Updated 16 Jul 2012

WIRKSWORTH Parish Records 1600-1900

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Photo 134


Unposted. Who are the two old men sat outside the Almshouse?

Taken 2008 by Keith Repton. Gell's school.

Drawn in 1989, see H19

Photo taken: before 1907
Size: Postcard                
Source:Janine Appleby Repton, Derbyshire

Click on photo for enlargement (on CD only)

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Grammar School & Almshouse,

(Paste 53.082210, -1.571725 into Google Earth)
From a Postcard (bought 8 Feb 2003 at Bowman's Antique Fair, Bingley Hall, Stafford), submitted by: Janine Appleby, Repton, Derbyshire.
Green halfpenny stamp (Edward V11, 1901-1910) postmarked: Wirksworth, 7.10 pm, AU 4, 07. (4 Aug 1907), Written in pencil. Addressed to: Miss Blanche Gell, 12 The Parade, Grove Green Road, Leytonstone
My dear Blanche
Miss Stevenson is a very nice lady and we are getting on well. The weather is allright and fine.

Enlargement. Who are they?

Posted 1909. Addressed to:
"Miss P(olly) Jennings, Regent St, Walsall, Staffs". From "Mary"
[see also 475 for a card to same addressee.]

Taken 2008 by Keith Repton. Almshouse.

This part of the grammar school was built in 1908 to replace the one above and now forms the present day Gell block. The footpath running from the left to the centre was a convenient access for residents of the Derby Road and Gorsey Bank housing estates to the shops in the town. The modern comprehensive school that was built in 1965 now covers the area

Anthony GELL Grammar School, Wirksworth, Derbyshire
"The image of Anthony GELL of Hopton, knight"
Anthony GELL reader and Bencher of the Inner Temple, and of Hopton 1581. His will dated 29th February 1579. He was knighted by Elizabeth 1. He built the east wing of Hopton Hall and also built the Almshouses and a free school in Wirksworth. It was to Anthony that the grant of Arms
"blazoned party per bend azure and or, three mullets of six points in bend pierced
counterchanged and the crest on a wreath, a greyhound, statant, sable collared or."
was made in 1575. Anthony died in 1583 and was succeeded by his brother, Thomas, who is recorded as having given 50 to the Spanish Armada Defence Fund.

Although the Anthony Gell School celebrates the anniversary of it founding in 1576, it wasn't, in fact, built until 1584 when Thomas GELL, Anthony's brother and sole executor obtained Letters Patent for the founding of a Free Grammar School and Almshouse in Wirksworth. Agnes FEARNE in her will of 1574 had also left money from the rents on her lands for a Grammar School in Wirksworth, should one ever be built. There are few detailed accounts of the school in its earliest years as the Governer's minutes did not start until the 1840's. A new Grammar School was built on the site of the old one between 1827-28 as the old school was in a ruinous condition. The school was built in the Gothic Revival style by William Maskrey. This building stands in the middle of Wirksworth near the Church. This school was in daily use until 1902 when the Governors were told that it would have to be brought into line with the scheme of higher education being carried out in the country. This meant it becoming a mixed school amongst other things. Instead of updating the old school it was proposed that a new one be built on some land already belonging to the school. The foundation stones were laid in 1907. The following year the pupils transferred from the old school to the new one, although the old school was still used for domestic science and woodwork.

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