Hidden in Plain Sight – Post 38

In May 1720 a group of 22 townsmen successfully petitioned the Bishop to license Thomas Bourne as a Grammar School Master. Lord Macclesfield built a school house in 1723. Thomas Bourne had around 40 pupils in 1751 and he died in 1771.

The school had no endowment. The Earls of Macclesfield remained the owners of the building and the school Master had to pay a small rent but was also responsible for the buildings upkeep. the school Masters income, apart from school fees, came from the charity of George Roades (Rector of Blithfield) whose Will provided for the establishment of an english school at Leek for poor children aged 6 to 10 years old. Eventually enough money was received from stock investment. The income from which was used to pay the Master to teach poor children to read.

The school could generally support a Master and an Usher but only if one or both had other employment.

E.F.T Ribbans, who became the school Master in the 1850’s, left his job and the town in 1860 after well publicised accusations that he had fathered an illegitimate child.

In 1870 the schoolhouse was in poor repair and no longer suitable. There was little demand for a traditional grammar school, never the less, the inspector for the Royal Commission on Grammar Schools stated the school should continue as a feeder for a high school.

Joseph Sykes became the school Master in 1870, and shortly afterwards the income from the Roades Charity was assigned to another school. Joseph Sykes ran the school until 1900 when it finally closed. The Earl of Macclesfield sold the building in 1919.

During the 1990’s it was used by various voluntary groups and is currently the H.Q for a Scout group.

The inscribed stone over the front door reads, “This building erected by the Earl of Macclesfield, Lord Chancellor of Great Britain, Anno Domini 1723”.

The old grammar school was granted a Grade II listing on 13 April 1951 by English Heritage.

Shooting Information:
Canon EOS 550D & 18-55mm Kit Lens
Exposure 1/13, Aperture f/13.0, ISO 100, Focal Length 21mm

One thought on “Hidden in Plain Sight – Post 38

  1. great moody image very well reflecting that turbulent history


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