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The Early History of
St. Giles School
Horsted Keynes
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Mr. Brewer must have come straight from Training College for on Oct. 1st he writes "Notified of my success in Government Examination for Students in Training Colleges" and on Jan 8th 1916 "Received my Government Parchment Certificate which had been re-endorsed giving particulars of my College training".

21st Oct. 1915 "The Red Cross flag was flown from the flagstaff and the children were addressed on Trafalgar day and the work of the Red Cross Society Later the children sang to parents and friends and raised 4-11-2d for the Red Cross". Later in the year the Children's Cocoa Club was formed for supplying children who stay to dinner. The club was "self supporting and the subscriptions rarely exceed 1d per week".

In November the Headmaster enlisted in the Army and was placed on the reserve. There were now 116 on roll. 2-1-4d was raised for the Russian Red Cross.

 The pace of life in these last days of Victoria's reign was slow and unhurried:

July 11 1900. "Gave half holiday this afternoon. the Rector kindly invited children to the Rectory where they enjoyed themselves with swings etc. Children also received buns and lemonade. I dispersed them at 730"

17 July. "Children away this afternoon Fruit picking and Haymaking". Children in rural areas were excused attendance at school for a total of six weeks each year to help with the farm work. The August holiday at this time was referred to as the "Harvest Vacation".

Sept. 4th. A parent called about her daughter in standard 7 leaving school as she was now 13. Children could leave at 13 provided they had made the requisite number of attendances.

1st Nov. "The school closed a little early to prepare for a rummage sale in aid of School Funds.

    A list of school materials received in October seems quite inadequate: exercise books were bought in dozens and half dozens and the list included one dozen infants' slates 8" x 6". The log book entries at this time were usually brief. The state of the weather was recorded each day and often the only other entry was "work as usual" but the school Bank is mentioned every Monday. In some parts of Sussex parents paid 1d per week for the child's education as late as the 1890s but it is not clear if this school Bank related to such payments in 1900. On Fridays an "object lesson" was always taken by the Headmaster. The list of object lessons to be given during the year 1901 - 1902 included the following:


The cow, the clockface, a table, water, a straw hat, coal, sugar, the Union Jack, Good manners.

Stds 1 - 3 (Ages 7-10).

Postage stamp, cotton, rice, ostrich, rooks, a penny, salt.

Stds 5 - 7 (Ages 11-14).

    Mariners compass, pair of bellows, an oyster shell, gutta-percha, sealing wax, a looking glass, the common? pump.

    Once every week an entry records "Girls Needlework and Boys Drawing" and on Fridays "Drill"

    "The Death of Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria at Osborne Isle of Wight" was recorded in January 1901 and given a black surround.

    There has so far been no indication of how many pupils attended the school, but in February 1901 the Diocesan Inspector for the Rural Deanery of Pevensey visited the school and it is recorded that altogether 57 children were examined.

In 1902 the Local Education Authorities were set up which provided grants for. all educational activities from Public Funds.

2 June 1902. "Received news of Peace (Boer War) Children sang National Anthem and gave three cheers -extra recreation."

    On another occasion recreation was cut short:

5 Feb. 1905 "Got children in early from recreation by special request of neighbour Mrs. Williams who did not want the possibility of horses being frightened while moving furniture."

    A list of the school staff for the same year shows a number of Pupil Teachers at the school. The entry reads.

I. Mr. S. Clark certificated 1st class.

2. Mrs. E.S. Clark

3. Miss L. Verrall Art 68.

4. Miss R Verrall Art 68.

5. Miss M. Seeley (Pupil Teacher)

6. Sydney Peck

7. Arthur Peck

8. Charlotte E. Awcock"

In Nov. 1905 an inspector complained that boys were still teaching in the Infants Room. The Headmaster defended this by stating that the Rector had made their removal impossible by adding a third boy probationer and there was now no female P.T. to assist in the Infants' department .

25 Jan. 1906. The school was used as a Polling Station in the General Election. The practice of using schools for this purpose was general until recent times. At the annual inspection by the Diocesan Inspector in 1906. 108 children were examined.

In 1907 a Fire Drill is recorded for the first time and in the same year a Medical Inspector visits the school for the first time. In the same year "the school cesspool was cleared out and emptied into Friend's field". This year the school sent 3-17-3d to the Sailors Society. This represented quite a large sum of money in those days when a farm worker earned 12/6 to 15 shillings a week.


30 March "Mike, my dog, a regular attendant, and a general favourite with the children passed away this evening."

27 April. There was an outbreak of measles and the school was closed for a month until 25th July.

26 May. First record of school photographs "Groups taken in playtime".

31 Aug. "School resumed after Harvest Vacation some away hopping."

1909."A school cricket match v. Newick was held at Hazelwood - also a stoolball match." The visiting teams had a walk of a mile at either end of their journey before starting the match.

1910. In April Cookery Classes began but no mention is made of where they were held.

Oct. The nurse came several times to "bind up sores" but no mention is made of the complaint (impetigo or ringworm?)

Dec. 1910. "A rough night. School flag-staff blown down."

"Received present of Sewing Machine for scholars, with proviso that boys should learn to use it as well as girls." The machine was still in school in 1984.

Dec 2. "Children practised their entertainment", but there is no record of when or where the show was put on nor for whom it was arranged.

Dec 2. Mr. Clark attended a meeting in the Parish Room to consider what should be done for the children at the forthcoming Coronation of George V. It was decided that a gift of a mug was to be preferred to a medal. The children were given a week's holiday for the Coronation.

1911 Sept. "The Sanitary Officer came about the water and took samples for analysis of our pump and spring well." Some of the older men in the village can remember fetching water from the spring.

1913 In April Mrs. Clark resigned owing to ill health. She had taught at Horsted Keynes for 29 years. A fortnight later she died on 13th May. In December the school was closed because of whooping cough.

1914 (106 on roll). Sept. 9th Intercession Service in church for "Our Country".

Sept. 14 "Spoke to the children on causes of the war".

Sept. 21 "Expressed sympathy with a visiting school Manager who had lost a son in the war".

Sept. 22 "Sent parcel of clothes to Haywards Heath for Belgian Refugees".

1915 (106 on roll). In July the new Headmaster, Mr. Brewer, was introduced to the children and at the end of the summer term a presentation was made to Mr. Clark on the occasion of his retirement after 32 years at the school. Mr. & Mrs. Clark's granddaughter visited the school in 1984.

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