East Meon National School provided education to the children of the parish for 120 years.
Until 1845, the only lessons available to the children of East Meon were held in All Saints Church. The first purpose-built school was constructed in 1845 at a cost of £696 follow¬ing the gift of the site from the Bishop of Winchester in 1844. The convenance transferred a strip of ‘roadside waste of the manor’ plus an even narrower strip of Church Hill Field to ‘the Minister Church Wardens and Overseers of the Parish of East Meon’ upon trust for ‘a School for the education of Poor Children and as a residence for the schoolmaster. The combined school and master’s house was constructed mainly of knapped flints with a slate roof ‘in thElizabethan style’.
In the school’s early days, the pupils taught by schoolmaster John Hones totalled about 60 – 70 boys and 50 girls. Children of shopkeepers and tradesmen paid 3d a week, the rest 1d. Income from ‘children’s pence’ was augmented by annual payments from benevolent subscribers who included the Bishop (£2), Magdalen College (£2 2s), Lord Gage (£2), Sir William Joliffe (£2), John Bonham Carter (£4), G.T.Nicholson (£1) and the vicar (£1).
William Stephens Tregear
The second headmaster came in 1876 from Wiltshire (where his vicar had tried very hard to prevent him getting the post at East Meon). The terms of his appointment as Headmaster of East Meon village school are stated in a letter from William Tregear to W. Bro¬die (7.9.1876). “I understand my engagement to be for wife to take needlework, two daughters to teach and satisfy the Government re¬quirement – the salary to be from £120 – 130 with the house and that assistance to be given in Sunday School.”
When the family arrived, they were horrified by the accommodation for the parents and six children. ‘Two up, two down – a parlour (16’ x 10’3”) over which was a bedroom divided by a partition into two rooms, a kitchen (12’ x 12’) with a room over.’ It is said that his wife Mary sat down and wept when she arrived and saw the house, but she soon perked up. Luckily, it was holiday time and beds were put up in the schoolroom, to the delight of the elder children, who later found lodging in the village.
Tregear’s period as headmaster ended abruptly in 1902 when he collapsed while teaching and died al¬most immediately.
Health and Safety
Sanitation was very poor, with the result that typhoid was common. Mr Tregear himself lost two children in one year, 1878. Entries in the school log include:
Jan 31st Holiday, the Master having lost the Infant of the family – buried in East Meon Churchyard
June 24th – The heat in the room excessive. The closets are far from sweet.
June 15th – Master out of the school much of Wednesday his youngest child being very ill – also Thursday when she died.
July 15th – The Master obliged to call in the Doctor for another daughter.
The Doctor ascribes the ailment to the Water and Closets – the Closets being too close to house and school.
East Meon Church of England Primary School
A new primary school was constructed in Chapel Street in the 1960s. Older children now travelled to Petersfield to attend school. The old school buildings were converted into two private houses.
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