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St Peter’s Church of England Primary School

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As one might expect the school has its own website which caters for all matters to do with the schhool today..  Since the school dates from 1769 there is much history to explore about it which is the purpose of this page..

 A lot of the history of the school will be in the Lancashire Record Office at Preston where the archives were deposited in December 1961 and are under the reference PR3142/11/24.

These  archives were consulted in detail by local historian Eileen Dent in the 1990s and a substantial chapter on the school is contained in The Heysham Peninsula(HHA 2000). An abridged form of this chapter can be downloaded  here for reference.

The picture to the right is a street view of the south end of the old buildings of the school. There appears to be an inscription above the window but if there is it is largely now illegible.

© Google Earth

At the time of foundation chiefly by subscription it was known as Heysham School; From 1817 when the Church of England National Society was formed it became The National School and a further donation was given to provide ongoing income. This was its name throughout much if not all the century; on the 1881 census Arthur Stuttard has the occupation of Schoolmaster NS. Quite when the change to the present name occurred is yet to be determined.On the 1838 Tithe Map the school is shown as two separate buildings, a school house to the south and the school itself adjacent to the north.

The site is approximately equally distant from Lower Heysham (the village) and Higher Heysham in what is now known as School Road though not labelled as such on 19thC maps. The building illustrated above is on the site of the original school house but whether or not this is the original building would be clear from the archives.

On later 19thC maps the two buildings are amalgamated into one with a slightly larger area around them than before.
The picture right is the older buildings as they are today.The newer substantial  buildings (probably post WW2) are off picture to the right. The two end sections of these older buildings are similar in style with the central part looking like a later addition.

Whether the Schoolmaster continued to live ‘on site’ we as yet do not know precisely. Being the schoolmaster then appears to be a lifetime job. Relevant records on the Lancashire On-line Parish Clerk’s website have been collected together and can be read  here.

Thomas Wallis would appear to be the Schoolmaster roundabout 1800  as  this church record would suggest. No further church records of Thomas Wallis have been found which is a little strange.
Currently we do not know who might have preceded him.

StPeter'sSchoolOldBuildingsLR

© Google Earth

John Foxcroft is named in the  Baines 1825 Directory by which time he was already in his late forties. He is still there as Schoolmaster in the   1851 Mannex Directory and then has two other (clearly part-time) jobs as well.  The extract refers to two schools in Heyssham; the second one is a ‘private’ school at Carr Garth with James Masheter in charge, also named in that Directory.

John Foxcroft died in 1853 and we presume was succeeded as Schoolmaster by Joseph Ward; some time ago we had an enquiry from one of his great grandsons Joseph Ward was living in the School House when his first wife Ann died in 1861; in 1862 he then married Mary Oxtoby who is listed as Schoolmistress. Joseph Ward died in 1876 and his successor Arthur Stuttard was appointed in August 1877. He ran the school with the assistance of Mrs Ward, widow of the previous schoolmaster. He stayed at the school until 1915 and during all his tenure he was plagued by frequent periods of overcrowding, notably during the construction of Heysham Harbour.