Including Trustees Minutes, 1748-1879, Governors' Minutes, 1880-1956, Receiver's Accounts, 1750-1866, and other records, 1729-1967
List of contents
D/EBm/2 Financial material
D/EBm/3 School and post-1875 Foundation
|Administrative / biographical background:
The Thomas Bourne Educational Foundation was established in 1729, on the death of Thomas Bourne of Camberwell. In his will and codicil he left to the parish of Berkhamsted the sum of £8000 to build and endow a charity school for twenty boys and ten girls. The bequest of such a large sum of money was remarkable in that Bourne was not a resident of Berkhamsted but only visited his sister, Sarah Rolfe, there occasionally. The executor, however, delayed settling the estate to such an extent that the then Rector, the Reverend John Cowper, took out legal proceedings against them and in 1735 the Attorney General ordered the payment of the legacy. The sum of £700 was then spent on building the school.
The school opened in 1737, and as Bourne had directed, the boys were "taught to read English, write and cast accounts", and the girls to read and then to do whatever work the churchwardens felt fit for them; they were not taught to write until 1761. Each pupil was given a new uniform annually and the parents of each child were given 1s or 1s 6d per week, depending on the state of the funds. Payments, however, were so in arrears by 1750 that the Court of Chancery appointed a receiver, and it is his account books that constitute the bulk of the collection (2/1-9). The trustees met regularly to administer the foundation (see 1/1-4).
In 1853 a new class room was added to the school mainly through the generosity of General John Finch. In 1875, however, the pupils of Bourne's School were transferred to the National School and the money was awarded to scholars and exhibitioners passing the Bourne School examination. In 1949, however, with the agreement of the Charity Commissioners, no more scholars were appointed but the number of grants and exhibitions to boys and girls attending grammar schools, or other places of secondary or further education or training were increased.
Birtchnell, Percy. A Short History of Berkhamsted pp 51-54
Norris, R A. Thomas Bourne 1665 - 1729
Victoria County History, Hertford (ii) p176
Berkhamsted Parish ref. D/P19 16/1, 29/3, 25/3
Copy will ref. 29511