Steyning Grammar School
The Church Street Buildings

Introduction to "Schooldays Remembered:
Recollections of Steyning Grammar School 1840-1960",
Edited with an Introduction by J M Sleight

Pages 1 . 2 . 3

This is the Introduction to a booklet on sale at the Steyning Museum shop.

"Schooldays Remembered" gives a fascinating insight into life at Steyning Grammar School from as early as the 1840s. Former pupils, staff and teachers have sometimes comic but often shocking memories in a collection which reproduces their own words, selected and edited by J M Sleight.

The pictures, including two held in the Steyning Museum library, illustrate these web pages only.

Schooldays Remembered

Brotherhood Hall was originally the Guild Hall of the Fraternity of the Holy Trinity. The original last lease of a portion of this property, granted in 1539 by the feoffees of the Fraternity, was always kept on the walls of the old schoolroom. They were: Richard Sherley, Knight, of the Wiston family; John Goffe, Tanner; William Gravesende, Mercer; John Bode, Draper; and John Edwards, Yeoman. At the Dissolution of the Monasteries all the Brotherhood property was appropriated by King Henry VIII and sold for £535 9s Id to one Henry Polsted. Brotherhood House was rented by John Gravesend in 1548 at 13s 4d p.a. The property later passed into the hands of the Bellingham family from whom it was purchased by William Holland in 1613, the year before his death.

Its use as a school for little boys can be traced back to 1584. A timber-framed I5th century construction, it has been extensively altered over the years, extended and made safe. William Holland was a merchant and Alderman of Chichester who had been born into a Steyning family of mercers. He endowed the school in 1614 with land and property in Steyning and Washington, also bought from Sir Edward Bellingham, the rents from which kept it going until the late 19th century . The school, a Free School intended for not more than 50 pupils, was administered by feoffes, or trustees, who allowed the schoolmaster to manage the whole property of 25 acres in Steyning and 7 in Washington as well as the schoolhouse and garden. He would occupy part of it, let the rest, collect the rents, keep the school buildings in repair with some of the money and use the rest himself.

The first schoolmaster in 1614 was the Rev. John Jeffrey. In 1778 the income was in the region of £27 p.a. but this had risen to over £81 by 1818, much of which ought have been, but was probably not, spent on repairs. About 1883 the land was all sold and the money invested. In 1906 the school came under the wing of West Sussex County Education Committee and new classrooms were built in 1912*, with further additions in 1933. Modern developments and alterations were carried out after the Second World War in the 1950s and 1960s to provide a new boarding house, dining room and up-to-date science laboratories. The school amalgamated with Steyning Secondary Modern School in 1968 and after a few years the Church Street site became the Lower School, a further massive rebuilding programme providing facilities for the 11 to 13 year-old age groups.

Grammar School Today
The old Steyning Grammar School buildings in Church Street today.

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Page last updated
16th August 2021