Eynsham: Education

Pages 155-156

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 schoolmaster, William Pope, was living in Eynsham in 1628. (fn. 62) By will proved 1654 Michael Sparke, citizen and stationer of London and probably native of Eynsham, left money for the maintenance of a free school, but an order of 1665 by commissioners of charitable uses for the executor, Henry Eccleston of Eynsham, to pay the bequest seems to have been ineffective. (fn. 63) John Bartholomew, by will proved 1701, left £350 to buy land worth £15 a year, of which £10 was to be paid to a schoolmaster to teach and provide writing materials for 10 poor Eynsham boys, the remaining £5 to form an apprenticeship fund. A court house and school, later called the Bartholomew Room, was built by public subscription c. 1703 on land in the market place provided by the lord of the manor. (fn. 64) The £350 was put out at interest by the trustees until 1714, when they bought part of Long mead; in 1725 the remaining capital with £20 bequeathed to the school in 1711 by William Plasterer of Stanton Harcourt was spent on land in Mill mead. (fn. 65) After inclosure in 1802 and a partition of Long mead in 1803 the trustees held c. 17 a. of meadow. (fn. 66)

Under Plasterer's bequest two more boys were educated and 17s. a year added to the master's salary. (fn. 67) Twelve boys were taught reading, writing, and accounts throughout the 18th century; in 1738 the vicar was satisfied that his 'statutes' were well observed by the master and boys. (fn. 68) As land values rose the master's salary was increased, in 1798 to £12 and in 1808 to £20. (fn. 69) By then there were between 10 and 15 free, and over 40 fee-paying, pupils and an accumulating fund to provide a master's house. (fn. 70) The rent of the Bartholomew estate, £46 in 1809, was reduced in 1823 to £36, reflecting prevailing values. (fn. 71) The school had between 40 and 50 pupils in 1823, and 60 in 1833. (fn. 72)

A Sunday school started by the curate Thomas Symonds in 1799 was supported by voluntary contributions. (fn. 73) By 1808 it was attended by 60 children of whom 30 were given clothing; in 1815 it had 100 pupils taught by two masters and two mistresses, and by the 1830s there were over 100 girls and boys of all ages, supported by subscriptions and church collec tions. (fn. 74) A Baptist Sunday school, begun in 1830, had 40 pupils in 1833, and by the 1850s the minister was teaching day pupils at the chapel. (fn. 75) In the early 19th century there were a few dame schools, described as 'really nurseries or crêches', (fn. 76) and several private schools, some providing for day pupils. (fn. 77) In 1833 one girls' school had 30 boarders; (fn. 78) it was probably that at Newland House, established by 1801 and still open in the 1840s. (fn. 79) A boys' school at Newland Lodge had a dozen boarders in 1841 and Thomas Symonds educated a few gentlemen's sons at the vicarage. (fn. 80) In 1871 there were five private schools with c. 70 pupils. (fn. 81) In the early 20th century Miss H. G. Swann ran a private school at Redthorn House. (fn. 82)

Symonds failed to establish a National school in the 1830s and 1840, partly because the Bartholomew school trustees refused to merge their endowments in a new school. (fn. 83) His successor as vicar, W. S. Bricknell, secured subscriptions and grants and a National school was built in 1847 in the angle of Swan Street and the Stanton Harcourt road on land given by Samuel Druce (d. 1860). The Bartholomew school and its endowment were transferred to it. (fn. 84) In 1854 the National school had 70 boys and 40 girls on weekdays and 194 children on Sundays. An evening school failed in the 1850s but was active in the 1860s. (fn. 85) The National school's average attendance was fewer than 120 in 1867 and 1871, partly because boys started work at 12 years old or younger; (fn. 86) others may have attended nonconformist schools.

A school board was formed in 1875 against opposition from members of the Church of England. (fn. 87) The new board school on the Witney Road was opened in 1878 with places for 324 children. There was one certificated master, and fees were set at 3d. a week for labourers' children, 6d. for others. From the outset the vicar was satisfied with religious education there. (fn. 88)

The former National school was reopened in 1879 as a Church infants' school, where 45 children were taught by an uncertificated teacher for 2d. a week each, the vicar supplying books. The school received a parliamentary grant, but by 1889 numbers had fallen to 26 and the school was closed. (fn. 89) An infant board school

was then begun in part of the girls' school, moving back to the former National school building in 1898. It continued there until transferred in 1958 to a new primary school in the former board school. Although the infant school was a council school the vicar was sole manager for most of its life. (fn. 90) The National school building was converted into a private house c. 1971. (fn. 91)

In 1904 there were 111 boys, 103 girls, and 108 infants at the three board schools. (fn. 92) In 1926 the schools were reorganized as a mixed school with 180 pupils and an infant school with 47; in 1938 attendance had risen to 197 and 71 respectively. (fn. 93) From 1948 the mixed school was known as Eynsham Council (later County) Senior school and in 1953 had a roll of 208. (fn. 94) The Bartholomew County Secondary Modern (later the Bartholomew Comprehensive) school, built on the playing fields of the senior school, was opened in 1958. The old school buildings became the primary school until a new primary school was opened in Beech Road in 1967. (fn. 95) Eynsham County Primary school was said in 1968 to represent 'the most advanced thinking in Britain' about primary education. (fn. 96) By 1983 the Bartholomew school had a roll of 1,097 and the County Primary school 305. (fn. 97)

Apprenticing through the Bartholomew charity in the early 18th century was usually annual but became intermittent, since the cost of repairs to the schoolroom took priority. By the early 19th century the fund was sufficient for regular apprenticing. (fn. 98) A Scheme of 1878 directed that part of the St. Thomas's bread charity should be used for educational and other charitable uses. In 1880 the Eynsham schools received £5 and Freeland school £3; by 1888 the amounts had increased to £32 10s. for the board school, £7 10s. for the infant school, and £10 for Freeland school. (fn. 99) Under a Scheme of 1891 the Bartholomew trustees were empowered to sell the Bartholomew Room and devote the charity to tuition or apprenticeship fees of poor Eynsham boys; they continued to let the building and in addition received c. £44 a year from land and interest. (fn. 1) In 1911 a Scheme transferred £400 stock, considered under the Scheme of 1878 to be the educational endowment of the St. Thomas's charity, to the Eynsham Educational Foundation, which under a Scheme of 1914 was merged with the Bartholomew charity to form the Bartholomew Educational Foundation for apprenticeship and other educational purposes; the foundation's annual income at that time was £66 and by 1970 £208. (fn. 2) Between 1914 and 1947 26 apprentices were indentured and many exhibitions for grammar school education were awarded; in recent times funds were also used to supplement university grants and pay for school clothing. (fn. 3) In 1983 the Bartholomew Room was sold to the lessee, the parish council.

A school established at Freeland in 1862 was moved in 1871 to new premises, comprising schoolrooms and a teacher's house, built by the Taunton family to the designs of J. L. Pearson. (fn. 4) The school, privately owned until conveyed by Miss M. Taunton to the diocese in 1933, was always run in accordance with Church of England principles. (fn. 5) Until it became a Controlled school in 1963 its links with the nearby church included attendance at a weekly children's mass. (fn. 6) At first an uncertificated teacher taught 47 pupils, who contributed 2d. or 1d. each. A qualified teacher was soon appointed and from 1875 a government grant was received. (fn. 7) Winter evening classes were reported in 1878. (fn. 8) In the early 20th century average daily attendance was 35. (fn. 9) By 1930 some senior children travelled to Church Hanborough and from 1940 all seniors went to Woodstock. (fn. 10) In 1963, when there were 57 pupils, the school's academic standards were high but the buildings unsatisfactory. (fn. 11) In 1964-5 a new county primary school was built on Wroslyn Road, and the old school converted into a private house. (fn. 12) In 1983 the school roll was 112.

A benefaction for choral scholars by C. E. Taunton in 1900 was used partly for the school; in 1951 the school share was set at £10 a year. The income enabled the school to retain Aided status until 1963, when a new Scheme devoted the fund to special educational benefits, such as the Sunday school. Part of a charity founded by will of R. A. R. Bennett, proved in 1931, was for the general benefit of the church and parish and may be used for educational purposes. (fn. 13)


  • 62. O.R.O., MS. Wills Oxon. 12/3/10 transcribed in Eyn- sham Rec. ii. 11-15 (where Pope is misread as Hope).
  • 63. P.R.O., C 93/28/40; ibid. PROB 11/236, ff. 49-50v. Sparke was probably son of Ric. Sparke (d. 1624), an Eynsham miller: O.R.O., MS. Wills Oxon. 59/4/30.
  • 64. O.R.O., MS. Wills Oxon. 116/1/9; above, Intro.
  • 65. 10th Rep. Com. Char. 398; O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Eynsham c 12, f. 6v.
  • 66. Ibid.; O.R.O., incl. award (1802) and suppl. award (1803).
  • 67. O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Eynsh. c 12, f. 15v.
  • 68. Secker's Visit. 61.
  • 69. O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Eynsh. c 12, ff. 90, 99.
  • 70. Ibid. MSS. Oxf. Dioc. c 659, f. 29; d 707, f. 64.
  • 71. Ibid. c 659, f. 29; 10th Rep. Com. Char. 398.
  • 72. 10th Rep. Com. Char. 398; O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. b 39, f. 140.
  • 73. O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 433, f. 89. Symonds was remembered as the founder: M.I. in church.
  • 74. O.R.O., MSS. Oxf. Dioc. d 707, f. 64; c 433, f. 89; b 38, f. 88; b 39, f. 140.
  • 75. Educ. Enq. Abstract, p. 746; P.R.O., HO 129/5/161.
  • 76. O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 433, f. 89.
  • 77. e.g. ibid. d 570; Oxf. Jnl. 17, 31 Dec. 1825; 5 Jan. 1828;3, 10 Jan. 1829; 24 Aug. 1833.
  • 78. Educ. Enq. Abstract, p. 746.
  • 79. Above, Intro.
  • 80. P.R.O., HO 107/889; above, Church.
  • 81. Returns relating to Elem. Educ. H.C. 201, p. 324 (1871), lv.
  • 82. Eynsham Rec. i. 33-4; M.I. in church.
  • 83. Bodl. MS. Top. Oxon. c 200, f. 75; ibid. MS. Don. c 160, ff. 87-8, 103-34; O.R.O., MSS. d.d. Par. Eynsham c 12, ff. 108-9; c 13, item g.
  • 84. O.R.O., Misc. Druce VIII/i/1; ibid. MS. Oxf. Dioc. b 70, p. 91; Bodl. G.A. Oxon. c 317/20, subscription appeal; Joy James, 'Eynsham National Sch.' (TS. penes Eynsham Hist. Group).
  • 85. Wilb. Visit. 56; O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 332, f. 179v.
  • 86. Returns relating to Pars. H.C. 114, pp. 344-5 (1867-8), liii; Rep. Com. on Children and Women in Agric. [4202-1], p. 327, H.C. (1868-9), xiii; Returns relating to Elem. Educ. H.C. 201, p. 324 (1871), lv.
  • 87. Bodl. G.A. Oxon. c 317/20 (circular letter, 1876); James, 'Eynsham National Sch.'
  • 88. P.R.O., ED 7/101/82; Kelly's Dir. Oxon. (1883 and later edns.); O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 344, f. 155v.
  • 89. P.R.O., ED 7/169; Public Elem. Sch. Return, H.C. 403, p. 215 (1890), lvi; Sch. Board Grants, 1901-2, [Cd. 1276], p. 105, H.C. (1902), lxxviii.
  • 90. O.R.O., T/SL 84/i-iii; James, 'Eynsham National Sch.'
  • 91. County Mus., P.R.N. 810.
  • 92. Public Elem. Schs. 1906 [Cd. 3182], p. 526, H.C. (1906), lxxxvi.
  • 93. Inf. from Oxon. C.C. Educ. Cttee.
  • 94. O.R.O., T/SM 40/ii.
  • 95. O.R.O., Misc. Eynsham 1/4, pp. 232, 314; inf. from Oxon. C.C. Educ. Cttee.
  • 96. The Times, 5 July 1968.
  • 97. DInf. from Oxon. C.C. Educ. Cttee.
  • 98. O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Eynsham b 12, f. 1 (list of apprentices 1702-53); ibid. MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 659, f. 29; 10th Rep. Com. Char. 398.
  • 99. O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Eynsham c 23, item b; e 3, ff. 32, 126.
  • 1. Ibid. c 13, item g.
  • 2. 2 Ibid.; ibid. QSD/C.25; O.R.C.C., Kimber files.
  • 3. 3 O.R.O., MSS. d.d. Par. Eynsham c 14-16.
  • 4. 4 P.R.O., ED 7/101/83; R. C. West, St. Mary the Virgin, Freeland, 11; Pevsner, Oxon. 607.
  • 5. West, St. Mary's, 23-5; O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 1833/1, conveyance of 1933.
  • 6. West, St. Mary's, 15.
  • 7. P.R.O., ED 7/101/83; Rep. of Educ. Cttee. of Council, 1875-6 [C. 1513-1], p. 612, H.C. (1876), xxiii.
  • 8. O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 344, f. 169v.
  • 9. List of Schs. 1901-2 [Cd. 1277], p. 199, H.C. (1902), xxix; Return of Non-Provided Schs. H.C. 178, p. 35 (1906), lxxxviii.
  • 10. West, St. Mary's, 17; O.R.O., T/SL 27/1, p. 138; inf. from Oxon. C.C. Educ. Cttee.
  • 11. O.R.O., T/S Misc. 19.
  • 12. West, St. Mary's, 16; County Mus., P.R.N. 701.
  • 13. West, St. Mary's, 25-7.