sign Hempstead


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The School
what3words location - ///talker.dries.structure

School with the rectory behind - c.1910
School with the rectory behind - c.1910

The then vicar, Charles Louis Rudd, was instrumental in the building of an Infants' School and Parish Room in 1877. The work was undertaken by Mr. West, a builder from Holt.
However, a school was already in operation - as listed by White's directory of 1864 with Sarah Neal as teacher. It is possible that a room in the White_Horse pub was the venue as Sarah was probably either the wife or daughter of publican John Neal.
The school ran from 1877 until around 1891, when the lack of eligible children caused the school to close.
After that time the building continued in use as a Reading Room and doubtless also as a meeting room.
From c.1930 until 1938 the building became the venue for Hempstead Mens' Club.
After the Club was disbanded, the building then remained empty until 1977, when it was sold to David and Diana Spalton for conversion into a dwelling.

Here is an infants' School, supported by the lord of the manor.
White's 1864
School-room has just been erected by public subscription and is capable of holding some 80 persons. It is built of stone and red brick and has a neat appearance. The want has long been felt in the parish of a building which would answer the two-fold purpose of an infant school and Parish Room. Mr West of Holt is the builder.
Parish magazine October 1877
An infant school of red brick capable of holding 90 children was erected in 1877, & is supported by a voluntary rate.
Kelly's 1879
The reading room, formerly used as an infants' school, is a red brick building erected in 1877.
Kelly's 1892
Parish & Reading Room (Rev. T. W. Whistler, B.A. sec)
Kelly's 1896 & 1900

Overgrown churchyard hedge and playing field, old school with the bell still in situ c.1955

Not content with their achievements the Vicar, one year after building the vicarage, built the infant school (later to become the Reading Room). In the parish magazine for October 1877 it was recorded that “a room capable of holding 80 people has just been erected by public subscription. It is built of stone and red brick and has a neat appearance. The want has been long felt in the parish of a building which would answer the two fold purpose of an infant school and Parish Room. Mr. West of Holt is the builder'' A hundred years later Mrs. Diana Spalton when converting the school (bought from the Diocese) into a house for herself discovered a number of letters from former pupils thanking the Rev. Rudd for educating them there.
Hempstead, A Norfolk Village - Robin Carver, 2000

1939-1945 war
Use of the Old Schoolroom as a Mens' Reading Room was discontinued and the rooms used as a Red Cross Centre.
Later was also discontinued.
The building had not been used as a school since c.1891
Notes on the school - When aged 94 years of age, Mrs Ward recounted her memories of the school, where she started at the age of 3 years. Each child had to take 2d per week. The Flower Show held in conjunction with the annual W.I. Fete was held in the old school-room. It was used once a week for the children's 'Monday Meeting'. Mission Hall workers from Barningham Parva came out working for the Friends Evangelistic Band. (They formerly met in the Methodist Chapel).
PCC and Mother Union meetings are also held in the old schoolrooms.
The room no longer covered by Vicarage Dilapidations.

The Vicar taught the boys  as we found very scorched letters to him from ex-pupils behind the fireplace. He was called Parson Rudd. Sadly these letters crumbled. Outside, on the south end there was a fairly high wall behind which was a drain. The boys toilet. There was nothing for girls though Adrian Sewell says his Granny was a pupil later. Girls didn’t have to attend school originally, did they. There was an entrance porch which had tumbled down by the time we bought it as you can see from one photo. Otherwise, it was just one room. It must have become too small as the children then went up to Baconsthorpe school. They walked up Marlpit Lane and across the fields to School Lane thus creating the Public footpath which is there now. (You will realise that some of this is what I have been told, so cannot prove it.)
Diana Spalton - 5th March 2020

c.1974 - the bell and casing missing and porch crumbling

Sarah Neal 1864
Miss Overed 1879
Miss Stanley 1883
Joannah Barnard 1890

October 1999
October 1999

11th March 2020
11th March 2020

O. S. Map 1905
O. S. Map 1905
Marked in red top - bottom
Smithy - White Horse Inn - Post Office - Shop - School

Courtesy of NLS map images

If you have any memories, anecdotes or photos please let us know and we may be able to use them to update the site. Please or telephone 07836 675369

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