The prevailing Illiteracy of the early 18thC is attested by the Orders made in the Manor Court in 1719, to which 3 out of the 10 Signatories affixed their Mark, being incapable of writing their names. There was a Dame School at Nethercote by 1771, but 10-yrs later the Schoolhouse was bought & pulled down by Mr Jodrell.
These ‘Dame’ Schools were typically run out of the Homes of elderly Women or Widows in the Community. For a small Fee (sometimes pennies), the “Dame” would Teach children what little Reading, Writing & Math skills she might have as she went about her Household duties. Children as young as 2 or 3 would attend, and girls would be taught more domestic skills such as sewing & cleaning, while boys were given more formal Education. For many girls, this is the only Education they would receive.
In 1790 there was only ‘a trifling day school’. Things had improved by 1808, for by that time a Sunday School had been Established in the Church, and there were besides, 4-Private Schools within the Parish where Children could learn to read and say the Catechism, and in one of which the Children were also taught Writing & Cyphering. Together they had about 32-Pupils. By 1818, however, all the Day-Schools had come to an end, but the non-Conformist competition had temporarily increased the number of Sunday Schools to 4. The Vicar observed that a Dissenting Sunday School had been completely superseded by a Church of England one. Yet apart from Sunday Schools & a Dame School, where, in 1833, 10 to 20 boys and girls learned to read and the girls were taught to make lace, there was no permanent provision for Primary Education until 1836. In that year the Vicar, Thomas Garnier, finding a large proportion of his Parishioners to be illiterate, persuaded All Souls College to buy some old Cottages adjoining the Churchyard, and on their Site, he erected a School Building with 2-large Classrooms & a School House for a Master and a Mistress. This continued to be run as a National School, vested, since 1859, in the Vicar & Churchwardens. In 1854, therefore, the Vicar was able to report not only that there was a Night School for boys in Winter, but that both boys & girls went to School daily. Attendance rose steadily during most of the 19thC; in 1867 there were 55-Pupils and 87 in 1890, but by 1903 the number had declined to 74-Pupils. In 1878 the Vicar said that he gave Religious Instruction twice a week in the School and also taught Physical Training twice a week.
The School became a Junior School in 1929. It then had 52 Pupils; the Seniors went to Chinnor. Lewknor School became a Controlled School in 1950. In 1956 Children from South Weston, then part of the Civil Parish also attended it. The Seniors went to Watlington.
Another National Mixed School was Established in the New Parish of Lewknor-Up-Hill in 1853, which was attended also by Children from Studdridge & Wellground (Bucks).
In 1861 a Site was acquired in Postcombe to build a School for the Poor of Lewknor & Adwell. The Rector of Adwell and the Vicar of Lewknor were to be the Trustees with one other, at 1st H Birch Reynardson of Adwell House. Birch Reynardson is believed to have Built the School and it was perhaps the same as the Private Church School returned under Lewknor in 1871. There were 30-children in a Mixed & Infants’ School at Postcombe in 1872, but the School did not receive a Government Grant. It probably ceased to be used as a School at the end of the 19thC for there was no mention of it after 1887 and in 1946 the Vicar said that the School had ceased ‘many years since‘.
By 1738 the Interest on £20, given by an unknown person at an unknown date, was being distributed to the Poor. In about 1775 the Capital was lent to a Parishioner, who paid interest on it at 20s which was given to the Poor. In 1808 this was repaid by the borrower’s Son-in-law and for some years thereafter the Proceeds were carried to the General Parish Account and not applied to the Relief of the Poor. It was found in 1829 that 14-yrs’ Interest was due to the Poor. The sum of £29 was then raised by a Rate and by a Donation from Edward Jodrell. Interest, amounting to £14, was then distributed in clothing to the Poor of Lewknor & Postcombe, and the remaining £15 Invested. By 1867 the latter sum had risen to £16-7s-11d and by a Scheme of that year was Vested in the Vicar & Churchwardens for the benefit of the Poor.
In 1612 Dame Dorothy Edmunds settled in Trust on the Overseers of the Poor of Lewknor a Rent-charge of £3-9s-8d. out of Lands in Bledlow (Bucks). The Rent had fallen to £2-15s by c.1822 when it was distributed in small sums at Christmas to all the Poor of Lewknor, whether or not they received Relief. By that time the Poor of Postcombe had ceased to participate. The Rent fell still further in the 19thC and was paid at the rate of £2-13s in 1955.
William Deane, by Will dated 1644, charged his Estate of Nethercote with a Rent of £5 to be paid at Lady Day to the poor of the Parish but especially his Poor Tenants of Nethercote. About 1822 Richard Paul Jodrell, Lord of Nethercote, paid £4, £1 having been deducted for Land Tax. Of this £1-16s. was used to Educate 5-Poor Children of Lewknor and the rest distributed in small sums to the Poor of Lewknor & Postcombe, since there were at the time no poor in Nethercote. It was redeemed in 1937 for £160 stock.
Since at least 1948 the 3 foregoing Charities, amounting in all to £7-1s Annually, have been distributed at Christmas in cash at 7d per head to all Families who apply. These Doles have been known as ‘head money‘ since at least 1936.
Sir Richard Paul Jodrell, Bt, by Will proved 1861 left £100 Stock the proceeds of which were to be distributed on Christmas Day in clothing or blankets to those necessitous Families who were the most regular Churchgoers and who maintained the largest Families with the least Parochial relief. Similar Charities were left for the Benefit of families in Stokenchurch and elsewhere. Between 1948 & 1955 the income amounted to £2-10s. In 1948–50 it was distributed in Clothing Vouchers or Goods and in 1951–55 in cash to Poor or Aged people.
Charles Davis, by Will proved 1863, left £500, the Proceeds to be distributed in Bread each Friday to Poor or Infirm persons settled in Lewknor & Postcombe. Between 1948 & 1955 the income amounted to £12-10s yearly and was distributed in Bread to recipients normally numbering between 60 & 70.
By Deed of 1920 Sir Alfred Jodrell, Bt (d.1929), of Bayfield Hall (Norfolk), Settled in Trust a sum of money for the Benefit of 2 named Persons and thereafter for certain specified Charities, mainly in Norfolk. The Charity Moneys became payable in 1935. By a Charity Commission Scheme of 1937 the Benefaction was divided into 5 distinct parts, one of which, amounting to £1,145 Stock & Cash, was allotted, in pursuance of Jodrell’s intention, to the upkeep, cleaning & repair of the Jodrell Chapel in Lewknor Church. By another Scheme of 1954, the Trustees were authorised to spend any excess of the accumulated income over £300 upon the upkeep of Lewknor Church, though preferably upon that part of it that contained or adjoined the Chapel. In 1953 the accumulated Balance in hand amounted to £504