Hampton School was founded in 1557 when Robert Hammond left £7 in his will of 1556 to erect a small schoolroom in the churchyard. Some tenements, worth about £3 per year were granted to the vicar, churchwardens and parishioners of Hampton to maintain a free school in Hampton for evermore and to ensure that they prayed for his and all Christian souls.
In 1657, Edmund Pigeon left another piece of land to the school. And in 1692, Captain John Jones left more properties including Nando's Coffee House in Fleet Street, London. These properties were rented and the income provided for "an honest schoolmaster...to teach six poor children of the parish to write, to read and to know the catechism".
The school master was elected by the parishioners. The school has an original poster announcing an election of a master. It says:
ELECTION OF MASTER
FREE GRAMMAR SCHOOL
The Resident Candidate
Fear not intimidation!
Fear not the threats held out against loss of Membership to the Coal Club!
Fear not the Loss of Sacrament money or the Loss of the Annual Christmas Donations but
Do your Duty
And Fear Not
This seems to have been an exciting event which was not surprising, as after paying £36 for the 6 free pupils the master kept the rest of the rents on the properties.
The Master's duties
In 1803 the master of the school, Rev Richard Kilsha resigned. The trustees then decided to have more influence over the running of the school. They resolved that the master should attend at all times and, with proper assistants, would teach the children English, Latin, Writing, Arithmetic and instruct them in religious and moral duties. They also resolved that the master should use the school income to pay for proper assistants and to provide ink, paper, books and firing. Children under 9 years old were to be taught in Hampton Wick in a separate schoolroom paid for from the Poor Rate.
Unfortunately the Reverend Dr Hemming appointed as the new Master was ineffective and the school, very poorly run, became unpopular.
Appointed in 1828, the new master, Mr Bridges, improved the school in many areas. The trustees were "highly satisfied with the zealous attention and ability evidenced by Mr Bridges".
Upper and Lower Schools
In 1828 the Trustees decided to divide the school into an:
Upper school to "give grammatical education of the boys in the Latin and English languages, writing and the higher branches of arithmetic and mathematics as applied to commercial purposes", and a
Lower school to "give grammatical education in the English language, and writing and arithmetic as applicable to trade or business".
In fact the English school was opened in 1837 and it is not clear when the first Latin School master was appointed.
Bernard Garside, A Brief History of Hampton School, 1957
Bernard Garside, The Free School of Robert Hammond in Hampton-on-Thames...., 1958
Bernard Garside, The History of Hampton School from 1556-1700, Cambridge University Press, 1931