The School’s Financial Support in Times Past

This article originally appeared in Belbroughton Parish Magazine in October 2012.

A school plays an important part in any village community, and this is certainly true of Belbroughton’s C of E Primary School.  The pupils enjoy the support of a lively Parent Teacher Association which, through its various fund raising activities, gives valuable financial assistance to supplement amenities. How does this compare with the school in days gone by?

Details of the school’s finances in the mid-1800’s are listed on a hand-written sheet of paper, held in the County Record Office (Ref.BA 5427 850-5).  This has been copied from a book, so far untraced, and is in parts almost unreadable!  Nonetheless it makes an interesting comparison with Belbroughton School in 2012!

By George Griffith
Preface dated Kidderminster 1st May 1852

Belbroughton Free School                        Not Classical

A school house was erected some years ago in this parish, the expense of which was raised by voluntary contributions.  It is a single room, built of stone, situate near the church, and within this building, a school was carried on for some time by [small?] contributions raised for the purpose, which have since received the following [the access?] from the bounty of certain individuals.

The interest of £100, at £4-4-0 per cent, has been for some time paid by Mrs Catherine Noel, in pursuance of a bequest of Mr George Garbett in 1750. £20 is also in the hands of the Rector, paid by the executors of Mr Joseph Brecknell, as executor of Mr Thomas Griffen, who appears to have given the same in the year 1758.  The Rector [pays?] for it five per cent interest.

Five shillings per annum is paid by a [Mr William?] for the benefit of the school, as the interest of £5, given, as it is said, by [? Garbett].  The sum of £5 is annually applied towards the support of the school, as a rent charge issued out of land at Forefield, in the occupation of John Phesey, which rent charge was given by a person of the name of Carpenter, concerning which no more information can be obtained. All these sums, resulting together £10-9-0 are paid to the schoolmaster.

There has recently been built a room over the boys’ school for girls.  The master teaches ten boys free of educational charge, and there are about forty who pay two pence per week. They are all taught reading, writing, arithmetic and geography.

The master, Mr John Ware, was appointed at Christmas 1851, and came from training institution of St. Marks. His total salary is £60, made up from the endowments, subscriptions, and a yearly [charity sum?].

Belbroughton lies between Stourbridge and Bromsgrove. It contains 5000 acres, and the population is 1800.

The Bell Inn, in this village, was one of the places King Charles visited on his flight from Worcester to Boscobel.  This parish is a complete belfry: there is Bell Hall, Moorhall Bell, Bell End Mill, to say nothing of the Belbroughton Belles, which have been the toast of the parish time [?].

Some of this must be “Tongue in cheek”!  The King Charles reference is believed to be a myth!