The History of Richard Clarke
The Richard Clarke First School is a small, happy, friendly, rural community school, situated in Abbots Bromley.
The village itself has a rich cultural heritage http://www.abbotsbromley.com/ and the school takes its name from a local man who made his fortune in London. He bequeathed money to build a school to carry his name. Today, the endowment fund still supplements the school budget and his legacy continues.
Richard Clarke lived at the same time as Guy Fawkes.
In 1606 Richard Clarke, “a dyer and citizen of London”, left in his will £300 so that the people of Abbots Bromley could buy land which could be leased out at a rent of £20 per annum and which would then enable them to build and maintain a free school within the village.
The present Schoolhouse, situated at the top of Schoolhouse Lane, set up by Richard Clarke to “educate the boys of the village” became the first free school where children could be “educated in grammar and good literature”. However, by 1860 Clarke’s Grammar School was doomed, the buildings eventually handed over to the Charity Commissioners in 1875 and the school used for Elementary Education for boys.
The house eventually became the house where the headmaster of the village school used to live. The last headmaster to live in the house was Mr Shipman who was the Headmaster of the Richard Clarke School until 1972. The house then remained empty until 1977 when it was sold and is now in private hands. It was originally built in the 1600’s and a date can be found above the doorway. It is built of a timber frame with a wattle and daub infill.
In the mid to late 19thcentury two more schools were built on the lane, both buildings are still in existence but only one is still used for education; ours – the Richard Clarke First School. The original Victorian part of the building was built in 1842.
The school changed many times over the years and in 1974 further re-organisation took place, which meant that the school lost the top two years of primary and became the First School that exists today, still with the name Richard Clarke First School.