Skip Navigation

Welcome to Bedford Borough Council

Home > Community Histories > Tebworth > Chalgrave Wesleyan School

Chalgrave Wesleyan School

The Wesleyan Sunday School about 1900 [Z1306-26-5]
The Wesleyan Sunday School about 1900 [Z1306/26/5]

The Wesleyan School at Tebworth opened in 1838 [MB/TEB/5/1874]. Sadly, although having some material on the chapel, Bedfordshire and Luton Archive and Record Service has very little on the school. In One Hundred and Fifty Years of Witness 1843-1993, a history of the Dunstable Methodist Circuit, the comment is made that the Sunday school was "probably the oldest Methodist building in continuous use in the Circuit". It preceded Wesleyan Schools at Toddington and Dunstable by sixteen and fifteen years respectively.

The first Education Act was passed in 1870 (more correctly it was known as the Elementary Education Act). It was a milestone in the provision of education in Britain demonstrating central government's unequivocal support for education of all classes across the country. The Act required a questionnaire of local schools in 1870 and Tebworth reported that the Wesleyan School had accommodation for 83 children.

The Old School House and former Sunday School February 2013
The Old School House and former Sunday School February 2013

At some point before 1904 the school closed, as it is not listed as school premises in a survey undertaken in that year of all schools owned by the Local Education Authority. The last mention of it in a directory is in Kelly's for 1890 when James Bransom is listed as schoolmaster. The next Kelly's, for 1894, does not mention the school. The premises continued in use as a Sunday school for the Wesleyan Methodists, however and the schoolhouse continued to be leased out by the Sunday School Trustees.

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 laid down that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. The valuer visiting Tebworth found that the Sunday school house was occupied by Mrs Osborn who paid rent of £10 per annum. Her accommodation comprised two reception rooms, a kitchen, three bedrooms and a boxroom. A brick and slate earth closet stood outside. The valuer commented: “Better type”

The schoolhouse was sold in 1968 [MB2/TEB/6/4059]. The Sunday School closed in 1990 and was sold in 1993.

The Old School House February 2013
The Old School House February 2013