Rodborough Charity School

a research resource from Stroud Local History Society

Research note by Marion Hearfield                           Copyright copyright logo

Research following the donation to SLHS by Janet Grist of an early Victorian school log book

During our 2015 Summer Exhibition, held at the Museum in the Park, Janet Grist, granddaughter of Cainscross School’s headmaster Albert John Dee, gave us a very damaged, board-bound notebook. It was used to record the moneys given variously by Henry King (1699), Nathaniel Clissold, Michael Halliday and Nathaniel Beard to enable Rodborough’s children to be taught reading and writing and common arithmetic. The money was administered locally, under the auspices of the Charity Commissioners and to begin with Henry King’s legacy was invested in land (Glos Archives already has these early indentures). The ledger shows that the school was first called Rodborough Fort School, or The Fort School.

The Museum’s Collections Officer advised us to donate the original book to the Gloucestershire Archives, because of its fragile state, and because there is other material already conserved there. The Archives’ catalogue reference is D13894, accession 13894.

But first we scanned it! You can view and download all the 60+ pages (many with the names of pupils around the 1830s) from this link to our internet cloud storage:

online copy  [just click in the file list on the right-hand side to download or browse]

The book was used for two purposes. From one end (identified with the letter S in the digital archive’s filenames) several pages record the names of all the pupils attending (1827 into the 1840s) together with their parents’ names. From the other end (identified with the letter C in the digital archive’s filenames) the pages contain a copy of an 1835 report by the Charity Commissioners (summarised next) and twenty pages of accounts.

Copy of the report of the Commissioners for inquiring concerning Charities, page 346

Chapelry of Rodborough – Henry King’s Charity

nine hand-written pages, finally dated 1835, summarised here by Marion Hearfield, July 2015:

Henry King’s Charity

In his will dated 9th March 1699, Henry King gave to Minchinhampton and Rodborough all the residue of his personal estate, to educate the poor of the Parish and Chapelry, bequest confirmed at the Court of Chancery on 16th July 1707. Five people from each of the two districts were to be appointed Trustees and the money was to be split equally between Minchinhampton and Rodborough.

1708 1st Sept: Indenture whereby the Rodborough trustees bought lands in Oxlinch, at Randwick, adding other charitable donations to the King bequest. Two purchases were made on 28th Sept 1710 and 26th December 1717. (Deeds at are Glos Archives).

1805 and 1822: Surveys were carried out of the land “which lay dispersed at very inconvenient distances” to enable an exchange with Lord Sherborne for lands of 22 acres, 2 roods and 27 perches, at Morton Valence and Standish (effected in 1st and 2nd year of His present Majesty [George VI]), finally concluded in 1822.

1830s [date inferred from content]: Income from the land supported a School for teaching the Children [but only boys] of the poor of Rodborough parish in a very ancient stone building, used as a parochial school. Charity money was used to extend the school and provide apartments for the school master and his family. Total spent: £258.

There is also a Sunday school supported by Subscription, at the same premises, for children of both sexes, under the supervision of the clergyman of the parish, and occasional visitors.

Now the extensions are completed it is intended to use the Charity income to appoint a Master to educate as many children as may be taught by one person being paid the salary we can afford. The children will be taught reading, writing and common arithmetic.

Further donations had been received from: Nathaniel Clissold (£20), Michael Halliday (£5) and Nathaniel Beard (£10) and are presumed to be those referred to in the original purchase of the land.

Thomas Halliday and Richard Cambridge

[Date not given] Mr Thomas Halliday gave £100 forever for teaching three poor boys of this parish to read and write, and for books and clothes and Mr Richard Cambridge of London, merchant, gave £20 to the poor. It is assumed that this £120 was used to buy 3.5 acres of pasture land at Leonard Stanley, since the income from this land (£8 a year) has always been used for the purpose specified by Mr Halliday. The charity fund and property is administered by Mr William Halliday of Rodborough. Sales of timber from the land has added £46 16s 6d and £3 12s to the unspent portions of the £8pa allocation for the children’s books and clothes. The charitable investment is now held in the names of William Halliday, Peter Smith and Joseph Hawker, and all income is applied for the benefits of the parochial School.

Samuel   Horrill’s Charity

[Date not given] Mr Samuel Horrill’s will specified that £200 should be invested in 3% consols and the income applied half to the minister and churchwardens of the parish of Rodborough for the education of three poor girls to learn to read, write, sew and knit, and the other half to the support of the dissenting chapel. From this charity Mr Heaven, supposed to be a representative of the Testator, gives to Mr Will Halliday of Rodborough £3 as the dividend of £100.

As soon as the parochial school is set up, a master and mistress will be appointed. The girls will be taught separately from the boys.

The Revd James Bingle

of Hevington, Norfolk, formerly Parish Clerk and School master of Rodborough, left to the charity school in this parish £50. The expenses of his estate meant that in the end the sum of only £22 was paid to the treasurer of the Rodborough Endowed School.


There follow several pages of accounts dated 1841, 42 and 42, of expenses incurred. One pair of pages is headed:

An Acct of the Children Schooling &c at the Rodborough Fort House School from July 1842.

The pupils’ names are: BECK[?] Geo Will, SIMS will Thos, STOCKWELL Edward, STEPHENS Samuel, BALLINGER Charles, BARRATT Robert, HAINS Kezea, DAVIS Bastion Henry, GARDENER Hy Edwd, GARDENER W J S, GARDENER Eleanor, LAWLEY M Ann

[subsequent pages have the same names, plus some others]


From the other end of the book, the pages record the names of school pupils and their parents. The first page says Reading School (with a list of 100 boys starting 16th October 1827, and accounts to 1844). Subsequent lists are grouped by Halliday’s Writing School (15 boys from 16th Oct 1827 to Aug 1839) and Horrell’s Girls (73 girls, 16th October 1827 to March 1840).

SLHS Member Maureen Arthur adds: “A King family of mill-owners are recorded as having given their name to Kingscourt and a Diana King charity was incorporated into the Kingscourt Educational Trust which was set up about 1973 with part of the proceeds from the sale of the old School which was owned by Rodborough Tabernacle.”

A research note from the SLHS digital archive added July 2015. Copyright copyright logo

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