Yarnton: Education

Pages 488-489

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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Hugh Evans, vicar of Yarnton 1579-1618, and John Goad, vicar 1646-60, kept small private schools at the vicarage. (fn. 49) No other school is known before the later 18th century, and the vicar reported in 1768 that the parish children were so backward that he had difficulty teaching them the catechism. (fn. 50) A school for 6 or 8 children, in existence by 1780, (fn. 51) may have been the precursor of a Sunday school established in 1783. (fn. 52) The latter was supported in 1797 by a biannual payment of 18s. from the overseers and by voluntary subscriptions. The teacher was the parish clerk. (fn. 53) A day school started in 1814 was in 1815 attended by 8 boys and 7 girls under the instruction of an 'aged person'. The Sunday school had at that time 13 boys and 14 girls. (fn. 54) A rent charge on Windmill field of £7 a year, devised by Sir Thomas Spencer (d. 1685) for the maintenance of the monuments in the Spencer chapel or, if not needed there, for Yarnton's poor, (fn. 55) was usually spent on clothes for the schoolchildren. (fn. 56)

From 1817 a room in the new parish clerk's house at the north-west end of Church Lane was used as a schoolroom. (fn. 57) The children were taught by the clerk's wife Lucy Charlett, and after her death in 1827 by their daughter Ann, who continued until 1875. (fn. 58) The school was incorporated with the National Society in 1831. (fn. 59) It was attended in 1833 by 59 children on Sundays and 42 on weekdays. Pupils, who stayed at school from the ages of 4 to 10, paid ½d. a week, the vicar and the parish each paid £4 4s. a year, and £2 2s. was provided from the Spencer bequest. Alderman Fletcher had in 1823 given an annuity of £5 for repairs to the parish clerk's house, any surplus to be used for the school; £3 or £4 of that money was usually combined with money raised by subscription to form a children's clothing fund. (fn. 60) In 1854 the vicar claimed that he bore almost the entire financial burden of the school, paying a mistress £12 12s. a year, providing her with clothes, books, and writing materials, and giving each child a full suit of clothes on New Year's Day. The only assistance was £3 from the Fletcher benefaction and £1 from the bishop of St. Asaph, an absentee landowner. (fn. 61) An evening school operated sporadically in the later 19th century. (fn. 62)

A new school with accommodation for 53 children was built in 1875 in Church Lane, (fn. 63) and from 1877 it received a parliamentary grant. (fn. 64) In 1895 places were provided for 34 infants; total attendance was only 49, (fn. 65) but it had risen to 61 by 1906, when the school was financed by parliamentary grants, endowments, and subscriptions. (fn. 66) In 1910 a new wing was added. (fn. 67) In 1932 the school was reorganized as a junior school, with three classrooms and an average attendance of 79. Senior children went to Gosford, in Kidlington parish. (fn. 68)

A new building was erected in Rutten Lane in 1956 to take the two upper junior classes. (fn. 69) Increasing population led to the construction on the Rutten Lane site in 1971 of the William Fletcher County Primary School, with seven classrooms and a hall; the Church Lane school became a private house. In 1983 c. 130 children attended the school. (fn. 70)

In 1853 there was a dame school opposite the clerk's house, attended by 11 children from the ages of 5 to 9. (fn. 71)


  • 49. Wood, Athenae Oxon. i. 636; Wood's Life, i (O.H.S. xix), 151; above, Church.
  • 50. O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. d 560, f. 223.
  • 51. Ibid. b 101, f. 261.
  • 52. Ibid. c 433, f. 234.
  • 53. Ibid. MS. d.d. Par. Yarnton b 9, s.a. 1797.
  • 54. Ibid. MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 433, f. 234. The vicar claimed variously in later years to have started the day school in 1803 and 1805: ibid. b 38, f. 237; Wilb. Visit. 170.
  • 55. P.R.O., PROB 11/387 (1687, f. 83).
  • 56. e.g. O.R.O., MSS. Oxf. Dioc. d 577, f. 175; d 581, f. 157.
  • 57. Ibid. b 70, f. 944; 12th Rep. Com. Char. 356-7; datestone on ho.
  • 58. Inf. from Mrs. A. Adcock.
  • 59. O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. b 38, f. 237.
  • 60. Ibid. b 39, f. 387; Educ. Enq. Abstract, H.C. 62, p. 759 (1835), xlii.
  • 61. Wilb. Visit. 170.
  • 62. O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 332, f. 484; Rep. Com. Children and Women in Agric. [4202-I], p. 337, H.C. (1868-9), xiii.
  • 63. Kelly's Dir. Oxon. (1895).
  • 64. Rep. Educ. Cttee. of Council [C. 2048-I], p. 793, H.C. (1878), xxviii.
  • 65. Schs. in Receipt of Parl. Grants [C. 8179], p. 192, H.C. (1896), lxv; Public Elem. Schs. Return [Cd. 3182], p. 530, H.C. (1906), lxxxvi.
  • 66. Return of Schs. [Cd. 315], pp. 676-7, H.C. (1900), lxv (2); Return of Non-Provided Schs. H.C. 178, p. 36 (1906), lxxxviii.
  • 67. Yarnton Quarterly Paper, vi.
  • 68. Inf. from Oxon. C.C. Educ. Cttee.
  • 69. O.R.O., Misc. Yarn. ½, pp. 224, 226.
  • 70. Local inf.
  • 71. Inf. from Mrs. A. Adcock.