Rodborough: Education

Pages 232-233

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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By 1700 Rodborough had a charity school called the Poor's school, supported by annual subscriptions, supplemented by endowments of £20 by Nathaniel Clissold, merchant of Smyrna, and £10 by Nathaniel Beard, clothier. Later the school was supported entirely out of an estate at Oxlinch in Randwick, which was bought in 1710 and 1717 with £250 bequeathed by Henry King (d. 1707), the principal sums of the Clissold and Beard charities, and £5 given by Michael Halliday, clothier. The estate was let at £9 15s. initially and the rent had been raised only to £21 10s. by the beginning of the 19th century; (fn. 1) by 1826, however, it had been exchanged for other land which let at £45. (fn. 2) Richard Cambridge, merchant of London, left £20, half the profits for the school and half for the poor; in 1734 the gift was put out with other parish funds as the principal of a mortgage, but interest ceased to be paid in 1786 (fn. 3) and no benefit from the charity was apparently received after that date.

In the early 18th century the charity school employed three or four teachers, teaching a few children each; the total number taught was generally c.20. (fn. 4) In the 1790s, however, when the charity was known as the Reading Charity, a single schoolmaster was teaching 6 children writing and 13 children reading. (fn. 5) The school was held in part of the old church house adjoining the churchyard, (fn. 6) and c. 1820 the building was partly rebuilt and extended by the addition of a new schoolroom and a master's house. (fn. 7) From 1821 a Sunday school was also held and it had an attendance of 107 in 1833. (fn. 8) In 1834 it was decided to increase the number of children in the day-school of the Reading Charity to 50, and from 1840 there were separate sections for boys and girls. Regulations drawn up in 1853 allowed the master and mistress to take some paying pupils but any child resident in Rodborough parish could be educated free. In 1873 there were c. 55 boys and 58 girls in the school, which became known as the Rodborough Endowed school. New trustees appointed by the Charity Commission in 1878 (fn. 9) administered it until 1898 when the Rodborough school board took it over. In 1912 the parish educational charities, comprising those of Clissold, Beard, King, and Michael Halliday, together with those of Thomas Halliday and Samuel Horrell, mentioned below, and a charity given by James Bingley, were placed under the administration of the Stroud Educational Foundation to finance scholarships for Rodborough children at the Marling School and Stroud High school; the total annual income from the charities was then £92. (fn. 10)

Before 1712 Thomas Halliday, clothier, gave £100 to the parish for teaching and clothing three poor boys; (fn. 11) land in Leonard Stanley was bought, and it let at £5 5s. in the 1790s when the foundation, distinguished as the Writing Charity, paid the master of the Reading Charity to teach three children to write. (fn. 12) The income was apparently not applied regularly, however, for an accumulation of £60 was entrusted to be invested in stock c. 1768, (fn. 13) and another of £200 was invested before 1828. By the 1820s the charity was closely administered with the Reading Charity (fn. 14) and later it formed part of the income of the Endowed school. Samuel Horrell by will dated 1787 left half the interest on £200 stock for teaching seven girls to read, write, sew, and knit; the income, c. £3, was being employed as directed in 1804, (fn. 15) and probably then as later the girls were taught by the same master as the other two charities. (fn. 16) In 1826 it was intended to apply the Horrell charity to the reorganized Reading Charity school, as was evidently done. (fn. 17)

In 1833 the parish also had two small day-schools attached to dissenting meetings, where the children were taught at the parents' expense, and a larger school supported in part by a dissenter. (fn. 18) One of them was evidently attached to the Rodborough Tabernacle, and in 1838 the congregation there established a British school in a building put up the previous year at King's Court. In 1866, when a government grant was sought, the King's Court school was supported mainly by voluntary contributions, although pence were charged and there was a small endowment; it then had an average attendance of 62. (fn. 19) The Tabernacle also supported a large Sunday school, with an attendance of 237 in 1833. (fn. 20)

In 1878 when the need for more school accommodation was becoming urgent (fn. 21) a school board was formed compulsorily; (fn. 22) it took over the King's Court school and built a new school, opened in 1880, south of Butter Row. (fn. 23) In 1885 the new school had an average attendance of 112, while the King's Court school had been enlarged to 130. The Rodborough Endowed school, which was teaching c. 140 children in 1885, (fn. 24) remained independent until 1898 when the board took it over, replacing the old building by the church with a new school, opened in 1901, at the bottom of Rodborough Hill. (fn. 25) That school, which became the Rodborough County Primary school under the Act of 1902, had an average attendance of 201 in 1911, 225 in 1936, (fn. 26) and 320 in 1973. (fn. 27) Butter Row County school had an average attendance of 94 children in 1911 but was reduced during the 1920s and 1930s to only 17 by 1936. (fn. 28) The school was closed in 1965. (fn. 29) King's Court County school had an average attendance of 111 in 1911 but was reorganized to take only infants before 1932 when it had an attendance of 20. (fn. 30) A new school building was opened north of the old building in 1972, and in 1973, called Gastrells County Primary school, it had an attendance of 149. (fn. 31)

Bownham Park school opposite the Bear inn, a county school for educationally handicapped secondary pupils, was opened in 1968. (fn. 32)


  • 1. Glos. R.O., P 272A/CH 6/1, 3; and for Clissold, Beard, and Halliday, cf. G.D.R., V 5/251T 2.
  • 2. 18th Rep. Com. Char. 347; for the date of the commissioner's visit, see Glos. R.O., P 272A/VE 2/3.
  • 3. Glos. R.O., P 272A/CH 6/3; CH 2/1.
  • 4. Ibid. CH 6/1.
  • 5. Ibid. CH 5.
  • 6. Ibid. VE 2/2, letter of Sir G.O. Paul, 1818; cf. ibid. VE 3/1; G.D.R., T 1/120.
  • 7. 18th Rep. Com. Char. 347.
  • 8. Ibid.; Educ. Enquiry Abstract, 321.
  • 9. Glos. R.O., P 272A/CH 6/3; Ed. 7/35/270.
  • 10. Glos. Colln. RF 251. 1.
  • 11. Glos. N. & Q. i. 294.
  • 12. Glos. R.O., P 272A/CH 2/3; cf. ibid. CH 5.
  • 13. Ibid. CH 6/3.
  • 14. 18th Rep. Com. Char. 348.
  • 15. Glos. R.O., P 272A/CH 6/3.
  • 16. Ibid. VE 2/2, letter of Sir G. O. Paul, 1818.
  • 17. Ibid. CH 6/3; 18th Rep. Com. Char. 348.
  • 18. Educ. Enquiry Abstract, 321.
  • 19. Ed. 7/35/272.
  • 20. Educ. Enquiry Abstract, 321.
  • 21. Glos. R.O., P 272A/CH 6/3.
  • 22. Lond. Gaz. 31 May 1878, p. 3363.
  • 23. Glos. R.O., SB 33/1.
  • 24. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1885), 555.
  • 25. Glos. R.O., SB 33/2-3.
  • 26. Bd. of Educ., List 21, 1912 (H.M.S.O.), 167; 1936, 123.
  • 27. Ex inf. the headmaster.
  • 28. Bd. of Educ., List 21, 1912 (H.M.S.O.), 167; 1922, 107; 1932, 117; 1936, 123.
  • 29. Ex inf. county educ. dept.
  • 30. Bd. of Educ., List 21, 1912 (H.M.S.O.), 167; 1932, 117.
  • 31. Ex inf. the headmaster.
  • 32. Ex inf. the headmaster.