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  YOU ARE IN: SCHOOL HISTORY1
The Early History of
St. Giles School
Horsted Keynes
Page 1

Page 2  Page 3  Page 4

 We are fortunate in having a school which is the centre of the local community - even though it is at the end of a no through lane on the edge of the village! Several years ago the school published a small book outlining the history of education in this area. Christopher and I scanned this into the computer and after some minor editing it is presented here.
There are still one or two errors which will be researched and amended as soon as possible.


If YOU have any recollection of education at St. Giles please do get in touch. The children would love to know what it was like in "olden times". Did you get the ruler? Were you sent to the head?

 

St. Giles Church of England (Aided) School

previously entitled

A Short History of
The Lightmlaker School Horsted Keynes.

    Horsted Keynes School has a history which goes back nearly 300 years to the first years of the 18th century, when Edward Lightmlaker the younger, then Lord of the Manor of Horsted Keynes, Broadhurst and Danehill, built a house and a brewhouse, together now known as Mote Croft, on a holding of the same name, then part of Old Warren Farm, which lay immediately to the north of the Church-yard. Convincing evidence exists that on this Croft had stood the manor house of Horsted in the days when the Cahagnes family held the manor - a house declared in a document of 1336 to be "totally ruined" (the Lewknors who, in the late 13th century had succeeded the Cahagnes as lords had moved to Broadhurst.)

    It is not surprising that Lightmlaker chose to build his school house so near to the Church, for the very detailed account in his will of how the school should be conducted, makes it very clear that, through arithmetic, writing, spelling and reading were to be taught, its chief aim was to educate the children in a deep and sound understanding of the Bible and in the practice of daily corporate worship. This aim is not only to be seen in the timetable and curriculum that he planned, but also in the books, named in the will, given by him as a permanent library for the Master (and successive Masters) to enable them to have the scholarly equipment to teach the children the Bible's true meaning. The books were 37 in number; thirteen only of them still remain, of these nine are on loan to the Chichester Cathedral Library, four in St.. Giles Church, of these three are the writings of Lightmlaker’s uncle, Archbishop Robert Leighton, famous as a scholar as well as a religious leader, the fourth is a copy of Playford's Metrical Psalms with tunes which the children were regularly to sing.

    It is on record that Lightmlaker consulted S.P.C.K., then recently founded, about methods to be used in the school, but the strongest inspiration of these methods no doubt came from Archbishop Leighton, who had lived with his nephew at Broadhurst the last ten years of his life, from 1674 - 1684, and whose influence on his nephew was so strong that the scholar who edited Leighton’s writings for publication after his death writes that Lightmlaker is his uncle "living again". Many of the directions given in the will show Leighton’s characteristic love of children and his gentleness (his motto was "I incline to the gentler side" ). Perhaps S.P.C.K. suggested that in Church the Master should sit surrounded by his pupils "with a white wand in his hand" to keep order, yet it is of Leighton that it is characteristic that on the last day of each term after "homage to God" in the Church the children should return to the school to share a "plumb cake" before they went home.

    Lightmlaker’s will, made less than a week before his death in 1708, added money endowment to the house, brew house and large garden. £400 (to which was added £200 left to the poor of the parish by Archbishop Leighton in 1~84) was to be invested in freehold land by his trustees, his niece Elizabeth (born Pigott) then wife of Thomas Osborne of Newtimber in Sussex and her husband. From the income from this land S20 a year was to be for the Master's salary, the remainder to be spent on repairs of the school building and on books for use in the school and prizes to "worthy scholars" when leaving.

    The Master was to teach 20 children free and could take no more than 21 fee paying children as well. If there were, at any time, not so many as twenty poor children in Horsted Keynes the number should be filled up with children of neighbouring parishes. Any money left over should be spent on firewood. After the death of Elizabeth and Thomas Osborne the trustee, with the right to nominate the Master, should be the Lord of the Manor of Horsted Keynes, Broadhurst and Danehill.

    Before he made his will Lightmlaker had appointed as Master Mr. Jerkyn Jones who married the cousin and executrix of John Wood late rector of the parish. The Osbornes had appointed as his successor Mr. Charles Baker. Thomas Osborne died in September 1727, Elizabeth in August 1735· She died in London; how long she had! been living there we do not know, but before her death trouble over the finances of the school started. There is an entry in the Horsted Keynes Vestry Book of 1695 - 1885 which is a receipt given on 28th January 1737 by "Mr. Charles Baker, Master of the Free School" to Thos. Pigott Esq. Trustee, as Lord of the Manor; this receipt was for £85 for four and a quarter years' arrears of salary as schoolmaster and for £4-14s laid out in repairs to the School House "being the whole due to me save 10s and 10d. which had there been money in hand I believe I should likewise have recd." Baker then left the School House; - the books Lightmlaker had left for the Master may have gone to the Rectory as the then Rector, Ralph Clutton the elder was Baker’s brother in law.

    Thomas Pigott appointed no successor and provided no income for the school. Horsted Keynes was no longer a prosperous manor since the disappearance of its iron industry; further, Pigott was extravagant and progressively in debt. Responsibility for the Lightmlaker Free School was taken over by the village itself and its history for most of the rest of the century is in the parish Vestry Book.

    To provide funds Mote Croft was let at about £10 a year, to a succession of tenants, including Pigott's widow, and (the last tenant) a member of the Wyatt family, who left in 1806. Lightmlaker had intended his Master to be a University man, well paid and well housed. The Parish Officers did their best with inadequate means.

    The accounts in the Vestry Book covering the years 1742 - 1771 show money being spent steadily on primers, spelling books, singing books, bibles and books of common prayer. At first a "poor Widow Woman called Mitchell" was paid £2 a year - "for the teaching of a few poor children" with additional coaching for backward readers from Dame Holford and William Botting. In 1777 the Parish Officers appointed John Newnham as Master at a salary of £8 a year to teach 8 poor children, Widow Mitchell still receiving. f2 a year to teach 4. About 1780 John Stone was appointed Newnharm's successor and when Widow Mitchell died in December 1781 he taught all twelve for £12 a year. Where they were taught is not recorded, perhaps in the teachers' own house, perhaps, as year after year considerable sums are spent on "wood for the poor children", in a room in the parish workhouse which, during the 18th century was first at Waterbury Castle, then at Wyatts and, from 1782, at the Green Man.

    In 1806, however, when no tenant could be found for Mote Croft, the school returned there, as Viscount Hampden of Glynde, then Lord of the Manor, made the Master John Stone, who also seems to have been his bailiff, live there in lieu of salary; he was of course, able to teach 21 fee paying pupils there and the house had been improved during the period of tenancy (the present staircase seems to date to this period).

    In 1819 charity Commissioners were appointed to enquire into the circumstances which had led to the disappearance of the endowment. Eventually, in 1833, the Commissioners held a public enquiry at Cuckfield at which both Stone and the then Rector William Austen (a cousin of Jane Austen's) were among the witnesses. It was claimed that the freehold land called Westlands had been bought by the Trustees for the School's endowment but later misappropriated by other members of the Osborne family. This view seems to have been widely held in the neighbourhood but by 1833 several witnesses in its favour had recently died and the evidence did not convince the Commissioners, so that the School remained unendowed except for Mote Croft house and land. It is arguable from the figures and dates that the money left by Lightmlaker had been used by the original trustees as income and not as capital and so had vanished by 1737, but there is no direct evidence for this.

    Stone had had, in 1819, to furnish a detailed account of the circumstances of the School to the Commissioners and kept a copy of what he had sent them. This copy still exists in the Glynde Papers. It contains a list of the free pupils then which is of great local interest. There were twelve of them, nine boys and three girls; these last "worked with their needle" presumably under the guidance of Stone's wife Phillydelphia. The ages of the children ranged from eight to fourteen; they came from the Bates, Butcher, Dumbrell, Kimber, Luxford, Marten, Sherlock, Taylor, Welfare and Woolgar families, with connection with the families of Cox, Langridge and Pelling. (Horsted Keynes parish, according to the census of 1811 had 85 houses and 101 families, with a total population of 627).

    A pupil of whom a good deal is known is George Kimber. One of a large family of a man described twice in the records as 'poor man relieved by the parish', the fact that he was still at school at the age of fourteen is indicative of the unemployment in the village in the years of economic depression following the victory at Waterloo, with high prices and heavy taxation. Even during the war a survey of 1801 shows that in Horsted Keynes neither the watermill nor the windmill was working; after the peace schemes begin locally to help the unemployed, including assisted emigration. George Kimber took advantage of one of these and made a great success of his new life in U.S.A. as a letter to his parents in 1829 urging them to join him and his Horsted Keynes wife (Jane Betting) in Pittsford New York shows. How far his success was due to his prolonged education at Lightmlaker’s free school we can only guess, but this influence can hardly have been negligible. It is an example of the school's value at a time when education was just beginning to be recognized as a national rather than a local concern. ?his recognition would soon set the school on a rather different course.

    Very little is known for certain about the school during the latter part of the 19th Century. We know that in 1841 William Ellis was appointed; in the 1855 Kelly's Directory he, with his wife Mary, are described as "Master and Mistress of the National School".

    In 1870 the Education Act set up School Boards, not in opposition to Church Schools but to fill the gaps. Plans were drawn up in 1871 for the adaptation of the National School at Horsted Keynes to meet the requirements of the Act. Existing plans indicate it was at first proposed that Mote Croft should be retained intact and that interior alterations should provide for two classrooms one 35 ft x 18 ft and the other 14'6" x 10 ft. scheme must have proved unacceptable, for another plan which entailed the demolition of the southern part of the building and the erection, on that site, of a school quite separate from Mote Croft itself, was approved. The second plan provided for two classrooms one 35 ft x 19 ft and a second 13 ft x 19 ft, the latter to contain a gallery. The new school was built in 1872.

    There is no existing log book for the period 1872 - 1900 but we know that in 1883 Stephen Clark became Master of the school and his wife was appointed at the same time. In Kelly's Directory for 1895 is the entry "Stephen Clark Schoolmaster (78 pupils), organist and collector of the Queen's taxes" also "Secretary of the Horsted Keynes Friendly Society". The appointment of the Clarks coincided with the coming of the railway to Horsted Keynes.

    The oldest existing log book dates from 1900 and from thereon it and subsequent books record the daily life of the school. One of the first entries mentions the recent erection of a third classroom on the western end of the school. The school building then remained virtually unaltered until 1954. An inspector's report of June 1900 recommended that the gallery should be removed and replaced by desks. the school staff at this time consisted of Mr. & Mrs.. Clark and a Miss Verrall described as a "Monitress"; the latter we are told taught the younger children.

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 Notes on calendar change   © January 2002

 

   

   
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