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History of Denton CE School

Denton CE School established 1720


Denton School was set up as a charity school around 1715 by Mary Welby, widow of Sir Richard Welby. Mary was left with six infant children and the existing ‘Leys House’ was built opposite the church on open common to serve as a school house. The initial endowment was to educate 24 boys and 6 girls from the village and the foundation date of the school was 1720.


By 1870 the Elementary Education Act had been passed and primary education was encouraged. It may have been about this time that the Charity School in Denton became a National School. School Inspectors came and tested the children. By 1874, the school had 158 children on roll and the accommodation was becoming too small. A new school building was erected by the same family behind The Leys House in 1894 and is still used today. The Leys House is still lived in by members of the Welby family and the present school building and land is still owned by the Welby family.


After the Education Act of 1944, the school was let by the Welby Estates on lease to the Lincoln Diocesan Trust and Board of Finance. This Lease is still in force today and the Local Authority takes care of the school land and buildings. In 1860 an infant school was also built in the village but the building was demolished in the 1960’s.


The school still holds a variety of archives dating back about 150 years including photos, log books and registers and many original features can be seen inside and out of the school building including outside toilets, gas light pulleys and fire places.


The following is an extract from ‘Rules and Orders of ye Charity School of Denton 1718’

1: That the master be a member of the Church of England, of a good character, and not under the age of 23.

2: That he be well qualified to teach the children to read English well and tryly, to write a good hand and to understand arithmetic.

3: That he instruct them in the principles of Religion as laid down in the Church Catechism and in the use of the Common Prayer Book.

4: That he pray with them at school morning and evening and teach them to do the same at home when they rise and go to bed and to say grace at meals.

5: That he constantly attends the school from 7 in summer morning and until five in the afternoon in winter from 8 until 4.

6: That he shall teach 30 children out of the choir but shall be permitted to take in the school 30 others or strangers.

7: That he shall not break up school but at the three great festivals a week at each festival.

8: That parents set a good example at home, hear their lessons , catechisms and prayer. Correct them for their faults or inform their master of them.

9: That they freely submit their children to the discipline and correction of their master and forebears coming to school on such occasions.


The original school motto can still be seen on the doorway to The Leys house:

Learn to know God and thy Self


Source: Denton Church of England School archives (variety of written and facsimile sources and photographs from the school archives and courtesy of Graham Leverton)

Historical photographs