De Aston School



A Grammar school was to be built in Lincolnshire with funds from the Mere Hospital and Spital Charities. The Charity Commissioners were called in when it was discovered that there had been “maladministration” of money. They ordered a change of direction for the fund to avoid a scandal. It was suggested that they fund a school.

The campaign to build this school in Market Rasen started in the 1856, there was competition from Lincoln and Grimsby.

The newspapers of the time reported on the pros and cons for Market Rasen. There were even claims that the water supply in Market Rasen was “bad” and that the town was “unhealthy for the pupils”- fever, measles, small-pox, diarrhoea, colds and consumption. The truth was that Market Rasen was as healthy place to lives as any other town in 1850’s.

The school was to be named De Aston after Sir Thomas De Aston, the founder of the charity.

The Market Rasen Mail of 12th February 1859, reported on a meeting chaired by Mr Tateson to discuss the proposed sites for the new Grammar School. Nobody wanted the two sites which had been offered and surveyed, as one was too big and the other out of the town (Middle Rasen). So Mr Daudney suggested that they advertise in the newspaper for new sites.

The Market Rasen Mail of 26th February 1859, reported that a meeting last Thursday, in the vestry had been held to discuss the proposals for the new school. The following sites were;

Casterton-Dove Cotte Field- £200 per acre

Tateson-Caistor Road- £380 per acre

Wray-Walesby Road- £400 per acre

Hewitt- Galliamore Lane- £140 per acre

Bond- Willingham Road- £100 per acre

The meeting favoured Mrs Bond’s land of 8 acres for cost and position.

Mr James Fowler of Louth was the architect. “It is a handsome Gothic brick building.”( White’s 1872). The original plans were changed to allow sunlight into the rooms.

The Market Rasen Mail of 11th October 1863, reported on the opening of the Grammar School, the new Headmaster is The Rev. F.R. Pentreath and he receives £100 per annum.

The Stamford Mercury 23rd October 1863, reported that “Master Eliot from London had broken his arm taking exercise around the dining room table”

1868 Post Office Directory listed the school

The De Aston school, on the Willingham Road, is an Endowed Grammar school, recently erected at a cost of £5,000, under the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln: there are at present nearly 100 boys, about 50 of whom are boarders; The Rev. F.R. Pentreath, M.A., of Worcester College, Oxford, is the headmaster.”

In the 1871 census, listed living at the school;

Thomas Knight Headmaster, his wife and son. His two sister-in-laws, and 2 servants. Only 9 boys boarders.

There other 2 Masters and 23 boys must live in town. Total 3 Masters and 32 boys.

Even though the school was not full, there were plans to built a large covered gymnasium at a cost of £250. (White’s 1872)

1905 postcard of the Chemistry lab.
Parade to Church


School Report 1932
1971 the day the girls arrived…