The school

Various buildings were used as schools in the 19th and 20th centuries. The 1838 tithe map of the parish records that what is now 8, 10 and 12 Ayot Green was used as a parish school. There was a small school for 40 pupils at the rectory (now called Ayot Bury) until about 1848. In the years up to and including World War II a Miss Roskill operated a small private ‘dame’ school at 31 and 33 Ayot Green. The school was in one of the cottages and Miss Roskill and her elderly mother lived in the other.

There was a purpose-built school in the parish, and the building still exists today. The 7th Earl Cowper provided a site for a school and a schoolmaster’s house, which were opened in 1871. When the third church burnt down Lord Cowper generously donated an adjoining site of half an acre for the new church. Services were held in the newly built schoolroom until the current church was completed.

The school closed in 1948 and the freehold was purchased by the Brocket Estate. The freeholds of Sauls Wood House and Hornbeam House (the current names of the school and the schoolmaster’s house respectively) were sold to private owners in 1976.

If any readers have additional photos of the school, pupils or teachers, we would love to hear from you –  please contact us.

A view of the school with the corner of the churchyard in the foreground
The school master’s house (on the right), the school and the church (in the background)
The pupils of Ayot St Peter school, probably around 1912 to 1914. The teacher was Miss Jessie Bott and the children were (L-R):- Back row – Joe Halsey, Albert Dilly, Maxwell Ling, unknown, Ted Jeakings, Cyril Freeman. 3rd row – Ethel E. Freeman, Bessie Gamgee, Lucy Chandler, Violet Halsey, Victor Chalkley, Will Meech. 2nd row – Eve Kent, Anna Chandler, Alice Halsey, Esme Ling, Nora Wells, Violet Etteridge. Front row – Jack Kent, unknown, Winnie Burgess, Agnes Gamgee, Bill Wells, Tom Wells, Jack Chandler, Gladys Halsey.
The school around 1916. The teacher is named as Miss Jessie Bott, and it looks as though the same dog is in both images. This picture is copied from The Book of Welwyn by Richard J. Busby, published by Barracuda Books in 1976. No picture credit is given.