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Wiltshire Community History

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Grittleton - Grittleton Church of England School

Until 1858 most children went to school in Castle Combe one and a half miles away but in 1858 a new school was erected and opened. In the summer of that year 50 children attended the school although four were still going to the one at Castle Combe. . The cost of building the school had been provided for in the will of the former rector, the Rev. Borne.

The first entry in the school log book is for 7th March 1864 when there were 38 pupils present in the morning. In January 1881, snow prevented many pupils from attending school, and in 1887 the school was again unable to open because of snow. The school log for March 1888 states only 31 children were present - the majority were attending the races in neighbouring villages. H.S. Inspector reports in 1893 that the classroom was too small, attendances were around 70 at the time. The school capacity was increased to 120.

Entries in the 1904 log book complain of bad smells during the week, possibly coming from the heating stove, so ventilators were fitted during the school holidays. In March 1905 reports show that one third of the children were away ill. By 1911 there were 97 children on the register. The Medical Officer closed the school in November 1915 because of whooping cough, and in December it was again closed for the same reason.

During November 1917 the pupils were given several half day holidays to gather acorns. The Headmaster returned from military service in June 1918 and that year saw the school closed on several afternoons for 'blackberry collection'. 2,310 lbs were sent to a government pulping station.

The school had a whole day excursion to Weston-super-Mare during June 1919, and on 20th April the following year 15 pupils were absent, having been taken by their parents to Sherston Steeplechases. Around this time complaints were made that the school walls were dirtied by people attending whist drives.

1921 saw the installation of a flushing system in the school lavatories. In February 1922 the temperature in the classroom was only 42 degrees Fahrenheit, despite 'large fires', whilst in March of that year school was closed because of an epidemic of mumps. Again in 1924 the school was closed during February because of an influenza epidemic. The school nurse visited in January 1925 when three girls were excluded 'owing to unclean condition' During 1927 in the autumn the school was once more closed for 4 weeks during November and again in December; on this occasion the cause was whooping cough, only 44 children were present with 85 on the register.

June 1939 saw an excursion to London and in September of that year 17 evacuees joined the school. The trustees agreed to spend £20 on the purchase of a 'wireless' in 1947. By 1955 school numbers were down to 48 pupils and one teacher, but the school carried on through the 1960s and it wasn't until 1971 that the first proposals to close the school were made.

In 1975 the school re-opened on 6th January with 26 pupils on the school roll. This was to be the final year of the school's existence and the head teacher, Mrs Ellen Marson, retired with sadness and regret at the end of term on 21st March 1975. The school continued from one more term under an acting head and finally closed to pupils on 9th July 1975. Many of the pupils transferred to Stanton St. Quintin School for the next academic year and staff from Stanton selected books, equipment and furniture from Grittleton that could be used at their school. All furniture and equipment was removed by 11th July 1975 and the school was converted to domestic use.

School Photos/Plans

Grittleton Church of England School
Grittleton Church of England SchoolImage Date: 2010
Image Details: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre
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Grittleton Church of England School
Grittleton Church of England SchoolImage Date: 2010
Image Details: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre
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