Begbroke: Education

Pages 13-14

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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A boarding school for 'young ladies', advertised as opening at the rectory in 1786, (fn. 27) in fact seems to have been in Begbroke House; it, or possibly a successor, closed in 1819. (fn. 28) A school run at the house by Thomas Brown in the mid 1870s was attended by several children of Woodstock councillors. (fn. 29)

A dame school for 4 boys and 5 girls had been established 'a long while' when reported in 1815, and a Sunday school for 7 boys and 8 girls was begun in 1813. (fn. 30) A new school was established in 1820 at the instigation of the curate Vaughan Thomas. He persuaded Mary Parker to run the school at her cottage, a parish house at the south-west end of St. Michael's Lane, adorned with a stone tablet inscribed 'Begbroke School House 1820'. The school, for children aged between 3 and 10 paying 1/2 d. weekly, was supported by subscriptions and a yardland rate. It was attended in the first year by 9 boys and 9 girls. Mrs. Parker closed the school for six weeks in the summer while she worked in the fields. (fn. 31)

In 1831 Thomas rented larger premises, and a new mistress was appointed; in 1833 there were 24 boys and 17 girls in regular attendance. He also provided a small library. (fn. 32) In 1838 Thomas built a new schoolhouse in the rectory grounds and rented a cottage for the mistress. (fn. 33) In 1858, following Mrs. Parker's death, the school moved back to the old schoolhouse, which was enlarged in 1860. (fn. 34)

Attendances in the later 19th century fell with the parish's population. In 1868 there were only 7 boys and 10 girls at school; an evening school, said in 1866 to be working well, had ceased. (fn. 35) By 1878 there were only 20 children in the village and all but a few went to school in Kidlington. (fn. 36) From that time Begbroke children attended school in Bladon, Kidlington, or Yarnton. (fn. 37) Rent was received from the former schoolhouse, and applied to the benefit of local schoolchildren, until it was demolished in the 1960s. (fn. 38) From 1971 the Ellis Ashton apprenticeship charity was made over for their benefit. (fn. 39)

From 1886 until c. 1900 the Elms, later Beg- broke Place, housed a small tutorial college. (fn. 40) In 1940 the house was given by its owner, Charles Robertson, to the Servite nuns, who transferred to it St. Juliana's Convent school for girls, formerly at Bognor Regis (Suss.). The school grew by 1983 to accommodate c. 270 boarding and day pupils, both girls and boys. Financial difficulties caused by the need for extensive building repairs brought about the school's closure in 1984. (fn. 41)


  • 27. Oxf. Jnl. 1 July 1786.
  • 28. O.R.O., MSS. Oxf. Dioc. b 6, f. 156v.; d 566, f. 23v.; d 568, f. 29; d 707, f. 18; Oxf. Jnl. 7 June 1817; N. Aubertin- Potter, 'Vaughan Thomas', Oxon. Local Hist. ii (2), 49.
  • 29. Woodstock Boro. Mun. 90, pp. 364, 390; ibid. 101, p. 11; Harrod's Dir. Oxon. (1876); P.O. Dir. Oxon. (1877); Rep. Com. Mun. Corp. [C. 2490], p. 130, H.C. (1880), xxxi.
  • 30. O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 433, f. 30.
  • 31. Ibid. MS. d.d. Par. Begbroke d 4, item c; Aubertin- Potter, op. cit. 49-52.
  • 32. Educ. Enq. Abstract, 780; O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. b 39, f. 40.
  • 33. O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. b 70, p. 26.
  • 34. Ibid. MSS. d.d. Par. Begbroke d 4, item c; e 3, ff. 1-2.
  • 35. Ibid. MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 332, f. 71; Rep. Com. on Children and Women in Agric. (1868-9), 336.
  • 36. O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 344, f. 49v.
  • 37. Kelly's Dir. Oxon. (1920).
  • 38. O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Begbroke d 4, items a, b.
  • 39. Below, Charities.
  • 40. Bodl. G. A. Oxon. c 317/5, prospectus of 1887; Kelly's Dir. Oxon. (1895, 1899). For the ho. see above, Intro.
  • 41. N. Aubertin-Potter, Begbroke, Fragments of a Hist.(priv. print. 1984), 77.