The Roots of Education

In the churchyard of St Mary's Rolleston is a building now used as a parish room. However, it has an interesting history. This building was 'The Rolleston Free Grammar School'.

It was founded in 1520 by a native of the village, one Robert Sherborne, Bishop of Chichester. At this time the schoolmaster had for his wages 10 a year, which was paid quarterly. The money was received from the Dean and Chapter of Chichester by the Churchwardens annually, in London, on the 11th Day of November.

The school's original Tudor building was burnt down and the present one replaced it in 1638. In those days scholars were to be present at 6 o'clock am in the summer and 7 o'clock in the winter.

It was when the new primary school was built in 1909 that the Rolleston Free Grammar school ceased to function.

In 1840 a girl's school had been opened at the cast end of St Mary's churchyard, and is now the British Legion room. In 1854 a new Infants' school was built onto this building.

It was on Thursday July lst 1909 that Thomas Pickard A.C.P. took charge of the new Rolleston Council School, on School Lane, he had previously been the head master of the Grammar school. One hundred and sixteen children were admitted.

By the late 1960's the school building on School Lane was too small for the number of children on roll.

On September 1st 1968 Mr B G Lakin took over the duties of Headteacher of the newly formed Alderbrook Junior School on Chapel Lane, for children aged 7-11 and Mrs M Bailey became Headteacher of the Robert Sherborne Infants' school, using the 1909 school building, for children aged 4 - 7 years. Mr Lakin was followed by Mr C.W. Kendall 1970-1983.

The schools remained separate until the 1st September 1990 when they were amalgamated as the John of Rolleston Primary School under the headship of Mr G J Arblaster. There were, at this time 302 children on roll. At the time of writing, the number on roll is 386.

R. A. Baker

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This site was created by Richard Bush

Last updated: 5 April 2000