As has been general through history, it is likely that the various Rectors of Hickling undertook schooling of sorts at various times. This would have involved education in the classics and the art of becoming a gentleman for the sons of local families; if girls received any education it would have been in their own homes either from a governess or tutor or from their parents.
There are also records of both a Church and a Chapel Sunday School in the village for religious teaching and these would have involved all children in the village.
Ken Cadogan Rawlinson wrote in his account of the history of The Rectory that, “… various outbuildings were added, notably the stable block and schoolhouse between 1837 and 1887. The schoolhouse was used as a classroom for the small private school run by the rector in the late C19th for the children of clergy whose parents had died or were overseas. They were accommodated in the attic bedrooms and the bell used to call them down for meals is still in place. During this period an extension to the farm outbuildings was erected for use as a ‘parish meeting room’, known locally as The Institute.”
Both the Schoolhouse and The Institute are still standing; since 1990, both have been converted to residential use but they retain many of their original features.
The Institute was built at some time between 1837 and 1887 as an extension to the Rectory outbuildings. Designed to be used as a parish space it was established by the Rector who, in tune with the sentiments of the late Victorian period, wished to promote adult education in a Christian context. Newspaper reports of talks and events indicate fundraising for overseas missionaries as well as discussions about the affairs of the day. However, such lectures and events were just as likely to be held at the School or at the Wesleyan Chapel; with events at the School including a 5-week veterinary course for local farmers.
Most indications are that this was an important space for the men of the village to gather and it was the home of the Men’s Guild for many years (with a billiard table) but it was also a venue for women’s events such as sewing meetings in the afternoon, for Sunday School events, for Temperance Society events and as a wet weather venue for Rectory events.
We don’t know when the Institute fell into disuse but the latest newspaper clipping that we have records a WI meeting in March 1936.
February 1895: Vocal and instrumental music, readings, recitations were given in the Board School Room, the room being tastefully decorated. Music was performed by the Hickling and Nether Broughton Brass Band. Sale of tickets realised £4. One third for institute funds and two thirds to be distributed amongst the poor of the Parish. Tickets 2/- each. (Scrapbook of Hickling)
November 1897: An entertainment of songs, glees, readings etc. were given by members of the Glee Club in the institute. Proceeds were for funds for the institute. (Scrapbook of Hickling)
February 1903: On Thursday afternoon last, a sewing meeting was held in the Church Institute. Tea was given by Mrs James Collishaw and was well patronised, about thirty being present. The usual fortnightly sewing meeting was held in the Wesleyan Schoolroom on Thursday. In this case tea was given by Mrs Ernest Shelton. (Wadkin files)
October 1903: A magic-lantern lecture for the opening of the winter session of the Church Temperance Guild was held in the institute. The Rector presided. (Scrapbook of Hickling)
April 1904: On Thursday the 8th inst. the last of the sewing meetings for the winter months was held in the Church Institute. (Wadkin files)
March 1906: Mens Guild. A lecture was given in the institute by the Rev. Pimm of Colston Bassett. (Scrapbook of Hickling)
Sunday school was held in the day school after which the children walked down to Church for the morning service. Following the arrival of Canon Ashmall in 1905 the Sunday school was held in the men’s institute in the morning and the Church in the afternoon. (Reflections of Yesteryear)
At Christmastime mothers of the Sunday school children were invited to tea held in the institute when crackers were pulled. Prizes were then awarded according to yearly marks. (Reflections of Yesteryear)
A number of local men played billiards and also held meetings in this building. During the early 1900s the Sunday morning Sunday School was also held here. (Wadkin files)