Combe: Education

Page 97

A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 12, Wootton Hundred (South) Including Woodstock. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1990.

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Henry Sanders, a Baptist, kept a school in the parish in the later 17th century and earlier 18th. (fn. 1) In 1815 there was no school or Sunday school, but a few small children were taught to read by an old woman, and some boys attended a school in Hanborough. (fn. 2) In 1819 the chaplain, Bartley Lee, started a Sunday school in defiance of Edward Tatham, rector of Lincoln College. The school was attended by 95 children and was run on the Bell system as far as precarious funding permitted. (fn. 3) By 1833 there were also three day schools in which 30-45 children were taught at their parents' expense, the number of pupils attending the Sunday school falling to 30 in consequence. (fn. 4)

A school with house adjoining was built in 1843 at the expense of Tatham's widow Elizabeth. The site, on the southern edge of the village, was given by Lincoln College. (fn. 5) In 1854 the daily attendance was 40-60, and on Sundays 60-80. An evening school started in 1852 was initially very popular, and still met on three winter evenings a week in 1859, but with reduced attendances. (fn. 6) In 1859 the day school, managed by a committee of parishioners, was supported by private subscriptions and by school pence of 2d. or 4d. a week. (fn. 7) In 1866 there were 67 children in the day school and well attended evening lectures in the winter, (fn. 8) although attendance at the latter declined when boys and girls were segregated after complaints of 'rude behaviour'. Serious absenteeism from the day school was attributed to mothers keeping their daughters at home to help with glovemaking. A system of alternate weeks at school and at work was tried with some success. (fn. 9)

The school was attended in 1872 by 33 boys, 16 girls, and 23 infants paying 2s. each. A parliamentary grant was first received in 1873. The master augmented his salary of £10 by taking private pupils, and there was also a private school in the village with 2 boys and 14 girls. (fn. 10) In 1890 there was accommodation at the day school for 100 children and an average attendance of 92; the income from fees was £36 9s. 9d. and from subscriptions £156 8s. 10d. (fn. 11) The school was enlarged in 1893 to accommodate 180 children; in 1895 the average attendance was 110. (fn. 12) In 1928 the school became a junior school with 33 pupils; the older children went by bus to Church Hanborough until 1940, when the new secondary school opened at Woodstock. Combe school became a controlled Church of England school in 1952. It had a roll of 55 children in 1962 and of 66 in 1983. St. Andrew's, a boys' day and boarding school was at Combe House for a few years after the Second World War. (fn. 13)

Elizabeth Tatham gave £100 to maintain the village school. By 1870 the money had been added to £150 given by John Radford, rector of Lincoln College, by will proved 1852, to produce £7 10s. a year. A Scheme of 1905 allotted the money to the John Radford Educational Foundation, the income from which is devoted to repairing the school house. (fn. 14)


  • 1. Bodl. MS. Top. Oxon. c 341, f. 55; O.R.O., bur. reg. transcript, 20 Oct. 1736.
  • 2. O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 433, f. 63.
  • 3. Ibid. d 578, f. 75v. The college owned the rectory: above, Church.
  • 4. Ibid. b 39, f. 106; Educ. Enq. Abstract, H.C. 62, p. 744 (1835), xlii.
  • 5. O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. b 70, p. 69; P.R.O., ED 7/101/141; O.S. Map 1/2,500, XXVI. 7 (1880 edn.); Char. Digest, H.C. 292-11, pp. 20-1, (1871), lv; V. H. H. Green, Linc. Coll. 386 n.
  • 6. Wilb. Visit. 41.
  • 7. P.R.O., ED 7/101/141.
  • 8. O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 332, f. 139.
  • 9. Rep. Com. on Children and Women in Agric. [4202-1], pp. 331, 333, 339, H.C. (1868-9), xiii.
  • 10. P.R.O., ED 7/101/141; Returns relating to Elem. Educ. H.C. 201, p. 332 (1871), lv; Rep. of Educ. Cttee. of Council, 1873-4 [C. 1019-1], p. 394, H.C. (1874), xviii.
  • 11. Public Elem. Schs. Return, H.C. 403, p. 213 (1890), lvi.
  • 12. O.R.O., T/SM 18, i; Kelly's Dir. Oxon. (1895).
  • 13. O.R.O., T/SM 18, ii; inf. from Oxon. C.C. Educ. Cttee.; Oxf. Times, 5 Mar. 1948: ad. on p. 4; local inf.
  • 14. Char. Com. files; Bodl. MS. Top. Oxon. c 340; Linc. Coll. Mun., Coll. Order Bk. 1872-89, s.a. 1872-4; Green, Linc. Coll. 450 n.