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OLD RAVENFIELD SCHOOL

Many thanks to Dr. Pete Jones for his huge contribution to this page

History

Built around the turn of the nineteenth century the School was maintained by the owner of Ravenfield T. B. Bosvile, Esq. Back in 1881 Mary Hannah Beldon a spinster who was born in Sheffield in the year 1843 was the School Mistress at Ravenfield, living at the School House on Church Lane. Some of the pupils who attended the School in the 1880's were
Francis Joseph Askew, Annie Eliza Askew, Emily Margaret Askew, Sarah Elizabeth Askew, William John Askew, Herbert Edwin Askew , Anne Baker, Alice Baker , Kate Baker Rose, Ann Burton, Charles Burton, Margaret Burton, Charlotte Annie Burton, Edith Cole, Walter Frost , Anna Greaves, Thomas Frost, George William Hoole, Edith Armatage, Edith Uttley, John Robert Oldfield, Herbert Henley Oldfield, Alice Oldfield, Kate Mary Oldfield ,Henry Ormsby, Ada Elizabeth Ormsby, Sarah Ann Ormsby, Thomas Osbourne, George Osbourne, George Tom Leckonby, Elizabeth Spicer, Alice Ann Pinder, Margret Harriet Pinder, Gertrude Ellis Wildsmith, Walter Woodward, Kate Wooward, George Edward Woodward, Isabela Smith, John George Smith.

In 1891 the School Mistress was Kate Village born in Doncaster in 1851, Kate was found in Kegworth Leicester by 1901as a School teacher and still a spinster.
The present owner of the House Dr Pete Jones writes The house has 2 odd slit windows which overlook the area that would have been the playground, so I guess Big Brother was about even in the 18th century! It still has a big metal strap in the entrance hall (which according to the 1920 plans was at that time probably outside) which we have romantically thought might be where the bell would have hung, and an odd hinge as though a large door or gate covered the entrance. The records we now have suggest that the school house was sold off with the rest of the Ravenfield estate by Bosvile in 1920.  We understood the school house had the school attached to the back (which is now our lounge), and in 1920 when sold this area was known as The Institute. During the redecoration of the school house we found a set of shutters, which had been sealed and painted over, set into the window frame.After all those years tucked away they still work, and after a lick of paint and some oil are now back in use. Even the brass locks are there.
The Ravenfield survey of 1878 shows that plot 73 was a cottage, school house and gardens belonging to the Ravenfield Estate. It was shown as having a tenant Thomas Earnshaw Atkinson, but that had been crossed out and replaced with 'Vicar and churchwardens of Ravenfield'.  Thomas Atkinson is shown as schoolmaster.  The property is shown as 'homestead' at that time. One of the confusions is that there was no Church Lane mentioned at that time, it appears to be called Main Street (which of course is the name of the road at the top of the hill to Bramley and Hooton Roberts). In 1920 the house and school and the barns were bought by Dennis Turner.  By chance I found another deed transfer document for Dennis Turner, when he purchased a piece of land from the estate in 1935, when he gave his address as the Old School House, and was shown as a mine worker.  In the transfer documents no street is mentioned, just a location, lying between the lands of George Stacey and George Osborn (of Osborn house fame, which is next door).   I have my own old deeds somewhere which I think do mention that by this time it was Church Lane. At the time that Dennis bought the house in 1920 it was known as 'The institute' and in the occupation of Mary Brocklesby.  I found another Brocklesby ( Joe Brocklesby) buying land from the estate towards the end of 1920.  Hope they weren't thrown out!
There was a Ravenfield survey of 1795 in the archive but no mention of a school, institute or even the vicar and churchwardens, although the church gets a brief mention for having a full acre of land.  This document is in excellent condition.
 She warned me that references to a school may be a red herring, as schools and poor houses were often the same building in the 18th century before there was a statutory obligation on local authorities to provide schooling.  The word 'institute' comes back to  mind here, as it could be that it was jointly poor house and school and not called a school prior to 1878 when the schoolmaster was here.  It has the classic signs of a school, in that there are two large windows in the main room, both 8ft off the ground, so no distractions looking out of the windows.
The house itself dates from 1785 or thereabouts, although buildings are shown on the site in 1766. Although it was not a formal school building until the middle of the 19th century lessons were carried out in the house before that time. Early in the 19th century the gable fronting the road was taken down. In 1841 the barn behind the house had the roof raised (you may still see the extra 3 courses of stone) and the school was moved into the room behind the house. Alterations to the roof left the building with a lop sided look. In 1847/8 the large sash windows were put into the school room by the Ravenfield estate carpenter James Cardwell which are still present. In 1855 the same estate carpenter put 49 square feet of windows in the school at a cost of 7 1/2 D per square foot. Until 1878 the school was entirely supported by Squire Bosvile from Ravenfield Hall. In 1878 it received government grants (and became the National School) until closed on 30th September 1909 when the 'new' school in Moor Lane was opened. In 1878, under pressure from HMI, toilets and a cloakroom were provided which survived until the 1980's. The infants never did get their cloakroom. It is believed the toilet buildings are now the tower on the north side of the old school, which has had an upper floor inserted and serves as a utility room and bedroom above. After closure the school was used as a reading room and Sunday school until sold in 1920.The cellars have since been filled in. The stone gateposts still retain a stone pad at the foot of each post to protect the post from the wheels of carts and wagons. The school room itself has since had a gallery added which affords access to the school house itself on the upper floor, and which also allows access to the bedroom in the north tower.

 

 

 

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