The village school

© Maxwell Adams 2003-2008

Version 15 March 2008

The village had a school from 1833 to 1975. This was the National School, a Church of England school, in Church Road.

The Anglican National Society gave a grant of 60 for a Church of England school at Lelant in 1832. On 6 December 1833 James Backwell PRAED leased land for the school to: Uriah TONKIN, the vicar of Lelant; William BOSUSTOW and James SANDOW, both yeomen and churchwardens; Henry BRUSH, overseer of the poor in Lelant; William PRAED; and Charles RICHARDS and Richard HOSKING, both yeomen.

This piece of land is described as part of "a certain close or field of land situate in the said parish of Uny Lelant and near the church there called the Long Field as it now in the occupation of the said William BOSUSTOW as the same is now marked off and divided from the said field by the foundations of the National School." The leased land was "by measurement seven laces of ground or thereabouts." A lace was a perch, 301/4 square yards, so the site was about 177 square metres.

The seven men paid five shillings for the land and all that was on it and at the end of the year paid "the rent of one peppercorn" (CRO DDP 120/2/48).

The Moody/Rutger map of 1820/38 (RIC HJ 5/4a,b - map 2, page 22, item 238) identifies the Long Field as opposite the Ship Inn, the place of the extant school building which is now two houses.

One of the early school teachers was John TRESISE who died aged eighteen in Newtown, St Erth on Monday 15 September 1843.His death was recorded in the West Briton (22 September 1843) and he was described as "late schoolmaster in Lelant Town."

The school fell on hard times. The Managers minutes (CRO DDP/120/2/50-51) show that on 19 March 1869 TYACKE, the Anglican vicar of Lelant, held a meeting at the school and said that he was the only living manger, the school had no income but salaries (exclusive of books, apparatus, fuel, furniture, repairs, etc) came to 50 a year. He said that he would not continue the school on the present basis beyond midsummer.

The meeting elected four managers plus the vicar; agreed to advertise in the National Society monthly newspaper for a master at a salary made up of 30 a year cash plus half the government grant plus half the boys' pence; and to try to obtain funds for the school. Master was what we now call headmaster.

The revival did not go well. John Henry PHILLIPS of Perranzabuloe was appointed master in June 1869 on the basis of his declared qualifications. The managers minutes of 10 November 1869 say: "It having been in consequence of these statements [of qualification and experience] made by Mr JB Phillips that he was elected master by the committee [of managers] on June 16 1869, and these statements proving to be without foundation, it was resolved that in consideration of Mr Phillips's recent severe illness and his future prospects, the school managers consent to his remaining as master until Christmas next, subject to his working the school thoroughly until this date."

Subsequent teachers are listed below.

The school then appears to have prospered. On 25 March 1874 Mrs Fanny Adela HIGGINS of Tyringham, Buckinghamshire (the guardian of Roger WG TYRINGHAM) leased to Frederick TYACKE (the vicar of Lelant), Charles RICHARDS, and John BRUSH a plot of land for a National School (CRO DDP 120/2/49). This was on a ninety-nine year lease with an annual rent of one shilling. TYACKE, RICHARDS, and BRUSH were the trustees.

The lease states that "in consequence of the expense which the said trustees will incur and sustain in erecting a schoolhouse and buildings" Mrs HIGGINS leased to them "all that piece or parcel of land or ground containing about eleven perches and three quarters situate at Higher Lelant." This is the plot in Church Road on which the 1833 school was established.

A plan drawn on the lease shows an existing school and this and the following wording suggest that the trustees are building an extension or a completely new building. The lease says that the trustees "shall and will within twelve calendar months now next ensuing erect build and complete...a messuage or building to be used as and for a school for the education of children and adults or children only of the labouring manufacturing and poorer class in the said parish of Uny Lelant which said school shall always be in union with and conducted upon the principles...of the established church."

The school seems to have flourished as RGW TYRINGHAM undertook to rebuild the school according to plans approved by the national Department of Education. While the work was going on, the school met at the Primitive Methodist Chapel from 14 May 1893 at a rent of 1 a month. On 3 December 1893 Reverend JB JONES, vicar of St Ives, reopened the school.

In January 1899 the gallery in the corner of the main room was removed during the holidays and a new floor laid.

The outside world encroached on schools and on 23 December 1903 the Cornish Telegraph (page 3, column c) reported that the Penzance district education committee had decided to warn Mr Tyringham that he should not employ boys as beaters during school hours. The school managers had received a request for boys to act as beaters and had passed this to the committee. Tyringham had, while waiting for their decision, employed twelve boys for three days. He was warned that he would be prosecuted if he did this again. It is unclear from the report whether this refers to the National or Trevarrack school.

In June 1940 a new secondary schol opened at the Belyars, St Ives, and Lelant became an infant and junior school only.

The school at Lelant ended on 23 May 1975.The building was inadequate and population changes meant that most pupils came from Carbis Bay. A new Church of England primary school was built at Carbis Bay to replace the National School in Church Road, Lelant which was closed and the building sold.

The school building was sold by the Truro diocese at auction at Penzance in October 1975 for 8,100. There was existing planning permission to turn it into a dwelling.

Around 1900 the head's logbook says that school accommodation consisted of a large schoolroom 61 feet long and a classroom 20 feet long. This was subsequently rearranged. At the sale in 1975 there were six rooms in the school. The classroom sizes were 29 feet 9 inches by 16 feet 3 inches; 30 feet 10 inches by 16 feet 3 inches; 19 feet 6 inches by 16 feet. There were additionally a small kitchen/office and two cloakrooms. These 1975 measurements are almost identical to ones given in 1936 in the head's logbook.

Some staff at the school

John Henry PHILLIPS June 1869-December 1869, master.

J STRUDWICK (ex-Winchester Training College) December 1869, master, paid 35 a year plus half the government grant plus half the boys' pence plus a quarter of the girls' pence.

James Hill HODGE (ex-master of Rhyl National School) April 1871, master, paid as Studwick.

Miss Rebecca MORLEY was appointed sewing mistress and Sunday school teacher from October 1871. She was paid 6 a year for working as sewing mistress on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 1.45 pm to 4.15 pm.

On 30 June 1874 Richard Henry SCADDAN, pupil teacher, was "dismissed for insolence to the master and general neglect of duties."

Alfred COPE (Second year student, Exeter training College, formerly a pupil teacher at Helston National School) was appointed master after Christmas 1874. He was paid 40 a year plus half the government grant plus half the boys' pence plus a quarter of the girls' pence plus all the profits of the evening school.

John COCK was master from January 1876.

On 1 January 1884 William John TAYLOR became master. He had trained at Exeter Training College 1882-83. He was paid 30 plus a third of the government grant plus half of all the pupils' pence plus the whole of RI. If this did not total 70 by Christmas 1884, it would be made up to that amount with any excess over 70 being kept by Taylor. In addition he got all the profits of the evening school. He retired from the post in August 1922.

On 1 January 1884 Miss Jessie MORLEY was appointed assistant mistress at 12 a year plus 8 [cannot read] a week in order to give her freedom on a Saturday though her payment of a charwoman. She retired in August 1922 also.

In 1898 the teachers are listed in head's logbook as: master, WJ TAYLOR; assistant teachers, Jessie MORLEY (Article 50) and Elizabeth Hannah BARNES (Article 68); pupil teacher, Mary Ellen (Nellie) WILLIAMS (2nd year) - see 1904 entry.

In 1898 the diocese had agreed to pay Elizabeth Barnes 30, to add 10 to the head's salary, to add 1 to Jessie Morley's salary, and to add 1 to the pupil teacher's salary.

October 1899 Miss Elizabeth REDFERN of St Ives National School began work at Lelant National School (born 23 September 1881) with a view to being recognised under Article 68. In November 1900 she received a month's notice; no reason given.

In December 1900 Lucy RICHARDS came to the school. She was probably going to be a pupil-teacher, and did become one in 1902. She left in May 1907 to get married.

1904 Miss WILLIAMS became assistant mistress (see 1916 entry).

September 1907 Miss E HOSKING of Ludgvan began as Assistant, Article 68.

January 1914 Mrs EJ NICHOLAS became caretaker in place of Mrs J Sanders, deceased.

November 1916 Mrs JOHNS appointed caretaker. She was buried 10 December 1917.

October 1916 Miss WILLIAMS left after twelve years as assistant mistress. She therefore began 1904. See St Ives Weekly Summary 23 November 1916; she was presented with a silver-plated teapot.

December 1916 Miss Clara M CURNOW (of St Ives and St Erth schools) began as assistant mistress. She left in September 1922 to get married.

January 1918 Mrs EJ NICHOLAS appointed caretaker in place of her mother, Mrs JOHNS, deceased.

August 1922 WJ TAYLOR and Miss Jessie MORLEY retire.

September 1922 Winifred M ADAMS began as head with Miss MB TREBILCOCK (from Copperhouse Council School) a supplementary assistant teacher.

October 1922 Miss SM GEEN began as uncertificated assistant teacher. She left Lelant School in August 1930 to go to teacher training college.

April 1925 Miss HL TAYLOR becomes head.

January 1927 Miss CARVOLTH (Cheltenham College) took temporary charge of the school. She left in November 1935.

June 1928 Miss AW THOMAS (from Ludgvan School) began as an uncertificated assistant teacher, Miss GEEN having been temporarily transferred to St Ives Infant Department. Miss THOMAS left August 1929 to nurse her invalid mother.

September 1929 Miss Alice Muriel COSSENS appointed supplementary teacher. She was born 14 December 1908 and educated at Penzance High School. In May 1930 she went to Ludgvan School.

In November 1929 a note identifies Mrs GERRY as caretaker.

8 September 1930 Miss Renee May LIDDICOAT (?) was appointed uncertificated assistant teacher. She left In Ovember 1934 to go to St Agnes.

October 1930 Alice Maude RODDA appointed probationer (born 19 January 1913).

October 1931 Eileen EDWARDS was appointed monitress at the school starting at 16 a year, rising by year three to 20. In November 1934 she was appointed a supplementary teacher at 45 a year. In May 1935 she left to get married.

September 1935 Miss Vivien NOYE appointed uncertificated assistant teacher (from Trythall School).

November 1935 Miss H HARPER became head.

Miss ME PICKERING, head to April 1965.

Kathleen ENNOR, head April 1965-August 1986.

Mrs Patricia Maude BLACKFORD (16 July 1930-21 September 2003) taught infants at Lelant School from January 1965. She moved with the school to Carbis Bay and left April 1976.


The head's logbook for October 1899 gives the scheme of work for the pupils. Geography began with a plan of the school then went on to the countries of Britain and Australia; English included the parts of speech and parsing, repeating Lucy Gray (in Standards 1 and 2), The wreck of the Hesperus (Standards 3 and 4), and The deserted village (Standards 5 and 6). Later details included are for boys drilling, including marching in the playground; and the practical mensuration of objects around them; drawing; Southey's Blenheim; singing; history; arithmetic; needlework and sewing; and physical education.