Schools

Schools

Whilst today Forncett has just one school, located in Forncett St. Peter, there have in the past also been primary schools in Forncett St. Mary and in Forncett End.

Forncett St. Mary

In Forncett St. Mary a school was established by the Rev. Thomas Jack who served a rector from 1805 to 1844. The school was built on Low Road, almost opposite St. Mary's church. The land for the school was originally purchased on 28th May 1814 from William and Elizabeth Doe and conveyed to the Rector and his successors.

Forncett St. Mary school
Forncett St. Mary school

The building had apparently ceased to be a school by 1925 as it is not mentioned in the Kelly's Directory of that year. On 10th April 1952 a trust deed signed over the former Forncett St Mary School (the property of the Church) to the Trustees of Forncett Village Hall for the sum of £200. The deed stated that 'the building was many years ago closed as a school and is no longer used as such'. The building has served as Forncett Village Hall ever since. 

Forncett Village Hall
Forncett Village Hall

Forncett St Peter 

The school in Forncett St. Peter was originally a one-roomed school with a teachers' house, built in 1848. It was later extended in length to include a second room, and a flat-roofed extension was added in 1895. The photograph below shows that in the 1930s the building was essentially unchanged, and the original structure can still be seen today!

Forncett St Peter school c.1930
Forncett St Peter school c.1930

Forncett End

In 1873 steps had been taken at the Vestry Meeting to open an infant school in Forncett End.

Vestry Minutes 20 Feb 1873

Meeting in National School Room chaired by Rev W G Wilson (12 others present). "It was unanimously agreed (1) that the vacant shop belonging to Mr Spratt be hired for the purpose of an Infant School at Forncett End, to accommodate 25 young children under 8 years of age, at an annual rent of £7 to commence on the 1st of April next..."

Mr. Spratt's former shop front at Maltings Farm
Mr. Spratt's former shop front at Maltings Farm

This was perfectly understandable as there in the hamlet adjacent to the main road to Norwich a large concentration of population had developed, where a large number of tradesmen were operating; carriers were also available to ferry goods and passengers to the county town.

Almost 20 years later, 23 Nov 1892, the teacher, Mrs Martha CASTON, retired after long and successful service (She was 74!), and a new teacher was sought. Agreement was also reached on hiring the Baptist Chapel School Room at a rent of £4. (This building stood next to the chapel but was completely rebuilt as domestic accommodation in the late 20th C.)

A meeting of the Infant School Committee was held at Forncett St Peter Rectory on 3 Apr 1893 when Miss Edith RYE was regarded as the most suitable candidate. However, by January 1894, when the Infant School Committee met again, the accounts for the previous year were presented and a deficit of £14.16.0 was highlighted. "It was generally agreed that to carry on the School was impossible."

The following resolutions were passed:

  • That the Infant School be continued until Easter 1894 under Miss L. Williams and then be finally closed and
  • That notice be given to the Trustees of the Baptist Chapel that the agreement for hiring the School would be determined at the April quarter day.

From the accounts of 1893 it can be seen that Mrs Caston was paid £8.6.8 and received £1.5.0 rent and coal allowance. This suggests she was probably living in the cottage adjacent. Miss Rye's salary for 8 months amounted to £23.6.8.

Income for running the school came principally from rent from the Town House (£9) and School Land (£2.15.0) plus annual subscriptions from the following: the Rector, the Dean of Wells, Sir F. Boileau, Lt Col Unthank, A. Day, H. F. Wilson, Messrs Steward & Patteson, Thomas Palmer and F. H. Jollye. These were mainly landowners in this part of the parish, as stipulated in the original agreement on the Infant School.