Village school reaches its 350th anniversary!

Staff and children mark the school's anniversary
Staff and children mark the school's anniversary

A village school near Market Harborough celebrated a remarkable 350th anniversary.

Clipston Endowed VC Primary School - a state school, despite its historic appearance - was built for local children (and partly as an old folks home) in 1667, by an enlightened Clipston landowner called Sir George Buswell.

Today 120 children are still taught on the site, which is believed to be the second oldest Grade II listed state school in the country.

In fact the present-day school is about a third in the original old building, a third in a more modern block behind the old school - and a third in mobile classrooms.

The Church of England school is rated “good” by Ofsted and “good” by inspectors from the Diocese of Peterborough.

Headteacher Emma Mercer first came to the school as a new teacher in 1992.

“I lived in Leicester at the time, and was thinking it was much too far to travel every day” she said.

“But as soon as I arrived, I fell in love with the building. It’s beautiful.”

On Monday, the children celebrated the anniversary by dressing up as a figure from history. Various dignitaries and ex-teachers were expected in the afternoon.

Lessons involved the making of a thick soup called pottage, traditional maypole dancing and assembling a timeline relating the history of the school to other historical events.

The children have made a clay mural of the school, incorporating handprints from each pupil, which Mrs Mercer hopes to put up in the school’s hall.

They are also raising money to refurbish the Clipston grave of a local worthy: Major General George Wynell Mayow, who took part in the famous Charge of the Light Brigade in 1854.

The school was built by Matthew Cole of Clipston in 1667, as a two-storey stone building with attic.

Many details remain unchanged inside, from a cooking range and ancient internal doors to the original 17th century staircase.

Outside, a rare single-handed clock – one of only around a dozen in the country – enables passers-by to tell the time, to the nearest quarter of an hour.

An inscription above the school’s main entrance reads: “This free Grammar School and Hospital were built and endowed by Sir George Buswell, Bart, AD.1667.”