Arksey with Bentley - The School

from Endowed Charities W.R. Yorkshire and Sheffield,
Vol 1 1897, Volume 1 - (Southern Division)

p. 011 Arksey with Bentley - The School pp. 011-012 - see p. 017
Copied from the Report of 7th July 1827 see (Vol 18 page 600)

Sir George Cooke Bt. by his will dated 2nd July 1683, devised to John Mawhood, Bryan Neville, and John Ellerker, and their heirs, two cottages near the almshouses in Arksey , with another house in Arksey,and the yards and appurtenances to the cottages and house belonging, upon trust, that the trustees and their heirs should build thereupon a school- house; and he thereby gave £200 towards the building of the school.

It appears from an old manuscript book in the possession of Sir. W. B. Cooke, that the cottages and house were demolished for building the school, and that the school-house was built and finished at the charge of £217.

The endowment of the school, besides the school building, and a garden adjoining, consists of a stipend of £40 a year, payable under the will of Sir Bryan Cooke, above mentioned, and an allotment of 4 acres of land at Arksey, which was awarded in 1759, to the intent that the rents and profits thereof might be employed, in the first place, for the necessary repairs of the school, and subject thereto, for the benefit of the schoolmaster and his successors.

The vicar of Arksey for the time being has usually been appointed master of the School, probably in all instances except one, when another person was appointed master, with the vicar's consent, and the schoolmasters have been licensed by the Archbishop of York. In the licence granted in 1671, the school is styled - The School at Arksey - in another dated 1690 it is styled - The Free School - but in all or most other instances it is called - The Grammar School at Arksey -.

The present master of the school (1827) is the Rev. Alexander Cooke, vicar of Arksey. Mr. Cooke receives the emoluments of the office, and he occasionally inquires about the conduct of the school in the way of superintendence, but does not further perform the duties of the office in person, and he employs his curate to teach the scholars, allowing him a salary for discharging the joint duties of curate and schoolmaster; and at present the teacher thus employed does not attend at the school every day, or for may hours at a time, but he has an usher, or assistant to teach in his absence, and assist him when present at the school.

The assistant who was employed until lately by the curate is said to have been an efficient teacher; but the present assistant, who was a scholar in the school, is rather in the way of becoming competant, than already efficient as an instructor; and it is owing partly, perhaps, to a notion entertained, that the assistant is too young, and that the school is not well attended to and conducted, and partly to the neglect of parents, to compel the regular attendance of their children, and dislike or inability on the part of the teachers to enforce such attendance, that the school is not at present in much repute, or in a flourishing or satisfactory condition.

It has been usual to consider the school as free for instruction of the children of the parishioners in reading, but it is said, that a charge used to be made for writing and arithmetic; this charge however was given up on the desire of Mr. Cooke, rather it is said for the sake of peace, than from a doubt of the right by usage of the school to demand it, and all the children who now attend the school, are taught gratuitously.

The number of scholars is sometimes about 20, and occasionally much greater, but the attendance is very irregular.

The curate informs us that he used his endeavours to establish a respectable school, but that he failed in the attempt.

It appears to us that this school might be rendered very useful in the way of affording education to the children of the better class of the parishioners, in such branches of learning as are suited to their condition and in supplying the neans of gratuitous instruction to the children of the lower orders, and that Sir. W.B. Cooke, as patron and trustee, and the Rev. A. C. Cooke as master, might probably carry such an object into effect, by appointing a person as teacher, properly qualified by education, and of a suitable rank and condition in life for keeping such a school, and by making rules for the government of the school, by which moderate terms should be fixed for the education of children of parents not properly objects of charity, and provision should be made for excluding, and the teacher should be authorised to exclude from the school, the children of parents who do not compel them to attend with regularity. The investment of the vicar of Arksey with the office of master, may be attended with the effect of better enabling him to superintend the school, and may afford the means of removing the teacher, if occasion should require, with greater facility than if such person were actually appointed master; but it seems to us, that unless the master teaches scholars himself, and keeps such a school as was contemplated by the founder, the emoluments arising under the endowment ought wholly or mainly to be applied, for the benefit of the person who actually attends at the school and instructs the children.

( Since this report was prepared, we have been informed by Sir. W.B. Cooke, that the Rev. A.C. Cooke has resigned the office of schoolmaster, and a proper person, unconnected with the rectory, is to be appointed, with a salary of £40 per annum, to teach the school.)

p. 017 Arksey with Bentley - The School Report of 1896

The allotment of 1759 which was situated on Hessecroft Common contains 4 ac. 0 r. 29 p. A small piece of land containing 5 perches, described as the residue of the site of the old pound or pinfold of the village of Arksey, was also allotted to the same trustees. The school, which appears to have been built soon after the date of Sir. George Cooke's will, and is of considerable architectural merit, adjoins the almshouses. It provides accommodation, according to the requirements of the Education Department, for 141 scholars, but the average attendance for the year 1895 was only 58.

The building is now in fairly good repair. In 1879 it was entirely re-roofed by the trustees, on the advice of Mr. J.T. Micklethwaite, at a cost of £125-15s-0d. To meet this expense the trustees, under the authority of an Order of the Charity Commissioners dated 13th August 1880, borrowed the sum of £100, subject to the condition prescribed in the Order that the amount should be replaced out of the income of the Charity within the period of 15 years from the 1st January 1881, by the payment to the Official Trustees of Charitable Funds of an annual sum of £5-10s-0d to be invested by them at compound interest in the purchase of Consols, to be placed to a sinking fund account. The annual instalments were duly paid, and under an order of the Commissioners dated 15th May 1896, the sum of £92-1s-7d. New Consols, being the amount of the sinking fund at that date, was sold, and the proceeds, amounting, (with 4 quarterly dividends then uninvested) to £105-19s-11d were sent to the trustees. Out of this fund the principal of the loan was repaid.

The schoolmaster's house is situated on the opposite side of the road, having been bought for the purpose by means of subscriptions, and conveyed to the trustees by deeds dated 20th December 1876, produced by the Vicar at the Inquiry. The house and land, containing 1 rood 10 perches, were conveyed (in consideration of £420) to the trustees to be held upon such trusts as they should by deed or writing direct or appoint, and in default thereof to them, their heirs and assigns. No such deed of declaration of trust appears to have been executed. The trustees to whom the conveyance was made were the following persons :-
The Rev. W. A. Gray, Sir William Ridley Charles Cooke, Bt., Philip Bryan Davies Cooke, George Bryan Cooke Yarborough, John Hatfield, and Frank Ramsden.

The school has long been conducted as a Public Elementary School, the trustees being the managers. The provisions of the Elementary Education Act 1870, have been adopted, and no fees are now charged in the school.

The schoolmaster is Mr. George Chadwick, who is also assistant overseer, and clerk to the parish council.

Transcribed by Alan Longbottom
Endowed Charities W.R. Yorkshire and Sheffield Vol 1 1897