< previous  
Historic Towcester - National School Plaque
School PlaqueThe Plaque
National SchoolFormer National School Building
Former National School BuildingNational School (2002)
Towcester's National School dates from 1849. A site on Watling Street was purchased from the Earl of Pomfret by a committee appointed "for managing the Schools of the Parish of Towcester". The Northampton builder Hall and Briggs built it in Kingsthorpe stone with a tiled roof. It was completed by December 1850 at a cost of £1024 5s 2d.

There were three class rooms for boys, girls and mixed infants. At the front of the building was a low wall with a wicket gate which led to a small paved area. This allowed access to the separate entrances for boys and girls. Segregation of the sexes continued throughout the school, and separate boys and girls toilets and playgrounds were also provided.

The Master and his family were accommodated to the left of the building, with a front parlour, living room and scullery to the rear and upstairs were three bedrooms. Mr James Cornelius Jones (see Note below), who was master from 1864 to 1909, needed this much and more to accommodate himself, his wife, twelve children and a maid. Six of his girls had to be boarded out in Queens Road.

Like most schools of its time it was equipped with a bell tower to summon pupils to school. The bell is now at Moorfields Almshouses. Although the building has undergone a fair amount of structural change it is visually very similar to the original.

Ken Lawton, February 2002.

Note from Barrie Denny, added in July 2003.

Mr James Cornelius Jones was born in St Marylebone, London in 1842 according to the 1901 census. He was master in 1877 until the early 1900s when my wife's grandfather JRK Parr worked there as a Teacher. Mr Jones is also listed in 1877 as Assistant Overseer for the Towcester Union. Also in 1898 as Overseer and Tax Collector for the same. The National School was built in 1850 for 225 pupils. The average attendance in 1898 was 240.
  1. "Towcester - The Story of an English Country Town" published by the Towcester and District Local History Society 1995 (ISBN 0 9524619 1 9).
 < previous