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An old photograph of Bonners School has recently come to light. We are unsure of the exact year but the clothing worn suggests late nineteenth century, early 1900s. However, the surprising and interesting thing about this picture is the lamp which is situated on the left hand side, outside the school entrance. This lamp is seemingly identical to the three others we have in Maresfield today.



After a bit more research, and according to the National Archives, a school in Maresfield goes back as far as the late 1600's.

`The Rev Richard Bonner, by his will dated 20 January 1689, devised a messuage and croft (1½a) in Maresfield and two rent-charges totalling 50 shillings derived from a farm at Ringmer in trust for the appointment of a school master in Maresfield for a school to be called Bonner's School. According to the Second Report of the Commissioners on the Education of the Poor, 1819, in the Charities and Education Commissioners Reports for Sussex (1815-1839), a National School had 'lately been established' in Maresfield by subscription and a school-room with accommodation for 150 children was built close to the cottage devised by the Rev Bonner. The cottage was occupied by the school mistress and the croft leased to a separate tenant`.

This school was rebuilt on the same site as an earlier mixed school in 1873. At that time the building was described as an elegant and imposing structure of red brick and stone. The school was extended and modernised in the early 1960’s and officially opened on 19th November 1962.

So, was this lamp removed and re-sited at a later date or was it destroyed? We will probably never know for sure! However, this really does put a new slant on the history of the lamps. It seems probable that there may have been a number of these lamps in the village during the Victorian period and what remains today is just three of them. This would also suggest that these were subsequently used as conveniently suitable places for commemorative plaques to be placed!

If you can throw any more light on this particular piece of village history then we would love to hear from you.

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