There has been a school in Weston since 1847, when Church schools led the country in providing the Three R’s. Our link to Holy Trinity and the Diocese of St. Albans remains intact today.
The Foundation Stone for Weston School was laid by a young boy named Mr Pryor, Esquire. Initially there were 30 children on role, but by the late 1870s this had increased to almost 100. By 1900, the school log book of the period comments that the “school had accommodation for 244 children – 166 in the Mixed Department and 78 in the Infant Rooms.” A note indicates that there were actually 195 children on the role at the time; currently, we have 140 in our main school.
As with any institution, we have our fair share of historical intrigue at Weston School. Ours centres on a past Headmistress, Miss Fanny Stokes, who was promoted in 1876 from Teacher of the Second Class into the post of Head, where she remained until 1889. However, there was a three month break in her Headship when a Mr George Crisp took over the role. To this day, no-one knows exactly why she stepped down; the entry in the school log simply states, “I, Fanny Stokes, resign my post as Mistress of Weston Mixed School.”
Mr Crisp is reputed to have been rather unkind; his list of rules included, “Perfect silence during changes and the marking of Register will be demanded.” When children broke the rules their names were put on a black list and many were punished with the cane! From what we can ascertain, the complaints came thick and fast, including, “Walter had had his ear pulled and the children were not taught as Christians, but as Heathens.” Mr Crisp was summarily given three months’ notice. The next dramatic moment in the schools’ history could well be pure coincidence, but shortly afterwards on the 4th January the school was destroyed by fire – although the ivy on the front wall survived!
Miss Stokes returned to her post thereafter and is reputed to have been a very successful Headteacher.
The school log books are still in existence and have been transcribed. They make very interesting reading!
(Information taken from WESTON – A Village Album 1900 – 2000 by Judith Evans).