West Bilney School


The National school for Bilney and Pentney, was built in 1833, by Subscription

(Whites 1845). Erected for 105 children: average attendance 90 (Kellys) Situated in

Paws Lane, at the building now Manor Farm.

The National school for 60 girls of Bilney and Pentney was built in 1833 by

subscription, and two gifts (amounting to £105) from the National school Society

and his Majesty's treasury. (Whites 1835)

Erected in 1833 and since enlarged: there is a residence for master attached. The

average attendance is about 80. (Whites 1890)

Attendance 90 (Kellys 1896)

School History Sheet.

Scroll down the page to see the History Sheet.

See also two files (pdf) at the foot of this page, 'School History' & 'The Punishment Book', available to download.


1836 Mary Gibson

1854 Miss Margaret Dronet

1863 Miss Margaret Robinson (Harrods)

1864 ditto (Kellys)

1868 Miss Godman (Kellys)

1869 Miss Margaret Robinson (Post Office Dir)

1888 Martin Luther Martin master, Miss Jessie Dawson, mistress (Kellys)

1890 Martin Luther Martin, Schoolhouse (White)

1896 Martin Luther Martin, master, Mrs Sarah Martin, mistress, Miss Ellen Burrows (Kellys)

1904 Martin Luther Martin, master, Mrs Sarah Martin, mistress, Miss Margery Dawes, assistant mistress (Kellys)

1908 The children attend a newly built school at Pentney.


(At the foot of this page see a PDF document showing copies of all of the original script pages (18) that we have from the SCHOOL HISTORY SHEET, from which the extracts below have been taken. Clicking on the file will open it - or download it by clicking on the download arrow to the right)


Below, see a transcription of the text of the letter. (Note that there are some uncertainties in the transcription)

Under the terms of the ELEMENTARY EDUCATION ACT, 1870, it was proposed in April 1873 that the School Districts of Pentney and West Bilney be united. The 'Particulars' of the proposal were that:-'If the West Bilney and Pentney School is made efficient by appointing a certificated teacher; boarding the floor; providing properly separated offices, and a proper supply of books and apparatus; and if the school is enlarged by the addition of a room accommodating 90 children (the present room being then used for the instruction of infants), no further accommodation will be required.

On June 5th. 1873 a Public Meeting was held to discuss the school. A number of resolutions were passed by the meeting. Subsequently, the vicar of Pentney and West Bilney, Revd. St. John Mitchell, wrote to the Secretary of the Education Department of the Union of Freebridge at Lynn.

Pentney Vicarage



June 12/73

Notice No. 6,606

Union of Freebridge - Lynn

To F B Sandford Esq

Secretary of Edn Department


Will you lay before the Lords of the Committee of Council on Education the following resolutions passed at a Public Meeting of the Parishes of West Bilney & Pentney Norfolk held June 5 1873

It was agreed unanimously,

1. That the Schools of the two Parishes be united in accordance with Schedule 2.

2. To ascertain whether a Certificated Teacher is required as the present Master is doing his duties most satisfactorily.

3. To build the required School-room by voluntary Subscription and voluntary Rate from the Parish of Pentney.

4. That the Parish of Pentney pay the whole expense of the building and fittings of the Room.

5. That an estimate be obtained and Mr John Hughes, Builder Swaffham, be employed.

6. That the School be supported by voluntary efforts- if a certificated Teacher is not necessary.

7. That Mr Brasnett’s - (The owner of the Bilney Estate) proposal be accepted-

A. That the additional Room be erected on his land adjoining to and connected with the present School.

B. That if any change in the proprietorship of the Estate takes place during the next three years Mr Brasnett should repay

2/3rd - the first year of the money laid out by Pentney subscribers

1/3rd - the 2nd. year

and that after the third year the money laid out be considered as repaid to Pentney by the (‘blessing’ or ‘saving’) it will be to the Parish.

Signed on behalf of the meeting

St. John Mitchell, Chairman

(Webmasters note:- The text in brackets in the last sentence of this letter is our best effort at transcribing the original script. If you are able to decipher it differently please contact us and we will be pleased to look at it again).

In 1875, a letter was sent from 'PENTNEY UNITED DISTRICT - E.A.E. NORFOLK

to the Secretary, Education Department, Whitehall, London, explaining that the building work for the combined school had not yet started, but that the builder had promised to begin that week.

Below see the transcription of that letter ( note that there are some uncertainties in the transcription)

Pentney United District

E A E Norfolk



26 April



In answer to your letter respecting the building the school, it has not been begun yet, everything is ready and the builder has promised to begin this week.

The Revd. Mitchell the late incumbent in removing lost the builders contract & plan of the school. I believe they were sent to you for your approval, can you let me have a copy of them.

Our present school master is gone to a first class (certificated mastering or meeting) for six months to enable him to pass his examination which I hope he will soon be able to do

Yours Truly

Thos. Price

The Secretary

Education Department



(Webmasters note:- The text in brackets, on the next to last line, is our best effort to decipher the original script. If you are able to come to a different interpretation please contact us and we will once again look at it)

The School was finally closed in 1982 and is now a private residence.

(See below to view/download a copy of the original documents in PDF format)

Extracts from Norfolk Education Commtttee Managers Minute Book

October 10th 1903

First meeting of School Managers.

Mr Brasnett proposed that "Masters salary be raised to £10 to cover his rent"

It was also proposed by Mr C Royal and Mr Bentley that the school be scrubbed

once a month, that desks and forms be washed once a week, lighting of fires and

cleaning of houses to be performed by the caretakers, all at a salary of 2/6d per


23rd December 1903

Cost of repairs to the school were discussed and it was proposed that a letter

should be written to Captain Thackeray to ask him at what price he would sell an

acre of land for the purpose of building a school, the same being at the corner of

two roads, The High Road and The Low Road leading from the Church and

Vicarage to Pentney. Mr Royal and Mr Bentley proposed that a letter be written

to the County Education Committee asking for suitable plans for a school

building suitable for 80 scholars or more.

29th January 1904

A meeting was called to discuss the state of disrepair to the school. And the poor


10th February 1904

A report from The Norfolk Education Committee was read, condemnatory of the

existing school buildings. It was proposed by Colonel Herring that a letter be

written to Norfolk Education Council putting the whole matter in their hands

and asking them to provide a School for the Children of West Bilney and

Pentney. The proposal was seconded by Mr Aylmer.

Mr Coulton spoke in favour of the motion which was put to the meeting and

carried, with one dissenter (Mr J Brasnett) who objected to West Bilney being


22nd October 1904

It was discussed that the school has a deficit oI £21.5s 10d. It was agreed that the

two Parishes fund the deficit. 1/3 West Bilney and 2/3 Pentney.

17th September 1906

Pentney and West Bilney Provided School opened.

80 children attended

More recent records have been difficult to locate but there is a report of a meeting

on 23rd August 1948 when a letter had been received from the school cleaner

applying for an increase in wages to at least £1.00 per week. She was presently

receiving £3.1s 10d per month with a bonus of 6/-. She has learnt that other

cleaners are getting 1s 5d per hour. It was agreed that she would get £4 per


It was also agreed that Mr S.Palmer who cleans the lavatories for £1 per quarter

should have his wages reviewed.

23rd September 1955 to discuss the installation of new water closets where it was

resolved that a letter be sent to the scavenger confirming that his services were

no longer required.


Below see some extracts from the West Bilney and Pentney School Punishment Book.

There are entries from between 1917 and 1946.

Offences for which pupils were punished include 'stealing another child's dinner', 'Rudeness to a Teacher', 'Untidy and careless work', 'Making use of Bad Language', 'Lying and stubborness', 'Playing forbidden games', and so on.

Punishment was invariably strokes of the cane on the hand, sometimes on 'the seat' and occasionally 'on the back'.

The file below includes photographs of pages from the school Punishment Book interspersed with a transcription of the page. You may open and read the file (click on the file name), or download it as required (click on the download arrow to the right)

The school was finally closed in 1982. A school farewell party was held in July of that year.

The last recorded meeting was held on 19th July when a leaving gift was presented to

Mrs R Douglas (nee Kemp), understood to have been the 'dinner lady and general help'.

(The photograph above was kindly provided by Linda Nicholls - Netta Taylor's daughter)

The photograph shows two young ladies sitting on the railway crossing gates at Pentney.As schoolgirls they attended the West Bilney and Pentney School. Both featured in the "Punishment Book".On March 17th 1939, Vera Buckley, then aged 13, was given "two strokes on back" for "Disobedience".On July 27th. 1939, Vera and Netta, along with 7 others, were each given "two strokes"; the offence was "after repeated warnings these girls went down the lane adjoining the school (which had been forbidden) during the dinner hour and stole peas belonging to Mr. Carrington".Netta featured again on March 14th. 1940 when she received "two strokes" on the hand for being "impudent to Miss Edwards"