We are indebted to Neil Jackson for providing us with this snippet of Weston history, which connects neatly with our research on Weston Park/Grove House.
Excerpt from “A Weston Miscellany” by Weston Village Townswomen’s Guild, 1999
“In 1795 Miss Resbury Hocker started a school in The Grove. She was helped by Baron Daly who established free schools in various cottages around Weston and encouraged the education of children up to the age of 12 years. Teachers were paid the princely sum of 3/- a quarter. Miss Hocker died in 1802 – she had been a great benefactor, and left many books to the community.
“Between 1802 and 1814 there was no school at all in the village, but it was reported late in 1814 that ‘the laudable design of establishing a charity school on Dr Bell’s system in the populous Parish of Weston met with good support’ and that ‘a Schoolroom would shortly be erected, capable of containing 120 children’. Therefore, the National Society was approached and, in 1817, the Parish Hall was built and used as the village school.
“In 1830, a Mr [George] Browning established a commercial school at The Batch. This was a boarding school and pupils were housed in The Grove and Trafalgar Road. The Headmaster, Mr George [Browning], lived in Lansdown House. Mr Albert [Browning] succeeded Mr George [Browning] but he resigned in 1891 and built The Homestead. When Mr Cloutte became headmaster of the school it did not prosper and he resigned in 1897. It finally closed down in 1903.
“A contemporary of the Browning school was the Portway Middle Class Boarding School, which was housed in Combe Park. It opened in 1868 and the fees were five guineas a quarter for children under nine years old. We are told that the pupils attended All Saints Church and were regularly chastised for sitting in the gallery and firing pellets at the parish clerk. Sometime in the late 1800s it was taken over by Mrs Cloutte who established a girls’ school there. Finally, in 1898, it was purchased by Chivers the bookbinders.”
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