Wenhaston Archive Project History Notes

History Note No.10: School

History Note No.10: School
Founding of the Pepyn and Lessey Trust; and the various schools in the village

In 1562 William Pepyn and Reginald Lessey died and both left land, the income from which they wished to provide for an opening of a school. It was founded on the first floor of the Guildhall, next to the church.

The first name of a schoolmaster was Rowland Ablesonne in 1594. I have noted that in 1591 a Thomas Feltham died in Halesworth and he left his son, John, lands in Wenhaston and 10 sheep to the school!

In the early 1800s the school moved to a Georgian building that is now the Church Room. In 1870 the Elementary Education Act was passed which instituted a state system of compulsory education. This meant a larger building and the present school building was opened in 1882.

John Chambers was the first Headmaster at £100 a year. Mr Adams was the cleaner at £7 a year! On the Register were as many as 157 by the end of the month. This caused a complaint that there were not enough books for the children. In 1904 there were 176 on the Register but only accommodation for 153.

Mr Sales was appointed Headmaster on 12th April 1886 and he died in office 15th September 1918. I shall write about him another time (see History Notes no.18).

There was also a school at Blackheath. In the Tithe Map of 1839 what is now Rose Cottage is shown as the Schoolhouse, and next door lived Thomas Turhill, schoolmaster. In 1804 James Maggs, the Southwold Diarist, attended school at Blackheath.