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Mattishall's First School ....

This school was designed by the Diocesan Architect, John Brown, and built in 1871. It was built with a grant from the National Society (a Church of England organisation founded in 1811 to promote religious education) on land that is thought to have been donated by the Vicar's wife. The school closed down in 2005 and the building has now been demolished and removed - English Heritage report

We made an attempt to get the building listed, English Heritage carried out a site inspection. Unfortunately we failed as the building had been altered in so many ways from the original. Some of the report is below - Ray Taylor

1871: Sep 2 - Norwich Mercury - MATTISHALL SCHOOL NORFOLK
TO BUILDERS AND CONTRACTORS - PERSONS desirous of Tendering for the BUILDING of the above SCHOOL are requested to send sealed tenders for the same to the Rev J M Du Port, Mattishall, near Dereham, on or before Saturday 9th September. Tenders to be endorsed, "Tender for the Building of Mattishall School."
The Building Committee do not bind themselves to accept the lowest or any tender.
The plans and specifications may be seen either at J Bunn's Esq., 74 Pottergate Street, Norwich, or at Mattishall Vicarage.

The original plans


Laying of the foundation stone in 1871.
This stone has never been found

The original school building was of a single storey and built of red bricks with tiled roofs. Its orignal layout was roughly T-shape with a long school room running from north to south and a smaller central classroom annexe protruding to the east. To the north and south gable ends of the main school room were gabled entrance porches for girls and boys respectively. To the rear (west) of the school room was a yard leading to the outside toilets and which included stores for dry earth and coal and a soil bin. The main school and the classroom annexe had brick buttresses, including diagonal buttresses at their corners. The original windows were lancets with square heads: the main school room gable ends each originally had a tall three-light window and its east elevation had two two-light windows to either side of the classroom annexe; the annexe had a tall twelvelight window to the gable end; and the entrance porches each had a single-light window to their side elevations. At the junction betweeen the roofs of the main building and annexe are two pairs of Elizabethan style, star-topped chimneys. The building had a bellcote at the north gable end of the main school room A single-storey class-room extension, in similar style to the original, was added to the south west corner in 1883. At some time early in its history, four spirelets were added to the roofs. There seems to have been some remodelling undertaken in the early part of the twentieth century, which saw the erection of a flat-roofed extension at the corner between the east wall of the main school room and the south wall of the annexe; the removal of the boys' entrance porch (the girls' entrance porch has also been lost, although it is not clear if this was at the same time as
that of the boys); and the insertion of a replacement window in the south gable of the main school room. At some point, a replacement window was also inserted in the north gable of the school room, the bellcote removed, the spirelets replaced, the annexe extended eastwards and the yard and outside toilets removed. Flat-roofed extensions were added in the 1950s/1960s. It has not been possible to inspect the interior of the building but the extent of the exterior alterations suggest that is unlikley that much of the original fixtures and fittings remain.

The following has been compiled by Iris Coe.
The land on which the school was built was owned by Thomas Paddon vicar of Mattishall 1821-1861. This was his own property nothing to do with the church. Mr Paddon died in 1861 after which his widow Mrs (Elizabeth Ann) Paddon, was listed as the owner in the Mattishall Poor Rate Books.
It has been said that Mrs Paddon gave the land on which the school was built but written evidence to confirm this has not been found.
As a matter of interest, Mrs Elizabeth Ann Paddon was the daughter of Rev. George William Smith who was curate of Mattishall c1793-1807. He purchased Several House which is on the South side of Church Plain in 1798, the year of his marriage. It is possible that Elizabeth Ann was born in the house. She was baptised in All Saint Church in 1802. Obviously she would have had a special regard for the village. She married Thomas Paddon in 1833 thus renewing her connection with Mattishall and remain here for the rest of her life. She died in 1885 - Iris Coe

1871: Jul 15 - Norfolk Chronicle: - Laying the Foundation Stone of a National School at Mattishall.
Thursday week was an attractive and indeed an eventful day in the ordinarily quiet village of Mattishall. It was the occasion of the laying of the foundation stone of a National school for the poorer people of that and the adjoining parish of Mattishall Burgh, and as the most fitting form in which to honour the event, the worthy and esteemed vicar, the Rev J M Du Port, held a special choral service in the church, in the afternoon. There was as excellent attendance at the service, the congregation including many ladies and gentlemen, principally residing in the neighbourhood. On entering the church a feature of interest presented itself in the font, which was most elegantly decorated with ferns, exotica, choice pot plants, and roses, whilst the general appearance of the church showed to those who had not recently visited it, that it has undergone several improving changes. Four choirs, numbering about eighty voices, took part in the service - namely, Hockering, Brandon Parva, Carlton, and Mattishall. As the clergy entered the church in procession, the hymn, "Come ye faithful, raise the anthem," was sung, and the prayer, were in toned by the Rev P P Owyn and the Rev W T Moore. The lessons were read by the Rev E Gurdon and the Rev J E Cooper. The anthem was taken from Psalm cxvii, "O praise the Lord all
ye heathen," and the hymns before and after the sermon were, "Jesus, our hope, our heart's desire," and "The Church's one foundation." Throughout, the singing was very creditable. The Psalms were chanted with fair accuracy as to time, whilst, generally, it was apparent that the members of the choirs have been taught not merely to sing music correctly, but also to appreciate the value of a clear articulation and an intelligent sense of the meaning of the words. The sermon wan preached by the Hon, Canon Hinds Howell from the 1st Lesson for evening service, Proverbs xxii, 6. - "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." The rev, gentleman commenced his remarks by pointing out that the Bible is very different from every, other book, not only in its old quaint language, and in the subjects with which it treats, but also in the way in which it comes home to us and opens our hearts, showing us what we are; one time it fills us with fears and sadness, and at another time with hope and joy. It was adapted to the wants of man either in seasons of mirth or of dark and gloomy trouble. This adaptability arose from the fact that it is the Word of God. But there was a mysterious peculiarity in Gods Word which, perhaps, we had not sufficiently considered - that there should be so much in it about children. We are always meeting with them in some way or another. They occurred over, and over again in the historical books; the Psalms were full of them; they furnished the prophets with their commonest images, and, above all, they occupied a most conspicuous place in time teaching of our blessed Master, Jesus Christ, who blessed them and said that except a man become as a little child he could not enter into the kingdom of heaven. It was because little children were Christ's brethren and because Christ Himself for their sake became a little one that so much was said about them in Holy Scripture. And they were in this special manner Christ's brethren because of holy Baptism in which, having been born in sin and being children of wrath, they were made members of Christ, children of God, and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven. After speaking upon the solemn view of holy baptism given in Holy Scripture, Mr Hinds Howell adverted to the laying of the foundation stone of schools for this and a small neighbouring parish. In a few short months, he said, those schools would be open, and the question in these days of rebuke and ungodly teaching was forced on the Church, "How shall we best keep alive the gift of the Spirit given in baptism to Christ's little ones? - how shall we be of one heart with our holy fathers who sleep around us?" - but in training up our little ones in paths of peace and pleasantness, and by training each child in the way in which he should go, so that when he was old he would not depart from it. Trouble was upon the earth and restlessness and perplexity; men were looking out for some great thing, and they who would adhere to the ancient landmarks in Church and State were full of trembling. Only one Power could bear them up against the ungodly teaching of the day, and he earnestly exhorted the members of the Church to have no differences, no diversity of opinion, no party animosities, and no cruel misunderstandings with each other. The children of the Church must be educated and the education must be that of baptized souls. The Church Catechism must be the model of their teaching, - the Church Catechism for Church children, - and it was their duty to see them so trained that no promise or vow should bo neglected or forgotten. In the baptismal service the Church provided that the children dedicated to God's service should "be taught the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments, and be further instructed in the Church Catechism set forth for that purpose." And why was this? Because the provision was always made for the child that when merging into man he should be brought to the Church's chief minister, the Bishop, to be confirmed, so soon as the child could say those things above set forth. The rev, gentleman from these premises argued that it was the duty of the Church to provide her children with a religious and Church education, and that although she did not state the time that education was to begin she implied it in the charge she gave. He also directed attention to the fact that it was impossible to say what spiritual work God might do in the heart of the youngest child, and next proceeded to contend that children should be taught to be Churchmen as well I as Christians. Adverting to the recent legislative change with regard to education, he inculcated the duty of the Church upholding her own teaching to, the utmost of her power, and on this point he quoted the words of the Bishop of Winchester: - "Education without particular religious teaching is a fog, a smoke, a sham." There could be, the preacher continued, no education without religion. The one principle on which we ought to begin, to carry on, and to finish the education of children must be built on the teaching of God's Church. I say of Christian children generally, whatsoever the quality of their education in other respects, it is above all things necessary that they should be trained in the fear and love of God. Are they not baptised by one baptism in the faith of one Lord, in the communion of one Christ, and for what purpose is their baptism if no pains are taken to train them up according to their privileges? Will it not rather add to the weight of what they have to answer for, - will it not increase their sinfulness, - if they are suffered to grow up as if they were not pledged to holiness of life, and what shall hinder them from growing up in ungodliness, unless they are trained in the ways of God's truth! What shall make them, when they come of age, likely to act up to the character they took upon themselves in holy baptism, unless there has been anxious attention paid continually to those blessed truths contained in that model of Christian education, our own Church Catechism." The rev, preacher concluded an able sermon by some practical remarks addressed to parents and children as to their duty with regard to the schools when built. The collection amounted to £11, 4s, 03/4d.
The clergy then left the church in procession, and with the congregation proceeded to the "School-field," which is situate most conveniently near the church, next the turnpike-road. Several flags indicated that something unusual was going on, and the people for whose children the school is be built were fully represented. Mrs Paddon gave the site, and the cost of the school, which will accommodate 175 children, is estimated at £800. Of this amount about £400 has been subscribed, Mr and Mrs Edward Sparks of Gunthorpe giving £125, Mr Donne and the vicar £100 each, and the Rev M J Anderson £30. The farmers will do the necessary carting. After the stone and building had been dedicated by Mr Du Port, the stone was laid by E B Sparks, Esq., and the hymn "Come, sing with holy gladness " (Appendix, "Hymns Ancient and Modern") was sung. The benediction was afterwards pronounced and the ceremony was at an end.
The following clergymen were present, in addition to those mentioned as officiating at the church: - Revs, M J Andersen, J B Johnson, W C Davie, B Cooper, F B De Chair, J Durst, B J Armstrong, A B Crosse, J Rust, T Marsh, C Joyce, T L Fellow, H Daveney, and A B Slipper. Among the other visitors were Capt and Mrs Bulwer, Mrs and Miss Edwards (Hardingham), Mrs Coliett and Miss Hosts, Mrs Garden, Mr and Mrs Carthew, Mrs Burst, Mrs Millett and party, Miss Evans, Miss Pourice, Mrs and Miss Gwyn, Mrs Cooper, &c. It only remains to add that the hospitality for which Mattishall vicarage bears so good a name, was not wanting on this occasion.

Postcard dated 1921

The picture below was taken from All Saint's church tower. It was taken in the early part of the 1900's where we can see that the school stood on it's own in the village. The only property that can only just be seen is Norfolk House which is just behind it and still there today. There is no Parker Road estate, no bungalows on the main road, just open fields. In front of the school was the school allotment attended by the children mainly the boys. In the left of the picture is a pond which in 1937 claimed the life of young schoolboy called Eric J. Clarke age 7 who had wondered off at playtime. An account can be read of this sad event in 'May Minns' memories of Mattishall in the 'Memories' menu.

The school site now looks a lot different, it had been added to considerably as the village population grew.
Notice the swimming pool on the left.

From the church tower 1978
The swimming pool is still there plus three portable classrooms have been added.

Some of the first Head Teachers:

Miss Anderson was the first Head teacher 1872 - 1879

Miss Johnson (left) was headmistress form 1879 - 1914

Mr Fred Brayley was headmaster from 1915 - 1945

H. Leeder 1945 - 1958

Mr Sanderson 1958 - 1978

Some of the early teachers were:-
Miss Edwards, who started as a trainee 1898-1944: Miss Holly 1926-1949: Mrs Wright 1916-1924: Miss Clarke 1925-1917/18: Maud Green 1919-1922: Miss Coats 1932-1939 she married Mr Brayley the headmaster and taught till 1945: Miss Bonnick sarted as an infant teacher 1918 then refered to as Mrs Gay to 1929: Miss Willett 1925-1926: Beryl Butler 1947: Esther Bushell 1910-1916: Miss Williamson 1924-1925: Mrs Lily Curtis 1914-1915:

Below are pictures of some of the teacher taken from school group pictures - if you can put a name to them please get in touch.













Mr Womack 1950/2



Mr Sanderson 1960's

Mrs Bash 1970's

The picture below shows Mr Brayley (headmaster) with his class of gardeners

Many children and a few generations have passed through Mattishal's school and from the many emails and letters we have, it was and still is regarded with great effection. Even by some of those unlucky children who bore the brunt of punishment.

We have many class pictures in our archive taken over the years, like this one dated 1928 where the children have all been named.


For more information and memories of Mattishall First school go to the 'Memories' section - MEMORIES

Norfolk Education Department made the decision to close and vacate the old school, moving the children to the newer school premises a few yards down the road. This was to start a heated debate which would end up dividing the village as no one could decide on what to do with the building. Attempts were made to raise funds but the cost to bring it to it former glory was not a viable proposition. As mention at the begining of this page Mrs Elizabeth Kettle and myself tried to get the building listed through English Heritage but failed because it had been altered so much and both the boys and girls porches had been remove.

The sad thing is the building was left derelict for far to long, some say deliberately to claim it is beyond repair. There was a "consultation" put to the village people but there again some say it was a sham as both options were in effect demolition giving a predetermined outcome. There were several village protestors who tried everything they could to save it but to no avail.
In the end one of Mattishall's treasured landmarks became a very sad eyesore.

Above a picture taken by Dereham Times for more information on their article click HERE


After 133 years of service Mattishall's First School has now been wiped from the face of the earth.

All that remains is a mural painted by the children.

So what was schooling like before 1871

1794: Oct 4 - Norfolk Chronicle

Sept 29th 1794.

Where young GENTLEMEN are genteely
Boarded and carefully conducted through a regular
courfe of English LITERATURE
on the following terms, viz,
Reading 10s per term
Writing, Arithmetic, Accompts, &c, 12s per term.
NB. Young Ladies taught Needle-Work by M Tuddenham.

This is believed to be Richard Tuddenham of East Dereham. He, being a bachelor married Mary Barwick a spinster of this parish at St Peter's church Mattishall Burgh on January 25th 1774. - They had several children there first son (John Berwick Tuddenham) being born at East Dereham, they then lived at Barford where a few more children recorded in baptism records. They then appear at Mattishall Burgh where they placed the above advert. The following year another son (Theophilus) was baptised at St Peter's Church on June 8th 1795, Richard is recorded as a Schoolmaster. It is not clear how long their school was in the village or what happened to the family.


1823: Dec 20 - Norfolk Chronicle
PURPOSES after the present recess to open a DAY SCHOOL , for a limited number of Young
LADIES and GENTLEMEN. under Ten Years of AGE. The intended plan of instruction will comprehend
Spelling, Reading, Grammar, the rudiments of Geography, General History, Writing, the First
Rules of Arithmetic, and other essentials parts of English Education , with every branch of Needlework
in all its varieties.
TERMS: Three Guineas per annum. No Entrance Money will be required nor any extra s charged except for
the necessary articles of Stationary which may be used.
Masters (if required) for Languages and the higher branches of Arithmetic, at the established charges.
The Business of the School will commence on THURSDAY , 15th Jan, 1824.
St Martins at Palace , near the Plain. Dec 20th, 1823


1832: Jun 23 - Norfolk Chronicle
RETURNS his thanks to his friends in Mattishall and its vicinity, for the support which they have given him
during a period of Twenty Years, and begs to say that having been repeatedly solicited to take Boarders,
he has at length determined on an arrangement for receiving a limited number of Boys, from six to ten years of age.
Board and Tuition, Eighteen Guineas per annum. Entrance, one Guineas.
A Quarter's Notice, or an adequate acknowledgement, will be expected previous to removal.
The present Vacation terminates on TUESDAY July 17th.


1833: Jul 6 - Norwich Mercury
THE above ESTABLISHMENT, conducted by MISSES GRIGSON, will be Re-opened on Tuesday 23rd, inst.
Terms for Board and General Instruction , including English Grammar, Geography, Use of the Globes. History,
Writing, and Arithmetic, are reasonable and may be had at the School. French Drawing and Music are taught by them of Masters who attend.
The most unremitting attention , in every department of education and domestic comfort will be paid to those Pupils instructed to their care.
July 3rd 1883.


1834: Jan 18 - Norfolk Chronicle
The Misses GRIGSON
Beg to announce to their friends and the Public, that they have REMOVED their Establishment from Mattishall to the most commodious House
lately occupied by Mr Varden, Dereham, Norfolk , where they will be happy to receive their Pupils on Thursday , the 23rd inst.
Jan 16th 1834


1843: Jan 14 - Norwich Mercury
Established 1811
Mr Kittle begs to return thanks to his Friends for the liberal support they have given him for so many years, and wishes to acquaint them
and the Public that the business of his School will recommence in his Airy and Commodious Rooms, recently erected for that purpose,
on Tuesday, January 17th, 1843.
Terms for Boarders
Under nine years of age ...... 16 Guineas per annum
Above nine and under twelve ........ 18 Guineas per annum
Twelve years and above ........ 20 Guineas per annum
Entrance one Guinea, from which each pupil is provided with sheets, towel, &c. &c.
Jan 11th 1843







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