Today, all children can go to school and their parents don’t have to pay. This wasn’t true in the past. Some were lucky, others weren’t.

These buildings give some clues about the story of Quantock village schools, and show how education has changed.

Do you recognise any of these schools? Click to see if you were right!

  • Before 1870, children in Crowcombe could go for lessons held upstairs in the Church House. This small charity school was set up in the 1700s by the Carew family.
  • These cottages by the church in Aisholt are called ‘The Old Schoolhouse’, but no-one is quite sure why.
  • John Poole thought that all children should be able to go to school, even if they were poor.  So he opened a Free School in 1810 for the children of Enmore. This was the first Free National School in England. Today’s school building dates from the 1850s.
  • This part of the old primary school in Nether Stowey (now the library and AONB office) was built by Tom Poole, based on the idea of Enmore School. This makes Nether Stowey the second place ever to have a free elementary school.
  • Broomfield used to be big enough to have its own school which was built in 1849. By 1903 it had 55 pupils coming from the village and surrounding farms.  But by 1932 there were only 22 pupils, so it closed down and the children went to school in Kingston St Mary instead.  The schoolroom is now a village hall.
  • In 1856 by Sir Alexander Acland-Hood built this school for the children of the village of West Quantoxhead.  It is in the same style as the rest of the St Audries Estate. When the estate was sold, it became part of St. Audries Boarding School. Now it is a private house.
  • This little building next to the church used to be Over Stowey village school. It was closed in 1979, and became the village hall. Since then, Over Stowey children go to school in Nether Stowey.
  • An old postcard showing a building described as Bicknoller School
  • Crowcombe Primary School was built in 1870. A law was passed in 1870 saying that every area should have a school for its local children. Hundreds of new schools were built. Many of these schools were built to a similar design.    Before 1870, Children in Crowcombe could go for lessons held upstairs in the Church House.
  • In 1873 the Esdailes of Cothelstone built a village school in the same style as their other new buildings. Some of the window have the same carved stone frames as Cothelstone Manor.  The classroom facing you with the large window was added later. Today it is a private house and the nearest school is in Bishops Lydeard.
  •  In 1874 this school was built for the children of the Aisholt and Merridge district.
  • Kilve and East Quantoxhead school was built by the Luttrell family half-way between the two villages for the children of both parishes.  When it opened, in 1875, 120 children were given a special tea with plum cake at the Hood Arms in Kilve. Now it is a private house.
  • In 1895 (The date over the brick-built entrance) Tom Poole’s original school in Nether Stowey needed to be expanded. This is where Nether Stowey children came until 1979. Now this building is used for the AONB office and Nether Stowey library.
  • The new school in Kingston St Mary was built in the 1960s to replace the old parish school near the church.  Before that some children went to ‘Dame Schools’, run by single ladies in their own homes. There were three Dame Schools in Kingston.
  • In 1979 the old schools in Nether Stowey and Over Stowey closed down, and this new, bigger school was built. Today, Nether Stowey school has nearly 200 pupils. Some children travel from surrounding villages which no longer have their own schools .