Victoria County History



A F Wareham, A P M Wright

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'Horningsea: Education', A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 10: Cheveley, Flendish, Staine and Staploe Hundreds (north-eastern Cambridgeshire) (2002), pp. 170-171. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=18836 Date accessed: 17 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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About 1579 Thomas Skinner and Edward Nixon were presented for teaching without licence. (fn. 3) Skinner was apparently licensed later that year and was schoolmaster in 1590; Nixon was licensed from 1582 to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. Schoolmasters were teaching grammar to boys in 1594 and 1607, and in 1665 the curate held a school. (fn. 4)

An unendowed Sunday school for boys and girls, opened in 1809, was supported by voluntary contributions. In 1818 it was probably held in the north aisle of the church and was attended by c. 45 children. (fn. 5) Three teachers were mentioned in 1810, and the master appointed in 1816 had a £5 stipend. A woman, paid £1 out of the Sunday school account, was possibly teaching a few young children in another small school in 1833. (fn. 6)

In 1841 St. John's College gave a site for a schoolroom on the east side of the High Street. A National school for 81 boys and girls was built with an adjoining master's house. The college gave building materials, while the parish officers and farmers helped with bricks and labour, and grants were made by the government, the National Society, and the diocesan board. (fn. 7) Attendance was down from 58 in 1846 to 23 in 1850 and was confined to the very young, as children were sent to work at an early age. (fn. 8) Books and apparatus were considered inadequate and the master was said to be insufficiently trained. Perhaps it was the same master who was suspended in 1862. (fn. 9) By 1875 the school was in receipt of an annual government grant, (fn. 10) and attendance doubled over the next decade to a peak of 89 in 1885. (fn. 11) Building grants were received for an enlargement in 1871, and for an infants' department in 1882. (fn. 12) Attendance thereafter declined, and the school may have been temporarily transferred before 1903 to a building opposite, later used as a parish hall. (fn. 13) In 1932 the school had only 31 children. (fn. 14) In 1937 senior children were transferred to Bottisham village college, leaving 24 juniors and infants. The school was closed in 1969, and the children were transferred to Fen Ditton primary school. (fn. 15) The school and house were sold in 1976. (fn. 16)

There was an evening school during the winter for young men and boys in 1862, with an average weekly attendance of c. 20. (fn. 17) The adult night school was reported to be fairly successful in 1873 and 1885 with reading, writing, and singing being taught. It was still in operation in 1895, with an annual government grant, but had only 8 pupils. (fn. 18)


3 C.U.L., E.D.R., D 2/10, ff. 206, 232v.
4 Proc. C.A.S. lxx. 164-5.
5 Educ. of Poor Digest, 61; H. F. Howard, Finances of St. John's, 144; Clay, Horningsey, 21; C.R.O., P 94/25/1.
6 Educ. Enq. Abstract, 63; C.R.O., P 94/25/1.
7 Howard, Finances of St. John's, 145; Mins. of Educ. Cttee. of Council, 1849-50 [1215], p. 407, H.C. (1850), xliii; R.C.H.M. Cambs. ii. 70; C.R.O., P 94/25/2-3; cf. cost in ibid. R 85/23. For later conversion of bldg., see sale particulars of 1971 and 1975 in Cambs. Colln. See plate 56.
8 Nat. Soc. Inquiry, 1846-7, Cambs. 6-7.
9 Mins. of Educ. Cttee. of Council, 1850-1 [1358], p. 305, H.C. (1851), xliv (ii); Gardner's Dir. Cambs. (1851); C.R.O., P 94/25/7.
10 Rep. of Educ. Cttee. of Council, 1875-6 [C. 1513-1], p. 531, H.C. (1876), xxiii.
11 Ibid. 1885-6 [C. 4849-I], p. 487, H.C. (1886), xxiv; C.U.L., E.D.R., C 3/30.
12 R.C.H.M. Cambs. ii. 70; Kelly's Dir. Cambs. (1904); Rep. of Educ. Cttee. of Council, 1875-6 [C. 1513-I], p. 531, H.C. (1876), xxiii; Schs. in receipt of Parl. Grants, 1895-6 [C. 8179], p. 23, H.C. (1896), lxv.
13 Bd. of Educ., List 21, 1910 (H.M.S.O.), 24; 1919, 16; O.S. Maps 6", Cambs. XL. NE. (1886 and later edns.).
14 Bd. of Educ., List 21, 1932, 17; Census, 1931.
15 Black, Cambs. Educ. Rec. 62; Bd. of Educ. List, 21, 1938, 20; cf. above, Fen Ditton, educ.
16 Char. Com. file.
17 Camb. Chron. 22 Mar. 1862, p. 8.
18 Schs. in receipt of Parl. Grants, 1895-6 [C. 8179], p. 334, H.C. (1896), lxv; C.U.L., E.D.R., C 3/25; C 3/30.