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Posted by on Mar 5, 2009 in Village History | 0 comments

Chippenham School

In 1708 Lord Orford founded and endowed a school where children were to be instructed in English and arithmetic, but if the schoolmaster taught Latin ‘or any other foreign tongue’ he was to be dismissed.  By 1712 a school had been built opposite the church which is now a private dwelling.  A two-storeyed master’s house stands behind the north-west end.  In 1821 the Chippenham estate added space behind the school house for infants, so permitting the attendance of children from Snailwell parish.  By 1910 the infants’ classroom was cramped, and in 1955 only a curtain divided the two junior classes in the main schoolroom.  There were places for around 33 infants and 86 seniors c. 1885-1978.
Lord Orford had not fixed the number of pupils, but in 1730 there were 12 children at the school, and by 1818 it taught 40 children paying fees, and 19 others supported by subscription.  Even then the school could not meet demand from the poor. In both 1833 and 1875 average attendance was 36-7 pupils, in both 1837 and c. 1871-77 the school roll included children from adjoining parishes.  From 1875 attendance rose by 20 in each decade until 1910 when there were 100 pupils, but by 1919 it had fallen to 77, and then halved during the mid 1930s. In 1935 responsibility for the school was transferred to the County Council, and during the Second World War there were 39 local pupils and 33 evacuees from London.  In 1954 the seniors from Chippenham school were transferred to Burwell council school.  In 1955 there were two junior and one infants classes, but numbers dwindled and in 1978 the school was closed, and the remaining 25 pupils moved to Isleham school.
From: ‘Chippenham: Education’, A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 10: Cheveley, Flendish, Staine and Staploe Hundreds (north-eastern Cambridgeshire) (2002), pp. 387-388. URL: