The first reference to a schoolmaster in Winslow is in Feb 1642, when Roger Fyles seems to have belonged to the household of Robert Mainwaring the vicar. We have found no more information about him so far. The will of Thomas Fyge (1579) mentions "Mr Williams the Scolemaster", but it is not clear that it refers to someone in Winslow.

Clear (p.99) gives the text of an application to the Bishop of London and Archdeacon of St Albans for Richard Ginger of Winslow to be given "Licence to teache Schoole in the parrish of Winslow" which seems to date to 1681.

Joseph Gurney (d.1727) was described as a schoolmaster in 1725, when he was apparently running the Rogers Free School (see below), but lived in Winslow from at least 1715, so the school may have existed before Joseph Rogers' will.

Rogers Free School

Winslow had an early endowed school funded by a bequest of 600 in the will of Joseph Rogers of Winslow in 1722:

Will of Joseph Rogers, currier, 1722/3

The building is now 1-3 Bell Walk (photo below). The following is the report on the school by the Charity Commissioners in 1833.


1-5 Bell Walk, c1900By Indenture of Release enrolled in Chancery, bearing date 2nd September 1724, between Edmund Rainolds, of Tusmore, James Winter, of Swinford, and Peter Legg, of Swinford, of the one part, and the Rev. Edward Gataker, of Mursley, the Rev. Alexander Burrell, of Adstock, the Rev. Samuel Foster, of Swanbourne, Robert Lowndes, of Minstour, Richard Lowndes, eldest son of the said Robert Lowndes, Richard Bigg, of Winslow, John Markham, of Winslow, Thomas Blake, of Winslow, the Rev. Richard Pyle, of Great Horwood, and Thomas Mayne, of Addington, of the other part, reciting that Joseph Rogers, of Winslow, by his Will bearing date 9th Jan. 1722, bequeathed to the said Edward Gataker, Alexander Burrell and Samuel Foster, the sum of 600, upon trust that they should, as soon as conveniently might be, lay out the same in the purchase of lands, such lands to be settled upon them and such other persons as they should appoint, and their heirs, upon trust that they should apply the yearly rents and profits thereof towards the educating such a number of poor people's children belonging to the parish of Winslow, as they the said trustees should find the same would answer, and reciting that the said trustees, in pursuance of the said will, had received the 600 and had agreed with the said Edmund Rainolds for the purchase of the cottage, closes and hereditaments therein and hereinafter named, and had likewise appointed the said Robert Lowndes, Richard Lowndes, Richard Bigg, John Markham, Thomas Blake, Richard Pyle and Thomas Mayne, to be joined with them in the execution of the said trusts, it is witnessed, that in consideration of the said sum of 600, the said Edmund Rainolds, (and by his direction) the said James Winter and Peter Legg conveyed unto the said ten trustees and their heirs all that cottage or tenement with the appurtenances, situate in Marsh, in the parish of Great Kimble, and also all that close of pasture ground with the appurtenances, called Bushy Close, containing by estimation seven acres, adjoining to the north side of a lane leading to a certain place called Oxies, and also all that close of pasture ground with the appurtenances, containing by estimation four acres, shooting upon the brook on the west, and also all that close of pasture ground with the appurtenances, called New Close, containing by estimation two acres, and also all that piece of pasture ground with the appurtenances, called Brook Close, containing by estimation five acres, all which premises, situate in the parishes of Great Kimble, Little Kimble and Marsh, or some or one of them, were then in the occupation of Jonathan Flexman, and all other the lands, tenements and hereditaments of the said Edmund Rainolds, James Winter and Peter Legg, in Great Kimble, Little Kimble or Marsh aforesaid, to hold the said premises unto the said trustees, their heirs and assigns in trust to apply the yearly rents and profits of the same towards educating and instructing such a number of poor peoples' children belonging to the said parish of Winslow in learning, as the said trustees should find the same would answer, according to the intent of the aforesaid will, with a proviso that when the number of the trustees should be reduced by death to three or two at the least, the survivors should from time to time convey the said premises to themselves and seven or eight other persons whom they should appoint, upon the aforesaid trusts.

These premises were subject to a mortgage term of 1,000 years, created by an indenture dated 20th December 1714, for securing the repayment of 300 and interest, which term, by indenture dated 31st August 1724, was assigned to Joseph Gurney, upon trust to attend the inheritance.

The probate copy of the will of the testator was produced and compared with the recital, which was found to be correct.

These premises appear to have been conveyed from time to time to new trustees, the last conveyance was by indentures of lease and release, dated the 31 March and 1 April 1802, whereby the charity premises were conveyed to the Honourable Vere Paulett, the Rev. Luke Heslop, Rev. Henry Stephen Milner, D.D., Rev. William Lord, D.D., Rev. James Preedy, Rev. Thomas Howard, Rev. Stephen Langston, Rev. Jonathan Briggs, Thomas Freemantle, esq., William Lowndes, esq., John Tookey, John Dudley, Joseph Turner, Joseph Dudley and the two surviving trustees William Selby, late Lowndes, and Edmund Milward and their heirs and assigns, upon the above trusts.

Of the above trustees, Dr. Milner, the Rev. James Preedy, the Rev. Jonathan Briggs and William Lowndes, esq., now William Selby Lowndes, are now living.

At a meeting of the trustees, 25 September 1727, the following regulations for the school were agreed to:-
1st. That the boys attend constantly from Michaelmas to Lady-day from eight o'clock in the morning till 11, and from one in the afternoon until four, and from Lady-day till Michaelmas from seven in the morning till 11, and from one in the afternoon till five.
2d. That the children be taught to read and write, with the grounds of arithmetic, and the church catechism.
3d. That care be taken of the lives and manner of the children, that they are punished, &c.
4th. That the children be brought to church every Lord's day and prayer days; that the schoolmaster instruct them to demean themselves reverently there &c
5th. Relates to the cleanliness of the boys who attend, and is repeated in a modern resolution mentioned below. This resolution concludes with an agreement that the trustees should meet twice in every year, on the Wednesday sennight after Lady-day and Michaelmas.

At a meeting of the trustees, held 12 December 1807, it was resolved that the schoolmaster should in future receive 27 10s. as his yearly stipend, and that he should teach in respect thereof 20 boys from five to ten years old, the boys to find their own books, and to come clean to school.
The property of this charity consists of a house with outbuildings, and an orchard and certain closes of pasture land, containing in the whole 23a. 1r. 30p., in the parishes of Great and Little Kimble, let to John Plested, as yearly tenant, at a rent of 30. The present tenant formerly paid a clear rent of 34, but in 1821 the trustees consented to a reduction to the present amount.

The land-tax was redeemed on this property in the year 1807. The rent of 30 is not regularly paid: when received, it is applied as follows:-

      £ s d
The salary of the schoolmaster 27 10 0
A quit-rent of 2s. 6d   2 6
Allowance for tithes 1 1 0
      28 13 6

The remainder of the income is expended in repairs and other incidental expenses.

The present master is Thomas Rawbone: he was appointed in 1775 by the trustees, on the death of his uncle the Rev. John Rawbone; he educates 20 boys on the foundation, and has two pay-scholars at 8d. a week; they are taught in his own dwelling-house, there being no school-room belonging to the charity. The children are the sons of poor labourers of the parish receiving parish relief. They find their own books and stationery, but are taught free. When Mr. Rawbone was first appointed, there were 12 free boys only taught and the number was subsequently increased to 20 by the above resolution. The boys are taught reading, writing and accounts.

The trustees being advanced in years, and three of them living at a distance from the parish, they do not interfere in the administration of the charity. The master, therefore, now exercises the right of appointing the boys; but it appears from the ancient minutes of the school, that the trustees formerly always performed that duty themselves.

The accounts of this charity are regularly kept in a book provided for the purpose. Up to the death of Mr. Wyatt, the treasurer, which happened about the end of the year 1831, they were kept by him; they are now kept by Mr. Willis, solicitor, of Winslow. There has been no audit for many years. On inspecting the accounts, it appeared that there was a sum of about 1 in hand, exclusive of the balance due from Mr. Wyatt's executors which was 23 16 s. 11d.

Richard Reddall, schoolmaster, was admitted to his father's messuage in Cow Street in 1752.

Joseph Hunt, schoolmaster, is mentioned in the will of Susanna Bigg, 1784. He and his son were also regular correspondents in the magazine The British Palladium or Annual Miscellany 1774-76 where he styled himself "master of Winslow School".

Arthur Clear: A Thousand Years of Winslow Life (1888), addendum

In Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of England 1831, mention is made of a bequest of £27 10s. 0d. by an unknown donor to the Charity School at Hanging Stile, Winslow.

The Rogers' Free School or Charity School disappears from directories after 1833 following Mr Rawbone's death, but there was an attempt to continue it as a private school:

Northampton Mercury, 27 Feb 1836.

To Be LET,

A Neat COTTAGE RESIDENCE;  comprising parlour and sitting room, with large school room;  three comfortable bed rooms, wash-house, wood barn, small garden, lead pump of excellent water, situated in the centre of the Town of WINSLOW.  The Business has been carried out by the late Proprietor, Mr. RAWBONE, deceased, with great success, for upwards of 35 years. Possession may be had at Lady Day next.
For a View, apply on the Premises; and for further Particulars (if by letter, post paid), to Messrs. DUDLEY & SON, Auctioneers, Winslow.

House of Commons Select Committee on the Education of the Poor (1818) 

Return from Parishes, 1819. A pro forma was sent to parishes across the country.
The return for Winslow (and Shipton) was signed by its Vicar:
Rev. James Preedy M.A..

The population of the area was 1,222 in 1811 and in 1815 the number of poor was recorded as 63.

Under the section Particulars relating to Endowments for Education of Youth, the Vicar responded:

A school, founded in 1744, by Roger West who bequeathed £400 to be laid out in the purchase of freehold land in Great and Little Kimble, which lands now let at £35; originally 12 children were educated, but they have lately been increased to 20, the master’s salary is £27 10s per annum (vide Kimble, Great)

The parliamentary return  for Kimble, Great declares that “In the parish of Great Kimble, there is some land belonging to Winslow School, in this county, valued about 35 years since at £30 12s 3d.”

Note that Rev. Preedy was wrong about when the school was founded, who founded it, and how much money was bequeathed. The will of Roger West makes no mention of a school.

Other Institutions For the Purpose of Education
A Boarding School; a Sunday school supported by voluntary contributions in which about 20 boys and as many girls are instructed. (total 40)

The boarding school must be the one run at the time by Daniel Grace.


The poor are desirous of the means of education.

This observation was a standard “blocking” response, although some parishes covered the situation in sympathetic detail. The lack of any reference to Nonconformist provision of education does not necessarily mean that there was none, as it was at the vicar's discretion whether to report it.

Boys' and Girls' Schools

The Schools Sites Act of 1841 allowed landowners to sell or donate small pieces of land to charities to set up schools for the poor. In Winslow, this led to the creation of schools closely associated with the Church of England and its National Society, perhaps to pre-empt any similar move by Nonconformists. Preparations for a National School were being made before the Act was passed.

Bucks Herald, 12 Sep 1840
To Builders.
The Committee appointed for managing the Erection of a National School Room, at Winslow, Bucks, will meet in the Vestry Room at Church, on Monday, 21st September instant, at 3 o'Clock in the Afternoon, for the purpose of receiving Tenders from persons willing to Contract for Erecting such School Room, agreeably to a Plan and Specification which will be deposited at the Office of Messrs. Willis and Son, in Winslow, for inspection, on Thursday, 17th instant, and following days.
The Committee will not consider themselves pledged to accept the lowest or any other of such tenders unless they think fit so to do.
N.B. This Advertisement will not be repeated.
Winslow, 10th September, 1840.

The document which can be downloaded here in PDF format is headed Close Roll (Chancery) 1841 Part 93 No.5 and 1873 Part 82 M.41. The contents are summarised below:

Boys' School

John Morecraft of Winslow, butcher, and Mary his wife sell to Rev. William Walkinshaw McCreight (vicar), Samuel Greaves Dudley (churchwarden), Grant King, John Bull and James Hazzard (overseers of the poor) a piece of ground called Crockett's Close west of the road to Buckingham, to be used as the site for a school for poor persons, united to the National Society, to be managed by subscribers and contributors. Dated 3 August 1841. Witnessed by David Thomas Willis, solicitor.

This school was on the west side of the High Street where the now-defunct Post Office was later built. The schoolmaster was George Grace in 1844 and George Tredaway in 1853. Arthur Clear described it in 1894 as "in every way inferior to the schools now so generally to be found, even in small country villages." It was replaced in 1901 by the National School in Sheep Street.

Girls' School

Rev. Alfred Matthew Preston, vicar, conveys a piece of ground adjoining the Vicarage, about 38 x 32 feet, to be used as a school "for the education of children and adults, or children only of the labouring, manufacturing and other poorer classes". The school is to be managed by a committee including the vicar, curates, Edward William Selby Lowndes esq., David Thomas Willis gent., Samuel Burnham Dudley, land agent, John St Thomas Wynter, surgeon, George Maydon, farmer, Robert Williat Jones, farmer, Alfred Barton, innholder, and William Neal, innholder. Dated 5 May 1865.

This building was sold after the new school was opened in 1901, and became the Church Room. It is now the Brownies' Headquarters in Church Street (see below). According to Arthur Clear in 1894, "owing to the cramped and limited site upon which it is built, it has neither class-rooms or playground for the children."

The former Girls' School, 2011
Plaque commemorating the Infants' School
The former Girls' School, Church Street (2011)
Plaque commemorating the Infant School, Church Walk

Yeates's Infant School

Bridget Yeates of Winslow, spinster, conveys to Rev. William Walkinshaw McCreight of Winslow, Rev. William Robert Fremantle of Middle Claydon, Rev. Daniel Watkins of Thornborough and Rev. John Henry Oldrid of Gawcott a cottage next to the Churchyard, between two other cottages of Miss Yeates' occupied by Henry Faulkner and Rosetta Lee, to be used as a school for poor children under 8 and the residence of a schoolmistress. Dated 25 April 1843.

Leigh Churchill Smith of Tunbridge Wells and David Thomas Willis, solicitor, trustees of the will of Bridget Yeates, convey for £75 to William Selby Lowndes the elder of Whaddon Hall, William Selby Lowndes the younger of Shenley House, Thomas Francis Fremantle of Swanbourne, Thomas Newham of Winslow, doctor, Henry Monk of Winslow, farmer, and Robert Williat Jones of Winslow, farmer, a cottage next to the churchyard adjacent to the present Yeates's Infant School [shown in an outline plan, see below - north is at the bottom], to be used as a Public Elementary School under the Education Act of 1870. The managing committee is also to include Silvanus Jones, farmer, William George, stationer, James King, auctioneer, John St Thomas Wynter, surgeon, John Hathaway, draper, and Ezra Braggins, draper. Dated 2 September 1873.

The schoolmistress was Mary Bellow in 1853. In 1870 the vestry set up a committee to build a new infants' schoolroom. The school was duly enlarged in 1871, leading to a protracted debate about its management and legal ownership. There was a continuation of the dispute in 1873: by then it was vicar against parishioners. The 1873 vestry made plans for a new school. The school reopened in 1874 under the "voluntary principle" (i.e. without a School Board) with Jane Halsted as mistress. This school was also replaced in 1901. The building was later the War Memorial Institute (or Men's Institute), and also served as a youth club and scout hall. It is now commemorated by a plaque in a modern wall (see above). The school buildings were put up for sale in 1905.

Poster advertising sale of old schools

Plan of the existing and proposed infant schools


The former infant school
The photo on the left shows the former Infant School before it was demolished in the early 1980s. It served as the Scouts headquarters in the 1970s, when the doors in the photo opened into one large room with a wooden floor and crumbling ceiling. There was a small room / kitchen alongside a storage room full of musty canoes and an upstairs that the Scouts were not allowed near. When the building became unsafe, the Scouts moved to Furzedown School and then the present purpose-built Scout Hut in Piccadilly. [Thanks to Marc Higgins for this information.]
The map on the right shows the locations of the Victorian Vicarage (1), Girls' School (2) and Infant School (3).
Map showing school sites around church


The former primary school in Sheep Street
This school building, originally with separate entrances for boys and girls, was built in Sheep Street in 1901. It has now been converted to houses.

Schoolgirls in Home Close
The girls from the National School assembled in their best hats to celebrate the coronation of George V in 1911. The photo was taken in Home Close, Sheep Street. The teacher in the large hat on the right is probably Florence Attwooll; her brother William was boys' master, under headmaster George Pass.

An Inspection Report on Winslow Schools, May 1885

Banbury Guardian, 3 Sep 1885

Schools studied:

Her Majesty’s Inspectors found:

A new Winslow National School was built in Sheep Street in 1901. The three buildings mentioned in the earlier documents were then surplus to requirements. The following document is the 1904 surveyor's report on their value.

Winslow, Bucks
23 March 1904

To the Secretary,
Board of Education

Winslow voluntary schools

In accordance with instructions received from the of the Winslow Voluntary Schools, we have surveyed the above Properties with.a view to advising you of their condition generally, their state of repair, and beg. To report as follows:-

No. 1 The Freehold Property Known as the Boys National School is situate in the High Street Winslow, with a frontage thereto of about 69 feet. The Building, which is brick built with slated roof is in a very bad state of repair, has 'already been condemned as unsafe for occupation and has no value beyond the worth of the materials, which is small. The site, however, as a building site is a good one, and although the depth is hardly as much as could be desired for building purposes it is nevertheless very centrally situate. The adjoining owners are Mr William Wise and Mr Sear, and the site should be an acquisition to the former, giving as it would an extended frontage to his Property at the back and side thereof. We estimate the fee simple value thereof at the sum of £100 but the property should be worth considerably more than this sum to an adjoining [owner] whom we believe might probably be induced to give £150.

No. 2. The Freehold Property known as the Girls School, situate in Church Street, Winslow, is a well built structure of 14" brickwork with slated roof, and comprises the school, a rectangular building with porch, and a small yard with 4 W.C.'s and a corrugated coal house. The Property is in a good.state of repair externally, but the interior is somewhat out of decorative repair. The premises are bounded by the vicarage garden and the properties of the Aylesbury Brewery Company and Messrs Matthews Brothers, and to either of the latter it might be of some value. We estimate the fee simple value thereof at the sum of £100.

No. 3. The Freehold Property known as the Infants School is a well built structure with a slate roof, fronting the Churchyard, Winslow. The property adjoins and is at present used as one with that known as The Yeates School, which we understand is a separate foundation, and vested in different Trustees, but that now there is a possibility of an arrangement being made to sell both Properties together, which would be very greatly to the advantage of both as regards the probable value to a purchaser. This Property as distinct from The Yeates School consists of the building known as the Infants school with a brick built coal house together with part of the adjoining yard, and that part of the corrugated lobby adjoining The Teates School as stands on the aforesaid part of the yard belonging to the Infants School. This Property is shown on the accompanying plan coloured red. The Yeates School proper being coloured blue thereon.

There is a right of way, however, through the other part and the adjoining garden to the approach from the Market Square, and also a right of water. We consider that the purchaser of this lot, if sold separately from The Yeates School should be bound to brick the door leading from The Yeates School to the Infants School, and should also be bound to erect a substantial fence across the yard at the boundary of the property sold, without in any way interfering with, or restricting any rights of way.
The adjoining owners are Mr Austin Watson and Mrs Hooper. We consider that the fee simple value of the Infants School property if sold without the Yeates School to be £50, the value of The Yeates School property if sold separately from the Infants School to be £35 and if sold together as one Lot, the value to be £150.

There are no outgoings on any of the properties. We have carefully considered the matter, and are of opinion that the only satisfactory way of disposing of each of the properties is to offer them by public auction in three Lots as set out herein, the Infants Scbool.and The Yeates School being sold together as one Lot, and we should strongly advise that this be the course adopted.

We have the honor to remain,
Your obedient Servants

The datestone (1901) in the former school building
A new school was built in Sheep Street in 1901, and was used until the 1980s, when the school was moved to Lowndes Way and the old building was converted into houses.
Pupils at the school
Pupils at Winslow Primary School, c.1951

Private schools

A number of the larger houses in Winslow, including Brook Hall and Winslow Hall, have served as schools at some time. Mrs Chiffney was running a ladies' boarding school at 10 High Street in 1807 (her effects were sold in 1809). In the 1851 Census, Brook Hall had 6 female teachers and 14 girl boarders aged 4-18. Winslow Hall, run by Henry Lovell, MA & Dr of the University of Giessen in Germany, had teachers for Classics, French & Drawing and German & Music, and 27 boy boarders aged 9-15, half of whom were born in Ireland. The Winslow Academy / High School was run by Henry Stubbings 1719-1812, and (mainly as Winslow Commercial School) by Daniel and John Grace after that. Other schools mentioned in various directories and advertisements include:

1831-2 Pigot's:
Marsh, Mary:   Day School,  Church Lane
Mayne, Sarah:   Day School,  Market Square (this was at 27 Market Square and continued until 1852)

1838: Bucks Herald, 3 Jan
Winslow, Bucks.
The Misses Lines, GRATEFUL for the confidence and support which they have already received, respectfully inform their Friends that the duties of their Establishment for Young ladies will be resumed the 18th instant. Terms, for those under Ten years of age, 17 guineas; above that age, 19 guineas. The course of instruction is liberal. Assiduous attention is given to the health and comfort of the pupils, and to their mental and moral improvement. The most satisfactory references can be given. An Articled Pupil wanted.

1839 Robson's
Brace and Curtis, The Misses: Ladies’ School
Lines, Miss: Ladies' Boarding School

The school run by Miss Lines and Miss H. Lines was already being advertised in 1835. The dissolution of the partnership of Jane Duncomb Lines and Hannah Lines was announced on 31 Dec 1839, and Hannah moved the school to Leighton Buzzard.

1844 Pigot's:
Mayne, Sarah:  Day   Market Square [see 27 Market Square]

1853 Musson & Craven's:
Attenborough, Rebecca:    Ladies’ Day School    Mkt Sq. (she was listed in the 1851 Census as a Dissenting Minister's Wife; the school was replaced by the Bank)
Ludgate, Mary Ann: mistress, School of Industry  Church St (presumably a lace school)
Raban, Samuel:  Boarding and Day School   Mkt Sq.
Veal, Margaret:   Boarding and Day School  Mkt Sq. (she was listed in the 1851 Census as an Excise Officer's Daughter)
Viccars, Ann:  mistress, Infants’ School   Horn St.

1854 Post Office:
Attenborough, Rebecca (Mrs): Ladies’ Day School
Viccars, Ann (Mrs): Day School

1876 Harrod's:
Williams, Miss:   Ladies School  Station Rd (Sarah Williams' school was at 1 Station Road according to the 1871 Census; in 1880 after 17 years' existence, it was taken over by Brook Hall School)
Buckingham Advertiser, 8 Jan 1876

1, Station Road Villas, Winslow.
Receives a limited number of Young Ladies to instruct in the usual branches of English Education, French, Drawing, Music, Singing and Dancing.
Terms and References on application.  The next term commences in the 24th instant.

1880: Bucks Herald, 10 Jan
THE MISSES BARTON receive a few PUPILS to BOARD and INSTRUCT. QUARTER commences JANUARY 20TH. Terms upon application.
Sarah & Martha Barton lived with their father Alfred at 20 Horn Street after they left The George; in 1881 they had one boarder as well as their niece.

1881: Rev. Alfred Preston the vicar had an unsuccessful school in the Reading Room. Read more.

Copyright 1 May, 2021