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Early Education in Blunham

Volume 81 published by Bedfordshire Historical Records Society (2002) is a series of episcopal visitations undertaken in the first twenty years of the 18th century, edited by former County Archivist Patricia Bell. At each visitation a list of questions was sent out in advance, one of which enquired about the provision of schools in each parish. There was no school in the parish in 1706, 1717 or 1720.

The 1725 will of Blunham scrivener Gawin Stanger [ABP/W1725/27] mentions a schoolroom in his house. This may be either a room used to teach his own children or might imply that some sort of small village school was held at his house, suggesting he may also have been the teacher. A scrivener was someone who kept records and drew up legal documents such as bonds and might act as a secretary and so had to both read and write well, which would clearly qualify him to teach the skills to the young. In 1750 Thomas Bromsall left a bequest to pay for a schoolmaster [X336/4 and X612/21]. A letter of 1816 mentioned a likely site for a school in the parish [L30/11/40/5]. It would appear that these late 18th/early 19th century schools were either charitable or, perhaps, a mixture of charity and subscriptions from the parents of those attending.