Highnam Old School (with adjoining small house for the teacher) was built at the same time as the church of the Holy Innocents. It was a National School and comprised one L-shaped room with rows of benches and desks screwed to the floor. A small raised area was provided for the infants with their benches rising in steps. Lighting was provided by oil lamps and heat by a coal fire. There were earth closets outside.
In 1851, there were 45 pupils, including 11 from Lassington. The children were from cottages in the village, their parents mostly working either on the land or at the Court. Fees of 4d per week for older children and 2d a week for younger children were paid until 1891, when elementary education became free and compulsory. The school roll then rose to 70. School leaving age was 12. Until 1891, attendance had been sporadic, absences being caused by harvesting, bad weather and inability to pay fees, as well as sickness.
The fees of the children from Lassington were met from a new charity, the William Andrews foundation. William Andrews’ origins are uncertain but he was connected with the Murrell family who farmed at Maidenhall Farm. In his later life he lived in London where he was a Freeman of the City and a member of the Worshipful Company of Merchant Tailors. His own trade was a Gentleman Tackle Porter which means he owned a wharf and was involved with the unloading of ships. The charity he founded was still in existence when this text was published and administered by trustees, two appointed by the Parish Council and three from the Local Education Authority. The money could only be used for educational needs, but Highnam children could benefit as well as Lassington children.
The above text is an extract from “Highnam, a history and guide”. The full text can be accessed through the website.