Dames Schools

From the Millennium History

The rectors and parishioners of Finmere have long supported school education and there has been a school in Finmere since the eighteenth century. In 1739, Rector Thomas Long told his Bishop that Finmere did not have a ‘Free School’ but there was ‘a small school in my parish where a few poor children are taught to read at my Expense.’ William Malins is the first recorded teacher. He was master of a school at Finmere from 1779 or earlier and taught seventy children. This seems a large number for a parish of about three hundred people, but Malins had ten children himself. The school was financed by subscription, with major contributions from the Rector and the landowners, the Grenville-Temples of Stowe. Finmere lacked a school building at that time. In 1808, the parish clerk, John Fox, was teaching twenty-four children reading and the catechism in a house provided rent free by the Marquess of Buckingham. The school had twenty-five pupils, the Rector paying for eight pupils in 1815 and thirty in 1817...

A few children were taught privately. In 1851, sixty-year-old spinster Ann Molder had three girls resident as visitors. They were all from the Knibbs family and aged four, seven and nine, and were probably attending a small ‘dame’s school’ run by Ann.

Other Sources

Mary Palmer, sister of Rector William Jocelyn Palmer, also gave tuition. 

Meantime our sister Mary in helping us by day and by night herself, as also with her house and her establishment (she receives the girls and their governess at Finmere), vows she is only labouring in her vocation. (Roundell's Memorials, Chapter VI.)