Mount Bures Community Web Site
The School today located in Craigs Lane, currently used as the Village Hall.
Long before the school was erected, in 1818 there were two dame (explanation, see foot of page) schools with 24 boys and 16 girls. An annual rent of £30 - £40 from an endowment of land was used to pay for the education of these poor children.
The school as we know it today, made
an appearance in 1873. The rector of Mount Bures, Thomas Brett, gave
£160 towards the building of a school for 60 mixed age and infant
children on land near to the church, given by John Garrard.
Daily attendance was very sporadic averaging
about 50 during its first 20 year history. Typically most of the absenteeism
was for harvesting the local crops, such as pea picking etc. Other reported
reasons for being absent, were illnesses such as ringworm, scarlet fever,
whooping cough and most frequently, the bad weather. Half day holidays
were given to see the fox hounds meet, the horticultural show and to
celebrate Empire Day. From 1878, it received yearly government grants
to keep it functioning
Until the 1960`s it was in very poor
state of repair, but the parishioners rallied around and it was completely
refurbished inside and out, financed by fund raising and donations.
Dame Schools were small private schools that provided teaching for poor working class children before they were old enough to work. These schools were usually run by an elderly man or woman, perhaps in a cottage living room. They taught the children to read and write and other useful skills such as sewing. The quality of education received understandably varied.
Some teachers provided a good education, others were no more than child-minders. Bernard Shaw (Playwright) attended a Dame School and wrote:-
"My education, such as it was, was like that of thousands in my day. I went to old Betty W.'s school, and as I had 'finished my education' when I was seven years old, I must have attended her school between three or four years. The school was the only room on the ground floor of her little cottage. It was about four yards square.... the furniture was very scant, consisting of a small table, two chairs, and two or three little forms about eight inches high for the children to sit upon...
The course of education given by the old lady was very simple, and graded with almost scientific precision. There was an alphabet, with pictures, for beginners.. though she never taught writing, her scholars were generally noted for their ability to read while very young. I know I could read my Bible with remarkable ease when I left her school, when seven years old.
Betty's next grade. after the alphabet, was the reading-made-easy book...
The next stage was spelling, and reading of the Bible"
information for all of these pages has been obtained from two major