Malmesbury Education

Old Junior SchoolMaildulph opened the first Malmesbury school at about 750AD. His pupil, Aldhelm, was canonised.

Just over a century later John Scotus was murdered by his pupils.

Thomas Hobbes was taught at a school in the triangle.

In 1609 the Capital Burgesses were charged to run a free school.

A school for 15 boys was founded in 1730 using a bequest from Elizabeth Hodges.

In 1818 there was a school for lace-makers with around 150 pupils.

The National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church, ran a school in the Guildhall in 1820, then in 1857 new schools were opened; for girls in the building that is now the library, and for boys in Gastons Road. This was still used as a primary school a hundred years later until the pupils transferred to the old grammar school, formerly the technical school, on the present site on Tetbury Hill. This building has now been demolished and that part of the site was sold for housing; the proceeds funded the new Primary School built on part of what was the playing field.

The Catholic Church ran evening classes for adults in 1867 and in 1868 provided a free school, St Josephs, in Cross Hayes House, for those that could not afford fees. It is now on Holloway Hill.

Walter Powell M.P. gave a free reading room to the town situated at the top of Silver Street, where the nursery school now is, in 1870. it had two rooms; “ the first room is set apart for the use of the upper classes and tradesmen who choose to avail themselves of the privilege and the inner room is provided for the lower classes. There is a large and capital library and a good supply of London and Provincial Newspapers, and Periodicals; all supplied gratis by the munificent donor of the building”.

Adult education continues in Malmesbury with courses run by the local authority and by the Workers Educational Association.

Thomas Luce gave land at the foot of Betty Geezer’s steps and in 1873 Walter Powell donated a wooden building for a Ragged School for the free use of young children. It had 180 pupils, “an excellent female teacher from London and was supported by voluntary subscription. Powell continued his interest in the school and in 1874 five wagon-loads of children led by the Town Band were taken to Eastcourt House for tea in a tent and rides on a roundabout!

In 1954 a secondary school was built at Corn Gastons and in 1964 a new grammar school was built at Filands. These two schools combined as Malmesbury School, a comprehensive, in 1971 with the middle school being at Filands and the seniors at Corn Gastons. Both schools are now demolished and new buildings to combine both parts onto one campus were built in 2001.