History of the School
is one of the oldest surviving village schools in Dorset. It
was founded in 1690 as an independent endowed school by Robert Thorner
of Baddesley, near Southampton.
his will of May 1690, Robert Thorner bequeathed £20 per year to be paid
towards Ďthe maintenance of a free school to teach the male children
of Litton Cheney to read, write, cast accounts, and grammar from the age
of 6 to 15, the schoolmaster to be nominated by the Trustees'.
is not certain when the school was set up but it is probable that a
Thomas Davies was its master. He was buried in the churchyard
in 1746. By about 1750, a house 'for the habitation of the
schoolmaster' and a small schoolroom, 18ft by 27ft, had been built by
Rev Kirkup was at the school in 1793, followed by the Rev Seward in
1816. There then followed a master who 'disseminated Unitarian
Principles in a manner so offensive that the parents refused to send
their children to his school'. In 1834, the Charity Commissioners
found that no money had been spent on repairs and recommended that the
schoolroom should be rebuilt - this took 40 years! 1868 saw a
visit by Mr Stanton of the Schools Inquiry Commission. (Click here to
see details of Mr Stantonís report.)
this point the villagers raised the £230 needed to provide the
schoolroom which is still in use today. From this time on,
Thorner's Trust was the legal owner but the school was managed by six
governors. The education side was taken over by the Board of
Education, later the Local Authority, but the village had to maintain
the buildings. Soon afterwards, the school became the junior and
infant school which it remains today. In 1952, it was known as
Litton Cheney Voluntary Aided Church of England School but a few years
later, and after negotiations, it was renamed Thorner's Litton Cheney
Church of England Voluntary Aided School.
1968, two new classrooms, a dining hall/hall and canteen kitchen (no
longer in use as a kitchen!) were added at a cost of £20 000. The
following year Hill Close was converted into a playing field and the
School Parents' Association provided a heated swimming pool.
Foxwell became Headteacher and was the last of the 'Masters' to live in
Mason was the first Headteacher not to occupy the house. During
his time numbers increased and it became necessary to incorporate the
schoolhouse into the teaching area. So, in 1995, the
masterís house provided the fourth classroom, a spacious staffroom, a
library and a staff toilet/shower room.
September 1999, Alison Johnstone took up the Headship. She
worked hard with the village and parish council to achieve the building
the Litton and Thornerís Community Hall. This
significant resource is shared equally by the school and the village and
is, as far as I am aware, the only hall of this nature in the country.
became Headteacher in September 2011.