3. A Time of Crisis

In 1862, the Rev.Thomas Smith, the new resident and energetic Vicar, aired concerns about the Trust. Through Mr Wincott, one of the feoffees, he instigated an enquiry by the Charity Commissioners, who found that the school was in bad condition, the teaching inefficient, and that funds had been applied to unauthorised purposes. The existing feoffees were removed from office, and a new scheme of administration for the “Brailes Free School and Church Charity” was proposed, being sealed by the Commissioners on July 20th 1863. The income of the new charity that year was £97, and after expenses of management, £20 was to be given to St.George’s from the residue. There were to be 8 trustees, the Vicar and 7 co-optative “respectable residents” of the parish!

From 1869 to 1903 life at school and on the board of trustees continued, but, on occasions, in a most acrimonious manner. The logbook entry for April 30th 1903 reads: “I resign the post of headmaster this day to the great satisfaction of both sides. I am the 11th master in the course of 18 years. A truly magnificent record. J.B.Jones”

In 1903 Mr H.Papworth was appointed headmaster and a settled period of sound education was established, leading to the eventual amalgamation of the Free School, which was elementary boys only, with the National Church School in School Lane (Infants and elementary girls).

The doors of the Free School closed on July 31st 1916 – seemingly, the end of an era.

However, in 1950, with the post war “baby boom”, the School Lane site became cramped and Warwickshire County Council rented the Free School for a few years as an extra classroom, complete with earth closet, coke fired stove and no running water!

On to: 4. Between the Wars
Back to: 2. The Foundation at Work