The National School

History of the School

A charitable endowment was made in 1770 by Roger and Elizabeth Spanswick whose income was to provide for 16 poor children of the parish to be taught.

From 1771 a schoolmaster was given £16 per year to teach boys and to pay for a woman to teach girls reading, household work, and plain needlework. Any surplus income was to be devoted to the purchase of books. The following year, in 1772, the Revd. Walter Bigg devised £100 of his estate to be added to the funds available to the Spanswick charity.

The school was to open on four days a week at 7.00 a.m. or sunrise, whichever was the later, and close at 5.00 p.m. On two days of the week it would open at the same time but close at noon. It was to close on Sundays and also on the king’s birthday plus six other days of the year. It is believed possible that the school was held in the master’s own dwelling and that he also accepted private boarding pupils.

In the early 19th century the schoolmaster was paid £20 per year.

After the death of all the charity trustees, the school closed in 1816 but reopened in 1817 once new trustees had been appointed. By the following year, a schoolmistress received payment of £20 per year to teach 8 boys and 8 girls; in addition she taught 12 to 14 pupils in the school.

Two other small schools were in the parish at this date, teaching some 40 children between them. Another 40 children from the parish were attending a recently opened National School in nearby Hungerford.

The National School in Chilton Foliat (pictured above) was opened in 1835 on the north side of the High Street, and a new building for it was erected in 1847. The number on roll by 1871 was 87. In 1970 our present school was built in Stag Hill and the old one closed. There are now approximately 80 pupils.

Chilton Foliat is a village and civil parish on the River Kennet in Wiltshire. The parish is in the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is on the county boundary with West Berkshire and is about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) northwest of the Berkshire market town of Hungerford.


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