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Woodborough’s Heritage

Woodborough, a Sherwood Forest Village, recorded in Domesday

Baptist Chapel School 1883-1885 (Also known as Lilly’s School)

From around 1883, and for about 2 years, an alternative private venture school to Woods Endowed School on Lingwood Lane in Woodborough was run at the Baptist Chapel on Dark Lane (now Shelt Hill). This alternative school was formed because of the rising costs of sending children to Woods Foundation School. The private venture school was, according to the article below, published in the Nottingham Evening Post in 1884 was run by a Mr Lilly¹ and the school was known by the name “Lilly’s School”. Research undertaken by Mr Peter Saunders, a former pupil at Woods School and whose father was headmaster at the school, states that the master at the Baptist Chapel school was a Mr Lenney a “letter carrier”.

Note ¹ The 1881 census states that a Cephas W Lenney ran the school and that he was a postman and born in Edingley in 1863.

After approximately 2 years pupils were gradually returned to the endowed school, but during this period parents were prosecuted and the following report in the Nottingham Evening Post dated 26th January 1884 gives an account of such a prosecution and provides an insight into events at that time.  

Below left: A report published in the Nottingham Evening Post 26th January 1884.

Singular Prosecution Under The Education Act

At the Shire Hall, Nottingham, this afternoon, before Lord Belper and Mr T I Birkin, Joseph Plumb and William Marriott were summoned for a breach of the bye-laws of the Basford Union, - Mr C F Spencer clerk to the Guardians of the Basford Union, prosecuted, and Mr Acton appeared for the defendants, - Mr Spencer stated that the defendants were summoned for not sending their children to a public elementary school, having no reasonable excuse for keeping them away. – The defendants, Plumb and Marriott, were before the Bench last year for not sending their children to school. In the parish of Woodborough there were two schools, one an endowed school and one a private adventure school. In January last [1883]12 months ago, the school fees in the endowed school were raised by the manager, and in the same year an adventure school was opened in the parish by a teacher who at present carried this school on. The children of the two defendants went there together with the majority of the children in the school. It would be for the parents to prove to the satisfaction of the Bench that the children were attending an efficient school. In May last the vicar of parish of Woodborough and the corresponding manager of the endowed school explained to the Basford Union, and subsequently the vicar informed the Education Department that the Union was willing to prosecute the parents for sending their children to a non-certified school, and that the efforts of the school managers were being hampered by an organised opposition in the parish. The consequence was that these proceedings had been taken, and the onus rested upon the parents to prove that their children were attending an efficient school, - Mr Russell, the school attendance officer, produced a certificate to show that the children had only attended a certified efficient school once in 401 times. They had been attending a private adventure school. – Cross-examined by Mr Acton: The fees in the Nation [National] School were increased, and a large number of parents kept their children from school. For some time they were without a school, and during that time the two defendants were summoned for not sending their children to the school at all. Immediately after that an adventure school was opened at the Baptist Chapel [Woodborough], called “Lilly’s School”, Mr Lilly being the master. Witness had visited the school, and there were between 50 and 60 children there. There was good order. The room was clean and healthy. There was no objection, so far as he saw, to the management of the school. - Evidence was called on the part of the defence to prove that the school at which the children were now being taught was an efficient one, and that the defendants’ children had progressed satisfactorily in their studies. – Mr Higginbottom, schoolmaster at the Arnold Board School, stated that he had inspected the school, and the examination was a successful one. – The Bench expressed their opinion that the school was an efficient one, and dismissed the case.   


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