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You are in: Northamptonshire » A Sense Of Place

July, 2004
300 years of teaching
Head teacher Leah Stirrat looks back at the 300-year history of St Peter's Junior School, Raunds.

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St Peter's School

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The next 155 years

We can assume that following on from Thomas Teale, each successive parish clerk taught in the chantry (vestry) for the next 63 years, until the appointment of James Britten in 1767 was appointed master of the Charity School. He served until 1814 He was paid £3.10s for a quarter's schooling in December 1812. Thomas Blott, who was the schoolmaster from 1815-1849, succeeded him.

Apart from the day school there was also a church Sunday school which in 1818 ran from 8.30am to noon and 1pm to 4pm. The school was held on Sundays because "most of the children are employed in lace-making and shoe making on week days". The vicar at the time was Reverend William Roles "an intelligent and unassuming young man who was most zealously employed in civilising the uncouth population of Raunds!"

All change

In 1823 the Charity School was re-organised under the National system enabling all poor children in the parish to attend. A quarter of the funds was provided by the Pepys' Charity and the rest came from subscriptions and penny weekly payments from the pupils. In 1825 sixty boys attended the school and as many girls were taught reading, writing and needlework three evenings a week.

There were also six private daily schools in the town, which accounted for about 80 children according to the records of 1841.

In 1849, Thomas Shelton became Master of the National School.

• 300 slate pencils = 1s. 8 ½d
• 24 copy books = 6 shillings
• Cleaning of the school privy cost 6d.

In 1854 Robert Bell succeeded Shelton. His purchases included 100 quill pens for 2s.3d

The School Building

The old school
The original purpose-built school

So after 155 years in the church, the school moved in 1859, into "new" premises on the corner of High Street and Manor Street.

The building was designed by George E Street, who designed the law courts in the Strand and several churches in southern England. The land was given by Sir James Langham, whose main residence was in London. He was very interested in education and founded schools in other parishes where he owned land.

The cost of the school building was £1,400. Funds were raised by subscription and a government grant of £372. The School was built with a master's residence.

The school was enlarged in 1882 at a cost of £110 so it could cater for 200 pupils, although the average attendance was 163.

It was also further enlarged in 1911 when it became know as The National School, with the addition of the hall and three classrooms.

The population of Raunds in 1841 was 1500 people, but by 1861 it had grown to 2,337. By 1877, Raunds was a large village with a station on the Kettering to Cambridge line.

Infant school

The Infant School was built in 1869 and enlarged in 1874 at a cost of £180 so it could cater for 180 pupils, but the average attendance was about 160 children. In 1897 a further two classrooms and a store were added.

John King Smith gave the land used for the school playground in 1896. He also gave the organ to the church. The old school log books show there was some debate about what should be used to surface the playground with "slag dust" claimed to be the most suitable!

So the Parish Rooms ceased to be an infant school and the National School became known as Raunds Church of England Junior School until September 1981 when the school adopted the name of its first location all those years ago - St Peter's School.

The story continues »



In Sense Of Place »
St Peter's School, Raunds

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