Boyce family, Cranbourne School and St Mary’s Church, Winkfield


The School

This school has been of interest to me as the second master was John Boyce 1716-1772  (master 1759-1772) was my greatX5 grandfather, who was succeeded by his son George Boyce 1743-1824 (master 1772-1824), my great X4 grandfather.

A brief history of the school taken from Victoria County History of Berkshire vol ii, p284:-

Richard, earl of Ranelagh, by indentures of lease and release, 5 and 6 December 1709, conveyed to trustees a Manor House in Dublin, and the Manor of Killeagh in Wicklow, to apply the rents for maintaining and repairing two free schools – one for twenty poor boys and the other for twenty poor girls – this lately erected by him near Cranborne, to pay the schoolmaster a salary of £30 and the schoolmistress £20 and to clothe the children. They were to receive an elementary education. The schoolmaster was to be in holy orders.

 The endowment has been increased by two bequests of £500 each, by Thomas Maule 10 November 1714, and by Thomas Hall about 1783. The schoolmaster and schoolmistress each had houses, and there were twenty-one boys and twenty-one girls of the foundation who were all clothed. Supernumerary children were allowed to be taken, £1 10s being paid to the master for each boy, and £1 to the mistress for each girl by the trustees

Cranbourne Hall, a Queen Anne building was built in 1709, and the school was based there. The Earl’s residence was Cranbourne Lodge of which only Cranbourne Tower is remaining. Cranbourne (sometimes Cranborne), which was a part of Winkfield parish, is about two miles from Winkfield itself, and lies mainly on Drift Road and North Road. The master’s rooms were at the back with rooms in each wing to house the children. These wings were single storey during the period the Boyce family lived there, but in the 1830’s were made double storey. The hall was said to have a stained glass window (though this was not the case when I visited as demolition approached) and was once a Chapel. The school moved to another premises in Lovell Road in about 1880, on the proceeds of the sale of Cranbourne Hall. The name was carried forward to a Grammar School in Bracknell, partly funded through the Ranelagh Foundation. The first master was William Waterson who ran the school for 50 years, he was also the vicar of Winkfield. Earl Ranelagh was a devout Christian and insisted the Catechism was taught every Wednesday and Friday.  The boys were to learn reading writing and arithmetick,  and the girls reading, writing, spinning, knitting and sewing. A set of clothes rather like the more well-known ‘Blue Coat School’ was provided for the children and so it became sometimes known as the Green School. Every Whit Monday the children paraded outside the lychgate of Winkfield Church to be given new uniforms. Pictures of Cranbourne Hall. From 1711 £2/-/- each per year was allocated for clothing pupils. In 1792 the girls were to have a green baize petticoat and the boys green waistcoats, the girls also had a straw hat with green ribbons. An allowance of Worsted was made so that stockings could be made. Also the Charity provided money for the pupils to be apprenticed, 4 boys and 4 girls at £5 each.

The school had financial problems in the early days because of the non-payment of rent by the tenant in Killeagh, who was also an M.P. This was relieved by a series of bequests, and pressure eventually persuaded the tenant to resume payment.

In 1709 the hours of the school were in summer 7 a.m.-11 a.m. and 1 p.m.-5 p.m., and winter 8 a.m.-11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Attendance was often poor and many pupils were expelled for non attendance,  in 1769 15% were expelled for this reason. Earlier there were no school holidays, in 1820 there was 4 weeks in August, 1 week at Christmas and Easter, and a week at Whitsun was added in 1824.

William Waterson seemed to despair at the strict terms of the bequest, in particular wondering how a teacher could be found, who was also in holy orders. If fact it seems a teacher was found, and then he was later ordained. Some of the terms of the original endowment may never have been met according to Waterson.

A recent find is a report by Commissioners to inquire concerning Charities in England for the Education of the Poor, dated 1819.

Various Trustees and the Rev George Boyce gave evidence. The following additional facts were learnt. For each boy above the established number (which by this date was 21 boys and 21 girls), the master should be paid 30/-, and the mistress £1. £4 per year was allowed to pay for a cleaner for the school. The boys were to be between 7 and 12 years old. The number of such boys seems to have varied between one and six. Also apparently there was some difficulty in placing girls for apprenticeships, so as an alternative £5 shall be paid to each girl who shall live £7 as a servant in one place with a good character. By 1819 the Annual salaries were £55 for the master and £28 for the mistress and £6 for fuel for the school. The report contains considerable detail in the financing of the school and various land and property, of which the rents were the income for the school.

Cranbourne Hall was demolished in 2008

See the Boyce Branch for more details of this branch.

John Boyce

John Boyce was born about 1716 to John Boyce and Judith. He married Elizabeth Morrison in 4th Jan 1738. They had 7 children, but three were still alive and mentioned in John’s Will written in 1771: - George, William and Mary, who married John Milton. John Boyce took over Mastership of the School in 1759, having previously been an usher, and continued to his death. John was ordained as a deacon on 27th May 1759 at St Ann’s Westminster by John Thomas, the Bishop of Salisbury. (Winkfield parish was in the Diocese of Salisbury). John wrote his will on 11th December 1771, describing himself as Clerk of Winkfield. He died in 1772, being buried in Winkfield Churchyard on 5th Apr 1772, his will may be seen here.

George Boyce

George Boyce was christened on 24th January 1743 at St Mary’s Winkfield. He married Mary Milton, daughter of Benjamin Milton on 23rd Aug 1773  at St John the Baptist’s Church in New Windsor. Frederick Douglas’s notes had suggested George’s wife to be Mary Dolby, but this has not be supported by any record. George was nominated to be Master of the Charity Schools of Winfield on 10th June 1772 by the Trustees of the School: -      

W Mitford, Robert Woodford,  J Bostock D D,  S Batson, Jn Hayes, and Lillie Aynscombe. The salary was £30 per year. Thus he took over on his father’s death

He was nominated as a deacon on 7th June 1772 by : - George Griffiths, Curate of Winkfield, Berks, Edward Earle Curate of Warfield, I. Thistlethwaite, Vicar of Sunninghill. George was ordained as a Deacon on 14th June 1772 by John Hume, Bishop of Salisbury at St Paul’s Cathedral.

George was ordained as a Priest on 2nd June 1776 by Richard Hurd, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield at St George’s Bloomsbury. George was appointed Curate of Winkfield by John Hume, Bishop of Salisbury on 3rd June 1776, on the nomination of vicar Timothy Wilde. The nomination was made on the 16th May 1776. He received a stipend of £40 per year. His ordination may be seen here, his nomination as deacon  is here, and nomination as schoolmaster here.

He was buried in Winkfield churchyard on the 1st Feb 1824, having died on the 27th January. He left a will, see here with also details of land he owned, and his gravestone is here. It appears the next master was David Edwards.

George’s children

In my direct line George Boyce the baker of Middle Hill, Egham lived on until 23rd April 1854. John Boyce died in 1848 in Winkfield. Previously the assistant to Rev Faithfull in Warfield (whether in the church, or the school  is not known), he was the landlord of the Squirrel pub not far from Cranbourne Hall from at least 1828. Mary died in April 1847, having lived in North Street. In 1841 She had been living in Elm Cottage, which was near the area of the school, with her brother Thomas. Thomas’s fortunes seemed to take a turn for the worse after his sister died, in 1861 he was living in Victoria Terrace in Clewer, near Windsor supported by Berks W & Orphans society’. He died in November 1861. The longest lived was William, who never married. He lived at Middle Hill, Egham as a baker with his brother George, and after the latter’s death with Albert Douglas and Sarah (née Boyce) who took over the bakery. He died in 1873 at the age of 92. Like Mary and Thomas, he was buried in Winkfield.

St Mary’s Church has been written about elsewhere. There are some pictures here, and four inscriptions I made in the 1970’s are here.

Winkfield burials

A fair number of Boyces are buried at St Mary’s, Winkfield, including those not living locally. These include: -

John Boyce sen and his wife Judith, Rev John Boyce, Rev George Boyce and his wife Mary Boyce (née Milton), children of Rev George Boyce: - James, Thomas, John, Mary and William Boyce, the latter John Boyce’s wife Sarah,  John Pierce Boyce (sen) and wife Ann Boyce (née Northcroft), John Pierce Boyce (jun) and wife Jane Ann Boyce (née Hills),  George Boyce (son of John Boyce the publican) and his wife Sally Pierce Boyce (née Dolby), and Sophia Ann Stewart (née Boyce), with her husband Robert Stewart, and William Boyce (son of John Boyce the publican) and his wife Mary Ann née Snell. Also William , brother of Rev George Boyce. The only gravestones seen  are those referred to in the above section.

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