History of the School

Who was Lionel Walden?
Lionel Walden was a 17th century squire who lived in the mid to late 1600s and died in 1719.  He lived around the time of the Stuart King James II. His family were members of James II’s parliament and held the position of Mayor of Huntingdon.
He was alive around the time when the 1707 Act of Union brought together Scotland and England under the name Great Britain!
During his life, he would have lived through and maybe took an active part in the Glorious Revolution in 1688 when James II, a strong Roman Catholic with ambitions of pushing Catholicism throughout the country, was deposed by the accession of his daughter Mary II and William III to the throne who were both Protestants.  I believe that his family were strong supporters of James II - otherwise known as Jacobites. (Latin for James is Jacobus)

The majority of people at the time lived in rural areas and worked in agriculture. Life in rural communities was often centred around farming and local trades. 

He would have been part of one of the principal families in the area, owning much of the land and living in the largest house, often referred to by people lower down the social scale as the "big house".

He died, unmarried, in 1719 and left all his manors and lands on trust. He left a £1000 a year between his sisters.  He also directed that from the sale of part of his property, £500 was to be raised to provide a free school at Doddington.

So after a long legal process (nearly 40 years later!) it was agreed in 1758 that a school should be established.

A while later in 1783 the Master of the Rolls, or the judge at the time, ordered that proposals should be submitted for buying a house or a piece of land on which to build a school.  In 1787, the reverend Dr. Proby offered up a building, outhouse and stable yard and about half an acre of adjoining ground for £300.  A portion of which could be converted for £80 to provide two rooms for school purposes.

In 1787, the Master of the Roll directed that the school should forever be called the charity school of Lionel Walden and that some of the money should go towards a house for the schoolmaster. 

It should have a school roll of no more than 30 children up to 14yrs old.  In comparison, today we have 210!

This was a ‘free’ school for scholars from the parish but the trustees eventually allowed a limited number of ‘paying’ children to attend.

A new school was built in 1878 to accommodate the additional children as a result of the 1870 Education Act.

In 1967 the name of the school was officially named as Lionel Walden School.
This information was researched by Dave Edwards of March & District Museum and Colin Hinson of Genuki.
Find out more about how Lionel Walden School was established by following this link to GENUKI:
 Find out if your family were amongst the first pupils at the school: