Soon after the 1870 Education Act, the Bouverie Pusey family of Pusey Estate built Charney school for the village. They owned the land around Charney and had built the New Road and its houses for their estate and farm workers.
Kelly’s Directory of Berkshire, 1887 records;
Kelly’s Directory of Berkshire, 1899 records;
Kelly’s Directory of Berkshire, 1915 records enlargement of the school;
The school continued to educate the children from Charney and Lyford from five to fourteen years until just after the Second World War when it was closed through lack of numbers.
It was re-opened, this time for five to eleven year old children who would go on to Faringdon and later Wantage Schools. When Denchworth School closed, the children from Denchworth also came to Charney. In July 1981 the number of children attending the Charney (Bouverie Pusey) School dropped to thirteen and the school was closed for the last time.
The school building was put up for sale by tender in 1986 – School Sale Document (PDF).
BERKSHIRE EDUCATION COMMITTEE – Stag facing left.
NEVER ABSENT NEVER LATE – Female figure representing learning, open book in lap, with children gathered around, one holding another book and a hat/boater to the right. All within laurel leaves.
EDGE – The recipient’s name is inscribed on the edge.
The name on this one is ‘Alice Bond‘. Do you know who she or her family is? If so please let us know at the history website – we would love to hear.
The Longworth Parish Magazine September 1907 records: Prize-giving at the School. – Two boys, Sidney Dance and Charles Talbot, received the “never absent, never late” award. Charles Talbot also won the diocesan prize for Religious Knowledge, and received a prize for good conduct. The prizes were presented by Mrs F J Taylor.
In July 1910 – The Bishop’s prize of a Prayer Book, given for the best knowledge of Bible, and Prayer Book subjects was won by Edward Hammond, certificates being given to Vera Bedwell and Willie Fuller. The County Council’s medals for perfect attendance during the year were given to Dorothy Gadwell and Archie Parker, and book prizes were given : (1) for general proficiency to H. Chamberlain, E. Woodbridge, M. Kerridge, V. Bedwell, N. Fuller, C. Franklin, S. Large, S. Fuller, E. Parker; (2) for good conduct to Eva Wheeler, E. Hayden, Owen Fuller, A. Belcher, W. Fuller; (3) for good attendance to D. Bedwell, E. Barrett, K. Kerridge, T. Kerridge, A. Parker, H. Wheeler. G. Woodbridge, Archie Parker, T. Wheeler, G. Belcher, C. Bedwell, P. Gilbert. (See 1910 school photo below for some of the children).
Joe Ody -3rd from right, back row
Pat – 3rd from right, front row
Nancy Haines (front row left), Harold Haines (2nd from right)
School photo c1910
*, Freddie? Hayden [L], *, Alder, *, *, Walter(?) Bedwell [L]
*, Hawkins? [Bedlam], *, * ,*, *
Alfred Butler, *, *, Connie Bedwell [L], *, Phyllis Gilbert [L], Violet Butler, Freda Cox
*, *, Henry Cox, Nellie Wheeler, Lurline Ballard [L], Helda Douglas, *, *, Hayden [L]
Kneeling front row L to R:
Diana Sharpus, Brenda Dore, Shirley Mills, Wendy Hodgkins, Daphne Wheeler, Ruth Sharpus
Standing L to R:
Far left – Valarie Cripps, Snowman – Roger Stevens, Elf – Tony Dore, Star hatted – Maureen Clarke, far right – Peter Stevens
Behind Wendy Hodgkins – Harold Cox, just right of snowman – Joanna Ody and Colin Wheeler
The Christmas Concerts
Longworth Parish Magazine, March 1909
The Christmas Concert, held early in January, was a complete success. On January 28, through the kindness of Mrs Pusey, the school children enjoyed a Tea and Treat, at which each child received a present. The distribution of the Sunday School and other prizes was followed by a dance.
Longworth, Parish Magazine 1911, February 1911
A very enjoyable Entertainment was given by the School-children just before their breaking up for the holidays on Wednesday, December 21, at 7 p.m., the main feature of the Entertainment being a musical play, “The Snowman,” preceded and followed by songs and recitations in character.
Bad Conduct – School Punishment Book
The School Punishment Book (May 1902 – Jan 1943) is held in the Oxford History Centre (and a copy by the History Group).
Balling out; talking while a visitor was in school; whistling; talking; coming late; talking whilst mistress was speaking to a visitor; careless work in dictation; taking coloured chalk; taking her neighbour’s dinner; dirty work in exercise book; throwing water over ‘x’ and wetting him through; playing during lesson; talking during marching time; spitting on the floor; bad behaviour during prayers; insubordination; throwing an article to class teacher instead of passing it; throwing a stone which broke school window; giving an impudent answer; grinning when punished; not learning the spelling set for homework; destruction of new paper given them on which to do homework (prep sketch plan of Charney); throwing blotting paper or cotton wool (soaked in ink) about the room; writing a rude rhyme on drawing board; climbing up wall of school causing damage.
These usually resulted in punishment of 1 or 2 ‘stripes/strokes with the cane’, sometimes 3.
The Log books for the school are held in The Berkshire Records office, Reading ref C/EL 41/2. Example extracts are given below.
Vol 1 starts 19 October 1877
Dec 7th 1877 ‘punished several boys for staying away in the morning to go hunting’
73 Children in 1899
78 in 1904
Vol 2 starts 22 Nov 1894… Oct 1923 (no mentions of the the war)
‘I have examined the Register this morning and have found them quite correct. W H Bath. Manager’
‘13 March 1915. Received a communication from the Education Office that boys over 12 years of age who have been excused from attendance to enable them to take up agricultural employment are still under legal obligation to attend school under the Bye-laws and their names must not be removed from the school register. Also they must be entered for medical inspection at the next inspection and should be entered on the schedule for those children about to leave.’
St Mary’s Longworth Parish Magazine 1910
The post of Assistant Teacher at the Schools, rendered vacant by the resignation of Miss Stevenson, has been filled by Miss Collett, from Maidenhead, who commenced her duties on Monday, April 11.
A number of improvements and repairs have been made at the Schools in accordance with the wishes of the County Council. The Schools were reopened on Tuesday, September 13 after six-weeks’ holiday.
Charges for letting of school premises 20 July 1950
School Building Layouts
1870 to (Pre-extension) c1962+
The drawing below, by Ruth Gerring, shows the layout of the school in 19??. This seems to have remained largely unchanged since the school was built shortly after the Education Act in 1870.
The two school rooms were used according to how many pupils were in Infants or the Older class.
The girls’ toilets and we think a staff toilet were adjacent to the fields in the South West Corner of the plot and the boys’ toilets were where what is now (2020) the asphalted entrance to the disused McBains builders yard. The toilets were emptied via a truck that used to visit or disposed on to the field (see item below).
The coke store we think was brick structure to the south of the school adjacent to the boys’ playground.
In 1962 Sutton Griffin & Sweetnam, 87 Northbrook Street, Newbury drew up plans for extensions to the school and this became the layout until closure. The original ‘Little Room’ was converted to a cloakroom and toilets and a large class room added to the North West together with a staff room, staff toilets and a kitchen. The plans are held in the Berkshire Records Office.
Lavatory Bucket Disposal 1950s
Original copy held in Berkshire Records Office
Form of Tenancy Agreement
To:- The Clerk,
Berkshire County Council,
I, George Curtis [pensioner] of “Twoways”, Charney in the County of Berks offer to the Berkshire County Council for the Council’s function as Local Education Authority for the Bouverie Pusey School Charney aforesaid a tenancy of all that piece or parcel of land of .024 acres or thereabouts situate on the west side of and being adjacent to the said Bouverie Pusey School, and which is more particularly delineated on the plan annexed hereto and thereon coloured pink for the purpose of disposing there on of the contents of the lavatory buckets used at the said Bouverie Pusey School, on the following terms and conditions:-
- The tenancy shall endure for one year from the 24th June, 1950, and shall continue thereafter until determined by either party giving to the other six month’s notice in writing expiring at the end of a school term.
- The consideration in respect of the tenancy to be at the rate of 10/- per annum, and shall be payable by equal half-yearly instalments on the 24th June and 25th December in each year
- This offer, together with a written acceptance shall constitute the agreement.
To:- G Curtis Esq,
I, Harold John Cooke Neobard the Clerk and duly authorised Agent of the Berkshire County Council agree on behalf of the County Council to become the tenant of this land on the terms and conditions above stated
Originals held by Joe Ody
Reading Evening Post – Monday 21 July 1969
School plan re-think after opposition
Evening Post Reporter
A PROPOSAL to close a Berkshire primary school is being reconsidered because the school’s managers have strongly opposed it. Mrs Barbara Sheasby, chairman of Berkshire Education Committee’s schools’ management sub-committee said the committee wanted to re-examine its plans to close Denchworth Primary School, near Wantage, alfer consultations with the school’s managers. Her committee reported that a representative of the education department met the managers to discuss the future of the school on July 2.
It was clear that the managers, who claim to be speaking not only for themselves but for the people of the village, are opposed to the discontinuance of the school despite the inadequacy of the buildings and site and the small number on roll.” The committee’s report adds that the managers objected to sending the children to a neighbouring school in Charney. two miles away, when they had what they considered as a good a school on the doorstep. They thought it wrong for infant children to have to remain away from home for the whole of the school day. The managers visited Charney Bassett School but felt there was insufficient room to absorb the children from Denchworth where there are 18 pupils.
Faringdon Advertiser and Vale of the White Horse Gazette – Saturday 22 February 1913
CONCERT. —A very successful concert was given in the Schoolroom Friday in last week. The items, with but one exception, were presented the scholars Bouverie-Pusey School. A French minuet by six infante girls was much appreciated, while “A nursery rhyme tea-party” was prettily performed by Ruby Clapton and six infants. Special mention must be made of the “Singaphone,” in which Miss Marjorie Kerridge as “Professor,” and Mister A. Parker as “Billy,” caused much amusement, and were re-called by an appreciative audience. A short play entitled “Grump’s blunder,” was well received, the characters being sustained by :—W. Hammond as “Grumpy” ; M. Kerridge “Mrs Grumpy”; K. Kerridge as “Britannia” (servant); J. Roberts as “Tom Flinders”; W. Mayers as “Village constable”; K. Mayers, E. Read, and C. Franklin as “Village women.” During the interval Mr Kerridge kindly recited.
Mr Pike, Lyford. Charney School 1903
Berkshire Chronicle – Saturday 01 November 1879
WEST BERKS ASSOCIATION OF CHURCH SCHOOL MANAGERS AND TEACHERS.
The eighteenth meeting of this association was held at Charney on Saturday, October 18, the kind invitation of the Rev. J. Whitehurst.
Rev. D. Camilleri, vicar of Lyford. read paper on “Superfluities and Deficiencies in English Elementary Schools.” Premising his remarks by some extracts from the inquiries of our predecessors, he referred to a report of the National School Society of 1840, in which he heard of a population of three thousand with no school of any kind, of a district of eight thousand in which about a hundred received instruction for hour or two on Sundays, of another population of eleven hundred with an excellent school for boys but not for girls, of a parish of eighteen thousand which only two hundred received week day instruction, and that not in Church school. The Parliamentary Committee 1838 anticipated the greatest evils to society unless persevering and strenuous efforts were made to cope with the prevailing grievance and an Inspector of National Schools reported in 1840 that the most ignorant classes supplied the rioters of 1830. Comparing the state of other countries at the same period he instanced American manufacturer who did not like to employ English workmen because they were so dissipated…………
Reading Evening Post – Tuesday 02 May 1972
SCHOOL-BY-SCHOOL REVIEW OF CHANGES
These are the Berkshire primary schools losing staff. The reduction follows the name of the school and includes cuts in part-time teachers, shown as decimals. …….
Charney, The Bouverie, Pusey, 0.1
Faringdon Advertiser and Vale of the White Horse Gazette – Saturday 21 November 1908
PUBLIC HEALTH REPORT. Mr Gerard C. Taylor, County Medical Officer of Health, has just issued a voluminous report on the health of the County for 1907. We cull the following digest relating to the Faringdon Rural District.
For diphtheria, school closure was found necessary Kingston Lisle, Charney Bassett, Buckland, Hinton Waldrist, Faringdon, and Longworth; also at Charney Bassett, Buckland and Hinton Waldrist on account scarlet fever.
School Attendance Offence
Faringdon Advertiser and Vale of the White Horse Gazette – Saturday 05 January 1918
PETTY SESSIONS, TUESDAY.
Present: Captain F. C. Loder-Symonds (in the chair) and Mr J. Fletcher.
SCHOOL ATTENDANCE CASES.
George Clapton, Charney, was summoned for a similar offence in respect to his child Ruby, aged 13, who, the School Attendance Officer stated, had made 81 attendances out of possible 128. Sickness accounted for four absences; on other occasions she had driven a milk cart from Charney to Challow and had not reached school until after the register had been called. The defendant had written a letter to the Education Committee in which he stated that the child had only been kept home by illness, and on the day named she was ill in bed with influenza, and it would have been practically murder to compel her to go to school. The officer stated that the child was absent from school in the morning of that day but was present in the afternoon. The Chairman said the defendant had made excuses in the letter which were not true, and he would be fined 10s. He ought to have been present to answer the charge.