The Weald of Kent, Surrey and Sussex
Sir Henry Fermor Church of England School  Station Road    Crowborough  

Books and other documents
PublishedTitle, author and references
1766The History of Tunbridge Wells by Thomas Benge Burr ⇒ p. 262
1890An Illustrated Guide to Crowborough by Boys FirminBook extract p. 12
1928Rotherfield - The Story of some Wealden Manors by Catharine Pulleinp. 254
1933The Story of Crowbrough ⇒ p. 40
1985Crowborough - The Growth of a Wealden Town by Malcolm Payne ⇒ p. 95
1994Sir Henry Fermor School 1744-1994 - A History by John Hackworth ⇒ Book

Historical records

12th Jun 1734HistoryCharity SchoolSir Henry Fermor's Will
Extracts from Sir Henry Fermor's will dated 21 January 1732 and proven on 12th June 1734
I will and appoint William Oakill of Sevenoaks, aforesaid, Schoolmaster of the Charity School I have directed to be built in the Parish of Rotherfield
...............
I will and direct that my trustees shall lay out any sum, not exceeding the sum of £1,500 in erecting and building a chapel, or church, and a Charity School, in the plainest and cheapest manner, so as it be strong and lasting, for the ease and benefit of the parishes and parishioners of Rotherfield and Buxted, in the said County of Sussex, which Church and Charity School I will shall be erected and built in or near a place called Crowborough and Ashdown Forest, as my executors shall think most convenient, for the use and benefit of the very ignorant and heathenish people
A further £4,500 was given for purchase of land to be held in trust so that the rents and profits earned could go towards the maintenance of a shoolmaster and minister .......
A sum of £3,000 was to be invested in land for the benefit of the poor children to be taught and educated in the said school, from time to time, as long as they continue scholars there; the yearly rents, issues, and profits of the same land to be laid out in buying wool, hemp and books, to be equally divided and distributed amongst them ...
...................
Sir Henry stipulated that no child should be less than 7 years of age upon admittance, nor proceed in education above the space of four years". The children were to be taught to read, write and cast accounts, and at no time were there to be more than 40 children in attendance.
Sir Henry Fermor died in Sevenoaks on 2 June 1734
The Charity School and Chapel were completed in 1744

1744Crowborough Chapel and SchoolCrowborough Chapel and School, Crowborough by Samuel Grimm and James Lambert (The Burrell Collection)The Burrell Collection
Samuel Hieronymous Grimm (1733-1794), artist, was born in Switzerland, studied in Berne and Paris before moving to Covent Garden, London in 1768. Besides his work as a commercial engraver and watercolour painter he is best known for some 2,500 commissioned watercolurs of antiquities, historic buildings and landscapes in the British Library (MSS 15537-48). Throughout the 1780s he toured Sussex, sketching churches, monuments, castles, abbeys and houses of the gentry
James Lambert, senior, (1725-1788) and his nephew James Lambert, junior, (1744-1799) were both landscape painters living in Lewes, Sussex. Between them they produced over 600 items, ranging from pencil sketches to large oils.
William Burrell (1732-96), antiquary, was born in Leadenhall Street, London, educated at Westminster School and Cambridge University. He became Chancellor of Worcester and Rochester Dioceses, M.P. for Haslemere and a Commissioner of Excise. From 1780 he employed Samuel Grimm and the Lamberts to make drawings of all the notable antiquities and important houses in Sussex, which he bequeathed to the British Museum in his will.
for more information refer to Sussex Views by Walter H. Godfrey and L.F. Salzman and Sussex Depicted by John Farrant, both published by the Sussex Record Society.

1744 to 1772Occupation HeadmasterWilliam Okill, headmasterSir Henry Fermor Church of England SchoolFermor School 1744-1994

1746HistorySir Henry Fermor Church of England SchoolFermor School 1744-1994

In 1746, apparently for the full sum of 500 pounds, the Charity Farm was purchased. A brief description of the land indicates a house, and probably other buildings, were already on the site, therefore by implication it was a working farm when bought. The property almost certainly stood on land once belonging to Lord Abergavenny and, indeed, was more than likely tenanted at the time of purchase. It has been considered that the tenant farmer then could well have been the David Dadswell we have mentioned before, whom we now know married the schoolmaster's daughter, Ann, and who together brought up their family at the farm which David managed for the Fermor Trust


1772 to 1793Occupation HeadmasterDavid Dadswell, headmasterSir Henry Fermor Church of England SchoolFermor School 1744-1994

1783HistorySir Henry Fermor Church of England SchoolFermor School 1744-1994

By 1783, George, Lord Abergavenny, who was made Earl, remained the sole surviving trustee. David Dadswell was then schoolmaster and tenant of Charity Farm, and no doubt had been part of a committee welcoming John Fermor's son, the Rev John Shirley Fermor, to the Crowborough chapel in 1776.


1793 to 1822Occupation HeadmasterEdward Okill DadswellSir Henry Fermor Church of England SchoolFermor School 1744-1994

1822 to 1845Occupation HeadmasterDavid Taylor Dadswell, farmerSir Henry Fermor Church of England SchoolFermor School 1744-1994

1834HistoryschoolHorsfield's Sussex
Crowborough is worthy of notice. It is remarkable for its great height, being the fourth highest hill in the county, and 804 feet above the level of the sea; on the summit stood formerly a beacon; in the bottom, at the south-east side, stands two neat edifices, exhibiting the appearance of a hermitage. They are a chapel and a school house funded by Sir Henry Fermor, Bart., late of Sevenoaks, Kent, whose family were originally of this parish.

1845 to 1873HistoryDavid Dadswell, headmasterSir Henry Fermor Church of England SchoolFermor School 1744-1994

The schoolmaster replacing David Taylor Dadswell in 1845 was Stephen Wickens. We do not know very much about this gentleman, except that some members of his family served as churchwardens at Rotherfield, and that he either left or died in 1851. His successor was Joseph Wickens, who may have been a son. A Joseph Wickens was churchwarden in 1839, a date perhaps too early for this Joseph to be the same person as the schoolmaster. However, we do know that Joseph Wickens the schoolmaster served until the autumn of 1873, for in November that year a meeting was called to elect a new schoolmaster .......... Mr Jeremiah Davis.


1851Wickens, Stephen; occupation MasterStephen Wickens, schoolmasterCharity SchoolPost Office Directory

1867Directory entrySir Henry Fermor Church of England SchoolPost Office Directory
Charity, Crowborough (founded by Sir Henry Fermor, for 40 boys, who are also clothed), Joseph Wickens, master

1874Directory entrySir Henry Fermor Church of England SchoolPost Office Directory
Charity, Crowborough (founded by Sir Joseph Fermor, for 40 boys, who are also clothed), Joseph Wickens, master

c 1875Crowborough Chapel Green, Sussex - c 1875Part of the 6 inch to 1 mile map of Sussex produced in 1875 by Ordnance SurveySir Henry Fermor Church of England School

17th Sep 1880HistorySir Henry Fermor SchoolFermor School 1744-1994

Under the terms of the original Scheme, the Governors of the Sir Henry Fermor's Foundation were to take charge of the old Fermor Trust until, following negotiations with the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, a final severence and settlement of the endowment fund was completed. This aspect, the formal separation of the church or chapel from the school, came about on 17 September 1880 - the founding date of All Saints' Church.

Although 23 October 1877 was the date the school could operate as an independent body from the Trust, it was not the date the new school appeared on the Charity Farm site. Construction began in 1878, and completion came near the end of 1880, possibly coinciding with 17 September, the date the old schoolhouse became the property of the Church. Up until that time, the schoolhouse had been in use under the mastership of Mr Jeremiah Davis, who then became the first headmaster of the new Sir Henry Fermor School.


3rd Apr 1881CensusJeremiah Davis, M, Head, married, age 55, born Worcestershire; occupation: elementary teacherJeremiah Davis, elementary teacherFriends Endowed School1881 Census
Rotherfield, Sussex
3rd Apr 1881CensusSarah Davis, F, Wife, married, age 47, born Derbyshire; occupation: elementary teacherSarah Davis
3rd Apr 1881CensusConstance F. Davis, F, Daughter, single, age 19Constance F. Davis
3rd Apr 1881CensusOliver D. Davis, M, Son, age 13, born Devon; occupation: scholarOliver D. Davis
3rd Apr 1881CensusHenrietta L. Davis, F, Daughter, age 8, born Devon; occupation: scholarHenrietta L. Davis

1881 to 1883HistorySir Henry Fermor Church of England SchoolFermor School 1744-1994
Philip Card is Headmaster for 2 years

19th Nov 1883HistoryFermor schoolFermor School 1744-1994

In the history of any school, there will always be one teacher who stands out above the rest. That teacher arrived in 1883, and was Thomas Warmington. A natural teacher, he was able to inspire those he taught. Under him, the school established its quality and its excellence. Those who knew him did not forget him, for he worked hard and cared much. His firm, positive attitude was demonstrated from the very beginning. And yet he was only a young man of 22, as yet unmarried, when he first arrived at Fermor School.

One can almost feel the sigh of relief as he takes over. Here was a man ready to lead. But he was not a tall man, as one imagines leaders to be. He was, perhaps, 5' 5" or 6" in height, well built, well dressed, and struck a handsome pose with a pleasant round face which bore a full, but not thick, black beard and smiling eyes. He was a respectful and cooperative man to whom everyone, male or female, would take an immediate liking.


1887HistoryFermor schoolFermor School 1744-1994

The Rev Akroyd, ever since his appointment to Crowborough, had seen the need for more development at the school and had supported Mr Warmington in getting extra classroom space. By 1887, the governors had fully considered the matter and were now persuaded to go ahead. Plans had been prepared, and the builders ready to start.

2 October - "Re-opened School today after a holiday of six weeks. During vacation, the school premises have been repainted and renovated. The building of a new classroom has also commenced, but the work will not be finished for several weeks . . . "

Come mid-November, with all the activity going on in the school, there was a growing concern at the approach of the HMI's visit and the school's readiness for the exams that had been notified for the end of the month. While Mr Warmington and his teachers struggled to prepare the ground for the examinations amidst all the chaos, the school governors decided to call two meetings to discuss Government proposals for the provision of free elementary education in the following year. The financial consequences were viewed as possibly serious. In fact, free elementary education did. not become fully implemented until 1891. In school meantime, the builders had drawn a very fine line and only just managed to complete the new classroom a day or two before the examination.

28 November - "The new Infants' room, being now finished, will be ready to receive the children tomorrow for the first time."


c 1890Choir of All Saints Church in the 1890sChoir of All Saints Church in the 1890s, CrowboroughSir Henry Fermor Church of England SchoolFermor School 1744-1994

5th Apr 1891CensusThomas Warmington, M, Head, married, age 30, born Ludgrove, Cornwall; occupation Head and Certificated TeacherThomas WarmingtonSchool House1891 Census
Rotherfield, Sussex
5th Apr 1891CensusEllen Warmington, F, Wife, married, age 28, born Tunbridge Wells, KentEllen Warmington
5th Apr 1891CensusWilliam A Warmington, M, Son, age 1, born Rotherfield, SussexWilliam A Warmington

1894Fermor School - Class of 1894Fermor School - Class of 1894, CrowboroughFermor School 1744-1994

1894The Class of 1894, Sir Henry Fermor SchoolThe Class of 1894, Sir Henry Fermor School, Crowborough photographed by Smith & Co., RedhillPrivate collection

c 1899Crowborough Chapel Green, Sussex - c 1899Part of the 6 inch to 1 mile map of Sussex produced in 1899 by Ordnance SurveyFermor School

Oct 1899HistorySir Henry Fermor Church of England SchoolFermor School 1744-1994

On Friday, 13 October, one of the governors, Boys Firmin, hearing that Mrs Warmington had had to take urgent leave of absence to care for her now critically ill husband, took himself to the school to see what could be done. On the Monday following, 16 October, he returned. School had already begun. But in the early hours of that morning, Thomas Warmington had died. Boys Firmin gathered the teachers and pupils and informed them of the sad news. Soon after, the pupils and staff were quietly dismissed, and the school was closed at lunchtime.

Thomas Warmington was buried a week later in All Saints' churchyard. At the time of his death, he was just 38 years of age. He had been headmaster for 16 years.


5th Feb 1900HistorySir Henry Fermor Church of England SchoolFermor School 1744-1994

"I, J E Holden, Trained Certificated Master, Commenced work in school as HeadMaster."

Joseph Edward Holden, selected from 100 applicants for the post of headmaster, arrived in Crowborough with his wife, two sons and a daughter, just days before formally taking over the school. There's no doubt he felt he had rather a lot to live up to considering the reputation of Thomas Warmington, the master before him. But Joseph Holden was more than equal to his task, and those who have spoken of him, loved him disciplinarian that he was.


1902Fermor School - Attendance medalists in 1902Fermor School - Attendance medalists in 1902, CrowboroughFermor School 1744-1994

1908Fermor School - Attendance medalists in 1908/9Fermor School - Attendance medalists in 1908/9, CrowboroughFermor School 1744-1994

2nd Apr 1911CensusJoseph Edward Holden, M, Head, married, age 45, born Netherton, Worcestershire; occupation: head teacher (public elementary)Joseph Edward HoldenSir Henry Fermors School1911 Census
Crowborough, Sussex
2nd Apr 1911CensusAnnie Eliza Holden, F, Wife, married 22 years, age 44, born Netherton, Worcestershire; occupation: assistant teacher (public elementary)Annie Eliza Holden
2nd Apr 1911CensusVernon Holden, M, Son, single, age 18, born Culworth, Northamptonshire; occupation: bank clerkVernon Holden
2nd Apr 1911CensusCyril Holden, M, Son, single, age 15, born Culworth, Northamptonshire; occupation: schoolCyril Holden
2nd Apr 1911CensusGrace Evans, F, Servant, single, age 25, born Westminster, Middlesex; occupation: general servantGrace Evans

1928 to 1938HistorySir Henry Fermor Church of England SchoolFermor School 1744-1994
The Transition Years when Arthur Neal is Headmaster

1933Fermor School - 1933 PupilsFermor School - 1933 Pupils, CrowboroughFermor School 1744-1994

1938Fermor School - Class of 1938/9Fermor School - Class of 1938/9, CrowboroughFermor School 1744-1994

1938 to 1962HistorySir Henry Fermor Church of England SchoolFermor School 1744-1994
The War Years and after when Haydn Parry Williams is Headmaster

1962 to 1979HistorySir Henry Fermor Church of England SchoolFermor School 1744-1994
New Horizons when Cecil Edund Perry is Headmaster

1979 to 1988HistorySir Henry Fermor Church of England SchoolFermor School 1744-1994
The Education Axe when Raymond Henry Robert Beaumont Clegg is Headmaster

1st Jan 1989HistorySir Henry Fermor Church of England SchoolFermor School 1744-1994
Strong and Lasting when Graham Johnson commences as Headmaster

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