Verwood Churches & Schools.
Note that this
article was originally written in 1968 by Mrs. P. Reeks.
was given by the Squire William
Fryer for the erection of an
Anglican chapel and chapel yard at the beginning of the
nineteenth century. The cost of the building was met by
public subscription and endowed by the Vicar of Cranborne
whose stipend depended on the generosity of the neighbouring
Chapel was consecrated in 1829, its title being "Saint Michael and All Angels".
A small chancel was erected in 1870
and in 1880 an organ was purchased at the cost of four
hundred pounds. This
cost was also met by public subscription. In 1886 the
galleries were removed and the chancel rewalled with
buttresses added. The villages named this Lady Salisbury's
Restoration as she was responsible for meeting meet of the
The picture shows St Michael and
"a structure of brick and Bath stone in the Gothic
A new chancel and vestry were built in 1892,
the cost being met by the Reverend
Claude Brown M.A. (
, Oxford), and the churchyard was enlarged during the same
1894 the nave and western baptistry were dedicated together
with the west porch and bell turret. In that year a memorial
marble font with a curved oak cover was added together with
a wrought iron screen round the font and one at the chancel.
In 1927 the church was described as
" a structure of brick and bath stone
in the Gothic style..... there are 210 sittings".
The church register dates from the year 1840.
The Church of England
Infant School was established as a
in 1837 when school was held in the church, but in 1847 a
school room to accommodate one hundred and twenty children
and a school house were built at a cost of two hundred and
sixty pound. This
cost was by grants from the
government, the National Society and by subscriptions from
the local gentry and landowners. The children were taught by
a certificated mistress who the government, the
National Society and by subscriptions from the local gentry
and landowners. The children were taught by a certificated
The Wesleyan Chapel
was erected in 1910 and has" 210 sittings" it was built on the site of the old
Wesleyan Chapel. It is situated to the south of the United Reformed Church (previously the Congregational Church) and
is currently the village library.
The Congregational Church was first
established in 1802 but there appears no information of the
site of this building.
However, the second church was built in 1877 as the
previous one had "fallen
into decay and was deemed unsafe". This second building had a school room at
the rear in which a Miss Carter started a
. The school was later managed by a United Committee and at
one time had one hundred and twelve children on its books. The building
was used as a Church on Sundays, and with the pews pushed
back as a school on weekdays. It was said that when a
funeral was held on a weekday, all the children had to go
into the small schoolroom. It must have been for reasons
such as this that the present Congregational Church was
built in 1906 having "225
sittings" which left the.
previous building to be used as a school.
In 1907 the school was re-opened in
the evenings as the Verwood
School. During the first session twenty pupils were
registered and during the following evenings others
registered in twos and threes. It was privileged to look at
the first school log book and find several interesting
pieces of information. It
was interesting to find that a potter's wheel was ordered
for the school in 1909, but no record could be found
concerning its delivery or use. The school
children helped the Second World War effort in several ways.
During one afternoon in 1942 they gathered one and a quarter
hundredweights of nettles for the Ministry of Health on
other occasions during the autumn of that year they gathered
two hundred and eight pounds of blackberries for the Jam
Making Centre, one hundred and sixty five pounds of rose
hips, three and a half pounds of fox gloves seeds and three
hundredweights of horse chestnuts.
August of 1943 must
have been a hot month as it is recorded that "this afternoon, the children were
paraded for bathing at Doe's Hatches". This
is a fairly deep part of the River Crane, approximately one.
mile from the school building.
Does Hatches can still be seen at the end of Doe's Lane. It
is part of the river Crane and was owned by West Farm in
Romford but is currently owned, and is part of, the Crane
Valley Golf Course.
It it also recorded that "the
children gave a cheer" when the electric lights were
first switched on in the school in 1946.'
In 1953 this school became the
for children between the ages of eight and eleven years,
this being the age group of children it now educates. These premises were
used as a school until September 1967, although as far back
as 1924 an H.M.I's report stated that:-
are now only two classes in the main room and low screen s
have been provided to lessen the distraction, these
premises were only adapted for school purposes and can
never be made entirely suitable".
Again in 1936 an H.M.T. recorded:-
"Work is still carried
on in premises which have long been regarded as defective
and unsuitable. It
is a matter for relief that the erection of a new building
has been definitely decided on by the L.E.A. and it is
hoped that this will be pressed forward with all possible
However, work carried on in those
premises until 1967 when the new
was officially opened on November 9th by an Old Boy of the
previous school, R.D. Price esq. B.A. Deputy Education
Dorset. This is now known as Hillside Community
School in Hillside Road.
School was in 1967."
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