The Bathford Society

Picture: Bathford Village School c. 1840

The Old School House

In 1837 the parish established a school. The site of the old Court Tithe Barn between Lower House Farm house and Church Street was purchased and the old barn was pulled down. The architect chosen for the new school building was George Philip Manners who at about the same time designed St. Michael's church in Bath. It was built by local craftsmen including James Newman and Francis Cannings.

The school opened in 1839 with a master and a mistress and about 70 boys and 70 girls. It was financed by funds raised in the parish, by 'school pence' paid weekly by the pupils and, on occasion, by church collections. Mr. Skrine of Warleigh made his coach-house, now a part of Court Cottage, available for infants up to the age of six, and this school he financed personally. Attendance at the school was voluntary and hours of attendance were varied to accommodate the needs of older pupils to assist with seasonal work, such as haymaking. Special classes were held at weekends for those who were at work but sought further education.

The Elementary Education Act of 1870 brought national changes and in 1872 the school was recognised as efficient and so became eligible for Government grants. Elementary education became compulsory for children up to the age of 12 in 1880 and by the turn of the century the church and the State shared the expense of the school. Meanwhile, the school which started with a single schoolroom for pupils of all ages, was altered and in 1894 the accommodation was improved to allow for 212 pupils including the infants.

In 1930 it became a Primary school; the children leaving at age 11 and most of them going on to the Secondary school at Batheaston. By 1965 the buildings were considered no longer suitable for the needs of the school and it was transferred during the following five years to the present Primary school in Dovers Park. The former National school building was sold in 1972 and in the following year became a private residence.

Source: Bathford Past and Present
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