COMMUNITY: Whitwell Local History Group

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On June 14,Maureen Taylor gave a talk about an 18th Century Derbyshire school in crisis.

The school in question was the Sir Henry Fanshawe Grammar school in Dronfield. The school was built as a result of a bequest from the will of Sir Henry Fanshawe whose wishes were carried out by Thomas Fanshawe in 1579. The aim was to educate poor boys, not girls, whose parents could afford to pay a few pence for their sons to be taught the classics in classes which began at 6am in the morning and were not dismissed until 6pm.

After the dissolution of the monasteries teaching was not regarded as a profession and they were looked down on by doctors, lawyers and clergy. However some young men chose to take these positions as Ushers or scribes and lived in the school house, some even taking in boarders to bring in a little more money.

The school was plagued by litigation cases and it was not until 1867 that a new school was built.

Research into the school’s history had been very difficult as most of the school documents had been burnt in a fire.

The name Fanshawe lives on but it is now a state school taking in both boys and girls.

On June 21, the group will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of its founding.