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Schooling was different in "the old days" from what you have experienced. And English schools have a different structure than their American counterparts. The list below reflects history and not current structure. For example:

The vast majority of school records available for your perusal are at the Lincolnshire Archives. The Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, has a few on microfilm. Sometimes the schools themselves have kept their ancient registers, but most have not because of space restrictions, amalgamations of schools, etc. Like most old records, they suffered from rot, fire, perils of war and neglect.

This page can use your help. If you know of school records available to family history researchers, please contact the site co-ordinator. If you are a Lincolnshire local and your school has a web site, encourage them to include a history of the institution. Here is what we have so far:

Some notes on School records in the Archives offices:

  1. Most school records cover the period from about 1870 to the early 1900's.
  2. Schools were not required to desposit records with the Archive offices. The quantity of records varies from school to school. For one school, perhaps nothing. At another, say five books each spanning five years of records, possibly more.
  3. Look for the original admission books, which list the names of all the pupils starting school that year, their father's name and address. Notes are normally added if the pupil left one school for another.
  4. A "school log" is normally the teacher's (or Headmaster's) diary of events that transpired during his/her tenure. Student names appear occasionally, particularly if they are assistant teachers or monitors. Visits by nurses, the clergy, and dignitaries are recorded, as are periods of bad weather, waves of diseases, students out for harvest, etc.
  5. The best starting place to find out if the Archives holds school material relating to a particular village is the 'Schools' card index.

History of Schooling in England

Schooling was not very effective when it first started. Nivard OVINGTON tells us (in 2009) that an article in the Times of 1844 reported that of 62,447 persons taken up by the police, 11,336 males, and 5,682 females could neither read nor write. That's 27% of the population. Only about half the population could read at all. Lincolnshire was an agricultural area, so it was common for children, particualr the older ones, to be pulled out of school at age 10 to 12 to work in the fields. And there were class biases at play. The "Working class" thought education was only for the rich, and the middle and upper classes thought reading was a waste of time or even bad for the lower classes.

A brief history of schooling in England:

John Bland also tells us:

The activities of King Henry VIII should not be overlooked in the evolution of Schools. In many towns up and down the land there will be a boy's Grammar School which can trace it's foundations back to Henry VIII. A King's School would most likely be one of Henry's. Many, up to Victorian times would be quite small - a room annexed to the local Church being a typical example. This Church connection still exists today with many School's being "Church aided".

In some parts of the County, Grammar Schools have resisted the attempts to turn them into Secondary Modern or Comprehensive School's, which are post-War inventions. Spalding Grammar School for boys, being one, along with the High School for Girls, which still requires the passing on the 11 plus examination to gain entry.

The Grammar School did take Girls before the Great War.

Up until around 1800, most Grammar School's provided a classical education in Greek and Latin, and they had to be presided over by a Clergyman. This was provided free to local children, and the term "Free School" was used. Subsequently, parents had difficulties in seeing the benefits of their offspring learning dead languages, and other subjects started to be taught such as reading, writing and arithmetic.

General References and Resources


Specific School Resources

Just because a school isn't listed here doesn't mean that it has no history or merit. Look under the individual parish profile for more detail on specific schools (such as those in Alford).


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Last updated on 19-April-2015
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