high littleton holy trinity church

High Littleton & Hallatrow
History and Parish Records


Click to enlarge the photos

 1907 school group

High Littleton School group c.1907

High Littleton School pupils 1911

High Littleton school pupils 1911.
Infant Mistress Louisa Garrett is on the left.

High Littleton School 1913

Jimmy Bacon pictured in front
of High Littleton School in 1913.

1911 school boys with mugs Girls High Littleton School 1911

Boys & Girls of High Littleton School holding commemorative mugs to celebrate the Coronation of King George V in June 1911

 High Littleton School Football Team 1934 

High Littleton School Football Team 1934



High Littleton School

Education was not a great priority with the poor and it was not uncommon for boys and girls to be employed at the age of 8, it being cheaper for the parents of a large family to have their children working for just their keep rather than having to provide food for them. Prior to 1840 there were "Dame Schools" in High Littleton, which took a few pupils but there was no general provision for education.

National Society for the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church” was formed in 1811 and under it’s auspices “National Schools” were opened throughout England. By 1851 the Society controlled over 17,000 schools. High Littleton was a little slow off the mark but in 1843 John REES-MOGG donated a piece of land opposite the parish church, on which a school was built. High Littleton National School opened on 4th May 1844 in a single classroom 31 feet long, 18 feet wide and 13 feet high.

For the first 15 years of it’s existence the school’s income came entirely from donations and subscriptions from the more philanthropic members of the community, grants from Betton’s Charity and “children’s pence.” Each child had to pay 1d. per week, which was retained by the headmaster as part of his remuneration. Expenditure consisted in the main of teachers’ salaries, school requisites, repairs and maintenance and coal for heating. However, for several years after 1851, Timsbury Colliery supplied coal for heating, free of charge, as well as making an annual subscription. In 1858 the Government began to provide external funding in the form of capitation grants, which to some extent removed the burden on local subscribers, although many still continued to provide limited support for several years afterwards.

The school was managed by a committee, which consisted of the vicar and some of the subscribers.  The earliest surviving record, a book entitled “High Littleton National School Record from 1844 to 1903” commences with Accounts (Receipts and Expenditure) from lady day 1847 to the end of the calendar year 1847. The fact that these accounts showed a balance brought forward from lady day, suggests that some sort of record must have been kept for the first three years of the school’s existence. Also included in the Record book were infrequent minutes and notes of teaching appointments. The Record book was maintained by the School Secretary (normally the vicar) on behalf of the School Committee (later called Managers).

In 1867 legislation provided that School Accounts should be kept in a purpose designed Cash Book and thereafter the Record Book was used solely for Managers’ Minutes. The minutes recorded such things as the hiring and firing of teaching staff, the maintenance and improvement of school facilities, reaction to the demands of increasing government legislation and the continual struggle for finance. Generally speaking the school finances were balanced each year but, when there was an overspend, additional contributions were sought from the subscribers to avoid the school running up too large a deficit.  Nevertheless by 1890 the school was 150 in debt to the then treasurer, Rev. Edmund STREETEN. However, following his death in January 1891, his Executors generously cancelled the debt.

The first master and mistress named in the records was Edward TUCKER and his wife Fanny, who were appointed master and mistress in January 1848 but, who their predecessors were, has not been discovered. 

Transcriptions of The Report Book

In transcribing the Report Book a certain amount of rationalisation has been done. Receipts for each year have been placed above Expenditure and the resulting balance calculated at the end, whereas in the book Expenditure was recorded on the left hand and Receipts on the corresponding right hand page. The separate Cash Book (started in July 1867) contained many columns for analysis but the analysis has been omitted in the transcript. Minutes and Accounts, which were kept separate, have been intermingled and placed in chronological order in the transcript, as the minutes often help to explain items appearing in the Accounts. Errors, discrepancies and explanations, where appropriate, have been added in italics and finally an index of names follows the transcription.

High Littleton School Accounts 1847-98 & ManMins 1848-1903 & Index

With the provision of Government capitation grants in 1858 came regulations aimed at monitoring the performance of schools and their staff, which meant records being kept in a prescribed form. Not until Frederick NEEDES gained a 3rd class certificate in 1859 and became High Littleton's first qualified teacher did the school become eligible for a capitation grant.

The earliest surviving book maintained by the Head Teacher was a Report Book begun in 1858. This was in response to a Minute of a Meeting of the School Management Committee on 19th April 1858, which recorded that the "School Master & Mistress be requested to make a report of the state of the school at the end of each quarter". Starting with the first quarter of 1858, the Report Book continued until 1868, although towards the end of the period the amount of information recorded had dwindled, as the Report Book was largely replaced by the Log Book in 1862.  Apart from a report on the quarter the book contained attendance figures, petty cash expenditure and names of children eligible for examinations. An index of names follows the transcription.

High Littleton School Report Book 1858-1868 & Index

In the December Quarter of 1862 the Report Book notes "a Log Book (ruled with 500 pages) will shortly be required to work the School according to the provisions of the New Code. If not provided a portion of the Grant will be withheld from the School." An appropriate Log Book was duly acquired and covered the period 1862-1890. In 1874 a separate Log Book for the Infants’ School was started and this ran until the beginning of 1893, when once again events for the whole school, Mixed and Infants, were recorded in a single Log Book. The latter Log Book covered the period 1890-1906. At the outset the Log Book was written up daily by the head teacher and contained much interesting detail but, as time progressed, information tended to be recorded weekly and dealt in the main with attendances. 

For much of the first 50 years of the school the entire teaching staff of the Mixed and Infants schools consisted of a husband and wife team. When one left the other left, which meant a loss of continuity in the teaching and often resulted in the school being closed for a period until a replacement couple could be found. It became increasingly difficult to recruit a head teacher without being able to provide a house for him and his wife. This caused the school to be closed from Christmas 1872 until April 1874, during which time money was raised for building a school house on land donated by John George MOGG. 

Helping parents gardening, planting and picking up potatoes and generally helping with household chores, including rocking the cradle, were accepted excuses for pupils’ absence from school. Bad weather was another reason for non-attendance and some small children were kept at home for the whole winter. The numbers affected by epidemics of scarlet fever, measles, chicken pox, mumps, diptheria and occasionally small pox, seem remarkable by today’s standards, as does the fact that such diseases often resulted in death.

The effect of various new laws relating to education can be seen in the Log Books. The 1870 Education Act provided free education for poor children and one reads of the Clutton Union Relieving Officer calling with the fees for “the pauper children”. Legislation of 1876 provided that all children should receive an elementary education and School Attendance Committees were set up. The 1880 Education Act made school attendance compulsory to the age of 10. At that time a child could obtain a certificate and leave, provided his record of attendances exceeded a certain standard. One reads in the Log Books of the School Attendance Officer checking up on and sometimes summonsing absentees. 

In 1891 legislation made elementary education free. The Log Book records on 4th Sept 1891 - “1st week under Free Education Act”. Many of the High Littleton children, who were used to bringing their “school fees” each week, continued to do so. The school therefore started a Penny Bank for them, in which to save their pennies, depositing the money in a Post Office Account at Paulton. Acts of 1893 and 1899 raised the school leaving age to 11 and then 12. The 1902 Education Act empowered Local Authorities to provide elementary and secondary education, thereby superseding the old School Boards and effectively taking over the National Schools. The Log Book records on 1st July 1903 - “Beginning of School Year under Council.”  From then on High Littleton School was described as a Public Elementary School. 

High Littleton Schoolmaster’s House
High Littleton School Logbook 1862-1890 & Index
High Littleton School Infants Logbook 1874-1893 & Index
High Littleton School Logbook 1890-1906 & Index

By 1893 the average attendance in the Infants and Mixed departments of High Littleton School was around 180, which still only represented an attendance of 80% of those on the books. The school was bursting at the seams and the Education Department reported that the teaching staff must be strengthened and the school premises enlarged. The School Managers attempted to avoid this by suggesting that the 30 or 40 children, who attended from Clutton and Farmborough, could be sent away but it was then pointed out that, on the same basis many of the Hallatrow children attending schools in Farrington Gurney, Paulton and Temple Cloud might be sent back to High Littleton School. Inevitably, it was agreed that the school buildings should be enlarged and A.W.J. Catley of Midsomer Norton completed the work in 1895 at a cost of 500. A year later there were 266 children on the school register and the teaching staff was headed by William Henry Martin with Louisa Garrett as Infant mistress. This popular pair taught at the school for very many years.

It is not certain when High Littleton’s first Admission Register was started. Comments made in 1860 in the School Report Book by the Master and Mistress, Frederick and Anna Maria NEEDES state that “2 Admission Books and Summaries etc. would be very useful, if procurable.” No action seems to have been taken and in his report for the December Quarter 1862 Mr NEEDES wrote “....... and an Admission Register will shortly be required, in order to work the School according to the provisions of the New Code; if these are not provided and used in the School, I have understood a portion of the Grant will be withheld from the School.” The cost (2 shillings) of purchasing an Admission Book was subsequently recorded in the Cash Book for the September Quarter 1863.  What became of this first Register (if indeed it was the first) is not known.

John West TAYLOR and his wife Mary Anne took up their appointments as Master and Mistress of High Littleton National School Mixed and Infants’ departments respectively on 25th March 1874. The School Log Book records on 22nd May that they received two Admission Registers from Rev. E.C. STREETEN on that day. The earliest surviving Admission Register, which is still retained at the school, dates from the TAYLORs’ time. This Register is in a poor state of repair and the outside edges of some pages have become very ragged with pieces torn off.  The Mixed School Register has been transcribed and indexed but the Infants’ Register has not survived.

The 1874 Register was rather imperfectly kept, especially in the earlier years.  In the back of the Register was a separate Night School Register. This was also started in 1874, the first entries being dated 19th October and last 9th November 1874.

Little remains of the Admission Register for the period 1906-1927 except the cover page. The admission numbers recorded in the Register should run from 1439 to 2193. By one means or another 52 pupils out of a total of 754 have been identified but without any details.

The next Admission Register to be transcribed and indexed covers the period 1927-1954. The quality and accuracy of information recorded was a great improvement on the first register.  Birth certificates were produced in many instances to verify the dates of birth entered in the register. Of particular interest are details of evacuees from London and the Bristol area, who were admitted to the school between September 1939 and November 1944.

High Littleton School Register 1874-1906 & Night School & Index
High Littleton School Register 1906-1927 & Index
High Littleton School Register 1927-1954 & IndexKingwell Hall Preparatory School
Thomas FLOWER's School in Hallatrow