Cogges: Education

Pages 73-74

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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William Blake, by will proved 1695, (fn. 11) left a £12 rent-charge on his estates at Alvescot, to pay two schoolmistresses to teach in the schools which he had built at High Cogges and Newland. There was a rent-free house and garden for each mistress, who was to be a protestant and who was to teach reading, the catechism, sewing, and knitting. Each school was to have 12 boys and 12 girls aged 6-9 years. Blake also left £1 10s. a year for the upkeep of the schools, and £5 a year for boys leaving school to be taught writing by a master at Witney; £20 a year was left for buying books and clothing for the schoolchildren. (fn. 12) If there were not enough poor children in Cogges and Newland, places could be given to children from neighbouring parishes, but in 1824 the provision was ignored: neither school had its full quota, with an average of 12-15 pupils at High Cogges, and slightly more at Newland. Children under six were admitted but paid a fee. The upkeep of the schools was costing more than the allowance, but there was a surplus in the books and clothing account. (fn. 13)

In 1833 there were said to be four day schools containing 80 children in the parish, including Blake's two schools. (fn. 14) The following year there were just the two endowed schools with 24 children in each, and no infant school. (fn. 15) In 1854 the school houses were also being used as Sunday schools, partly supported by subscription. Children over nine went to the National school or the Wesleyan day school at Witney. (fn. 16)

In 1857 the Blake schools trust, which also included a school at Witney, was reorganized. The Witney school was sold and the proceeds devoted to enlarging and improving the school at Newland, which became the main school in the parish, although the High Cogges school continued. (fn. 17) In 1860 the Blake schools were vested in the official trustee of charity lands, but the former trustees remained governors; (fn. 18) the Newland school received its first government grant in 1862. (fn. 19) The salaries of the Witney schoolmistress and of the master who taught the older boys writing were added to the Newland school endowment. There were no more free pupils; children of labourers paid 4s. a year and those of farmers and tradesmen 8s. Clothing was henceforth given only as a reward for good work and conduct. (fn. 20) The school was taught by one certificated teacher and had an average attendance of 40. (fn. 21)

An infant school, held in a cottage, had been started at Newland by 1862; (fn. 22) it was not under the Blake school management and had to support itself from pence and other means. (fn. 23) In 1862 the Charity Commissioners ordered that £3 18s. a year, left by William Wright in 1786 for bread or schooling and hitherto distributed in bread, should be given to Blake's or any other school selected by the trustees. (fn. 24) In 1875 it was used to support the Sunday school and choir, and £1 12s. was added to the salary of the infant teacher from 1878 to 1897; the charity then reverted to non-educational purposes. (fn. 25) A night school, started in 1863, had only two pupils by 1866; the Sunday school, however, had an attendance of 103. (fn. 26) In 1871 there was accommodation for 76 in the two Blake schools. An independent school, presumably the infant school at Newland, had accommodation for 14 and an attendance of 29. (fn. 27)

In 1874 a small amount of glebe land with a large Sunday schoolroom, formerly a barn, between Cogges church and the vicarage garden was granted to the Blake trustees and this eventually superseded the Newland schoolroom. (fn. 28) In 1876 the school received £15 10s.. yearly from the Blake endowment. (fn. 29) The old Newland school site was sold in 1880 and the proceeds were used to extend the new school. (fn. 30) A classroom was added in 1886-7 (fn. 31) so that accommodation was 240 in 1890, though the average attendance was only 102. The government grant was £74, fees amounted to £22, and the endowment was £30. (fn. 32)

In 1933 Blake's school at Cogges was reorganized as a junior school with 63 pupils; senior children went to Witney. In 1955 there were 80 children, divided into three classes by screens in the one large room; there was only one other small room and bucket sanitation. A new school was built on the new housing estate south of Cogges village in 1983, when there were 175 children on the register. (fn. 33)

By 1873 the High Cogges school was an infant school for children too young to go to the main school; it received £9 from the Blake endowment, (fn. 34) and in 1889 children both there and at the main school were said to be well taught. (fn. 35) The High Cogges school closed in 1921. (fn. 36)

In the 1750s and 1760s J. Morland, then renting the manor house, ran a boarding school in which writing, arithmetic, accounts, Greek, Latin, French, dancing, and drawing were taught. The school closed in 1766, when equipment sold included mathematical instruments, a telescope, a magic lantern, and theatrical props. (fn. 37)


  • 11. P.R.O., PROB 11/429, ff. 193v.-200; cf. above, Manors.
  • 12. 10th Rep. Char. Com.. 391; O.S. Map ½,500, Oxon. XXXII. 9, XXXII. 5 (1877 edn.).
  • 13. 10th Rep. Char. Com.. 391.
  • 14. Educ. Enq. Abstract,, H.C. 62, p. 744 (1835), xlii.
  • 15. O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. b 39, f. 100.
  • 16. Wilb. Visit.. 41.
  • 17. O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Cogges e 8, f. 7; below.
  • 18. P.R.O., ED 7/101/57.
  • 19. O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Cogges c 9, item c.
  • 20. Ibid. e 8, f. 7.
  • 21. P.R.O., ED 7/101/57.
  • 22. O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Cogges c 9, item c.
  • 23. Ibid. MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 332, f. 137.
  • 24. Below, Char.
  • 25. O.R.O., MSS. d.d. Par. Cogges c 10, item h, f. 11; item i, f. 73.
  • 26. Ibid. MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 332, f. 137.
  • 27. Returns relating to Elem. Educ.. H.C. 201, p. 324 (1871), lv.
  • 28. O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Cogges c 9, item b; Oxoniensia,, xlvii. 41-2; O.S. Map ½,500, Oxon. XXXII. 5 (1899 edn.).
  • 29. O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Cogges c 9, item c.
  • 30. Return of Non-provided Schs.. H.C. 178, p. 19 (1906), lxxxviii; cf. O.S. Map ½,500, Oxon. XXXII. 5 (1899 edn.).
  • 31. O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Cogges e 10, f. 44.
  • 32. Public Elem. Schs. Return H.C. 403, p. 213 (1890), lvi.
  • 33. Inf. from Oxon. C. C. Educ. Cttee.; O.R.O., T/S Misc. 19.
  • 34. O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Cogges c 9, item c.
  • 35. Bodl. MS. d.d. Harcourt b 39, Statement of Accts. 1889..
  • 36. O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Cogges e 10, f. 123.
  • 37. 37 Oxf. fnl.. 20 Jan. 1759; 25 Oct. 1766; Oxf. Jnl. Synopsis, 4 June 1753; 10 Jan. 1761.