Lew: Education

Page 99

A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 13, Bampton Hundred (Part One). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1996.

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An interdenominational day school was opened in 1856 in the Congregational chapel, which was leased for a nominal rent. (fn. 1) From 1858 to 1865 the school was moved to a nearby cottage, but following disputes over rent it was moved back to the chapel before 1875. (fn. 2) It was at first run by the master and mistress of a Sunday school, (fn. 3) and in 1866 was a dame school supported from voluntary contributions, school pence, and 16s. 3d. a year paid to the vicar from the Bampton charities. (fn. 4) Landowners' subscriptions rose from £11 in 1874 to c. £16 following appeals by the vicar. (fn. 5) Between 14 and 20 'very young' children of both sexes were attending in 1866 and were catechized by the vicar; by 1871, when 30 children attended on inspection day, there were 43 on the day school register and 53 on the Sunday school register. (fn. 6)

Despite repeated attempts to raise funds for a purpose-built schoolroom (fn. 7) the school continued in the chapel, which could accommodate 64 in 1880. (fn. 8) Improvements in 1876, including the renting of playgrounds at the rear and provision of separate offices for boys and girls, averted the threat of a school board, and thereafter the school received a government grant. (fn. 9) A headmistress appointed in 1876 continued until 1907, and though children in the 1870s and 1880s were reportedly of low standard for their age, in 1886 the school was efficient. (fn. 10)

Only c. 25 children were on the register in 1876 and 1899, when several were only 3 years old. Abnormal amounts of illness between 1896 and 1900 lowered attendance, and in the early 20th century constantly shifting population made continuity difficult; in 1901 the inspection was attended by only 13 children of whom some had already attended 4 different schools. In 1903 the school avoided closure only after being transferred to the County Council, and cramped accommodation and rapid turnover of staff and pupils repeatedly hampered improvement. The seniors were transferred to Bampton in 1926, leaving only 11 children at Lew, and in 1927 the school closed. (fn. 11)

A night school for men, held twice a week by the two day-school teachers in 1869 and 1872, had ceased by 1878. (fn. 12)


  • 1. Oxf. Chron. 8 Mar. 1856; above, nonconf.
  • 2. Oxf. Jnl. 29 Sept. 1866; O.R.O., MSS. Oxf. Dioc. c 341, ff. 48-9; c 344, ff. 33V.-34. Dutton's Dir. Oxon. (1863) wrongly stated that it was still in the chapel.
  • 3. Oxf. Chron. 8 Mar. 1856; cf. Wilb. Visit. 11.
  • 4. O.R.O., MSS. Oxf. Dioc. c 332, ff. 54-6; c 338, ff. 29-30.
  • 5. Ch. Ch. Arch., MS. Estates 74, ff. 173-5, 177; Public Elem. Schs. Return, H.C. 403, p. 212 (1890), lvi; Return of Schs. 1893 [C. 7529], pp. 494-5, H.C. (1894), lxv.
  • 6. O.R.O., MSS. Oxf. Dioc. c 332, ff. 54-6; c 338, ff. 29-30; Returns relating to Elem. Educ. H.C. 201, p. 324 (1871), lv.
  • 7. Oxf. Jnl. 29 Sept. 1866; O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 341, ff. 48-9; Ch. Ch. Arch., MS. Estates 74, ff. 147 and v., 191-193V.
  • 8. O.S. Map 1/2,500, Oxon. XXXI. 15 (1899 and later edns.); Rep. of Educ. Cttee. of Council (1879-80) [C. 2562-1], p. 675, H.C. (1880), xxii.
  • 9. O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 344, ff. 33v.-34; ibid. T/SL/33 i; Oxf. Univ. Arch., SEP/Q/46-7.
  • 10. O.R.O., T/SL/33 i-ii.
  • 11. Ibid. T/SL/33 ii. The bldg. became part of University Fm.: Sale Cat. (1959), copy in C.O.S.
  • 12. O.R.O., MSS. Oxf. Dioc. c 335, ff. 25-6; c 338, ff. 29-30; c 344, ff. 33-4.