The Blake Primary School is named after William Blake. William Blake was a wealthy wool and cloth merchant who was Lord of the Manor at Cogges. He built three schools; one in Wintey and two others in Newland and High Cogges. Two schoolmistresses, who were given rent free houses in the school garden, were paid to teach reading, the catechism,(an education in the faith of children) sewing and knitting. Each school planned for 12 boys and 12 girls aged between 6 and 9 years old.
According to British History Online (link): On death in 1695, William Blake left: £1 10s. (*In 1690, £1 10s 0d would have the same worth in today's money of £131.21) a year for the upkeep of the schools and £5 (todays worth £437.35) a year for boys leaving school to be taught writing by a master at Witney; £20 (£1,749.40) a year was left for buying books and clothing for the schoolchildren. If there were not enough poor children in Cogges and Newland, places could be given to children from neighbouring parishes, but in 1824 the provision was ignored: neither school had its full quota, with an average of 12-15 pupils at High Cogges, and slightly more at Newland.
1857 - The Blake schools trust, which also included a school in Witney, was reorganized. The Witney school was sold and the proceeds devoted to enlarging and improving the school at Newland, which became the main school in the parish, although the High Cogges school still continued.
1862 – An infant school opened, held in a cottage in Newland, but it was not under the Blakes management and had to support itself. The Charity Commissioners ordered that £3 18s. a year, left by William Wright in 1786 for bread or schooling and hitherto distributed in bread, should be given to Blake's or any other school selected by the trustees. The Newland school received its first government grant. The salaries of the Witney schoolmistress and of the master who taught the older boys writing, were added to the Newland school endowment. Free school places stopped and from this time all pupils were then expected to pay. Farmers children paying 4s. (£8.63) a year and tradesmen’s children 8s.(£17.26) a year. Clothing was given only as a reward for good work and performance. Then the school was taught by one certificated teacher with an average of 40 children. school management and had to support itself.
1863 - A night school was started which had only two pupils by 1866 however, the Sunday School had an attendance of 103.
1871 - There was space for 76 in the two Blake schools. An independent school, presumably the infant school at Newland, had accommodation for 14 and an attendance of 29.
1873 - High Cogges school was an infant school for children too young to go to the main school; it received £9 0s. (£411.30) from the Blake endowment, and in 1889 children both there and at the main school were said to be well taught. (Was that their Ofsted inspection?) The High Cogges school closed in 1921.
1874 - A small amount of glebe land was given to form a large Sunday schoolroom, formerly a barn, between Cogges church and the vicarage garden which was granted to the Blake trustees and this eventually superseded the Newland schoolroom.
1875 - The Blakes trust fund was used to support the Sunday school and choir, and £1 12s. (£73.12) was added to the yearly salary of the infant teacher from 1878 to 1897; the charity then reverted to non-educational purposes.
1876 - the Newland school received £15 10s. (£708.35) yearly from the Blake endowment. In 1876 it is also recorded that the Sunday school received £15 10s.(£708.35) yearly from the Blake endowment.
1880 - The old Newland school site was sold in and the proceeds were used to extend the new school.
1886-7 – a classroom was added to the new school; the accommodation now for 240 children, however in 1890, the average attendance was only 102. The government grant received was for £74, (£4,431.86) , fees amounted to £22 (£1,358.58), and the Blake endowment was £30 (£1,796.70).
1933 Blake's School at Cogges was reorganized as a junior school with 63 pupils; senior children were sent off to Witney.
1955 – Blake School had 80 children attending, divided into three classes by screens in the one large room; there was only one other small room and bucket sanitation. A new school was built on the new housing estate south of Cogges village in 1983, when there were 175 children on the register.
Today, The Blake C of E Aided Primary School has just over 400 pupils, with the equivalent of sixteen inspiring qualified teachers including our deputy Headteacher and SENCO, an active governing body, great teaching assistants, an efficient office team, a caring catering team, a jolly caretaking team and of course our brilliant Headteacher.
The Buttercross in Witney dates back to pre-Saxon times. It was rebuilt over the years and in the 16th Century farmers' wives would sell their excess butter and eggs, hence its name. The clock was added in 1683 by William Blake of Cogges.
Many thanks for all the information taken directly from:
Image of school children used with thanks: www.bottesfordhistory.org.uk
* All currency was converted according to the year via: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/currency/