Stowupland Education in the 19th century

From the late 1700s there was a  Sunday School which provided some education for youngsters in Stowupland. But before 1865, when the school adjacent to Holy Trinity Church in Stowupland was built, young children traveled down to Stowmarket to attend schools there. 

In 1818 –  The Select Committee on Education of the Poor  noted for  Stowupland (pop. 720) that  ‘ The poor though desirous , are without the means of instruction but the children attend Stowmarket national School.’

In 1818 The National Society for Promoting Religious Education opened a Church Of England school in Stowmarket. These schools were known as  National Schools and it was situated in the environs of St Peters and St Mary’s Church in Stowmarket, the Rev Hollingsworth was the vicar at this time.

1838 Advert for a school master for Stowmarket and Stowupland National School

By 1833 – with a population of 626 Stowupland had  one Sunday School (to which a lending library is attached) of 66 males &51 females is supported by private charity, & connected with Independant Dissenters.’

By 1846/7 – a church inquiry reported, ‘ there is a schoolroom wanted in Stowupland. A larger salary is needed for the master & mistress [of Stowmarket] which being obtained a higher class of teachers would be had, which is much needed in this town; but unfortunately, no help can be expected from local resources.‘ {ECA}

Stowupland’s own National School was founded in 1865  on  a parcel of land in ‘Pitman’s Field’ (tm 346) which given by Mary, Ellen, Spencer & William Freeman for a Parish school for Poor children to be built. Ellen and Mary also donated money.  The curriculum was to be overseen by ‘the minister and church warden.

The 1870 Education Act provided for the education of all children from 5 to 13. Stowupland school was handed over to a Local School Board in 1875

1871 – One National school (held on premises secured by deeds with operating managers  41 boys & 47 girls – (space for 64 only).

1874 Rev. Long, Vicar of Stowupland claimed that the National School (i.e. the student body) was larger than the Dept allowed, he complained that the lobby (14′ 9″ by 8′) was used as a classroom. The Dept pointed out ‘that the dimensions of the school are still only suitable for for 32 while 65 places needed’ . In the following month the majourity decision of the Vestry was to adopt a school board, and the following month a meeting of ratepayers passed a resolution to form the Board, with Creeting St Peter agreeing to form part of the board since their children attended Stowupland’s national School {ECA}.

1875 ‘The Holy scriptures are read daily from 9.10 to 9.30 No exception has yet been made or desired concerning this.’

newspaper advert
Ipswich Journal 1875, 18th September, Advertisements and Notices

 1875: Following the  State Education Act, a School Board was formed on Feb 8th with 5 members and Thos. E.Carter as clerk.

The head master was Mr William Stephen Prentice  from 1875 to 1901.

1876: the school was extended and a teachers residence added at cost of £950. This extension provided space for 200 children,  there was an average attendance of 175.

A later notice in “Building News,” 2 March 1877 gave more details and the name of the builder –

‘Board schools at Stowupland have been enlarged by the addition of wings on either side of the old building and the erection of a master’s house. Mr. Brightwen Binyon, of Ipswich, was the architect, and Messrs. Andrews and Crowe, of Stowmarket, were the builders’.

Neil Langridge notes ‘Brightwen Binyon were the go to firm for schools in Suffolk and I presume they built the original school’.


1880 it was enlarged again.

1885/6, the board comprised Robert Boby (Chairman), Henry Fairfax Harwood,(Hon Clerk), Edwin Pyman, William Noble and the Rev Seton.

1889,  another extension to the school. Earliest log book dated 15th July 1889, it was an old=fashioned leather book with a lock and key which had to be broken open as the key was missing

1895 the school board resolved that the Bible should be read in the school for 15 minutes each day.

1896/7 another classroom was added

1900 the Drill Sergeant took Standards 3 to 6 in the playground.

A typical school day wass split into 2 sessions, the morning from 9 to 12 and an afternoon from 2 to 5. Children were expected to go home for a mid-day meal. Children were taught reading and copying or chanting lists and phases till they were word perfect. Younger children might use sand trays or slates moving onto dipping pens and paper for practicing writing.


hand written document
Page from 1899 School Minute Book
hand written document
1899 page from Minute book