The National School. Built in 1853, a C of E School. Headmaster Thomas Brown

The National School. Built in 1853, a C of E School. Headmaster Thomas Brown

The  Schools  of  Thurlby

Before the Reformation the education of children in rural areas was undertaken very often by chantry priests, where such did exist.   Thurlby Church had several chantries, and though there is no evidences it can be assumed that some provision was made for some of the children of the parish.  All this came to an end when the chantries were suppressed in 1547.

The earliest record of a school in Thurlby is dated 1585, when “William Baker was master of the grammar school in Thurlby.”

The next record was made in 1848  by Archdeacon Bonney, who in his ‘Notes’ mentioned that the “North Aisle and the north side of the Chantry Chapel is now a school room.”

In 1853 the present Old Church School was built on the south side of Church Street.  The fabric suggests that at a later date it was enlarged.  The only school master whose name we know was John Groom.

At the same time a Miss Barber had a Dame’s School which finally closed in 1886.  This was held in her house at 41 High Street in 1883 a Mrs. Smith had a school for infants in Northorpe.

In 1889 another Private Adventure School was started in the village.  There is no record as to how long either existed.

At Miss Barber’s school children paid four pence a week, and an extra shilling at the beginning of winter towards the cost of the heating of the room.  The charge at the Board School – now the Coun­cil School – was a graduated one, no family to pay more than nine-pence a week, no matter how many children there were.

When it was decided to close the Church School in 1678 the Education Authority intended to build a new School and School House at Baston.   That would have meant a long journey every school day for the Thurlby and Northorpe children.   The parish should be grate­ful to Messrs Bryan, Goodacre and Ringham, who organised so strong a protest that a School and School House were secured for Thurlby. The Board School was opened in 1876.  It was called a Board School because it was managed by a Board of five Managers chosen by election, and a Clerk.  Mr. B.C.E. Brodie was appointed Head Master, at a salary of £80. plus half grant from all sources, a six roomed house and a quarter acre of land.  He was assisted by Mrs Brodie, his mother. He started with 27 children and later the number on the Register rose to 152.   The attendance of children was most irregular, and disgruntled parents tended to transfer their children to the Dame’s School.

The Board School, Station Road, Thurlby. Built in 1876 and demolished in 1988.

The Board School, Station Road, Thurlby. Built in 1876 and demolished in 1988.

Thurlby Board School – 1878 – 1894.

In the early days teaching must have been most difficult. Mr. Brodie complained that the premises were often dusty and dirty that in winter the cold was so intense that the children had to take turns to warm themselves before the fire that the ventilation and the lighting were bad, that most of the children were backward for their age.

Though Mr. Brodie seems to have received little encourage­ment from the parents or the School Board, he was given three months notice, and ceased to be Head Master in 1879.  The late Mr. Arthur Cappitt described him as a strange character who grew unpopular through upholding the doctrine ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’. The mother of one of the children assaulted him before the whole class, seizing him by the beard.  The sequel was a summons before the magistrates at Bourne, who bound the mother over to keep the peace.

The School Board’s choice for the next Head Master was Mr. Henry Judson, who came from York.  Mr. Arthur Cappitt was under him for seven years, and described him as a splendid teacher, a strict disciplinarian, but kindly and generous, giving of his best.   He held office until 1894, when he transferred to Billingborough School.   During that period he had as Assistant Teachers or


  • Mrs. Martha Judson,                                  1879 – 1894.
  • Miss Susannah Emily Ringham,            1860 – 1885.
  • Miss Maud Judson,                                      1885 – 1888
  • Miss Ethel Maria Bryan,                            1885 – 1891.
  • Miss Ellen J. Holmes,                                 1888 – 1891.
  • Miss Martha Helen Judson,                     1891 – 1896.
  • Miss A.M. Carrie Judson,                          1892 – 1894.
  • Miss Mary Tyers,                                           1892.
  • Miss Mary Elizabeth Clarke,                    1893 – 1898.

Mr. Judson had his difficulties.   There were no lights in the School, and the School Board wished him to do without them. Children were often absent on the excuse that farmers, even members of the Board, required them for work in the fields.   On May Day it was the custom, so he wrote, for the girls to go round with garlands Then there were Bourne Fair, Bourne Statute and Bourne Circus, Club Feasts, Thurlby Feast, Thurlby Flower Show & Sports, Baston Feast, Church Sunday School Treat, Wesleyan Sunday School Anniversary, Free Methodist Sunday School Anniversary and Band of Hope Festival.   He needs must give a day’s holiday, he comments: They would not have come anyway.

Thurlby Council School  1894 – 1914.

In 1893 Harry Smith and Gertrude Judson gained Thurlby and Bytham Scholarships to Stamford School and Stamford High School respectively.   It would be interesting to learn more about this Scholarship.

Thurlby Board School. Miss Inkley, Mrs George Wade,Mrs Charlie Stephenson,Mr John Davies (Headmaster), Mrs Scragg

Thurlby Board School.
Miss Inkley, Mrs George Wade,Mrs Charlie Stephenson,Mr John Davies (Headmaster), Mrs Scragg

In 1894 Mr. John Davies was appointed Head Master.   The number of children on the Register varied from 153 to 182.  He had as Assistant Teachers or Monitors

  • Miss Ellen Andrew,                           1899 – 1902.
  • Miss Mary Isabella Bates,               1895.
  • Miss Edith Brutnell,                          1904 – 1910.
  • Miss Mary Elizabeth Clark,             1902 – 1907.
  • Mrs. E.M.C. Davies,                             1894 – 1913.
  • Miss Hilda Mabel Fancourt,           1899 – 1906.
  • Miss Florence Fairchild,                  1910.
  • Master Tom Fairchild,                      1899.
  • Miss Bessie Garfoot,                           1910 – 1911.
  • Miss Winifred Alice Garwood,       1901 – 1902.
  • Miss Isabell A. Gray,                          1896.
  • Sergeant Instructor Hippie,           1900 – 1902.
  • Miss Hettie Holmes,                           1899.
  • Miss Ethel Ellen Horn,                      1896 – 1901.
  • Miss Elizabeth May Inkley,             1910 – onward.
  • Miss Alice Louisa Jones,                  1898 – 1899.
  • Miss Florence Mary Knipe,             1901 – 1904, 1910 – onward.
  • Miss Ethel May Marshall,                1908 – 1910.
  • Miss Bertha Meek,                              1907 – 1908.
  • Miss Helen Nisbet,                             1894 – 1896.
  • Miss Dorothy Patience,                    1913.
  • Miss Edith Annie Rodgers,             1911 – 1912.
  • Miss Annie Spendlove,                    1913 – onward.
  • Miss Gladys Mary Stynes,              1906 – 1910.
  • Mrs. Katherine Whitethread,      1913 – onward.

During the period under review H.M. Inspectors reported that the work of the School developed from ‘fair’ to ‘efficiency maintained   They complained frequently of irregular attendance on the part of the children, and urged the Board of Managers to bestir themselves – but with little effect.  They said that lighting and ventilation were insufficient: better heating and cleaning were required.

One of the improvements noted was that a curtain was pro­vided to divide the main room into two class rooms.   Teachers had to be tough in those days.

7 Responses to THE SCHOOL

  1. Aimee says:

    Hi, interesting read. I’m looking for more info on Mrs George Wade. Did she live at 21 Northorpe? Did she have a baby? Thanks in advance

  2. MaryT says:

    Hi Aimee, I would need a bit more information as there are a lot of Wades in the village. I do have a George Wade at 21 Northorpe according to our photo index, but would need approximate dates and christian name for his wife to check the records further. I have posted a photo of 21 and 23 Northorpe in the gallery also a photo of Mrs George Wade ( 3rd from the left at the back – with the black lapels on her jacket).

    • Ewan Cappitt says:

      When I was a child in 1940s my next door neighbour was Miss Bertha Meek (see assistants to Mr J Davies) and she was a friend of Mrs George Edward Wade. The 1939 Register gives her name as Florence M, Assistant School Mistress. She lived some 2 doors down the street from the farm where my father grew up, and that farm house is No 13 Northorpe, so allowing for gaps in numbering to be left for filling in between houses where stables and gardens exist, it is possible that the property for Mrs GEW is No 21.

      • Isabel Dodds says:

        I am researching John Davies and any information would be gratefully received. In particular where he moved to after retiring in August 1925. With thanks. Isabel

      • Ewan Cappitt says:

        I would be very interested to know where Isabel Dodds lived, as she says that she lived next door to Bertha Meek in 1940s, as at that time I, as a baby and youngster, lived on one side, often spending afternoons with her when I got home from school; the house next door on the other side, some 80yds down the street, was of Quil Peasgood and his parents etc. Looking at the 1939 Register for the top of Northorpe, immediately near to Bertha Meek, I don’t see any Dodds! Is Dodds her married name? possibly lived across the road?

  3. Peter says:

    Does anybody have any photographs or pictures of the school built in Northorpe in 1846 that ceased being a school in 1923 and became the church hall and eventually ended up being the village hall .
    There appears to be very little on record about the building and only pictures of the front .
    Apparently it used to have only 3 Windows on the front and was extended and a 4th was added .
    When it was a school it also had a large open fireplace with a chimney but according to some locals they were removed a long time ago?
    I am trying to trace as much of the history of this building as I can and would be interested in hearing from anyone who’s relatives might have attended the school.

    • MaryT says:

      Hi Peter
      I have found photos in the village collection which I will forward to you- hope they help. The National School was built in 1853 and is situated in Church Street, Thurlby – not Northorpe. As there is more than one Northorpe in Lincolnshire are you looking at the the right village? Just a thought!

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