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Campton Academy

Campton Manor by Thomas Fisher 1812 [X258/88/84a]
Campton Manor by Thomas Fisher 1812 [X258/88/84a]

Rev Thomas Wilkinson stated in an advertisement of 1805 (see below) that he had been at Campton Academy 23 years indicating that it was founded in or around 1782, perhaps coinciding with the sale of Campton Manor, in which the school resided. The Northampton Mercury of 11th July 1795 carried an advertisement by Wilkinson for the academy: "Mr W[ilkinson], truly sensible of the many Obligations he is under to his Friends, returns them his sincere Thanks; and begs Leave to inform them and the Public, that his SCHOOL opens again for the reception of Borders on Monday the 20th instant".

"The Greek and Latin languages are taught on a Plan which is generally adopted, and which Experience proves to be both early and effectual. Mathematics, Mensuration, Accounts, and the Use of the Globes are particularly attended to, as is also the French language, taught by an Emigrant of Education and Abilities".

"Music, Dancing and Drawing by masters who attend occasionally".

"Mr W., for the Goodness of his Moral Character and Abilities in the Conduct of his School, refers himself to his Friends and to those who know him; and in this Confience solicits a Continuance of their Protection".

On the inclosure of Campton in 1797-1799 the field behind the Manor is called Academy Field. Wilkinson left the school in 1805 as the following placed in the Northampton Mercury of 10th July shows: "The Rev THOMAS WILKINSON, being under the Necessity of residing upon his Living in Kent, has resigned his Situation at Campton to the Rev G J DAVIES AM"

"The Favours he has received from many valuable Friends during a Period of twenty-three Years, he will always remember with the sincerest Gratitude. A Continuance of their Favours he now begs Leave to solicit for his Friend and Successor, who, from his long Experience as an instructor of Youth, is well qualified to conduct the serious Concerns of a School".

Davies wriote his advertisement directly beneath: "The Rev G J DAVIES AM (late Master of the Academy at Prince's Risborough, Bucks), begs Leave to communicate to his Friends and the Public, that he has succeeded the Rev T WILKINSON in the above Establishment; where he proposes to board, and with able Assistants, to instruct YOUNG GENTLEMEN in the English, Latin, Greek, and French Languages, and the other useful and necessary Branches of Education, at twenty-five Guineas per Annum, without Entrance-Money".

"Mr DAVIES begs Leave to add, that, as well from the Testimonies to which he is already empowered to refer, as from an habitual and unremitting Attention to the Health, Morals and Improvement of the Pupils entrusted to his Care and Tuition, he trusts that he shall be found, on Experience, to merit that Confidence and Patronage to which he aspires solely on these Principles, having satisfactorily devoted many Years to the general Instruction of Youth, principally as Assistant to Mr Wright's Academy, Aspley, Bedfordshire".

"Music, Dancing, Drawing and other extra Sciences, taught by competent Masters".

"Coaches daily from Town, Sundays excepted; a coach from Kettering three Times a Week".

"NB The School opens again, after the Recess, on MONDAY the 22nd Instant".

Thomas Fisher's drawing above was made in 1812. the buildings on the left-hand side may well represent the school buildings. In 1833 the return to the entral government concerning education sent from Campton noted that the academy had eighteen boys. By 1839, to judge by a directory of that year, Davies had been succeeded by William West. The 1841 census stated that he was fifty that year, married to Susan, of the same age and that he was a farmer. By the time of the 1851 census he is described as a farmer, born in Henlow, a 63 year-old widower. There is no mention of the academy in the countywide directory of 1847. In 1855 West was recorded in a terrier of Sir George Osborn's as still occupying the school house in Campton [O163]. However, the evidence above suggests that the school itself closed about 1840.