Kingscourt School

(Compiled using notes by Dr Helen Daniels written in 1970)

Open from 1837-1972.

The decision to erect a school in Bowl Hill was made at a meeting at Tabernacle House in September 1837. The charity was created by an indenture dated 19th October 1837 between Joseph Watts on one part and John Apperly and 12 others of the other part.  Joseph Watts lived at Stratford House and became owner of the old Stroud Brewery.

The land and property at Bowl Hill was “… to be used held and enjoyed by and for the sole use and benefit of a certain society of people who professed themselves to be of the Calvanistical principals pursued and upheld by the late Revd. George Whitefield … commonly called Methodists … who assembled … (at) Rodborough Tabernacle”.

Kingscourt and Bowl Hill were described as adjoining hamlets with about 300 inhabitants, of whom the greater part were children.

In 1875 there were 162 children at Kingscourt School.

Following considerable financial problems in the 1870s, the property was demised to the Rodborough School Board in December 1879 for the term of 99 years at a rent of £3 per annum.

Towards the end of the 19th century over 150 children were registered (one can only think it must have been very overcrowded).

Kingscourt School, turn of the century. Eunice Woodman (b 1894) third from right front row.
Kingscourt School, turn of the century. Eunice Woodman (b 1894) third from left middle row.


The school didn’t have piped water until 1908, previously it had been recorded as being brought in ‘by bucket’.

Mr John May was headmaster from 1884-1919. His wife was assistant teacher. He was followed by a Mr Mathias and shortly afterwards Mr Rowland Taylor was appointed.

Kingscourt School 1913. Teacher thought to be Mrs May.
Kingscourt School 1913

John May died in 1920 and was buried in Rodborough churchyard. His pall bearers were ex-scholars and included Frank Davis who had been awarded the Distinguished Conduct medal in the Great War.

In 1925 Miss Alice Wilkinson (later to become Mrs Wake) was appointed as Head Mistress.

In 1927 an inspector’s report mentioned the school’s excellent playing field on the opposite side of Bowl Hill (thought to have been acquired after 1887), but this land on Bowl Hill was later sold and and council houses and bungalows were erected.

In 1932 there were only 18 infants attending. The school had become an infant school in 1931 and children moved on at age 7 (many to Rodborough School).

In WW2 the storeroom was commissioned as an air-raid shelter with an emergency ext doorway leading to the coal shed.

Electric lighting was installed in 1944.

In 1948 the canteen opened and school lunches were cooked until 1965.

In 1951 a second teacher was appointed and the school again catered for children to the age of 11+ and attendance was at 77 children.

Kingscourt School July 1952 when Miss Wilkinson retired.
The retirement of Miss Wilkinson in July 1952.
A is Miss Wilkinson, loaded with flowers for her retirement, and B is Mrs Roberts. Can you add any names? 2. Joy Furley? 4. Derek Hogg 9. Weaving? 13. David Stevens? 15.Tim Chambers 16. Keith Thacker 19. Christine Buckingham 28. Rosemary Watkins 29. Jeffrey Weaving 32 Andrew 33. David Oldmeadow? 35. Colin Ireland 36. Rodney Hannam 38. Alan Marks? 39. Neil Baker 42. Cynthia Vick? 44. Cheryl Wilkins 47. Pamela Brown? 48. Brenda Cawthorne 49. Diana Chambers 50. Wendy Stevens 53. Pauline Stevens? 52. Rosalind Wheeler 54. Veronica Wheeler

Mrs B. M. Williams was head from 1952-7, followed by Mrs M.M. Cox.

Kingscourt School pupils at Rodborough Tabernacle c 1962/3
C 1964 Mrs Cox, Head Teacher
Sports team c 1965

For a while in the late 60s/early 70s Kingscourt School had a temporary ‘terrapin’ classroom in the garden of the house above it – by 1970 there were 77 pupils.

In 1970 Kingscourt School celebrated the centenary of the Education Act in 1870 when education became compulsory. Kingscourt School closed in 1972, transferring to the newly built Gastrells School.

Education Centenary Kingscourt School 1970. Copyright of Gloucestershire Gazette.

The school closed on 19th July 1972 and Mrs Cox retired.

In August 2019 a reunion of some former pupils was held in the school building (privately owned). L to R – Melvyn Wilkins, Neil Critchley, Jonathan Critchley, John Grange, Trevor Marks, Peter Hocking and Roger Griffin. Front row L to R – Sue Stevens, Joy Edwards, Jenny Didcot, Jenny Short and Eira Savage.


During our WW1 research we looked at the Kingscourt School log books held at Gloucestershire Archives. Here are some pupil names noted. It is not a comprensive list.