Archive centreCarlisle
ReferenceDS 193
Alternative ref.DS 5855
TitleGreat Orton School
DescriptionAccording to a list inserted in one of the school log books, the parish of Orton has had a succession of school teachers since 16111. No records of these early schools appear to have survived, except from a conveyance in 1839 of land for a school in Orton by Jeremiah Twentyman of Orton Rigg Yeoman to 6 trustees, including Sir Wastel Brisco, baronet of Crofton Hall, Thursby; John Mason of Orton, clerk, and Timothy Twentyman of Wigton, gentleman.

The deed does not indicate the type of instruction which was to be given, nor the form of management, but according to Kelly’s Directory 1958, the school was attached to the church, and endowed with the interest of £100 annually. The 1839 school was at the junction of the roads from Carlisle to Wigton (on the north) and Sandsfield and (Great) Orton to Baldwinholme and Dalston (on the east). This site was to the north east of Orton Rigg, well away from the village of Great Orton and was probably too distant to be successful.

The previous school site, referred to on the OS map as ‘Old School’ (subsequently Fieldview Cottage) opposite Drunken Lane, had been a little more accessible but still a considerable distance from the village. In 1859 a new school was built on waste land at the south end of the village, with a large playground and school master’s house attached. It is described in Bulmer’s East Cumberland Directory 1884 thus ‘The present school was built in 1859 by Sir Walter Brisco and was purchased by the school board in 1874 for the sum of £500. It has a small endowment of £3, 17s the interest of £100 left by Thomas Pattison in 1785.

The Orton School Board of 5 members was established in April 1874 under the Education Act 1870, so as to enable the school to be financed from the rates. The first item of income in the Treasurer’s accounts is ‘Sale of Old School at Orton’ 21 October 1974 for £18 and the board borrowed £555 from the Public Works loan Commissioners to meet the purchase price of the school and necessary repairs. For the ordinary expenses of the school the board received substantial amounts in rates (£80 in 1875, £160 in 1876, £120 in 1878 and thereafter about £100 a year), Government grants varying according to the attendance and proficiency of the pupils, more than £30 a year in school fees (abolished in 1891) and (until 1887) £3, 17s a year from Pattinson’s charity.
In July 1903 the powers of the Orton School board passed (under the Education Act 1902) to Cumberland County Council , which thereafter was responsible for the finance and administration of Great Orton School until it was succeeded by Cumbria County Council in 1974.

In the early years of Great Orton Board School the numbers of pupils were about 50 (45-55 in October 1877 when a new Master began to record attendances in the log book), increasing by 1895 to 84 on the register and about 70in attendance. In 1925 the numbers on the register and in attendance were both 75 , but by 1950 the average on the register had fallen to 51. Until July 1951 Great orton School was an ‘all age’ school, but in September of that year it became a Junior and Infants’ School, the older pupils being transferred to secondary schools in Wigton. This change reduced the average number on the roll to 36, and numbers remained at about that level for the next decade but from 1963 they grew steadily to reach 68 in 1970 and thereafter tending to decline to 42 in 1980.
Date1875-1983
Catalogue levelFonds
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