Ashbury School & Village Hall


Old Scholars Day – 5th July 2015

On Sunday 5 July, around 25 pupils who had attended Ashbury School prior to 1961, met at the newly refurbished Village Hall.  Some people brought photographs, and the photograph Ken Lawrence provided of pupils from 1948 created a lot of discussion.  At the end of the afternoon all but three of the pupils on the photograph had been named.  On display was a photograph taken of 85 mothers and children at an Infant Welfare Party in 1949.  Many faces were recognised and names written down.   A book of living history was circulated and the information brought back memories.  In particular a number of people vividly remember the painting Boyhood of Raleigh’ by J E Millais which  had always hung on the wall in the top class – what happened to it?    Some of the people attending the Old Scholars’ afternoon still live in Ashbury, but others hadn’t seen each other for years, so there was plenty of chat!    Everyone enjoyed tea and home-made cake before saying farewell.





 1948 unknown circled irfan2

Most of those in the 1948 photograph shown above were named by those attending the Old Scholars Day, but the 3 circled children remain nameless.  Can you help identify them? If so call 01793 710800 to discuss further.  See enlarged photo below.

class 1948 unknown circled

Historical Background

Ashbury’s first Village Hall was constructed, with financial assistance from Lady Craven, from three condemned cottages located opposite the gate of St Mary’s church. Named the Jubilee Hall, it was used for many years, not only for social functions, but also as a base for the Home Guard and for performances by a travelling cinema that toured the Vale at that time. In 1724 money was raised by local gentlemen and Lord Craven for a Charity School in Ashbury so that children of the poor, aged between 7 and 12, could be rescued from a life of vagrancy and theft. The National School was built in 1864 and comprised one large hall, heated by stoves, with a dais at the centre where the master stood to supervise the pupils. Attendance was initially at the discretion of the parents or employers but in 1880 attendance was made compulsory and in 1891 education became free. Following construction of the new Ashbury with Compton Beauchamp C of E Primary School in 1961, the vacated National School was used as a Village Hall. At her death, Lady Craven bequeathed the National School building and the adjacent Head Master’s House for the use of the people of Ashbury. The latter house was sold and the funds put into a Trust to provide for the upkeep of the fabric of the Village Hall. The Jubilee Hall near the Church has been restored to a family dwelling.

Ashbury’s Jubilee Hall located in Church Lane, opposite St Mary’s Church – 1960 (courtesy P.A.W.)

Ashbury School (left) and School Masters’ House (right) – 1915 (Courtesy P.A.W.)

Ashbury School (left) and School Master’s House (right) – 1920 (Courtesy P.A.W.)

Ashbury Village Hall (left) and private dwelling (right) – 1992 (Courtesy Peggy Burns)

Village Hall (left) and private dwelling (right) – 2008 (Courtesy Diane McLaren)

Ashbury Village Hall – 2008 (Courtesy Margaret Smith)

Ashbury School Events Across the Years

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Ashbury School Pupils Across the Years

Ashbury School Group Photo – date unknown

Ashbury School Group II – date unknown (courtesy Anne Disbury)

Back row: Frank Cotrell, Sid Tilling, ? Ayres, E Reason, ? Reason, ? Reason, Ruth Simpson, Frances Withers

Middle Row: Frances Bunce, Unknown, ? Lawford, Liz Winter, Anges Fitchett, Edie Bunce, Vie Partridge, ? Lawford

Front Row: Unknown, “soldier” New, Bernard Wright, Reg Jeffries, Joe Lovegrove, Tom New, Henry Lawford, B Simpson’s brother (names supplied by Joyce Jordan – can you identify any of the other children? )

Class of 1898 (Courtesy Gordon Reade)

Class of unknown date (Courtesy Gordon Reade)

Class of unknown date (Courtesy Gordon Reade)

Class of 1935 (Courtesy Gordon Reade)

School Display Team of 1936 (Courtesy Gordon Reade)

Musical Trio (Betty Sherman, Abigail Reade and Beryl ?) circa 1935 (Courtesy Gordon Reade)

Ashbury School Bamboo Pipe Band – mid to late 1930’s (courtesy Ray Gigg)

Back Row:(??), John Dunford, George New, Madge Day, Mr Cully (Headmaster), Betty Kingstone,(??), Betty Sherman

Middle Row: Eunice Pill, Margaret Tombs, Cyril New, John Bunce, (??), (??)

Front Row:(??). Freda Price, (??), (??), Abigail Reade, (??)

School children circa 1938 (Courtesy Ray Gigg)

Middle Row: Doris Sealey 1st left; Sylvia Bunce 4th left

Front Row: Lawrence Tabor 1st left; John Williams 3rd left; Jim Price 4th left; Bill Luker 5th left

Miss White’s Class (courtesy Ray Gigg)

Miss Mildenhall’s Class (courtesy Ray Gigg)

Junior Class of 1959 (Courtesy Gordon Reade)

Senior Class of 1959 (Courtesy of Gordon Reade).

Maureen Tilling (middle row last left) ; David Tilling (bottom row third from left); Edward Toombs ( bottom row fifth from left).