ibid. P 217/CH 5/1.
  • 6. 18th Rep. Com. Char. 370.
  • 7. Glos. R.O., D 2219/5/1; Hockaday Abs. cclxxxiv.
  • 8. Bigland, Glos. iii, no. 219; Glos. R.O., D 2219/5/2, entries for 1815, 1813.
  • 9. Glos. R.O., D 2219/5/2; D 149/E 90.
  • 10. 18th Rep. Com. Char. 340-1; for the date of the commissioners' visit, see Glos. R.O., P 217/CL 1, p. 42.
  • 11. Glos. Colln. RF 205.1.
  • 12. Ibid. 205.2.
  • 13. Glos. R.O., P 217/CH 1/3.
  • 14. Glos. R.O., P 217/CH 2/1.
  • 15. 18th Rep. Com. Char. 342.
  • 16. Educ. of Poor Digest, 304.
  • 17. 18th Rep. Com. Char. 343.
  • 18. Glos. R.O., P 217/CH 3/1.
  • 19. 18th Rep. Com. Char. 343; cf. Glos. R.O., P 217/CH 1/3.
  • 20. 18th Rep. Com. Char. 343-4.
  • 21. Glos. R.O., P 217/CH 4/1.
  • 22. 18th Rep. Com. Char. 346.
  • 23. Glos. R.O., P 217/CL 1, p. 41.
  • 24. Educ. of Poor Digest, 304.
  • 25. Glos. R.O., P 217/CL 1, p. 42.
  • 26. Educ. Enquiry Abstract, 320-1.
  • 27. Glos. R.O., P 217/CL 1, p. 43.
  • 28. Ed. 7/35/216.
  • 29. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1885), 526, which states that the char. children were supported out of the Tooke and King chars. but the numbers of each sex given suggest that the Vick char. was also being applied.
  • 30. Bd. of Educ., List 21, 1912 (H.M.S.O.), 165; 1922, 106; 1932, 116; 1936, 122.
  • 31. Ex inf. the headmaster.
  • 32. Ed. 7/35/217.
  • 33. Ibid.; Church School Inquiry, 1846-7, 12-13.
  • 34. Ed. 7/35/217.
  • 35. Inscr. on bldg.
  • 36. Bd. of Educ., List 21, 1912 (H.M.S.O.), 165; 1922, 106; 1932, 116; 1936, 122.
  • 37. Ex inf. county educ. dept.
  • 38. Ed. 7/35/218.
  • 39. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1885), 373.
  • 40. Bd. of Educ., List 21, 1912 (H.M.S.O.), 165; 1936, 122.
  • 41. Ex inf. the headmaster.
  • 42. Educ. Enquiry Abstract, 320.
  • 43. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1870), 599.
  • 44. Ibid. (1885 and later edns.).
  • 45. Glos. R.O., P 217/VE 2/1.
  • 46. Ibid. 2.
  • 47. Educ. Enquiry Abstract, 321.
  • 48. Educ. of Poor Digest, 304.
  • 49. Educ. Enquiry Abstract, 321; cf. H.O. 129/338/6/1/5-7.
  • 50. Rep. Com. Handloom Weavers, p. 500.