The Thurlows

Village News & Information

The Olde School

The Olde School is another fascinating remnant of the Soame dynasty. Used as a school until the 19th century, it was sold by the Charity Commissioners to Richard Pettett Day in 1885. He was the shop keeper who ran a village shop in what is now Corner Cottage, opposite the Olde School. It seems likely that Richard is another descendant of the Daye family of Little Bradley.

The Foundation for the School was part of the original will of Sir Stephen Soame and was limited to the education of boys. It was his intention that the boys should be taught English and Latin and cyphering and that they should be encouraged to go on to Oxford or Cambridge University or into apprenticeships. The whole of the ground floor of the original building is devoted to the school room, and is so designed that it is not possible to see out of the windows from a sitting position. A large podium still remains, as does a large grandfather clock. The role of school master was held for fifty years in the eighteenth century by Thomas Crick, who taught upwards of 880 scholars in his time. His descendants, also Thomas and later Frederick, became rectors in the parish during the 1800s.

The Charity Commissioners became involved in overseeing the running of the Foundation and the memorandum reproduced below re-states some of the requirements of the original terms of the will. It seems that the regulation of the Charity faltered during the eighteen hundreds and a new National School was built to replace it in 1873 and the original building was sold.

Memorandum concerning the Thurlow School

That one in each family of the peasantry is to be admitted upon the establishment or
foundation in the Parish of Little Thurlow as Free Pupils
Also as vacancies occur in The School the next in seniority is to succeed him of the
Also that each scholar is to remain for the space of three years only as Free Schools
Also that no boy is to be admitted into the School upon the Foundation until he can read a page in the Bible
Also The Master of the School to have power of reporting any irregularity of any of
the Free Boys to the Clergyman or Church wardens in order that they may be removed
Also that the parents of the Free Boys are not to interfere with the boys or the Master
of the School in any way
Also that the Master do inculcate good behaviour to the boys out of School and that
they are not to be hallowing or hooting in the Street or any other riotous conduct
Also that the parents of the Free boys do attend to this or they will be removed from
the school
Also applications for admission of boys upon this foundation during the absence of
General Stevenson to be made to the Clergymen of the Parish or to the
churchwardens for the time being.
N.B. All the fixtures to the School appertain to the School
Also that no person can have their child or children educated upon the foundation
as free scholars but the peasants or Paupers who cannot afford to pay for their education
These instructions are taken by order of General Stevenson in the presence of Mr
James Osborne, for further regulations of The Little Thurlow School to which other
instructions may be added if found necessary
January the 19th, 1826 JOHN FRENCH