Kidlington: Education

Pages 211-212

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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There was a school in Kidlington by 1591 when a parishioner provided that his son should be educated there for 3 years. (fn. 51) A schoolhouse was built on the green in 1634; it may have been where local tradesmen who owned books in 1641 and 1684 learned to read. (fn. 52) Other schools were kept at Gosford by Richard Washington (d. 1670), and in Kidlington by the Roman Catholic Richard Hudson in 1717. (fn. 53)

Money was left for the education of poor children in 1710 and 1711, but about that time, possibly in 1708-9 when the overseers carried out major repairs on it, the schoolhouse was converted into a parish or town house. (fn. 54) A proposal by Joseph Smith of Bayley manor in 1743 to establish a school in the town house appears to have been frustrated by the opposition of the duke of Marlborough, and in 1754 the building was converted into a workhouse. (fn. 55) Throughout the period, however, the income of the educational charities was paid to schoolmasters, among them the freeholder Blacknell Carter. (fn. 56) Four day schools teaching a total of 116 children were recorded in 1815, the same number in 1817 and three in 1823, although an apparently mistaken report in 1817 stated that, because of the opposition of the farmers, there were no schools at all in the parish. (fn. 57) A Sunday school for 30 boys and 10 girls, supported by subscriptions, had started by 1802; it later lapsed, but was restarted with 90 children in 1810; in 1815 it taught 37 boys and 45 girls on the National plan. (fn. 58) There were also some private boarding schools, like the girls' school kept by Miss Thurland between 1763 and 1772 and the boys' and girls' schools kept by John Allen and his sister Mary Allen in the early 19th century which had a total of 58 children in 1817 and as many as 100 a few years later. (fn. 59)

A National day and Sunday school was built in 1827-8 on the initiative of the curate, Edward Feild, on Exeter College land in the centre of the village; (fn. 60) in 1831 it was attended by 143 children, in 1833 by 137 on weekdays and 155 on Sundays. (fn. 61) In 1832 Feild added an infant school which in 1833 taught 33 boys and 20 girls. Both schools were supported by subscriptions from the curate and others, children's pence, and the sale of books and needlework. (fn. 62) In 1852 the master, who was also parish clerk, was assisted by an as yet uncertificated mistress and hoped shortly to appoint a pupil teacher. (fn. 63) In 1867 the school, which had accommodation for 152, had an average attendance of 129 by day and 18 at night school, and in 1868 it was reported that about a quarter of the children in the parish were habitually absent through parental carelessness. (fn. 64)

The school was rebuilt in 1871 to accommodate 256 children. A parliamentary grant was received from 1872, but subscriptions and children's pence still made up over half the school's income. In 1872 a master and his wife, both certificated, taught 67 boys, 52 girls, and 61 infants. (fn. 65) The buildings were further enlarged in 1894 and 1898, bringing accommodation up to 300 although average attendance was only 224. Further improvements were made in 1913. (fn. 66) The school became a county school in 1940 and continued in use until 1952 when the 234 children on the roll were transferred to the new Kidlington Junior County school in the Bicester road. (fn. 67) The new school, extended in 1956 and renamed the Edward Feild school in 1964, had 427 children on its roll in 1970 but only 237 in 1983. (fn. 68) The old school building was used as a church hall and social centre until 1972; it was burnt down in 1977. (fn. 69)

Gosford Hill Church of England secondary school, serving the surrounding villages as well as Kidlington itself, was built between the Oxford and Bicester roads in 1932; in 1938, when it had 187 pupils, it became a county secondary school. In 1964 it changed from a secondary modern to a comprehensive school. It had 985 children on the roll in 1970 and 1,228 in 1983. (fn. 70)

Kidlington County Infants school in Blenheim Road was opened in 1939 and closed in Abstract, H.C. 62, p. 749 (1835), xlii. 1981. (fn. 71) West Kidlington primary school opened in 1956, was extended in 1958 and had 358 on the roll in 1983. (fn. 72) North Kidlington primary school opened in 1961 and was already overcrowded in 1964; in 1983 it had 334 on the roll. (fn. 73) St. Thomas More Roman Catholic primary school, opened in 1964, had 174 on the roll in 1983. (fn. 74)

A diocesan training college for schoolmistresses was established in Kidlington in 1845 by the Revd. Joseph Dodd, rector of Hampton Poyle, who had purchased the former John Allen boarding school house. The college moved to Fishponds near Bristol in 1853. (fn. 75)

Roger Almont, by will proved 1720 left 50s. a year, charged on his property in Kidlington, to the overseers of the poor to pay a schoolmaster to teach five poor boys, chosen by his heirs, the tenants of the rectory, the curate and the overseers, to read, write, and cast accounts. (fn. 76) William Plasterer of Stanton Harcourt, by will proved in 1711, left £20 the interest of which was to be used for the education of poor children in Kidlington. (fn. 77) Both sums were paid regularly throughout the 18th century, although £10 of Plasterer's legacy was used to build a gallery in the church in 1764 and the remainder was lost through the insolvency of a churchwarden; the 20s. a year was thereafter paid from the church rates. (fn. 78) In 1768 and 1774 two boys were taught free from Almont's charity and 4 children from Plasterer's. (fn. 79) Both charities were still being paid in 1825, but Plasterer's had been lost by 1867. (fn. 80) In 1969 the income from Almont's charity was applied to payment of fees or other assistance for Kidlington children in secondary schools, to the support of evening classes in the parish, and to the provision of tools or other equipment for children starting work. (fn. 81) Joseph Smith of Bayley manor, provost of Queen's College, by will dated 1756, left £4 a year to teach four poor children to read, but there is no evidence that the money was ever paid. (fn. 82)

The Frank Wise Memorial fund was set up in 1968 in memory of Alderman Frank Wise (d. 1966) to encourage young people in local government or social service. Its income of c. £75 a year provides travelling scholarships, books, or tools for pupils from Gosford Hill school. (fn. 83)


  • 51. O.R.O., MS. Wills Oxon. 159/4/6.
  • 52. Ibid. 12/4/22; 13/3/46; 23/1/6; 32/2/15; 61/1/14; 72/5/27; 159/3/11.
  • 53. Ibid. 156/2/25; Hearne's Colln. vi (O.H.S. xliii), 78.
  • 54. Below; O.R.O., K II/a/1, s.a. 1709; Secker's Visit. 92.
  • 55. Queen's Coll. MS. 482, f. 252; O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Kidlington b 14, last folio.
  • 56. O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Kidlington b 14, passim; ibid. MSS. Oxf. Dioc. c 556, f. 71; d 559, f. 77; d 564, f. 253; Hearne's Colln. ix (O.H.S. Ixv), 375; Oxon. Poll, 1754, 109.
  • 57. O.R.O., MSS. Oxf. Dioc. c 433, f. 127; d 576, f. 173; d 578, f. 149; d 580, f. 154; Educ. of Poor Digest, H.C. 224, p. 726 (1819), ix B.
  • 58. O.R.O., MSS. Oxf. Dioc. d 566, f. 200; d 572, f. 186; c 433, f. 127.
  • 59. Oxf. fnl. 11 June 1763; O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. d 576, f. 173; Stapleton, Three Oxon. Pars. Further Addenda, 1.
  • 60. Exeter Coll. Mun., A. I. 11, p. 30; P.R.O., ED 7/101/126.
  • 61. O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. b 38, f. 127; Educ. Enq.
  • 62. Exeter Coll. Mun., A. I. 11, p. 87; Educ. Enq. Abstract, H.C. 62, p. 749 (1835), xlii; O.R.O., MS Oxf. Dioc. b 39, f. 244.
  • 63. P.R.O., ED 7/101/126.
  • 64. Returns relating to Pars. H.C. 114, pp. 342-3 (1867-8), liii; Rep. Com. on Children and Women in Agric. [4202-1], pp. 334, 357, H.C. (1868-9), xiii.
  • 65. P.R.O., ED 7/101/126; Exeter Coll. Mun., A. I. 12, pp. 123, 131, 166; M. IV. I; Rep. of Educ. Cttee. of Council, 1872-3 [C. 812], p. 475, H.C. (1873), xxiv; Return of Income and Expenditure for Public Elem. Schs. 1875-6 [C. 1882], pp. 214-5, H.C. (1877), Ixvii.
  • 66. Schs. in receipt of Parl. Grants [C. 9454], p. 201, H.C. (1899), Ixxiv; Kelly's Dir. Oxon. (1920).
  • 67. O.R.O., T/SM 36 i, pp. 40, 100, 102.
  • 68. Ibid. T/S Misc. 19; T/SM 36 iii; inf. from Oxon. C.C. Educ. Cttee.
  • 69. O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 1875/2; Oxf. Times, 20 June 1972; Oxf. Mail, 16 Sept. 1977.
  • 70. O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 1875/2; Oxf. Mail, 1 Oct. 1964; inf. from Oxon. C.C. Educ. Cttee.
  • 71. O.R.O., T/SM 36 i, p. 10; Oxf. Times, 17 July 1981.
  • 72. O.R.O., T/SM 36 i, p. 149; ii, p. 19; inf. from Oxon. C.C. Educ. Cttee.
  • 73. O.R.O., T/SM 36 ii, p. 62; Oxf. Mail, 24 Jan. 1964; inf. from Oxon. C.C. Educ. Cttee.
  • 74. Oxf. Mail, 13 Jan. 1964; inf. from Oxon. C.C. Educ. Cttee.
  • 75. Village Educ. in 19th Cent. Oxon. (O.R.S. li), p. xix; Stapleton, Three Oxon. Pars. Further Additions, 2.
  • 76. Oxf. Univ. Arch., Wills A-Be.
  • 77. O.R.O., MS. Wills Oxon. 145/2/3.
  • 78. Char. Don. 1787-8, H.C. 511, pp. 994-5 (1816), xvi B; 12th Rep. Com. Char. 340; Three Oxon. Pars. 138-9.
  • 79. O.R.O., MSS. Oxf. Dioc. d 559, f. 77; d 564, f. 253.
  • 80. 12th Rep. Com. Char. 340; Char. Digest, H.C. 292-II, p. 36 (1871), Iv.
  • 81. Kidlington Guide (1969).
  • 82. P.R.O., PROB 11/826; below, Charities.
  • 83. Kidlington Guide (1969): copy in Westgate Libr.; char.