Stanwell: Schools

Pages 49-50

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 3, Shepperton, Staines, Stanwell, Sunbury, Teddington, Heston and Isleworth, Twickenham, Cowley, Cranford, West Drayton, Greenford, Hanwell, Harefield and Harlington. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1962.

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In his will Thomas, Lord Knyvett (d. 1622), lord of the manor, provided for the foundation of a free school in Stanwell which was to be endowed with lands worth £20 a year. The lands purchased comprised some 57 acres in Great and Little Kimble (Bucks.) and still belonged to the trustees in 1940. The school was built in 1624 by Elizabeth Hampden, the executrix of Knyvett's widow, at her own expense. (fn. 1) Soon after it was founded (fn. 2) Dr. Heather gave it £2 a year for the purchase of books and paper, and Dorothy Leach, apparently a servant of Elizabeth Hampden, gave £10 a year to apprentice two boys from the school. (fn. 3) Both these sums were still being received in 1940, though the apprenticing fund had for many years been used for further education. (fn. 4)

In 1646 the schoolmaster was sequestered by Parliament for drunkenness. (fn. 5) The school had apparently fallen into a bad state under him, but a successor was appointed and the building was repaired. (fn. 6) In 1813 the building was in bad repair, the apprenticing fund was not being used, and the master was receiving only £24 a year, in addition to his house, although the value of the school estate had risen. The number of boys in the school had fallen from 60 or 70 to under 6. Following proceedings in Chancery a new master was appointed and, until the costs of the proceedings had been paid, his salary was raised by private subscription. By 1823 there were 39 free boys in the school: both they and the master were appointed, according to the founder's will, by the lord of Stanwell manor, (fn. 7) who continued throughout the century to play an important part in running the school. (fn. 8) In 1823 the master also took 10 paying pupils, but this practice seems to have been stopped soon after. The school did not receive any state aid until 1873, by which time 55 boys were in attendance. (fn. 9) Fees of 1d. -2d. were charged in 1877 apparently for the first time. (fn. 10) The school building which is described elsewhere, (fn. 11) was altered probably c. 1885 (fn. 12) and attendance remained at about 70-100 until 1937, although the seniors were moved to Woodthorpe Road School, Ashford, in 1932. (fn. 13) In 1938 Lord Knyvett's was transferred to the county council, (fn. 14) and the endowment was thereafter set aside for assisting Stanwell children to obtain further education. (fn. 15)

In 1955 the Town Farm County Primary School was opened and Lord Knyvett's School became part of it, taking two classes. The new school is in St. Mary's Crescent and is intended primarily for the children of the surrounding housing estate. There were nearly 400 junior children in attendance in 1956. (fn. 16)

Lord Knyvett's School appears to have been the only one in the parish before the 19th century. No evidence can be found for the local tradition that there was once a grammar school in the Stanwell part of Colnbrook. (fn. 17) By 1819 there was a girls' school supported by voluntary subscriptions. (fn. 18) By 1844 it was held in the cottage which adjoins the present Stanwell Church of England School in Park Road and which was used as the mistress's house in the later 19th century. (fn. 19) In 1871 Sir John Gibbons gave this house and the site for a girls' National school, which was then built by subscription. (fn. 20) It received state aid from 1872: (fn. 21) before this the mistress had not been certificated. (fn. 22) The attendance rose from about 30 to over 170 in the early 20th century. The older children were transferred to Ashford in 1932 and in 1956 it became a junior mixed and infant school. There were then about 100 children in attendance. (fn. 23)

St. Anne's County Primary School was opened in Long Lane in 1939. It was originally in one department, but by 1956 had separate departments for juniors and infants. Additional temporary buildings were erected after 1945, and the war-time nursery building on the site was also taken into use. In 1956 there were about 550 pupils. (fn. 24)

A British school was opened in Colnbrook in 1832, and in 1833 had about 130 pupils, of whom a number came from Horton and elsewhere in Buckinghamshire. (fn. 25) It never received any state aid, and seems to have closed later in the 19th century. The building was still in existence in 1956, when it was part of a workshop behind the houses on the north side of the Bath Road. (fn. 26)

In 1844 there were one or two schools, probably dame-schools, in Stanwell village. One of them was an infant school on the west side of Oaks Road. (fn. 27) It contained only 21 children in 1846-7, never received state aid, and was apparently closed between 1865 and 1896. (fn. 28) In 1846-7 there was also a school in Stanwellmoor, with 16 boys and 26 girls. Nothing else is known of it, though it and the infant school were both supported by subscriptions as well as by school-pence. (fn. 29)

Shortwood County School is here treated as lying in Staines parish and is described above. (fn. 30)


  • 1. 9th Rep. Com. Char. H.C. 258, pp. 308-12 (1823), ix.
  • 2. The date of the gift is unknown but in 1626 Dr. Heather made another endowment, for Oxford University: Par. Rec., copy deed among sch. records.
  • 3. 9th Rep. Com. Char. 308-12.
  • 4. Char Com. files.
  • 5. Walker Revised, ed. Matthews, 260.
  • 6. Par. Rec., School Acct. Bk. 1646-1706.
  • 7. 9th Rep. Com. Char. 308-12.
  • 8. Par. Rec., Sch. Minute Bk. 1877-93.
  • 9. Rep. of Educ. Cttee. of Council, 1873 [C. 1019-1], H.C. (1874), xviii.
  • 10. Par. Rec., Sch. Minute Bk. 1877-93.
  • 11. See p. 34.
  • 12. Cf. Rep. of Educ. Cttee. of Council, 1884 [C. 4483-1], H.C. (1884-5), xxiii, and ibid. 1885 [C. 4849-1], H.C. (1886), xxiv.
  • 13. Bd. of Educ. List of Public Elementary Schs. (1908-38).
  • 14. Log bk. penes head master, Town Farm Cty. Primary Sch.
  • 15. Char. Com. files (Scheme, 1940).
  • 16. Ex inf. head master.
  • 17. See, e.g. Gyll, Hist. Wraysbury etc. 268.
  • 18. Digest of Returns to Sel. Cttee. on Educ. of Poor, H.C. 224, p. 555 (1819), ix (1).
  • 19. M.R.O., Stanwell Tithe Award.
  • 20. Inscription on building.
  • 21. Rep. of Educ. Cttee. of Council, 1872 [C. 812], H.C. (1873), xxiv.
  • 22. Ed. 7/86/77.
  • 23. Ex inf. head mistress.
  • 24. Ex inf. head master and head mistress.
  • 25. Educ. Enquiry Abstract, H.C. 62, p. 580 (1835), xiii.
  • 26. Personal observation.
  • 27. M.R.O., Stanwell Tithe Award.
  • 28. O.S. Maps 1/2,500 Mdx. xix. 11 (1st and 2nd edns.).
  • 29. Nat. Soc. Church Schs. Inquiry, 1846-7 (copy in B.M.).
  • 30. See p. 32.