St. Mary’s School History


A centenary celebration is a time for reminiscing and I am no exception. My own personal interest in history, particularly of this area of Pendleside led me to think of others who might also be interested and prompted me to write this diary of events of importance in the past hundred years of this village school. It is impossible, in so small a volume, to do more than pick out the highlights and points of interest but, being the history of a school, I have tried to show the changes in Education through those years as they coincide with the first hundred years in compulsory Education in this country (the Education Act was passed in 1870) they may be said to be typical of most schools.

Many events such as H.M.I.’s visits and reports, school medicals, school visits, Open Days, trips, May Day Dancing, School Fair, prize-giving. Christmas Party and Fancy Dress Parade and holidays for the junior children have become annual events and therefore it was felt appropriate only to mention the first one of them. The school’s close connection with the church will also be apparent in these pages and pupils participation in church services, the Day School Sermons in May each year, visits of clergy and Diocesan Inspectors and the performance of the Nativity in school at Christmas are also annual events which may only be mentioned once.

I hope the reading of this little book will give pleasure and help you to understand something of what you see and hear on your visit to our school and church during our centenary weekend 18th to 20th October and I dedicate it to all pupils of Newchurch C.E. School.







1873 First day of August. —— The vicar of Newchurch, the Rev. J. H.

Horrox met his wardens to discuss the building of a new school. After much discussion and promise of financial aid the decision to build was agreed upon. In a letter from the Education Department, Whitehall, London, dated 26th July 1873, in answer to a petition sent by Mr Roberts (warden), the department agreed that only one school was necessary for the “townships” of Goldshawbooth, Barley with Wheatley Booth and Roughlee Booth, having regard to the census of population of 1871 which amounted to 1084. The recommendation was, therefore, for accommodation for not less than 175 children. If a Public Elementary School provided that amount of accommodation on a convenient site, no further accommodation would be required for the district.

1874 Plaque now in school main entrance gives us the following information:

The foundation stone of this school

was laid on 19th day of September 1874 by

Major Le Gendre Nicholas Starkie of Huntroyde

Vicar —- The Rev. James Holt Horrox, M.A.

Wardens —— Henry Hargreaves, William Roberts, John Bollard, John Nutter

This school was built by public subscription

Lawrence Boardwell (Treasurer)

Rev. J. H. Horrox (Secretary)

Henry Lord of Manchester (Architect)

1876 26th August. Dr. Frazer, The Bishop of Manchester dedicated the school.

1876—1877 Mr Mark Riley was the first headmaster. First entry in the logbook reads:— 1876 2nd September — “First week in new school.

Number on register:- 63

Number at school - Boys, 36 — Girls, 22 = 58

Total attendance for week. Boys, 276 — Girls, 162 = 438

Open 11 times (Saturday morning session).

Pence — Boys 6/0d, Girls 3/8d = 9/8d.

Lessons as per timetable.

Progress moderate.

signed — Mark Riley.” –

The timetable makes interesting reading. All four classes started with an examination of home lessons, religious instruction and register marking every day. The morning was then spent in Reading, Writing, Dictation, Copy Books, Arithmetic and Counting. Home lessons again to begin the ‘afternoon followed by Tables, Mental Arithmetic, Notation and Numeration, Reading, Writing, Dictation, Copy Books, Arithmetic and Counting! Once a week, from 4.00 p.m. to 4-15 p.m. on Friday afternoon all four classes had Singing.

1877 21st February —

The first H. M. Inspector’s report regretted that the school did not warrant the payment of a grant. However, children continued to pay school pence and work proceeded. Mr Riley continued to struggle on but the winter of 1877 was very severe and several scholars were taken ill and died. By the end of April Mr Riley felt he must resign.

1877-1880 Mr J. M. Bowen Jones headmaster

16th May 1877. Number on register: — 45.

1879 The Education Department report of 10th February 1879 states,

“It is fair to state that this school, at all times difficult of access has during the last two months been almost inaccessible from snow and bad weather. It is a matter for wonder how many children got there at all. Mr Jones did not receive his certificate and because of poor examination results he was worried that no grants would be paid and neither would his salary.

1880-1883 Mr Cyrus Hartley

1880 2nd August. Mr Cyrus Hartley commenced his duties as headmaster.

Number on roll 50. Poor attendance because of hay being gathered in. During this time the school made good progress and improvements were made. A new stove was installed to warm the room. Mr Hartley started an evening class for half-timers. Reuben Burton taught the slower children to read. Children were granted Certificates of Labour and were able to leave school. Thus, some talent was lost.

1881 13th July. Mr Hartley’s first H.M. report was very good; the inspector felt he could not speak too highly of what he had seen.

1882 A ball-frame was procured for the infant class. School closed in the afternoon for Manager’s meeting.

1883 For a short time there was a school in Barley when the navvies were working on the Ogden reservoirs. However, after a few months the school closed and there was an influx of pupils at Newchurch. Mr Hartley resigned 15th June. He received his certificate whilst he was teaching at Newchurch.

1883-1886 Mr Frank Pilling

1883 18th June. Mr Frank Pilling took over the duties of headmaster. Advent of the Attendance Officer to keep check on absentees. Typhus fever broke out and great care had to be taken to disinfect. School closed for two days for Sale of Work!

1884 Mr Pilling received an excellent report from H.M.I. and old reading books were replaced.

1885 21st January. Barley children away celebrating opening of chapel on site where Wesley preached. Spenbrook Mill to close. Absenteeism was great. Number on roll 70 —— present at one session — 38.

21st October. A Mr A. Bell, school manager, visited school and spoke of dirty state of rooms which were only swept once a week, on Saturdays. He advised protest at rooms in such condition being detrimental to health of children

1886 16th April. Mr Pilling resigned

1886—1897. Mr Dent

1886 17th May. Mr Dent became headmaster of Newchurch ‘‘National School”. Number on roll: 52.

30th September. Mr Dent was married and the children had Thursday and Friday holiday. Vicar wanted evergreens for church so eight boys were permitted to go and gather some. Mr Alec Bell made a gift of new desks for the infant room

1887 15th July. A very satisfactory report received from the inspector and grant was passed

1888n23rd June. Attendance still very poor, although there were ninety pupils on the register, and thus work suffered. Poor report from H.M.I. and Mr, Dent’s certificate deferred.

Epidemic of whooping cough raged through the school.

First pupil teacher, a Miss Lucy Nutter. Headmaster deplored the fact that he could not proceed with his teaching nor pupils with their learning when the school was closed for socials and other events.

1890 February. Number on roll had reached 99, 20 children admitted during the year. Sad entry in logbook. “Closed school to-day, my little boy is ill.”

The next entry reads, “The place is still closed; my little boy is dead!”

1897 21st June. Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

9th December. Mr Dent resigned his appointment.

1898-1901 Mr Henry Halton

1898 January. After Christmas holiday Mr Henry Halton took charge of the school. Number on roll: 90.

1898 5th August. Good report received and A. M. Halton (perhaps Mrs Halton) was recognised under Article 68 (perhaps as infant teacher) subject to producing satisfactory medical certificate. During Mr Halton’s headship a Night School flourished and a more varied time- table was used in the day school.

1898 £35 grant made to school under Voluntary School Act, to be used for meetings, apparatus and salaries! These various uses had, of course, to be accounted for by law.

1901 22nd January. Queen Victoria died and Edward became King.

4th May. Henry Halton handed in his resignation as he had an offer of a good appointment.

1901-1906 Mr Edwin Bond

1901 5th August. Edwin Bond became the new headmaster, and his wife

Adelaide Mary Bond, the infant teacher. Some names on the register are, Lucy Wigglesworth, Maurice Smith and Matt Halstead. Mr Bond was worried and disgusted by the lack of discipline and order. However, he reported that, after a few weeks things had improved.

1902 2nd June. 12 o’clock. The vicar came into school to announce the end of the Boer War.

1902 12th July. In Board of Education report, mention was made of attention needed to organisation. The school relied too much on the services of scholar monitresses (“who should not be used except in cases of extreme emergency”) “An additional teacher is urgently needed in upper room."

1903 Log Book Report ~ School Stall

School Managers: The Vicar ~— Rev. J. H. Horrox

John Bollard

Thomas William Smith (Treasurer)

William Lund

James Henry Jackson

Caretaker: Mrs Wigglesworth paid £3 12 0d per annum.

£1 gratuity paid by master.

(Mrs Wigglesworth used to brew tea or cocoa for pupils who lived too far away to go home for dinner and for this they paid 1d).

Paying Pupils 25 at 1p

18 at 2d

41 free paying scholars.

Edwin Bond, certificated teacher, educated Saltley ’79——’80.

Salary £110 per year.

Adelaide Mary Bond, article 50. £40 per year.

Dr. Dean, Medical Officer of Health appointed to oversight of schools and homes. He ordered homes to be disinfected and ordered infected children and their brothers and sisters not to attend school.

15 children left the school as the Ogden reservoirs were complete and the navvies and their families moved on.

Two candidates for pupil teachers, Lizzie Hargreaves and May Boothman

1905 Log entry reads, “I had to dismiss children early to-day owing to influx of gas from the lavatories. Not fit for anyone to be here. The managers have been informed.” Sewage gas subsequently dispelled.

12th December. Butter and cheese craft class was held.

1906 23rd March. The vicar, Rev. J. H. Horrox died and the school was closed for the inquest.

12th July. Mr Bond resigned his duties as Master. The new vicar, the Rev. S. P. Duval visited the school.

1906-1929 Mr J. B. Hodgkins

1906 20th August. Joseph Buck Hodgkins took charge of the school. Mrs Hodgkins commenced duties as assistant in charge of infants. Number on roll: 80. Mr & Mrs Hodgkin’s daughter, Mrs M. Starkie, is at present a school manager

1910 Mr Hodgkins was a very keen gardener and introduced gardening into the school curriculum. A school garden was made and many prizes won at shows.

Reuben Burton, one time pupil of school, being a “half-timer” in 1884.returned to manage Spenbrook Mill. Because of his high regard for Newchurch School he presented books to the pupils each Christmas. This continued through legacy until the death of his son Hilbert in 1967, when Mr Albert Lowden, present manager of the Mill undertook to continue to give the pupils their books. Mr Burton also bequeathed a small annual grant to Newchurch scholars continuing to higher education.

1914-1918 4th August, 1914. Trouble in the Balkan States plunged Britain and Germany into war. Old pupils who fought and died were Dick Boothman, Arthur Pickles, Gerald White and Thomas Wigglesworth.

School leaving age was raised to fourteen. '

1923 Infant room enlarged. Vicar, Rev. C. C. Weston, placed coins and newspapers along with those of 1873 inside a cavity in the wall for posterity to know when the renovations were made. These came to light in 1963 when workmen were enlarging the school to its present size. They also discovered the copper Foundation Commemoration Plaque now proudly displayed in the school entrance, plastered inside the wall when the infant room was built!

1926 Industrial unrest throughout Britain reached Newchurch. Strike at Spenbrook Mill.

School entered garden produce at Barrowford Show and won prizes in vegetable classes.

Nasty smell in infant room was found to be a dead rat.

1927 Re-union of past and present scholars. Briercliffe Prize Band played and £90 was made to clear debts

1929 20th December. Mr & Mrs Hodgkins concluded their duties in the school.

1930 Mrs C. Binney. Mrs C. Binney became the school’s first headmistress, taking charge of standards II and III. Miss Skelton taught the infants and Standard 1.

1930 28th February. Mrs Binney writes, “I relinquish my duties a 4.0 p.m. to-day.” Miss Skelton then took charge for several months, with the help of Mrs Hilton and Mrs Grundy, until a new headmistress was appointed.

Children planted avenue of trees at Barley’s“Arbor Day.”

Older children, 11--14 years now transferred to Barrowford Secondary School, and according to the records the parents disagreed vociferously!

1931--1937 Miss Florence Stephenson

1931 5th January. Miss Florence Stephenson commenced duties as headmistress. School now a one-teacher school with only 15 scholars on roll.

1935 Summer saw the celebration of the Silver Jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary. Sir William Brass presented a picture of the King to the school and a field day was held with concert and races and buns and coffee too.

1936 20th January. King George V died, and another Edward became King.

Miss Stephenson was the first person to switch on electric lights in Newchurch School. Electricity was installed in 1936 and the floor of the large room was replaced.

The School received an excellent report.

11th December. King Edward, still uncrowned, abdicated in favour of his brother, the Duke of York, who became King George VI.

1937 24th January. Rev. C. C. Weston died in a London nursing home.

18th June. Miss Stephenson resigned her duties as head because she was to be married on the 22nd.

1937-1942 Miss Webster

1937 1st August. Miss Webster began duties as headmistress.

Rev. E. Smithies, new incumbent.

1938 18th May. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited Lancashire.

A bus was hired to take the children into Nelson to see them.

The first of the Safety First visits was made by the police who came to teach and show films on Road Safety.

War clouds again lower although Mr Chamberlain returns from Berch-tesgarten with message from Hitler of “Peace in our time.”

1939 However, precautions and preparations are made and gas masks are issued and children suffer the “drill.”

3rd September. 11.00 o’clock. Prime Minister. Mr Neville Chamberlain, announces declaration of war on Germany.

Evacuees arrive in the village from Bradford. Numbers in school go up but Miss Earnshaw came from Bradford with her children and this relieved the situation.

1941 January. A heavy fall of snow kept all but three scholars away so these were sent home and the school was closed

1939-1945 Old scholars killed during hostilities were: Herbert Quinn, Sid Dugdale and Thomas Crook. Miss Webster must have married during her time as head of Newchurch School because her entry for 29th May

1942 reads: “My last day at this school as headmistress, I commence duties at Belthorn School on Monday.” H. Ratcliflfe.

1st June. Mrs Durham became headmistress. Rev. J. S. B. Wallis was inducted as vicar. There was a student teacher in school for the first time.

1945 July saw the end of the war in Europe, the departure for home of the last evacuees and a day holiday to celebrate.

15th August — the end of the war with Japan, after the horror of the Atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The children were taken to Blackpool for the day and some had never seen the sea.

21st August The Quarto Celebrations. Great changes had taken place through the years. School dinners were now cooked and served from school kitchen. Funds were raised to buy school a radio.

21st December. Mrs Durham’s last day as headteacher.

1946-1962 Miss Alice Holt

1st March. Miss Holt took charge of school with 41 scholars on roll.

The Rev. William Frankland vicar.

1947 School leaving_ age raised to 15 years

1949 First Rushbearing Queen. Jane Nutter, was crowned.

1954 School acquired film projector

1955 26th & 27th February, school was closed for two days after heavy falls of snow. Roads blocked.

1956 7th May. Weekly swimming lessons commenced at Nelson Baths.

A record player was provided for school use. Mrs Woolley was assistant cook and Mr Pilling caretaker.

1958 November. — Girls’ playground was resurfaced.

Mrs Jean Cooke appointed caretaker after Mr, Pilling retired.

December. — During Christmas holiday the hall floor was replaced.

1959 3rd July. Mrs Woolley resigned as school cook, Mrs Quinn commenced 26th October

1960 18th April. Easter Day. Rev. & Mrs Frankland left the parish to go to Waddington. Staff and children presented them with gifts.

1961 8th December. Bishop of Blackburn visited the school.

1962 28th February. Heavy fall of snow cut attendance by half

1962 21st December. Miss Holt retired from the headship of Newchurch School and Mrs McCleod resigned to take up an appointment in Cheshire.

1963 — Mrs Edith E. Procter

7th January. Mrs Procter commenced duties as head and Mrs B. Riley as temporary assistant in the infants. 32 pupils on register.

22nd January. School closed for 1% days because of snow. Snowdrifts blocked roads for 5 days. No buses in village.

23rd January. School water supply froze —— emergency supply brought from tap farther up the hill.

7th February. Emergency water supply froze! Mr Markin came in three times a week to fill 2 milk kits and 3 polythene bins at Mrs Maxfield’s shop.

11th March. Work commenced on school extensions. Mrs Riley appointed permanent teacher.

15th March. School had running water again! During the week workmen unearthed two bottles containing newspapers and coins, one of

1874 and one of 1923, and a copper plaque. These were secreted in the walls the year the school and the infant room addition were built.

The plaque commemorates the laying of the foundation stone and is now placed on the right of the door in the main entrance.

During March and April the water supply was more often off than on.

The workmen digging up the drive dug up the water main with it.

11th April. Old Infant room was demolished and all children and all furniture had to be in one room.

17th June. Demolition was complete and actual building commenced.

21st June. Parent-teachers (now Kirk School Society) was formed.

Addressed by Mr W. Morrison, County Organiser for Junior Schools.

5th July. School Prize Distribution. Prizes presented by Mr T. J. A.

Thomas, Divisional Education Officer.

7th October. No heating system in school — had to be heated by 4 convector heaters.

21st October. Infants still without a room — arranged to use spare room in the Vicarage.

5th December. We had heat again in school but by the 18th it was off again. Much of the decorating was finished during the Christmas holidays and the heating system repaired.

1963 18th December. Performance of Nativity in school. This has become an annual event always looked forward to by both parents and children.

20th December. School Christmas Dinner and Party. Fancy Dress Parade.

1964 15th February. The extensions were formally dedicated by the Bishop of Blackburn, the Right Rev. Charles Claxton. Floral displays were by Nelson Parks’ Dept. and School Meals Service provided the buffet tea. It was a most memorable day. Lockwoods, the builders, presented a large silver cup to the school because they were so pleased that the pupils had respected their equipment during the time they were building. They asked that the cup be given annually to the pupil who gave most service to the school in a pleasant and helpful way.

10th May. Day School Sermons. Children sang and spoke own service in church. School Fair and Pet Show.

June —— School Trip to Lytham.

July. Junior children went on holiday to Malham. Stayed at Youth Hostel.’

11th October. Parallel ropes were installed in school for use in Physical Education.

1965 6th January. Sink unit and cupboard fitted in main corridor.

Mrs Holden appointed school secretary.

28th March. Special Mothering Sunday Service in church. Children presented Mothers with flowers and cards.

6th April. School acquired cedar wood garden hut.

July. School holiday this year at Brantwood, Coniston. ,

1st October. Miss L. Pickles resigned as welfare assistant and 6th October. Nave of Blackburn Cathedral re-hallowed in the presence of H.R.H. Princess Margaret. Mrs Procter was privileged to attend this ceremony.

10th October Mrs E. Woolley appointed.

29th November to 1st December. Heavy falls of snow kept children from Sabden Fold and Barley away from school. No buses so once again we were walking.

22nd December. Mrs L. Bradshaw retired from Kitchen staff and subsequently Mrs Cunliffe appointed.

1966 January. Epidemic of mumps — attendance down to 13. It was 14th February before all 34 children were back in school.

7th April. Children made Easter Garden for church. Put in children’s window.

1967 20th March. Ceiling in the large room came dangerously near to dropping and had to be supported until major repairs could be carried out during the summer holidays.

April. During Easter holiday, 3rd and 4th Year children on holiday at Whitehough Camp School.

22nd June. Mrs White (formerly Mrs Riley) infant teacher retired.

7th August. Mrs Whitehead came as supply teacher in the infants.

30th November to 1st March 1968, School was in charge of two supply teachers as no replacement had been appointed for the infant teacher who had retired in June and Mrs Procter, the head teacher, was in hospital to undergo major surgery. Mrs Megan Lees-Whitehead was acting head and Mrs Pamela Thomas, the infant teacher.

1968 9th January. All roads to the village were cut off by snow drifts.

12th March to 11th April. Mrs Esymont, psychologist, was carrying out research programme for Manchester University, testing intelligence of rural children of 5 to 7 years of age.

Television set acquired for use in school.

11th April. Mrs Thomas resigned her temporary appointment and

Mrs Whitehead returned to supply till mid-summer.

Easter. 3rd and 4th Year children again on holiday at Camp School.

1969 2nd July. Councillor and Mrs Taylor Smith presented school with plaque of Burnley R.D.C. Coat of Arms. This hangs to the left in the main entrance and as the Burnley Rural District no longer exists we are proud and grateful to have this memento.

12th August. Mrs Beryl Gibbons commenced duties as infant teacher.

12:41:11 August. A coach full of parents and children travelled to Blackburn Cathedral where the children sang the service “The Creation.”

After a tour of the cathedral we were served tea in: the school.

1969 7th and 20th February —— heavy falls of snow, and this month also we had a chicken pox epidemic.

13th to 17th March — we had snowdrifts again.

April. Mrs D. Coles appointed school secretary.

3rd May. Annual School Fair and Pet Show. Maypole Dancing display by children.

1st July. We watched the Investiture of the Prince of Wales on the television.

4th July. Mrs Gibbons resigned her post here as she was moving to Leicestershire where her husband was taking a headship. Miss Susan Howard was appointed infant teacher in her place.

17th October. Two German teachers visiting schools in the area visited Newchurch School to observe a small English rural school at work.

22nd November. Performance of School Pageant and Old Scholars Reunion in school. The script was written by Mrs Emily Metcalfe of Barley and children. Parents and friends all took part.

1970 18th February. Snow again — February seems to be a bad month for snow.

1st May. Children Maypole dancing in the 3 villages, Roughlee, Barley and Newchurch. Maypole presented to school

12th May. School Decorated.

20th May. Entrance hall and toilet floors tiled.

19th September. Miss Howard was married

1971 15th February. Decimal Day —— and snowing.

11th March. Mr & Mrs A. Ingham gave small silver cup to be presented weekly in junior class to the one pupil showing most effort. The first holder was Beverley Lancashire.

28th May. 4th Year children joined children from Lamberhead Green School, Orrell, in holiday at Brynrefail, Snowdonia.

1st June. Mrs K. Tollady appointed as ancillary staff.

30th June. End of Year Leavers’ Service in church arranged and conducted by children. Parents invited and afterwards to prize giving in school. This has also become an annual event.

Mrs Tollady presented small silver cup for weekly effort in Infant class

2nd October. Children arranged Harvest Thanksgiving Service in school. Parents invited and afterwards gifts were taken to elderly and sick and young mothers. This too is now an annual service.

20th November. School holiday —— Royal Silver Wedding.

1973 Easter. 3rd and 4th year pupils on holiday in Ambleside.

25th May. Mrs Taylforth resigned and Mrs I. Thornton and Mrs M. Bowler taught alternate days in infant class till mid-summer

20th August. Miss J. P. Kearton joined the staff as infant teacher.

14th November. School on holiday for Princess Anne’s Wedding.

This is the first year our children have attempted the Amateur Swimming Association Proficiency in Personal Survival Tests and we gained bronze medals. In 1974 we managed bronze, silver and gold!

Meetings were held concerning the closure of Roughlee and Newchurch schools and the possible building of a new school at Happy Valley.

The cutback in education grants stopped this scheme at least for the time being.

1974 8th March. Social evening with Roughlee Parent-teachers.

13th March. News of pending closure of Fence C.E. School.

1st April. Lancashire Education Division 6 disappeared and Pendle District 13 took its place.

6th April. 4th year children on holiday at Skyreholme, Appletreewick.

6th September. Fence school closed — We have welcomed twenty pupils amongst us and Mrs Kathleen Crabtree has been appointed teacher (part-time) to the lower juniors. 57 children on roll.

School Managers: —~ Rev. J. N. Rowe, Vicar; Mrs E. M. Starkie;

Mr Selwyn Woolley, Mr Adam Metcalfe, Mr Jack Cooke.

Mr Tom Nutter our longest serving school manager died in July.



This short history has been compiled from the record books of this school and I am indebted to my predecessors for their painstaking care in recording the daily events in the life of the school and in the safe keeping of the documents.


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