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Wiltshire Community History

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Cricklade - Cricklade National Boys' School, Cricklade

In 1651 Robert Jenner, a London goldsmith who had family connections with Cricklade, owning the manor of Widhill, died and was buried in St. Sampson's Church. He left money for a free school next to St. Sampson's and this enabled the purchase of the land, the erection of the school and an endowment of £20 a year. The school was built in 1652 as a single large room with three gables to the south and two to the north. Boys were taught only Latin and the maximum fee charged for a Cricklade boy was 4 shillings a year but more could be charged for a boy from elsewhere. Later an upper floor with three rooms was inserted.

The school had closed by c.1690 and in 1719 St. Sampson's parish took possession of the building and used it as a poorhouse. It was converted to a workhouse, or house of maintenance, in 1726-7 and was greatly extended at this time. It remained as a workhouse until 1835 when the Purton and Cricklade Poor Law Union was formed and a union workhouse built at Purton. There was a sale of parish property in 1840 and the eastern part of the school and workhouse was sold to subscribers for a school. This was conveyed to the National Society in 1843, when a government building grant was also obtained. This became St. Sampson's National School with 70 boys, 60 girls and 25 infants. In 1859 20 boys and 40 girls were being taught by a dame and her assistant on the first floor while 50 infants were taught in the 'basement'.

In 1860 a National School for Infants with accommodation for 92 children of both parishes was built and the infants were transferred there. From 1867, or earlier the master and mistress at the school were Mr and Mrs Walter Sugg. In 1882 the school became a boy's school for both parishes and all girls were transferred to the former National School for Infants, which had become St. Mary's National School for Girls. Walter Sugg remained as master of the boys' school, which could accommodate 136 pupils, and in 1889 there was an average attendance of 80 boys.

In 1902 Wiltshire County Council took over as the local education authority. In 1903 there were 70 pupils with Walter Sugg still master. By 1907 Miss Huston was in charge of the school and shortly after 1911 William Arnold became master. In 1923 the infants were transferred to the boys' school and the boys were transferred to St. Mary's which became a mixed school. Further information can be found under St. Mary's School.

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Cricklade National Boys' School, Cricklade
Cricklade National Boys' School, CrickladeImage Date: 2003
Image Details: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Chippenham
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