0138…St. Michael’s School

Edited by Adrian Kerton


St. Michael’s School

Education in Stoke Gifford.  Material courtesy of Mike Stanbrook.

1641 The inventory of Robert Lawford Yeoman/Schoolmaster shows that he combined school teaching with farming. The school which was attached to his house consisted of 2 rooms, school house chamber and lower room. As `the skole house chamber’ was used to store oats and wheat, `the lower roome in the skoole house’ accommodating Packe saddeles and other furniture and other impellments’, one wonders where the pupils were accommodated, it would seem that the school room was no longer functioning.

1741 We hear no more of schooling until 1741 when John Silcocks of Stoke Gifford insisted that the trustees of his £200 endowment for schools at Stoke Gifford, Winterbourne, Almondsbury and Filton should put it out ‘in interest only’ and not in land. Nothing further is recorded about this school if there was one at all.

1786  A Sunday School Private Plan started. The school was probably held in a private house, possibly that of the master or mistress. The school day commenced at 9 am with the reading of the psalms then morning service a the church. After church the children went home to dinner. The afternoon commenced at 2 pm with the catechism and reading. This lasted until 8pm in the summer and 5 pm in the winter.

Numbers of poor children admitted to the Sunday school:

In 1786 it was 37, in 1787 it was 35, in 1788 it was 28 and in 1789 it was 26

1815  Winterbourne school opened. This was run under the National School Plan and was attended by children from Westerleigh, Frampton Cottrell and Stoke Gifford.

1842  Frampton Cotterell opened its own school. The Stoke Gifford parish map shows a small building in the village green opposite the St. Michaels school site marked as a school being listed as owned by the overseer of the poor.

1854 School room built into newly built Walls Court farm for the children of the farm workers.


1863  Stoke Gifford Village School built on the edge of the Village Green


1870 New National School at Winterbourne

1959 Filton High School Opens

Number Of Pupils in St. Michaels School on the 1st April 1945

  Ages 4/5 5/6 6/7 7/8   8/9 9/10 10/11   11/12  12/13  13/14 14/15
  Pupils 2 21  11 20 11 15 9 5  5  5

Reports were made by inspectors of Schools.

Some attendance registers are shown at the bottom of this page, the names of the pupils have been removed but these give a good idea of the problems the school had including disease, and bad weather. They also record the death in service of two of the teachers. Material courtesy of Mike Stanbrook.

Miss Mathlin had a severe cold on 14th Feb 1919 and died of Pneumonia 4 days later

Around 1922 Margaret Rowland, the head teacher for the last 27 years retired. Born in Edinburgh in about 1860 she moved to Torquay where her father got a job as a butler. From there she moved to Holne in Devon to be a school teacher and thence to Stoke Gifford.

As the records show she was at one time teaching 53 children with only a supplementary teacher to help her. Her work is summarised in these extracts from the inspector’s reports.


Margaret Rowland Head mistress of St. Michael’s School c. 1895-1922

Photographs courtesy of Lowri Jones


St Michael’s School class date unknown, can you help identify it? Possibly 1895-1900.

Photo courtesy of Brendan Welsh

Saint Michaels School - Brendan Walsh

Some more photographs from Brendan Welsh, possibly of St. Michael’s, do you know any of these pupils?

St Michaels Children 11

St Michaels Children 12

St Michael’s School class of 1946


PTA members Dec 1978

Ms Maude Rooke, appointed Head Teacher in 1924, was taken ill and required an operation in May 1941 and died in March, a year later.

School_Room_Gable_arms_250I am indebted to Margaret Richards, archivist to the Duke of Beaufort, for the help in identifying the coat of arms.

The coat of arms is that of the 8th Duke of Beaufort impaled with those of his wife, Lady Georgiana Charlotte Curzon, eldest daughter of the 1st Lord Howe.

The arms have been constructed such that the left hand side of the arms are those of the 8th Duke, the right hand side those of Lady Curzon. The supporters or the animals are,
On the left a ‘silver panther with flames issuing from its mouth and ears’
On the right a ‘Cornish Chough’ This combining or impaling of the arms is repeated in the shield where the left hand side contains the ‘lions passant guardant’ and ‘three gold fleur-de-lys’
On the the right Arm Quarterly: 1st and 4th, on a fesse between three wolf’s heads couped sa., 2nd and 3rd, arg. on a bend ea., three popinjays.



The arms of the Duke of Beaufort


The arms of Lord Howe


The Old School Rooms, given to the people of Stoke Gifford as part of the Duke of Beaufort’s Estate, is now administered by the church. It was in use as the village school until 1986. The coat of arms can be seen just under the apex of the eaves.


The new extension.


Note:  To get larger images, right click on images to copy them, save them and then open in a picture editor.

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