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Ewelme School

           Although not mentioned in the Licence of 1437 the then Earl William and Countess Alice de la Pole planned a boarding grammar school in Ewelme to educate the bright boys from their Foundation estates for Oxford.  The first Grammar Master was priest John Clyfford appointed in 1454/55 with a salary of £10 p.a. who taught Latin, handwriting, logic and philosophy during the hours of 6 am to 4 pm. 

             King James I altered the de la Pole’s original Statutes in 1617 to attach the Ewelme Masterships to the Regius Professors of Medicine and Divinity of Oxford University and the Grammar Master’s role became something of a sinecure with absentee teachers.  Between 1689 and 1714 the Curate combined his role with teacher and the next Master Henry Newcombe 1714-1750 ‘never taught so much as one soul’ despite living in the Grammar master’s house. 

             In 1829, Rector Dr Edward Burton found the school had not functioned in living memory and the building in disrepair.  He restored it and incorporated the school into the new system as a National Anglican School open to village children, but in an agricultural community, children were required to work on the land and schooling was often neglected. 

           There was no playground until 1914.  Children learned by rote, had sand trays, with history, geography and cookery/capentry lessons.  ‘Tortoise’ coke fuelled stoves heated the classrooms and buckets acted as toilets. 

           The school became congested with evacuees at the start of the last war, and again after the last war, when families arrived at RAF Benson, the class sizes increased again with the top classroom divided into two by a curtain! 

           The longest serving headmaster was William Herman, from 1889 to 1924, followed by Robert Quixley from 1924 to 1948.  The first woman headteacher in 1996 was Wendy Jacobs.

            Ewelme School claims to be the oldest Church School incorporated into the State system and using its original building.

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