History of Christchurch

Recording the history of the village of Christchurch (originally Brimstone Hill) in Cambridgeshire

Townley School


Charles Francis Townley 1888 – 1912
Charles Francis Townley was Rector of Christchurch from 1888 – 1912.

The Reverend Townley was widely respected and helped the villagers in many practical ways.

In 1932, two years after his death, the new school in Christchurch was opened and called The Townley School. This was in honour not only of Charles, but of all the Townleys, as they had been an influential family in the area for more than a century. [1]

Christchurch’s handsome new school means Euximoor’s closes – Past Snip August 5th 1932

The Townley School was built in 1932, on a site about half a mile from the “Old School”. It was named after the Townley family in memory of Charles F. Townley, who was one of the benefactors. The school coat of arms is that of the Townleys. Owing to the fact that the plan for building a secondary school at Upwell, in 1931, fell through, the County Council of the Isle found it necessary to use the hill of the Townley School as classrooms, and to retain the “Old School” building for infants. This provided one hundred and eighty places in all, when the school opened, one hundred and sixty one children were on the roll. Several Euximoor parents refused to send their youngest children to the school during the first week; all Euxinoor children were present, however, at the beginning of the second week. [2]

The Townley School, Christchurch, was named after one of the latter descendants of the Beaupre family – Rev. C.S. Townley who was one of the benefactors of the new school in 1932. [3]

In January 1934 ‘a scheme for the provision of hot midday dinner was inaugurated at the school’. In fact the Townley School was the first school in the Isle to do this, although the Isle were slow, because school meals were provided after 1906. The reason for the Townloy School being the first in the Isle, could have been that many of the children had great distances to walk, to and from school, at Christchurch. About one hundred and forty meals were prepared each day. [2]

May 31st 1940 “School closed at 4 pm for two weeks, as per the circular letter from the Director of Education ….. which resolved. That owing to the serious shortage of labour in the present crisis, all Elementary Schools in the Isle of Ely attended by children of eleven years and over, be closed for two week commencing Monday next, 3rd June, in order that their parents (or guardiana) 1ay arrange for them to assist in beet singling.” [2]

In March 1949, it was suggested that the infants from Euximoor be taken to school by car and finally in November 1950, the school bus began operating. It made two journey’s, on the first it picked up the Euximoor children and on the second, all the children in the direction of the Wheatsheaf Public House. So at last the children were taken to school in Christchurch by bus, no longer did they have to walk there and back every day. [2]

In 1950 ‘a landmark in the school’s history’ took place, when the electricity supply was connected. [2]

1955 marked the beginning of the Townley School for infants and juniors only. The senior pupils going to March Secondary Schools. [2]


  1. https://townleyschool.org.uk/about/
  2. Study of a Fenland Village (Chapter Three)
  3. https://freepages.rootsweb.com/~cawthorn/genealogy/Christchurch/TownleySchool.html