Lady Manners School, Bakewell

Compiled by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2000

ABOUT THIS PAGE: I was educated at Lady Manners School between 1958 and 1965. The School's Official History has been well-documented elsewhere: this brief account attempts to examine the founding, and growth of the school into today's Secondary Comprehensive from the perspective of a family history researcher. I have relied extensively on the aforementioned History, “The Story of the School of Grace Lady Manners, Bakewell”, by Dr. R. A. Harvey (1982). Dr. Harvey was Senior Master when I was at school - I owe him, and other teachers at the school a great debt for my formative education, although at the time, I loathed it. However, if I may quote from the book's Preface: “Age tends to make one a Laudator Temporis Acti (a praiser of times gone by)” so I'm hoping Dr. Harvey would have appreciated my sentiment!


“Is it a girls' school?” I was asked frequently, by those assuming possibly that the school was for genteel young ladies! “Lady No Manners” was the lament of those who knew the pupils rather better!

The reality is however rather different, on both counts. The School is named for its founder, Grace, Lady Manners, wife of George, Lord Manners of Haddon, and in its early days admitted boys only, for the purposes of educating them in “good learninge and Christian religion”. In practice its function may have been similar to that of the Grammar School at Ledbury, Herefordshire, where its principal function was teaching latin grammar.

The Begininngs of Education in Bakewell

The earliest formal education we know of in Bakewell was provided by the Chantry Priest in the Chantry of Our Lady, founded by the Vernon family of Haddon in the 13th century. One source suggests the Chantry property still exists, now as separate cottages in South Church Street, sited just below the Church; however the present buildings (recognisable until quite recently by their thatched roofs) are of a later date, being built in the early 18th century as Almshouses. Nevertheless it seems likely - whether or not anything of the original building survives, that the location is correct, as the more comprehensive definition of ‘Chantry’ in The Catholic Encyclopedia explains how it was quite common for the Chapels to be sited in buildings separate from the Church, but within, or connected to the churchyard, as these properties, or their predecessors must once have been.

The abolition of Chantries in 1547, in Edward VI's reign resulted in the loss of this, and other schools funded by the Chantries. After this time, other religious movements stepped in, leading to the founding of Charity Schools, either dependent on a benefactor, or on public subscription.

The first Lady Manners School may be counted amongst these latter, Charity Schools. It was founded in 1636 by Grace, Lady Manners as a free school for the education of boys from Bakewell and Great Rowsley, and has survived successive revolutions in education to become today a Secondary Comprehensive School, in Shutts Lane.

The School's Foundation

The Deed for its founding, dated 20th May 1636 outlines Grace's purchase of land at Elton (near Youlgreave) which was to provide an income of £15 a year for “the mayntayninge of a Schoolemaister for ever to teach a free Schoole within the Townshippe of Bakewell, for the better instructinge of the male children of the Inhabitants of Bakewell and Great Rowsley aforesaid...”

The schoolmaster was “to be appointed by the Lords of the Manor of Haddon, in the said Countie of Derby, being the heires or posteritie of the said Grace, Ladie Manners...” and as with the Pursglove Grammar School in Tideswell, the deed stipulated that the schoolmaster was to remain unmarried, and “if the said Schoolemaister shall at any time afterward marry, or shall live disorderly or scandalously, that then the said Schoolemaister shall have noe benefitt by the said Annuitie or rente charge, but shall be displaced from the said Schoole”.

The school day began at seven in the morning “except Sondaies and holidaies”, until eleven. Apparently there was a two hour break, as the afternoon session began at one oclock, and continued until five. The schoolmaster's post was funded solely by Grace's annuity, but he was allowed to take a registration fee of one shilling for each boy entering the school.

Following Grace's death, the schoolmaster would have received a pay rise, as her will of 6 March 1649 allowed for the full income from the land at Elton to go for school use, as during her lifetime, she had reserved £5 of the £20 a year for herself. Her will records the school for the first time as a “Grammer Schoole”.

The 17th Century

I fondly imagined when I began looking into the School's History that there would be a regular series of records of names of boys educated over the years. However, if such rolls exist, I feel sure Dr. Harvey would have found them, so one must conclude they don't, and be content with what snippets come to light from other sources. The first series of names in the History derives from a letter which Dr. Harvey located, in the Wase Collection in the Bodleian Library, in which a Rev. Thomas Wilson (Vicar of Bakewell, 1675-1678), lists the 17th Century Masters of the School:-

Jonathan GOODWIN, James COCKEYNE, John HALFORD, George ALSOP, John BELL, Edward PEGG, Samuel LEES, John MARTEN, William BROWN, Robert SCHOLLAR and Edward GREENSMITH.

Other evidence Dr. Harvey has uncovered provides a further name of Thomas HUNTINGDON of Derby, and he points out that Robert SCHOLLAR is commemorated in Bakewell church:- “Robert Schollar, jnr., Bachelor of Arts and Master of the Free School in Bakewell, died 11th February, 1674, aged 21”. Whilst 21 may seem young to us to be Master in charge of the school, many teachers may have already begun their career as ‘pupil teachers’ as young as 12, after they had completed their own primary education.

Dr. Harvey states that “a number of these Masters were Cambridge graduates who moved on to become Vicars or Rectors in various parts of the country. The Victoria County History records that in 1645-6 three boys from the School went up to St. John's College, Cambridge, two having been under Mr. Halford, the third under Mr. Cockeyne, and in 1687, a pupil of Mr. Huntingdon, John Bagshaw, was also admitted to St. John's College”. Several of the names are indeed traceable in Alumni Cantabrigienses, using the online database of Cambridge University Alumni, 1261-1900 at Ancestry UK.

The 18th Century

Dr. Harvey was unable to determine any comparative account for the 18th century, but “in his ‘ Observations on Bakewell’ dated 1774, White Watson notes that ‘the Rev. Moses Hudson, the master of the Free School, generally had fifty scholars, and was much esteemed as a master’. He was the son of William Hudson of Chapel-en-le-Frith, and was educated at Magdalene College and St. Edmund Hall, Oxford. He died in 1775, aged 54 years, and a tablet to his memory was placed in the south aisle of the Church”.

It is worth noting that one of Hudson's pupils was Thomas DENMAN (1734-1815), who was to achieve fame as an obstetrician. Thomas was the son of John Denman, who was an apothecary, in Bridge Street, Bakewell; some of his descendants, the Carrington family, still live in the same premises, which at one time also was the home of Mr. William Kay's private Grammar and Commercial Academy.

The 19th Century

1806 The existing Schoolmaster, Rev. M. CHAPMAN handed over to the Rev. J. BROWNE. As a consequence, the school was known for a while thereafter as “Mr. Browne's”. Browne was appointed by the Duke of Rutland and received a salary of £50 a year.

1826 In its early days the school occupied the same building as the Chantry School in South Church Street which predated it. However, in 1826, the school moved to what is now better known as The Old Town Hall (in King Street, just around the corner from the earlier premises). The Town Hall building wasn't new. It had been built in 1709, and as well as being Town Hall, and Buttermarket, the upper floor was for a long time used for Court and Quarter Sessions. (See Villagers March on Bakewell for their demise in 1794.)

1830 By 1830, we are able to see changes in the school ethos. Dr. Harvey cites evidence from a Commission set up in 1818 to investigate educational charities, which reported on the School in 1830. Among the points it made were that the headmaster was married, and “though a cleric, did not carry out the ecclesiastical duties of the office” and whilst “reading, English and writing, and Latin and Greek if required” were taught freely, parents who wished their sons to be taught Arithmetic were required to pay 10/6 (10 shillings and six pence, £0.52½) a quarter!

“At the time of the Report, there were no boys from Rowsley attending the School, the walk of four miles each way during the winter months no doubt proving a disincentive to recruitment. A total of forty boys was registered, including the three sons of the Headmaster. Nine boys received free tuition, eight were taught writing, and paid 5/- a quarter for lessons in reading, and twenty boys were taught reading and writing, and paid 10/6 a quarter for lessons in arithmetic.”.

1846 The Rev. T. HURST, a B.A. of Pembroke College, Cambridge, and a curate at the Parish Church, is recorded as taking over as schoolmaster.

1862 The school was annexed to Mr. William Kay's private Grammar and Commercial Academy in Bridge Street, with Mr. KAY acting as headmaster, although the school continued to occupy the King Street premises. Alas however, the venture appears to have been a disappointment, as the School Inquiry Report of 1866 states that the Foundation had become “a mere appendage and advertisement to an inferior commercial boarding school kept by the headmaster”. Dr. Harvey records that “There were then thirty-two boarders, fourteen dayboys not on the Foundation, and seven who were”.

1874 I'd fondly imagined LMS had an unbroken existence from its founding to the present day, but much to my surprise I learned that was not the case. The school closed in 1874, and for 22 years Lady Manners School as such ceased to exist. Mr. KAY, of the Academy, died in 1874, and the Vicar of Bakewell of the time, Archdeacon BALSTON, a former Headmaster of Eton, in consultation with Mr. NESFIELD, the Duke of Rutland's agent, recommended that the school should be closed, and in the absence of a suitable successor for Mr. KAY, the monies from Lady Manners' Foundation should be allowed to accumulate. In the interim, BALSTON himself financed a Grammar School to compensate for the loss of the Free School, and this continued, under the Headmastership of a Mr. Frederick POWELL, until 1893, when Mr. Powell left the area. It is worth noting at this stage that the Charity Commissioners were disapproving of BALSTON's scheme, in spite of his alternative provision placing no demands on the Trust.

1890 Meanwhile, education in science and technology matters was proceeding apace. The Technical Instruction Act of 1899 had empowered local authorities to fund technical education from the rates. Dr. Harvey records that “In October 1890, a meeting was called to consider the extension of the Science and Art Class, already in existence at the Bakewell Boys' Club... in 1892 there were two hundred students on the registers. Students paid fees ranging from one penny per lecture to 5/- for a course of 28 lectures”.

1895 As it so happened, those interested in Technical Education were also interested in the future of Lady Manners School. The Charity Commissioners were adamant the building of premises suitable for a grammar school was a condition precedent to the use of the income (a proposal for the money to be used for elementary education was turned down). To cut a long story short, a compromise was reached to keep both sides happy, whereby a new building could be built “to be used as a grammar school by day, earning through its examinations grants from the Science and Art Department, and as a centre for technical classes in the evenings”. The site of the new school was backing onto Bath Gardens. The Foundation Stone was laid on 16th May, 1895, fittingly by Mr. NESFIELD, the Duke of Rutland's agent, who had administered the Trust under successive Dukes for a period of fifty years.

1896 The new school opened on 22 September 1896, to admit girls as well as boys - a mixed school being one of the County Council's pre-conditions of its grant of £600 towards the building costs. Incidentally, this was the first time an endowed School of this type had become co-educational, creating - as one would imagine - considerable controversy!

“The criticisms advanced against the system were that the boys would become effeminate through mixing with the girls, and that the girls would become rough through imitating the boys, and ‘there will undoubtedly be trouble through the influence attributed to the little god who carries a bow and arrow. The special feature of the School is that scholars are expected and encouraged to show deference and chivalry to the girls. At roll-call, girls are named first, on leaving or entering a room girls take precedence, but the door is opened for them by a boy. This last is no unwilling task, there are always plenty of volunteers, and the politeness extends to home life’”.

The school opened with fifty pupils, admitting pupils between the ages of eight and eighteen, and - since it was now Council-funded - for the first time to include pupils from other than Bakewell and Rowsley, the catchment area being a radius of 16 miles. The first Headmaster was Charles J. MANSFORD, B.A.(London), who had been Senior English Master at Wallasey Grammar School, and, later, Second Master at Guildford Grammar School. His wife was Headmistress, and the one permanent assistant, P. L. NEAGUS, B.A.(Cantab.), taught science. Subjects covered were Religious Knowledge, English, Classics, Mathematics, Science, French and Drawing. In addition, the boys did woodwork, while the girls did domestic science. Games were played on the Bakewell Show Ground. The girls were allowed to use tennis courts in Bath Gardens. Fees were £2 per head, but it was estimated that the cost of educating each pupil was double. The Endowment yielded about £45 per annum, providing four Foundation Scholarships, three of which went to Bakewell and one to Rowsley. The County Council had also agreed to fund 12 scholarships as part of their original grant.

The 20th Century

1900 In 1900 two boarding houses were set up, at Dagnall for boys, and in The Avenue for girls. The late Lt. Col. the Rev. C. P. HINES, O.B.E., former master, who started his teaching career at Lady Manners School in 1900, recalled that “much importance was attached to handwriting, spelling and essay writing, and to careful ‘Prep’... Numbers were small - only 65 boys and 56 girls in 1900 - so that individual attention could be given, and ‘the Headmaster knew well every pupil, his parents and background’”.

1902 Whilst at the beginning the building and running of the school was a somewhat perilous venture, by 1902, Balfour's Education Act resulted in Local Authorities accepting responsibility for secondary educational funding. Paradoxically, the school's popularity led to increased numbers of pupils; the need to employ additional staff, and consequently fees now being raised to £7 per annum!

The increasing school population was as much to do with its popularity as to the lack of similar schooling elsewhere. Pupils attended from as far afield as Buxton and Belper. “Those travelling from Belper left at 7.30 on the milk train, which stopped at every station. Pupils from Crich, Bonsall, Tansley and Two Dales had long walks before boarding the train.”

1904 The School buildings themselves began to experience problems with overcrowding as early as 1904, when the school population had increased from fifty in 1896 to one hundred fifty six. The buildings were originally intended for one hundred and twenty pupils - “the success of the School had outdistanced the expectations of its promoters”.

Amongst the pupils during the early part of the 20th century were Alison TAYLOR, better known as Alison UTTLEY (1884-1976), and E. H. CHAPMAN, who became the first Headmaster of the Ernest Bailey School in Matlock.

1909 The Herbert Strutt School at Belper was established in 1909, with a result of reducing the catchment area to the south, but numbers still continued to grow. By 1919 there were 293 pupils, and “For the first time in the history of Lady Manners School, the number of boys and girls seeking admission to the School was greater than the number of vacancies”

Around this time also the Old Bath House (now Haig House) was acquired as extra premises for Fifth and Sixth Form, and Staff.

1919 Four acres of land for use as a playing field were acquired in Shutts Lane, still a part of the school playing field today.

1924 1924 saw the founding of the Ernest Bailey School in Matlock, and Buxton College, previously independent, became a County Grammar School. This, coupled with the economic recession, resulted by the end of the decade, in a school population reduced to 200 pupils.

1936 After what must have seemed like years of struggling with overcrowded premises in Bath Street, the Foundation Stone of the present School in Shutts Lane was laid by the Duke of Rutland on 20th May 1936, on the 300th anniversary of the founding of the School by Grace, Lady Manners in 1636. The new buildings of Lady Manners School were formally opened on 24 February 1938, whilst the older premises were taken over by various municipal and civil offices, including the Town Hall.

1939 The new School buildings were shared with half the pupils of the North Manchester High School for Boys during the autumn term and part of the spring term 1939/40; for this period, pupils of Lady Manners worked only half-time, in alternate weekly sessions of morning and afternoon.

1944 During the seven years, 1944-1951, the school population increased from 250 to 350. The Butler Education Act of 1944 brought about the abolition of fees; from 1945 onwards all admissions were controlled by the Local Education Authority.

1972 The end of an era - Grace, Lady Manners Grammar School became a Secondary Comprehensive, admitting all pupils within its catchment area for secondary education.


ALSOP, GEORGE None found.

Adm. pens. (age 16) at ST JOHN'S, Sept. 9, 1687. S. of Thomas, gent. B. at Bakewell, Derbs, School, Bakewell. S. of William, of Hucklow, Derbs., according to Burke, L.G. Adm. at Gray's Inn, June 24, 1687. Barrister, 1695. Died unmarried, before his father. Barrister. (F.M.G.I. 252.)

No conclusive entry found.

None searched for.

None found.

College: JESUS
Entered: 1633
Born: 1617
Died: 1671
Adm. sizar at JESUS, June 13, 1633. Of Derbyshire. B. 1617. School, Repton. Matric. 1633; B.A. 1636-7; M.A. 1641. Perhaps V. of Lazonby, Cumberland, 1637-45, ejected. Minister of Barton-in-Fabis, Notts.; afterwards rector, 1662-71. Died 1671. (B. Nightingale, 325.)

Entered: 1671
Adm. sizar at EMMANUEL, June 25, 1670. Of Nottinghamshire. Matric. 1671; B.A. 1673-4. Ord. deacon (York) Dec. 1674; priest, Sept. 1679. Perhaps R. of Rockland, Norfolk, 1684.

No conclusive entry found.

None found.

College: CHRIST'S
Entered: 1664
Adm. sizar at CHRIST'S, Aug. 6, 1661. Matric. 1664; B.A. 1665-6. Ord. deacon (Lichfield) Sept. 1668; priest (Lincoln) Dec. 19, 1669. V. of Conisborough, Yorks.,1672-9. Buried Mar. 11, 1679-80. (Peile, I. 598.)

College: CHRIST'S
Entered: 1685
Adm. sizar at CHRIST'S, May 19, 1685. Perhaps s. of Samuel (above). Matric. 1685; B.A. 1688-9; M.A. 1702. Ord. deacon (Chester) June 14, 1690; priest (York) June, 1693. C. of Greeton, near Rotherham. Perhaps R. of Heanor, Derbs., 1698-1735, when he died. Or, R. of Southery, Norfolk, 1705; buried there Jan. 24, 1737. (Peile, II. 99.)

No conclusive entry found.

None found.

College: QUEENS'
Entered: 1670
Died: Feb. 11, 1674
Adm. sizar at QUEENS', Oct. 9, 1669. Of Derbyshire. Matric. 1670; B.A. 1673-4. Master of Bakewell School. Died Feb. 11, 1674-5. M.I. at Bakewell.

Extracts constructed with the help of Cambridge University Alumni, 1261-1900, online at Ancestry UK.


“The Story of the School of Grace Lady Manners, Bakewell” by R.A. Harvey, published J.W. Northend, Sheffield, 1982. Copies may be available from the School Office (address below), and (in 2000) were priced at £8.

Lady Manners School,
Bakewell, Derbyshire, DE45 1JA.

Information provided by Rosemary Lockie, 25th March 2000.

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