Serving the communities of Bures St Mary and Bures Hamlet



First recorded school in Bures


The earliest recorded educational establishment in Bures was the Grammar School, operational in 1582.

It must be remembered that between the Reformation and the Great Civil War, there was new attention given to the education of young people, the responsibility remaining more or less with the Clergy.
Grammar Schools were established all over England, even such a small community such as Bures had its own School
These Grammar schools were formed to teach the classical languages like Latin.

The school established at Bures was of a grade high enough to send its more clever boys, of whatever social class to Universities
William and John Claydon for example, aged 17 and 15 years respectively enter as scholars of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge on April 8th 1582.
This is recorded in the College register as "coming from Bures School"
Their father Barnabas Claydon appears to have paid no fee to the Colleges on their account.

Barnabas having paid no fees, were probably covered by an endowment.
The tale continues, " John took his degree in 1587 and became a schoolmaster". He was ordained at Colchester in 1595 and instituted vicar of Gt Thurlow in 1622.
There he remained until 1644, when finding himself with hundreds Clergy unable to accept the claim of the Parliamentary majority to be his Spiritual guide, he was ejected from his benefice.

The History of Bures, by W.G.C.Probert

In 1643, the Westminster Assembly drew up a "Westminster Confession of Faith" on strictly Calvinistic lines and many English people found this much too strict.~
Ref:- In 1643, the English Parliament called upon "learned, godly and judicious Divines", to meet at Westminster Abbey in order to provide advice on issues of worship, doctrine, government and discipline of the Church of England. Their meetings, over a period of five years, produced the confession of faith, as well as a Larger Catechism and a Shorter Catechism.

Mrs Howard in her records mention John being at Bures in 1664.
"It was in 1644 that John Claydon first a schoolmaster then a Priest was ejected from his house at Bures because he could no longer accept the 1643 doctrine"
This cannot be true, as the College records ( see below) definitely put him at Thurlow before his sequestration.

The only sum allowed by the triumphal Parliament for the support of these evicted Clergy and their families was one fifth of the average value of the Tithe or other income.
Many Clergy in consequence died in abject poverty.

In the August of that year, Mr Edward Strutt, of a well known Essex family, was licensed by the Bishop as its new Master.

Circa 1670: Extracts from the Diary of Ralph Josselin, Vicar of Earls Colne during 1640 and 1683 "who sometimes preached at
Bures School walking both ways"

John Claydon seems to be well documented, but William`s career remains a mystery

I have been unable to determine when the Grammar School closed down
As records ( see below) indicate there was a Charity School in the village during 1709, did this see the demise of the Grammar School ?


In those days schoolmasters were licensed by the bishop of their diocese after they had satisfied the bishop on their religious views. Subscription books of the Norwich diocese which at that time included Bures survive from 1637 onwards. These contain the names of the schoolmasters licensed to teach after they had subscribed to the thirty-nine articles of the Church of England. The following names appear for Bures in E.H. Carter's book of 1937 called "The Norwich Subscription Books":

15th August 1662:- Edward Strutt
16th July 1709:- Robert Parmeter
19th June 1716:- Edward Scarratt
25th October 1749:- Daniel Penning
1st June 1763:- William Shillits

The earliest name of a Bures schoolmaster in the Norwich Diocesan Records reads as follows: "17th January 1582/3. Licensed to teach grammar in the Suffolk Archdeaconary of Sudbury granted to Robert Goulding of Bures, by letters testimonial of Mr Colman the vicar there." It would be worth adding that Mr Parmeter was the master in Bures of a charity school in 1709", indicating that as long ago as that year it was possible for a poor boy to get up to Cambridge on his ability.

What happened to Bures Grammar School we do not know, but we can point to a tradition over two centuries of a grammar school standard of education in this village

Reference, The Norwich Subscription Books


Other dates listed for a School in Bures
1635 -1638 ;- 1 Schoolmaster/Tutor
1818;- 1 day school ( 30 attend) 3 other schools (80 attend) and 1Sunday School on the Madras system ( 100 attend)
1843; 2 day schools ( 55 attend), 1 sunday school ( 45 attend) and 1 Protestant Dissenters School ( 45 attend)
1844; I Boarding and Day school
1845; British school built


Henry VIII became King in 1509 - 1541, and was perhaps the most highly educated person for his time who ever sat on the throne of England. ... Hence his zeal for learning and for education. No king ever showed more desire to promote learning and learned men, and none was more impressed and desirous of impressing on others the advantages, or did more for the advancement of education. Whether in the statutes of the realm or in the ordinances and statutes of the many foundations of his time, he was never tired of expatiating on the necessity of education and the benefit that educated men were to church and commonwealth.
Leach estimates that at the start of Henry's reign England probably had about 400 schools for a population of 2.25 million, or one school for every 5,625 people


Published 26/06/2017