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Old Photograph of Schoolhouse

The Old Schoolhouse

The school was built in 1844 for the lord of the manor of Langley Burrell, Rev Robert Ashe, and supported by successive generations of the Ashe family, which negated the necessity to seek state funding for decades. Substantially built, the single-story T-plan building that included a teacher's house proudly bore the Ashe arms. The children were divided into two classes taught in the same room but separated by a screen. As well as a playground, there were gardens to the front and rear, which the children habitually tended. In 1957, a neighbouring meadow was leased and served as a playing field.

Fifteen years after its creation, the school accommodated 30-40 boys and girls. According to an early school inspection by Rev W. Warburton, the teacher was 'capable of teaching the bible, catechism and reading and writing and needlework.' However, he observed that the school manager 'disapproves of more advanced study.'

A few years later, the curate, Francis Kilvert, was a regular feature at the school. On 15 January 1875, he recorded in his diary that he had been speaking to the children and had asked them what beautiful image and picture was depicted in Psalm 23. '”The Good Shepherd,” said I, “leading his children to -? “To the slaughter” said Frederick Herriman promptly.' In another instance, Kilvert asked the children what animal Jesus was compared to in the bible. 'Frank Matthews confidently held out his hand. “To an ass,” he said.'' In 1970, the school logbook records the school-building and several pupils were used in a TV programme on Kilvert's diary.

By the early twentieth-century school attendance had risen to an average of 55. The school accommodated children aged 4-14, and it continued to have a strong Christian ethos in its teaching. The annual school inspections were overwhelmingly positive. In 1922, Rev Westlake from the diocese recorded, 'The teaching is full of sympathy and the children are responsive and earnest in their work. The writing was in some cases exceptionally good and the answering of both infants and older children creditable. There is a nice tone and good order in the school.' Ten years later, an HM inspector stated, 'This is a happy and well conducted little school. The children are bright and industrious and self-reliant.'

During WWII, the school accommodated approximately 50 child evacuees who were placed with local families. The school register and log record children arrived, usually several at a time, from London, Middlesex and Bristol throughout the period 1939 to 1944. The biggest influx was on 19 June 1940 when 11 pupils arrived from Enfield (London).

Some evacuees stayed for a few weeks, while others a matter of years. Their numbers bolstered school attendance, but by 1965 the school roll had fallen to 36. The school was closed in 1975 and has now been converted to domestic use.

 

The Old School,
Swindon Road,
Langley Burrell

 

NGRef: ST 92784 75356
Historic England 1363839 

Image of Pound Cottage

Pound Cottage

Pound cottage was formerly a row of three cottages. These buildings dated from the eighteenth century and were likely built as agricultural labourers' dwellings. They now form one structure.

They have an interesting history. In his diary, Francis Kilvert recorded that his mother attended the village school here every morning at the tender age of 3 and 4. Just a stone's throw from the school that was subsequently built in 1844.

The school at Pound Cottage was kept by 'Dame' Sarah Fairlamb who, remarked Kilvert 'was one of those really old-fashioned dames severe and respectable with rod and glasses'. It was likely this school was one of those reported by the lord of the manor, Robert Ashe, in 1819 as being a school for the children of the poor and 'chiefly paid by their more opulent neighbours'. This probably accounts for why Kilvert's mother, Thermuthis, was not allowed to play with the other children and was later sent to the Moravian school for young ladies at nearby East Tytherton. Given the distance, she was obliged to ride there on a donkey.

 

Pound Cottage,
Swindon Road,
Langley Burrell

 

NGRef: ST 92784 75356
Historic England 1199574 

Nearby Points of Interest

Image of The Pound

The Pound and the Common

In 1838, Langley Burrell Common comprised about 84 acres of open pasture. It formed a thin strip on either side of the lane to Tytherton Kellaways. The common followed the road until just after the junction with Crossing Lane to the south and Langley Lodge to the north. However, the main area of the common lay along the road running south to Chippenham, the current B4069, encompassing a portion of Cocklebury Lane and Hill Corner Road. At the northern tip of this area of common was the village pound.

Here animals that were found grazing on the common in a way which contravened the local regulations were impounded in a walled enclosure by one of the Langley Burrell haywards. One or two haywards were selected annually in May from among the 'commoners', those locals who had the right to graze livestock on the common. In 1787, the two haywards were John Cozens and 'Weight' Bryant. They collected levies from the commoners, which were used to mark the bounds of the common and make repairs. Among their duties that year, they also had to ensure that all the sheep being grazed 'shall be mark'd with pitch with the letter L.' All those sheep they found on the common 'not having the aforesaid mark' were to be 'deemed trespassers' and impounded. Unfortunately, the number of sheep 'trespassers' was not recorded.

In 1838 the common was enclosed and divided up into fields. There was no longer a necessity for a pound. However, now grade II listed and immaculately maintained by the present owner, the pound still survives. A reminder of a time when much of the village was open space and sheep wandered freely.

 

The Pound and the Common,
Swindon Road,
Langley Burrell

 

NGRef: ST 92801 75384
Historic England 1022361