Page 11 - Moreton Village Only Book
P. 11

Moreton Village Only 11

                           The first (and only) school in Moreton was set up in 1860 (ten years ahead of the
                        Education Act of 1870 which made free primary education compulsory) with money
                        donated by St. Mary’s Church, Thame and Lady Wenman of Thame Park. The school
                        was established for “poor infants under seven years of age”. At that time the village
                        consisted of seven farms and about 40
                        cottages  constructed of wychert or wattle
                        and daub with thatched roofs.
                           With the coming of national compulsory
                        free education in 1870, children from
                        Moreton went to the “British School” in Park
                        Street or the “National School” in Southern
                        Road in Thame. At a time when the wages
                        for a farm labourer were between £0.12s.0d
                        (60 pence) and £0.14s.0d (70 pence) a week,
                        the children walked to school with a slice of
                        bread and lard for their midday meal –
                        supplemented by the apples and carrots that
                        they managed to scrump along the way!
                        Children left school early at around 13 or 14
                        – the boys would join their fathers as farm  The School House – circa 1910.
                        labourers or plough boys at starting wages of £0.1s.0d (5 pence) a week and girls went “into
                        service” as maids in the bigger houses in Thame (and occasionally as far afield as Oxford)
                        where their wages were little more than their keep. Some of the brighter lads were apprenticed
                        to tradesmen in Thame (a “premium” of £10.10.0d (£10.50) was payable) and where they
                        would earn 1s. (5 pence) a week in the first year rising to 5s. (25 pence) a week in the fifth
                        and final year. The school for infants was attended until just after 1920 when the numbers
                        fell so low that it was uneconomic to pay for a teacher and the children were transferred to
                        schools in Thame.

                           Cricket was first played in England at The Artillery Ground in Finsbury, North London
                        in 1744 and the first cricket match recorded to have been played in Moreton was in 1848
                        when the teams were “married” v “single”. Moreton had a flourishing cricket club and the
                        matches were played in a field behind Brook Cottage on land loaned by Farmer Betts of
                        Moreton Farm. As families grew smaller in the late 1800’s, interest waned and the club
                        gradually faded away. However, you can’t keep an Englishman away from his cricket and the
                        club started off again in the late 1940’s/1950’s.

                        Hospital Sunday – early 1900’s. Thame town band, helped by others from
                        surrounding villages paraded the streets with collection boxes. This was one of the
                        chief sources of revenue for the Radcliffe Infirmary, Eye Hospital and Nursing
                        Home before the days of  the NHS, with the Old Bell in the background.
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