Full time education for the poor in the 19th century did not exist, and what little tutoring there was, was either sponsored by charities or religious establishments and would only have been for a few hours per week. Due to the overall poverty of the period parents would, as soon as their children were strong and able, send them out to work to supplement the families income. So understandably parents were not always eager for their children to attend even the basic form of schooling.

In October 1811 the "Church of England National Society" was set up with the aim of providing a school in every parish in England and Wales. Its primary objective was to promote a strong religious upbringing and secondary a basic reading and writing ability.

It was not until 1833 that the government actually became involved in financing the education system. In August of that year parliament voted for sums of money to be used for the construction of schools for the poor. It took a further 40 more years before the introduction of The Elementary Education Act of 1870. Local authorities were now required to make returns of the number of children in their area and of the existing school places available. If a shortfall was found then a "School Board" had to be established who's members were directly elected, not appointed. These boards had the power to raise funds through taxation, pass bylaws if they so wished, making attendance compulsory between the ages of 5 and 13. They were also empowered to build and run none non-denominational schools were provision was found to be inadequate, they could also subsidize church schools and perhaps more importantly pay the fees of the poorest children.

The later1880 act of Parliament now required school boards to make attendance compulsory for children between the ages of 5 and 10.

The Elementary Act of 1891 provided for the state to pay 10 shillings per pupil thus making education effectively free.

Perhaps the most radical educational act was passed in 1902 which disbanded the Board Schools, replacing them with Local Education Authorities. Church schools of which there were nearly 14,000 were now to be funded by local taxation instead of government grants. This caused great controversy amongst the nonconformists who refused at first to pay the extra tax.

in 1906 a school meals act was passed but only a few councils responded. As late as 1939 only 50% of authorities were providing school meals

On November 24th, 1922 the Village school received a letter from Leicestershire County Council concerning the reorganising of Elementary Education in relation to Section 34 of the 1921 Education act. and informs that .....

It is to be arranged with the Managers that henceforth Kirkby School is to be arranged as a Junior School for pupils up to the age of The Annual Schools Examination as defined as...................

"All pupils of Public Elementary Schools who will be over the age of eleven but not over the age of twelve of the first of June in any year ......... shall be presented for the "Annual School Examination to be held in or about the month of March preceding".

  It is proposed that the children over this age be tranfered to Earl Shilton C.of E. Mixed School about two miles away. this will relieve Kirkby Mallory School of twelve Children, reducing the number on the books to 23.

I am instructed to ask for the School Board's approval under the Education act, for directions being given by the Local Education Authority for putting into force the referred to re-organisation.

Signed. W A Brockington     Director of education.

There is also a letter on file from a Mr. Williams with a response from the Earl Shilton Managers ..........

I am directed by the Managers to say they have no objection to the senior scholars of Kirkby Mallory attending our schools, but if at any time we should need the accommodation for the children of our own parish, you would then make other arrangements for the Kirkby Mallory children.    Yours Obediently ......AV William

A note of caution then from Earl Shilton

So, 1923 saw the introduction of what was to become known as the Eleven Plus Exam at the village school.

 In 1944 the Butler act set out in more detail to differentiate between primary and secondary education. The act also allowed for the absorption of the majority of church primary schools to be absorbed into the state education system. Primary education being delegated for the 5 to 11 year olds and Secondary for 11 to 15 year old's. This written exam paper determined the students further education prospects, be it either at basic Secondary Modern or higher Grammar School level.

A less well known clause in the bill ensured that all Local authorities now had a statuary duty to provide milk and school dinners, later a separate act was to ensure that all schools provide 1/3 of a pint of free milk to every child under the age of 15. This was a provision which I well remember at South Charnwood School 1951 / 55. Along with class mates I took full advantage of the option of going over to the canteen for my quota of milk at morning playtime.      Of course having to cross the girls playground at the time may of been of some minor incentive? 

However In 1968 free milk in all Secondary Schools was abolished by the government.





               The original site for the village school, I was reliably informed was the larger, left hand, end cottage of the terraced row on the North side of the village. However the existing Church of England School built in 1863, now used as the village hall was build and administered by the Wentworth Estate under the supervision of Lord King, 1st Earl of Lovelace, and locally, by the Reverent Augustus Byron.

The Rev Augustus Byron, who's portrait hung in the school room for many years was born in 1828 his father was Admiral George Anson Byron 7th Baron Byron of Rotchdale, and his mother was Elizabeth Mary Chandos-Pole. Augustus graduated from Oxford university with a "Master of Arts Degree. He later became a JP, Justice of the Peace for Leicestershire. He married Frederica McMahon and they had six children. Augustus died in 1907.

School plaque dated 1863  Photograph courtesy of Jayne Ball

 The earliest school record held in the National Archive is dated 1871 and gives the village population as 222 with the number of rate payers as 46. The number of children able to be accommodated via the Church of England School is given as 78, and the number of children requiring accommodation was 40.



The series of letters and forms shown below relate to a detailed inspection carried out in 1894. The teacher at that time was Mary Anne Roland, born December 1842. She took up the post of teacher at Kirkby Mallory School in August 1877. Her salary for that year is given as £49, less fuel, that means she was responsible for providing the lighting and heating within the school. ( lighting would have been via oil lamps / candles)


Its purpose was to ensure that "The school will henceforth be conducted as a "Certified Efficient  School" within the meaning of the Education act of 1876".

A list of questions were then asked for the inspector to comment upon.

  To summarise.  1.  Does it provide about a quarter of an acre for every 250 children accommodated. 2  Is it dry and in good repair. Is it light in all parts. Is it warm and clear of draughts. Is the school well equipped in respect of furniture, apparatus and books. Is it well ventilated. Are the closets and urinals, light, sanitary, sufficient, well disconnected from the school and separately approached by each sex from the school room itself.

As shown below all questions were answered with a YES, although the inspector does make a note regarding the ventilation in the apex of the roof, and the need for a blind in the South window.              

(See document left, and letter in response, right)



as briefly described above.



Here the Rev. Augustus Byron asks for a little time for the matters to be remedied, as the Earl Lovelace is not expected to return to England until the end of Autumn.   Non the less, the Rev Byron informs the Hinckley Education Authority that he will pass on the details to the Earl's Agent.

Then there is was section on the rules to be observed in order to comply with the above act of 1876

Payment in respect of each scholar is not to exceed nine pence per week. The managers are responsible for the payment of teachers. Teachers not allowed to undertake other duties. Girls are taught plain needlework. That school registers etc, are all kept up to date.

Note, the Reverent Augustus Byron, Vicar of Kirkby Mallory church has signed the document as being the provisional manager only.The overall "Manager", responsible for the upkeep of the school on the date stated above would then of been, Ralph Milbank, the 2nd Earl of Lovelace. At the time he had been living abroad and had been summons to return upon the sudden death of his father.


Next we have the results from the school exam taken on the 30th June


EXAM   results

O = Failed    X= Passed

showing lowest "Standard" first   i.e.

I =   the lowest

V= the  highest

However, there was no information as to the parameters used to define which "Standard" was appropriate.


  Unfortunately the School Inspectors report does not bode well for Ms. Roland as seen in the form shown left.

In conclusion the inspector was not too happy with the level of discipline. He goes on to write

"The classes attainments are very unsatisfactory and they appear quite accustomed to apply freely to each other for help"


Finally the inspector is asked if he considers the school to be inefficient, to which he answerers YES.

But has been assured that these deficiencies will be made good , See letter below,       

Managers Reply

Below is the letter drafted by the Rev Byron on the 21st of December, and sent to the Education Department



In reply to your letter I am requested by the managers of this school to say that on the return of the Earl of Lovelace to England, (in November last) notice was given to the mistress of the school, and that on the expiration of that notice she will be replaced by a qualified teacher who it is expected will satisfy the requirements of the inspectors.

I have the honour to be


Your obedient Servant

hon & Rev      A Byron

The School's provider responsible for its upkeep was now the 2nd Earl Lovelace, see below

Augusta Ada (nee) Byron married William Lord King in 1852 and became Lady Ada King. They had three children. Byron born 1836, Anne Isabella born 1837 and Ralph Gordon born 1839.

Lord King was given the title Earl of Lovelace in 1838. thus making Ada the Countess of Lovelace. Ada died in 1852. Lord King, the 1st Earl of Lovelace died December 1893. His eldest son Byron died in 1862 without issue so the title, 2nd Earl of Lovelace went to his next surviving son Ralph Gordon .

  So the above letter would have referred to the 2nd Earl of Lovelace, Ralph Gordon King.

 Note.  When the title passed to the eldest surviving son Ralph he had already assumed the name Milbank, being Lady Byron's maiden name by Royal License in 1861, thus making his full title "Ralph Gorden King Milbank".

However it is said, that the running of the estates was left to his second wife, Mary Caroline, 2nd Countess of Lovelace who he married in 1880.  In the receipt for the sale in 1921 of the Post Office in Kirkby Mallory to Mr. Edward Gibson, we can see, that it has been signed by the Countess and not her husband. That said, the Earl would have still of had ultimate responcability for the estate. 




 Transcript of letter opposite to the secretary of the Board of Education


                Kirkby Mallory School

      I regret to inform you that a third out break of Diphtheria in this village within the last five months, has necessitated a complete new system of drainage by order of the District Council. As the main drain in the village runs a little way behind the school has to be opened and re-laid, the Medical Officer has ordered the closing of the school during the progress of the work, probably a period of three weeks. There is a large room in the village which might be used as a temporary school if the Board of Education would allow it.

     I have the honour to be


                                Your obedient servant

                                       A Byron

Below is a page of notes made at the time,  by a  F B Lott. and contains a lot of detail regarding the outbreak. I assume Mr. / Ms. Lott is making notes on behalf of the Board of Education in reply to Rev. Byron's letter.



The work on the drain has not yet begun, but another case of Diphtheria has occurred in the village & M.o H. and has ordered the school to keep closed.
                           ------------------                                        I  saw Mr Byron today and saw the proposed room. It is a room large enough for the few children. It is in a house which has an "off" license.
There is access to a closet in a garden by a bow window, also has access through the house to the house closet in yard.
The tenant (a widow) is sister in law of the school mistress.       This room is called the "Estate Office" of the Lord Lovlaces estate.      But Mr Byron's son is the agent, & when at home he does most of his work at the rectory.     He has been in S. Africa & in Egypt to recover health.    He is now at work again, though not there just now.       The school belongs to Lord Lovelace & the expert whom he called in to see what was wrong & what caused Typhoid  of teacher and Diphtheria in children said that the untrapped connexsion of school rain water cistern and of school cesspit with the main drain was enough to account for it.

Cesspit has been abolished. earth closets put....
put in place) .......     Overflow of underground rainwater cistern trapped. (? writing not clear)

A farmer who is on the District Council lost two children from Diphtheria & there is evidently a good deal of feeling about it.

The M of H is pressed by District Council to be strict about the work on the drain.

The Large room refered to was in the village "Off Licence, the large three story building on the corner of Peckleton Lane.

The following page continues.....     I think B of E   (Board of Education)  might tell  Cpt.  (?)  that the room proposed may be temporally used as a school room if  M of H    (Ministry of Health)    approves of school being held in it, before he allows school to be held in the school premises.
    I think that the "off license" being part of a dwelling house need prevent its temporarily recognition , but perhaps Mgrs. (
Managers) should be very careful to refer to M of H  before assembling children anywhere.               Signed   F B Lott    18 /4

I have been unable to trace the name of the farmer or his children at present. The Leicester Records Office has put most of its church records "On line" but unfortunately the burial records for Kirkby Mallory end in the 19th century?. The "Find my Passed" website lists several    burials but none are of school age. Even checking Census results 1900 against 1901 proved fruitless.

work in progress,