Woodchester: Education

Pages 303-304

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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St. Loe charity school, founded in 1699 to teach boys from Woodchester parish and Rodborough tithing in Minchinhampton parish, is treated under Minchinhampton. (fn. 1)

Elizabeth Seys, by will dated 1705, left £400 to pay three or four poor women of the parish to teach girls. By 1718 the sum had increased to £561 and an estate was purchased at Hamfallow, in Berkeley. (fn. 2) By 1818 the number of the dame schools had increased to six, some of which had 18 pupils, and the mistresses were usually paid £10 yearly, the residue from the estate, which was then worth £80 a year, being used for additional expenses of the larger schools. (fn. 3) By 1824 the number of schools had increased to nine and c. 1828 it was proposed to reduce their number and to find teachers of better quality. (fn. 4) Nevertheless nine schools, some of which took paying pupils, remained in 1833 when some of the boys of the parish were probably being educated by them. (fn. 5)

A charity established by Robert Bridges by will dated 1722 was for teaching three boys each year to read and write and apprenticing one boy. The capital sum of £500 was used to purchase land in the parish, and the income, amounting to c. £40 a year, was devoted solely to apprenticing, the St. Loe charity being considered sufficient for schooling. The income was not fully used and a surplus of £342 3s. 8d. existed in 1828. (fn. 6)

In 1834 a school was built by subscription at North Woodchester (fn. 7) and in 1847 it had 28 pupils. At that date a further 50 boys and girls were being taught at the six surviving dame schools and the need for reorganising them to form another parish school was noted. (fn. 8) By 1857 the Seys and Bridges charities were united and the old dame school buildings at South Woodchester were purchased for use as a Sunday school (fn. 9) and later for the infants' section of the parochial school. The income from the charities was being devoted to the schools in 1885 when there were 33 children in the infants' and 54 in the junior section. (fn. 10) In 1888 a new school was built, the cost met partly by selling the old buildings and partly by subscription, including £500 from E. J. D. Paul. (fn. 11) In 1910 the Seys and Bridges charities were rationalised and the yearly income applied as follows: £80 for the maintenance of the school, to be known as the Woodchester Endowed school, up to £10 for apprenticing or for an exhibition for further education, £20 for eveningschool fees, and £10 for school prizes. (fn. 12) The average attendance at that date was 127 but dropped to 92 in 1922 and remained close to that figure in 1936. (fn. 13) In 1972 there were 122 children on the roll. (fn. 14) The school was extended in the earlier 20th century and a terrapin class-room was put up in the 1960s. The Seys and Bridges and St. Loe charities accrued to the school in 1972. (fn. 15)

By 1859 the friars held a free school, and in 1862 a free Catholic school was opened by the nuns. There were 73 pupils in 1873. (fn. 16) In 1884 buildings were erected and the school, called St. Dominic's, was placed on an established footing with 50 pupils. (fn. 17) The school, an all-age school until 1964, (fn. 18) had 43 pupils in 1910, 48 in 1936, and 68 in 1954. (fn. 19) A new classroom block was added in 1963, and in 1972 there were 74 children between the ages of five and eleven on the roll. (fn. 20) In 1873 a night-school was run by the friars. (fn. 21)


  • 1. See p. 205.
  • 2. 18th Rep. Com. Char. 368-9.
  • 3. Educ. of Poor Digest, 317.
  • 4. 18th Rep. Com. Char. 369.
  • 5. Educ. Enquiry Abstract, 332.
  • 6. 18th Rep. Com. Char. 367-8.
  • 7. Ed. 7/35/385.
  • 8. Church Schools Inquiry, 1846-7, 18-19; similar suggestions had been made in 1837: Rep. Com. Handloom Weavers, p. 503.
  • 9. Little, Woodchester, 33.
  • 10. Ed. 7/35/385.
  • 11. Little, Woodchester, 33.
  • 12. Glos. Colln. RF 348.2.
  • 13. Bd. of Educ., List 21, 1912 (H.M.S.O.), 170; 1922, 109; 1936, 125.
  • 14. Ex inf. the head teacher.
  • 15. Ex inf. the Revd. J. Cull, rector of Woodchester.
  • 16. Langston, 'Cath. Missions', i, p. 79.
  • 17. Ed. 7/35/387.
  • 18. Ex inf. the headmaster.
  • 19. Bd. of Educ., List 21, 1912 (H.M.S.O.), 170; 1936, 125; Langston, 'Cath. Missions', i, p. 79.
  • 20. Ex inf. the headmaster.
  • 21. Langston, 'Cath. Missions', i, p. 79.