Market Rasen’s Heyday

Going to school

Education was not compulsory in the 1860s and the schools that were available were not free. In Market Rasen in the 1860s there were three types of school – the church schools (the National School, the Infants School [after 1868] and the Roman Catholic School), the Grammar School (after 1863) and a number of small private schools.

The largest of the schools was the National School which was a Church of England school which had opened in 1822 in Willingham Road and was enlarged in 1870 with a new girl’s section. We know about this school from the Rules as to the Admission of Children to the school that were published in the late 1850s (see below). These show that the school catered for the children of the poor from the age of four and the pupils were expected to attend services in the Parish Church.

An Infants’ School, again controlled by the Church of England authorities, was opened in Pasture Lane near the National School, in 1868.

There had been a Roman Catholic school in the town catering for children of that denomination for many years but a new school had been opened in 1850. A Wesleyan Methodist school had also opened in the town in 1850 but had closed by 1853 probably because of the rivalries within Methodism that were occurring at the time.

These schools would have been for children of the poorer classes with instruction in basic literacy and numeracy along with the appropriate religious instruction.

The new De Aston Grammar School, which opened in October 1863, catered for a different clientele. Like other grammar schools in the county it was expected that De Aston would provide education for the sons of the aspiring middle classes giving them a

“…sound classical, mathematical and general education……by which the pupils will be effectively prepared either for professional or for commercial life”

(Stamford Mercury 22/1/1858).

An advertisement in the Market Rasen Mail in January 1864 said

Subjects taught Classics, Mathematics, English, French and other essentials of a good education.

Master will attend for Drawing, Music, Dancing and Drilling

Lectures in Elementary Chemistry will be delivered in the ensuing quarter

An example of the success of the new school was to be seen in the report in the Stamford Mercury of 21st November 1868 that Joseph Howlett had passed the preliminary exam for the Incorporated Law Society held at Lincoln Inn Fields, London.

Kelly’s directory 1909 has many reports and information on the schools of Market Rasen.