Hailey: Education, charities for the poor

Pages 254-255

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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By will proved 1661 Joan Smith, widow of a prosperous Hailey farmer, (fn. 2) left £40 for educating poor children, which, with another £10 left for an annual sermon in Witney church, was used to buy some 1½ a. of meadow in Hailey. (fn. 3) A schoolmistress received £2 a year from the endowment in the 1760s, rising to £14 by the 1820s, when the land was administered with Joan Smith's charities for the poor. In 1824 the Charity Commission ruled that the schoolmistress should receive half the combined income, with 10s. deducted for the Witney sermon. (fn. 4) Eighteen pupils were educated in the charity school in 1802, 28 (14 boys and 14 girls) in 1815, and 30 in 1835, though by the 1820s the endowment supported only 8 boys and 8 girls, the other pupils being paid for by their parents. (fn. 5) Two short-lived dame schools taught another 15–17 children between them in 1808, and three in 1833 taught 13 boys and 43 girls, several other children attending Witney National school. All the schools in 1808, evidently including the charity school, taught chiefly reading 'as far as to the Bible and Testament, with, in some, a little writing'. In 1815 the charity school hoped to adopt the National Plan as soon as a teacher could be found. (fn. 6)

In 1847 the charity school, with 45 pupils, was housed in a dilapidated, untenanted cottage in Hailey village. Land opposite, adjoining the Lamb and Flag inn, was given by the Witney banker and brewer John Williams Clinch (d. 1871) and a new stone-built National school was built there in 1848, designed by the incumbent's brother-in-law William Wilkinson. A government grant met a quarter of the cost. (fn. 7) Accommodation, originally for 79, was increased to 108 before 1880, but attendance rose steadily from 73 in 1876 to 107 in 1889, (fn. 8) and in 1892 a new infant room, long demanded by inspectors, was built to the design of the incumbent's son Clapton Crabb Rolfe, the cost met by a voluntary parish rate. (fn. 9) The school's parliamentary grant then exceeded £90 a year, supplemented by Smith's charity (£21), school pence, and subscriptions. (fn. 10) Reports were generally satisfactory, apart from minor scandals involving teachers in 1904 and 1909. (fn. 11)

Responsibility passed to Oxfordshire County Council in 1903, and in 1930 the school became a junior school, seniors being transferred to the newly opened Witney Central school. The school was renamed Hailey CE Voluntary Controlled School in 1978. Average attendance in 1939 was 39, and the roll was 105 in 1970, 65 in 1983, and 71 in 1994. (fn. 12) Under a Scheme of 1906 half the combined Smith charities became the Joan Smith Educational Fund, which helped to provide a new playground in 1942 and still paid accumulated funds to the school around 1950. A Scheme of 1977 allowed the charity to support broadly educational activities for recipients under the age of 25. The deduction for the Witney sermon was abolished in 1976. (fn. 13)

An evening school for former National school pupils was 'well attended and successful' in 1872. (fn. 14) A weekly night school was held during winter months in the late 1870s. (fn. 15) and in 1900 there were plans for adult evening classes in Hailey school in conjunction with Oxfordshire County Council. (fn. 16)

Charities For The Poor

By a lifetime gift John Smith (d. 1646), a prosperous Hailey farmer, gave 4 a. in Hailey from after his wife's death, half the rent to benefit widows and orphans in Hailey. His widow Joan (d. 1661) gave half a yardland (probably 10–15 a.) also by a lifetime settlement, the rent to be used for apprenticing, and either gave or confirmed a 10s. rent-charge to benefit the poor. (fn. 17) In the mid 18th century the apprenticing charity produced £5–£7 a year, said to be properly applied, though only 32s. was distributed annually in alms. (fn. 18) William Wright of Over Norton, presumably related to the Wrights of Middlefield Farm in Hailey, left £100 to be invested for Hailey's poor by will proved 1786; by the 1820s the income was combined with the 10s. rent-charge and with the rent (then £3) from the 4 a., the whole of it distributed annually in bread. (fn. 19) Joan Smith's charities were by then administered with her separate educational endowment, the trustees buying an additional acre in 1806 and receiving 22 a. at inclosure in 1824; the same year the Charity Commission ruled that half the combined income should be spent on apprenticing, and half on the school. (fn. 20)

Hailey also received a share of Elijah Waring's Witney bread charity, established by will proved 1815, which in 1909 distributed loaves to 408 Hailey inhabitants. (fn. 21) Hailey's share of George Thompson's charity and a bread charity under the will of James Leverett (d. 1785) seem not to have been received. (fn. 22)

In the 1940s half the combined Joan Smith charities were still used for apprenticing under a Scheme of 1906, though no applicants were found between 1947 and 1962. Total income in 1975 was over £200, with nearly £700 on deposit. A Scheme of 1977 regulated the 10s. rent-charge and the John Smith, Wright, and Waring charities, which together had £147 on deposit, the proceeds to benefit those in need within the ancient parish.

Labourers' allotments vested in the parish officers at inclosure in 1853 were ruled in 1975 to be also charitable, any surplus income to benefit the poor. (fn. 23)


  • 1. For Holloway's Bluecoat school at Woodgreen, just within Hailey township, above, Witney, educ.
  • 2. ORO, MS Wills Oxon. 149/1/9; for her lands in 1646, ibid. SL9/18/E/1.
  • 3. 10th Rep. Com. Char. 382–3; ORO, MS Wills Oxon. 61/2/11; ibid. MS dd Par. Witney e 14, f. 41v.
  • 4. ORO, MSS Oxf. Dioc. b 11, f. 2v.; c 327, p. 153; d 562, f. 3; d 564, f. 196; 10th Rep. Com. Char. 383–4; below, charities.
  • 5. ORO, MSS Oxf. Dioc. c 433, f. 99; d 566, f. 146; Educ. Enq. Abstract (Parl. Papers 1835 (62), xlii), p. 758; 10th Rep. Com. Char. 383.
  • 6. ORO, MSS Oxf. Dioc. c 433, f. 99; d 707, f. 75; Educ. Enq. Abstract, 758.
  • 7. D. Musson et al., Hailey Village School Past and Present (priv. printed, 1997), 6–7: copy in COS; Mins. of Educ. Cttee of Council, 1849–50 (Parl. Papers 1850 (1215), xliii), p. ccxxvi; OS Map 1:2500, Oxon. XXV. 16 (1876 edn); ORO, MS Oxf. Dioc. b 70, ff. 356–7.
  • 8. Return of Public Elem. Schs. 1875–6 (Parl. Papers 1877 [C 1882], lxvii), pp. 214–15; Rep. of Educ. Cttee of Council, 1879–80 (Parl. Papers 1880 [C 2562–I], xxii), p. 675; Return of Public Elem. Schs. 1888–9 (Parl. Papers 1890 (403), lvi), p. 214.
  • 9. Musson, Hailey Village Sch. 10; cf. Kelly's Dir. Oxon. (1899).
  • 10. Rtn Public Elem. Schs. 1888–9, p. 214.
  • 11. Musson, Hailey Village Sch. 8 sqq.
  • 12. Ibid. 10, 17; inf. from LEA.
  • 13. ORO, Kimber files (formerly ORCC).
  • 14. Ibid. MS Oxf. Dioc. c 338, f. 186.
  • 15. Ibid. c 344, f. 186.
  • 16. Bodl. GA Oxon. c 317/9 (1), cutting Oct. 1900.
  • 17. 10th Rep. Com. Char. 382–4; ORO, MSS Wills Oxon. 61/2/11, 149/1/9; for their lands. ibid. SL9/18/E/1.
  • 18. ORO, MSS Oxf. Dioc. b 11, f. 2; c 327, p. 153; d 562, f. 3v.
  • 19. 10th Rep. Com. Char. 384, 397–8; ORO, MS Wills Oxon. 75/1/24.
  • 20. 10th Rep. Com. Char. 382–4; above, educ.
  • 21. 10th Rep. Com. Char. 381; Oxf. Times, 23 July 1910.
  • 22. Bodl. GA Oxon. 8° 364; above, Witney, charities; cf. Char. Don. 968–9, also listing, apparently in error, a charitable bequest by Thomas and Joan Green.
  • 23. ORO, Kimber files (formerly ORCC).