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The Mead Community Primary School (Wingfield Site)

The Mead Community Primary School (Wingfield Site) Date Photo Taken 2013
Uploaded 19/02/2013 11:33:59
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Map Latitude 51.308874925464764 : Longitude -2.2530797123908997
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Original Media Location: Michael Marshman

There was a small school at Wingfield in 1833 supported by voluntary contributions and attended by 25 children. The site of the present school was conveyed in 1851 on a site provided by J. Bailey at a cost of £3.10s.
The National School at Wingfield opened in May 1852 with the aid of a National Society grant of £20. It initially had 50-60 pupils on the school roll and was later extended to accommodate extra pupils as the school roll had increased to 82 by 1893. The 1870 Education Act meant that the state took more control of the education of the children and secondary schooling was introduced, although Wingfield was remained an all age school. In 1872 the cost of sending a child to the school was 2d per week. In 1873 the school was called Winkfield with Rowley and in 1877 Rose Cottage was rented for the use of the school mistress and her family. School House was later built in Church Lane to accommodate the teacher. In 1899 the school leaving age was raised from 11 to 12 years but this was not always enforced due to needs of the family. By 1908 there were 84 children on the school roll and by 1926 senior scholars were travelling to Bradford for their secondary education leaving infants and juniors in the Wingfield School. In 1938 there were 52 on the school register and in 1949 the school was granted 'controlled status,' on an application made by the school managers. It was then served by one teacher only. By 1955 it had 39 pupils.
The school was improved and refurbished in 1997 and has been well maintained and looked after, receiving children from a range of socio-economic backgrounds.

In the 19th century attendance was affected by illnesses such as mumps, measles, whooping cough, worms, chicken pox, diphtheria and influenza. Regular medical inspections took place from the early part of the 20th century and the attendance was 86% in 1908. Poor health could mean that children were off school for a number of weeks and the attendance was only 16% during an influenza epidemic, recorded in the school log books. In January 1929 the school was closed by the local Medical Officer for a fortnight. The attendance was never constant but was monitored by a School Attendance Officer; one day, due to snowy weather conditions he found only 12 children present out of 26 on the register. Teachers were also affected by illness and in 1920 swabs were taken from the school and showed the presence of Diphtheria. Miss Love who taught at the school and the Reverend Earle were both absent due to illness.
Absences of a child were not just down to illness, but down to seasonal work. This period of absence would be called an 'unauthorized absence' and was usually due to haymaking, early or late harvest, often helping their parents.

Closure of the school also occurred for special events and these included the Area Sports in Trowbridge, Empire Day, the Coronation, religious days such as Ash Wednesday, Ascension Day and Whitsuntide as well as Diocese Inspection days. Church outings and Christmas parties and general elections also caused temporary closure of the school. In 1901 Empire Day was observed on May 24th and the flag was hoisted and saluted, an Empire song was sung and the Reverend Earle gave an address on the Empire and its importance. He was an important figure in the school, visiting regularly on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and teaching scripture. Scripture exams would be taken and prizes awarded to the pupils with the highest marks.
The Diocese Inspectors were generally happy with the standard of religious knowledge in the school which covered the Old and the New Testaments. A stone tablet at the end of the school was engraved to express praise and thanksgiving to God.

School holidays were similar to today except that only two days were taken at Easter but a week at Whitsun. Summer holidays were known as the harvest holiday.

Trench closets were in use, inside by 1901, until the end of the Second World War, when mains water was installed and flushing toilets could be provided. Electricity was also installed by then.
The lessons that were taught consisted of the three R's; reading, writing and arithmetic. Drawing was introduced by the 1890s. Older children were taught history and geography and sometimes natural history, which showed the expanding level of teaching through the latter part of the 19th century and into the 20th century.
Visitors to the school included Lady Caillard who would inspect the girls' needlework and horticultural efforts of the boys which included growing bulbs. She awarded prizes for skills in needlework and also liked to listen to the children singing songs.

There is little mention of bad behaviour in the school log books, although one boy was reported to the Managers for throwing a stone and breaking a clock. Punishments might include caning or extra work and being kept in during playtime.

The school has recently joined with The Mead at Paxcroft in Hilperton (2009) and is now called 'The Mead at Wingfield.' This has enabled the small village school, under threat of closure, to amalgamate with a new school based in Hilperton and thereby share resources and facilities, benefitting all concerned.

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