Crawley : Education, charities for the poor

Page 190

A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 14, Bampton Hundred (Part Two). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2004.

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In 1709 Elizabeth Birdseye of Cokethorpe (in Ducklington), related to a Crawley farming family, left £14 to be invested to help educate poor children in Crawley; the bequest seems not to have been received, however. (fn. 1) Around 1759 the rector of Witney arranged reading lessons for a few children from Crawley, as from the other townships, but doubted their success. (fn. 2) Dissenting Sunday schools perhaps teaching reading were established in the early 19th century, and in 1833 there were two day schools teaching up to 28 children in all, paid for by their parents. (fn. 3)

In 1837 Crawley chapel was built with a small attached schoolroom at its north-east corner. (fn. 4) A schoolmistress was mentioned in 1841, (fn. 5) but in the 1850s and 1860s only a Sunday school was noted, day pupils perhaps going to Hailey school. (fn. 6) In 1871 the school was refitted as a National infants' school accommodating 34, still with no endowment, and in the 1890s the vicar bore the entire cost; older children attended Hailey National school. Average attendance at Crawley school in 1903 was around 14, but the day school seems to have closed soon after and in 1921 the building housed only a Sunday school. (fn. 7)

Charities For The Poor

Crawley received a quarter of the bread charity established by the Witney Quaker and landowner Elijah Waring, by his will proved in 1815. Loaves were distributed among 146 Crawley inhabitants in 1909, and by a Scheme of 1957 the charity was incorporated in Witney Parochial Charities. (fn. 8) Land for a bread charity under the will of the Witney surgeon James Leverett (d. 1785) was not received. (fn. 9) Labourers' allotments totalling 9 a., established at inclosure in 1853, were counted as charitable in 1975, any surplus income to benefit the poor. (fn. 10)


  • 1. ORO, MS Wills Oxon. 116/2/37; Char. Don. 968–9. For family, Prob. Recs. Oxon. 1516–1732, s.v. Birdseye.
  • 2. ORO, MS Oxf. Dioc. d 557, f. 161.
  • 3. Educ. Enq. Abstract (Parl. Papers 1835 (62), xlii), p. 758; above, nonconf.
  • 4. Above, church.
  • 5. PRO, HO 107/872, s.v. Mary Jackson.
  • 6. ORO, MSS Oxf. Dioc. c 332, f. 203v.; c 335, f. 177; Wilb. Visit. 63–4; Returns relating to Elem. Educ. (Parl. Papers 1871 (201), lv), p. 324.
  • 7. PO Dir. Oxon. (1877); Kelly's Dir. Oxon. (1883 and later edns); OS Map 1:2500, Oxon. XXXI. 4 (1876 and later edns); D. Musson et al., Hailey Village School Past and Present (priv. printed, 1997), 7, 10: copy in COS; Hailey Nat. Sch. Rep. (1897): copy in Bodl.; ORO, MS Oxf. Dioc. c 338, f. 184v.
  • 8. 10th Rep. Com. Char. 381; Oxf. Times, 23 July 1910; above, Witney, charities.
  • 9. Bodl. GA Oxon. 8° 364; Char. Don. 968–9.
  • 10. ORO, Kimber files (formerly ORCC); ibid. incl. award (1853), p. 6.