Cross Lanes School, 1742-1964
The main school for children from Thoralby and Newbiggin was at Cross Lanes. "It was founded in 1742 by John Dupont, vicar of Aysgarth and the inhabitants of Thoralby: George Wray, Tristram Hogg, John Sadler, John Sadler Jun., and John Bywell raised the Sum of Money by Subscription between and amongst themselves and others to build a School for 70 children, at a place called Cross Lanes which was built accordingly and they constituted themselves Trustees to manage the School.
One Adam Ellis left a benefaction of £20 to the school the Int. to go to the School Master and some other small donations were given at the time for the same purpose – and the Trustees before named gave a Bond to the Churchwardens for the proper application of Ellis’s Donation – and the Trustees from time to time directed that sometimes 5 sometimes 4 sometimes 3 poor children should be taught gratis out of the benefaction money so given - and the Trustees held regular meetings annually and sometimes oftener to fill up the Vacancies of the Poor children to be educated and elect School Masters and for other purposes of the School. In 1748, Elizabeth Withay endowed it with 3 acres of land, the rent of which was to be used to uphold the school-house and all manner of needful reparation, the remainder to the schoolmaster for teaching not more than three poor children."
One of the earliest school masters was a Christopher Tennant (1761-1835), however his conduct was deemed unsatisfactory and the Trustees tried unsuccessfully to have him removed, taking the matter to Court.
"Soon after Mr C Tennant was appointed he procured a License, as he says from the Archdeaconry Court of Richmond to be a Licensed Schoolmaster to this school, which most probably is the fact, and about the same time he managed to get the possession of the Field called Reynold Ing so given by Mrs Withay as before mentioned and is in the Possession thereof.
His conduct has been so very unsatisfactory that no decent Persons will send their children to be taught by him particularly females and the School in general is deserted however he himself regularly attends and although he does no sleep there yet he is there the whole day and seems to live there – has his Victuals cooked there and occasionally makes Skeps (a sort of basket) the school is in ruin for the want of repair he sometimes has 2 children from a Person who rents a house of him and he keeps Possession of the School merely because he is in Possession of and receives the Rents of the Field by which means the Intent of the Gentlemen who built the School and of Mrs Whitay who gave the field is completely defeated. For some years back various application have been made to him to give up the School in order that it might be repaired, and a proper master appointed but he refuses so to do.
The Place where the School stands is a most eligible Place for a School being nearly at an equal distance from the Villages of Thoralby Newbiggin and Burton and in times when there was a proper Master was a School of considerable note and its being in its present situation is not a considerable grievance but a public loss to the Inhabitants of Thoralby Newbiggin and Burton."
Although during Christopher Tennant's tenure the school had a very poor reputation and he neglected the maintenance of the building, after his death the school gradually became held in high esteem. Initially built for 70 children, the largest attendance appears to have been 77 in 1896, the school was enlarged in 1909 to take up to 120 children, which was very optimistic!
The following is a collection of photographs of the school and its pupils, teachers, trustees and cooks from 1896 up to and including 1964. If you attended the school and you have a photograph of memories you would be willing to share, please contact me.
I would like to say a large thank you to the numerous people who have loaned photographs, newspaper clippings shared their memories and helped to name individuals in the photographs.
Below is a photograph of the school taken in 1955. Courtesy of Francis Frith.
Trade Directory entries: White, 1840: 'The School, at Cross Lanes, where four or five free-scholars of Newbiggin and Thoralby are educated was founded in 1748, by Eliz. Withay, who endowed it with 3 acres of land, let for £6 a year, besides which the master has the interest of £20, saved by the trustees.'
Kellys, 1893: School, founded in 1748, for 70 children; average attendance 53; John William Hill, master.
Average attendance was around 50 in 1889, but this photograph below from around 1896 shows 77 pupils, two female teachers and the headmaster, John Hill.
Below is a photograph of Cross Lanes School, pupils and teachers, c.1896,
John William Hill, head teacher, courtesy of G.V. & A. Sadler.
John William Hill, was the master, in addition there were two other teachers, Miss Sharp and female unknown, and 77 pupils of whom, Thomas Heseltine, fifth from the left on the back row; brother Robert Heseltine, East burn Farm, Newbiggin, Margaret Sadler; Maude Sadler; Hugh Sadler; are photographed above. Courtesy of G.V. & A. Sadler.
Pupils at Cross Lanes School remember their teacher Miss Haw, in the early 1900s, on being informed of the impending visit of the doctor, sending all the children down to the mill to be weighed by Tommy Sayer.
In 1905 the school became a Council Non-Provided School, with the average attendance up to 70, and James Hill was master. By 1909 it had been enlarged to take up to 120 children, but average attendance remained at 70, James Hill was still the master. In 1913 attendance had dropped to 43, and the mistress there was Miss Constance Mary Walker.
Below is a school photograph, John William Hill, head teacher, courtesy of Jean Dobbing (1908-9).
Alice Thwaites; Lizzie Dinsdale; ? ; Michael Heseltine and Leonard Bell.
Teacher: Mrs Mason; John Dinsdale; Will Sadler; Tom Haw; May Helmsley and Annie Thwaites.
Annie Sadler; Frank Dinsdale; John Dinsdale; Rob Bell; Elizabeth Haw; Sarah Brown and May Haw.
Ellen Helmsley; Nellie Roth; Rose Thwaites; Matt Dinsdale and Percy Willis.
Below is a school photograph, John William Hill, head teacher, courtesy of Jean Dobbing (1909).
Teacher: Mrs Mason;
Lizzie Haw; May Hemsley; Bessie Dinsdale; Nellie Routh; Annie Sadler; Ellen Hemsley;
Margaret Dinsdale; Edith Craddock and Sarah Brown.
Frank Dinsdale; Robert Webster; John Dinsdale; Tom Haw; John Dinsdale;
Wm. Sadler; Allan Willis & Wm. Sadler; Allan Willis and Percy Willis.
Matt Dinsdale; Robert Dinsdale and Robert Bell.
Memories: Martha Eleanor Snaith (1905-1995); née Dinsdale, my Grandmother attended Cross Lanes School: 1910 - 1915?, lived at Holmeside Farm, Thoralby, see the 1911 Census for Thoralby. Martha attended school with her siblings, her older sister Margaret Kearton Dinsdale (1903-1998), younger sister Mary Elizabeth Dinsdale (1907-1996), and younger brothers, Francis Spence Dinsdale (1909-1983) and John Dinsdale (1910-1976). Her youngest brother Harry William Dinsdale, died aged only 18 months in November 1918 from the Spanish flue epidemic. Martha was born at Newbiggin, the 2nd child of William Dinsdale and Dorothy Harker. William was a Master Boot and Shoemaker and the family moved to Thoralby when Martha was aged just nine months. The house they lived in belonged to the Sayer family (mill owners), and William rented the house and a small acreage of land. The family home would be significant for Martha, as she would return to Holmeside Farm, after six years of marriage with her husband, Frank Snaith (1904-1991) and her three young children, Harry (1930-2007), my dad and Arthur (1931-1995) and William, known as Billy (1935-2004). My grandparents lived at Holmeside Farm for forty years, and I was born there. In 1976, the moved into the bungalow built alongside the farm.
The following is an interview with my grandparents, recorded by Maggie Bede at their bungalow on 14.05.1990. Grandma childhood - desktop.
Below is a school photograph, Mrs. Beighton, head teacher, courtesy of G.V. & A. Sadler, 1936.
Jack Sayer; Felix Sayer; Albert Heseltine; Matt Percival; Alex Sayer and Harold Dinsdale.
Margaret Heseltine; Matt Sayer; Dorothy Percival; Muriel Metcalfe; Grace Hodgson; Alice Willis;
Peggy Ward; Jim Percival and Francis Sayer.
Margaret Heseltine; Sheila Cottingham; Jack Musgrave; Mary Cottingham; Jean Percival and Nancy Coates.
Below is a school photograph, Mrs. Beighton, head teacher, courtesy of Mattie Furnish, 1937.
Margaret Heseltine, Swinacote; Albert Heseltine, Swinacote; Felix Sayer, Newbiggin; Peggy Ward, High Green;
Grace Hodgson, Newbigin; Muriel Metcalfe, Old Hall; Harold Dinsdale, Prospect and Dorothy Percival, Forelands.
Francis Sayer, Newbiggin; James Furnish, Stanley House; Clifford Heseltine, Littleburn; Mrs Beighton - Teacher;
Sheila Cottingham, Mary Cottingham, Sylvia Heseltine, Dorothy Furnish, and Jean Percival, Forelands.
Front Row:- Jack Musgrave, Newbiggin; Matthew Sayer, Newbiggin; James Musgrave, Newbiggin; Wila Close, Low Green Fm.;
Mattie Furnish,Stanley House; John Heseltine, Swinacote; Arthur Snaith, Holmeside; Harry Snaith, Holmeside;
John Sayer, Newbiggin and Mike Percival, Forelands.
Below is a school photograph, Mrs. Blackett, head teacher, courtesy of Mattie Furnish, 1939.
Muriel Metcalfe; Nancy Coates; Margaret Heseltine; Grace Hodgson; Frank Sayer; Harold Dinsdale and Harry Snaith.
Matthew Sayer; Jack Musgrave; Dorothy Furnish; Margaret Heseltine; Jean Percival; Sylvia Heseltine and Jim Percival.
John Heseltine; Wila Close; Brenda Sadler; Mattie Furnish and Arthur Snaith.
Below are two photographs of Cross Lanes School Christmas Pantomime, 'Dick Whittington', outside the
teachers house, then known as School house
(now Thoral Cottage), courtesy of Mattie Furnish, 1940's.
Back just inside the door Margaret Heseltine, Sylvia Heseltine and ?
Mattie Furnish front, left, and Brenda Sadler.
Far right, front Mattie Furnish, also Margaret Heseltine, Brenda Sadler and Mattie Furnish, 1940s.
Below is a school photograph, Mrs. Blackett, head teacher, courtesy of G.V. & A. Sadler, 1940.
Irene Philips; Jean Percival; Nancy Coates; Margaret Heseltine; Francis Sayer and Dorothy Furnish.
Pat Roper; Jack Musgrave; Mrs. Blackett; Miss Appleton; Matt Sayer and Margaret Heseltine.
Sheila Blackett; John Ousby; Ronnie Ousby; (2 Evacuees from Gateshead) Pat Iveson;
James Musgrave; Harry Snaith; Jim Percival and John Sayer.
George Sadler; Arthur Snaith; Mattie Furnish; Brenda Sadler;
John Heseltine; Mike Percival and Bill Iveson
Several evacuees can be seen in the 1939 ID Register for Thoralby, including the Ousby brothers, in the photograph above, who were at Town Head Farm, with Walter and Mary Sayer.
During the Second World War several children were evacuated to the countryside from the large cities and towns of the North East. In September 1939?, the children arrived by train at Askrigg station and from there, they were allocated to their billets, a number of children were evacuated to Thoralby and Newbiggin and consequently attend Cross Lanes School.
The following children were evacuated to Thoralby and Newbiggin and as such would have attended Cross Lanes School:
Town Head Farm, Thoralby: Brothers, from Gateshead, 13-year-old Ronald Ousby ,and his brother John, aged 10.
The Grange, Thoralby: from Sunderland, 13-year-old Malcolm Marks.
Heaning Hall Farm, Thoralby: from Sunderland, 13-year-old Norman Albrow.
Thoral Cottage, Thoralby: from Sunderland, 13-year-old, Henry E. Poulton.
Prospect House, Thoralby: from Gateshead, 11-year-old Edward St. George.
East Lane House, Newbiggin: Brothers, from Gateshead, 12-year-old, Matthew Moody and his brother Thomas Moody aged 6.
In addition to those children, there was Jill Armstrong, from Hull aged only 5, living at Prospect House, Thoralby with Mrs. Mary Furnish, widower and her children 13-year-old son, James and sister Martha known as Mattie who was 8 years old. The following 2 postcards were sent to Jill Armstrong from her Mum, ? Armstrong, and Aunt Janet. As Jill is still living her name has not been released on the 1939 ID Register and the following two postcards, are courtesy of her niece, Jennifer Armstrong.
The postcard is date stamped 4th September 1940 and is addressed to Miss J. Armstrong, c/o Mrs. Furnish, Stanley House, Thoralby, Leyburn, Yorks. The message is as follows: "My dear Jill, I am so pleased you are having such a happy time dear. I think your letter was very nice, Warwick is very well and sends his love. Daddy will write to you tonight. Heaps of Love from Mummy XXX.
Warwick was her baby brother who was at home in Hull and he and his mum would hide under the stairs during the many bombing raids on Hull, or the odd 'surprise attack', when the bombers made their journey home, disposing of any left-over bombs from the city raids on England.
The postcard is date stamped 10th September 1940 and is addressed to Miss J. Armstrong, c/o Mrs. Furnish, Stanley House, Thoralby, Leyburn, Yorks. The message is as follows: "Hope you are having a good holiday and plenty of sunshine. Heaps of Love Auntie Janet XXXXXXX."
The family were obviously trying to make Jill believe she was to try an reassure her on having to leave her mum and younger brother at home.
Memories: Heather Percival (1938-2007); née Atkinson. Attended Cross Lanes School: 1941- 1948, lived at Gayle-Ing and walked to school each day, however, when she left Cross Lanes to start at Yorebridge she lodged with her grand-parents at High Green Farm, Thoralby during the week.
Milk was delivered in ½ pint bottles from Frank Snaith, Holmeside Farm, Thoralby. The Cooks were Mattie Furnish, Thoralby; Doreen Bell, Newbiggin; Miss Hammond, Newbiggin (relief cook and attendant). Rev. John Benson came Tuesday mornings from Aysgarth to give R.I. (Religious Instruction).
Doreen Bells father, Steve had the shop in Newbiggin where we used to go for sweets for the class. The School gardens were on the verge of the Bishopdale Road, between road and school. On the piece of land opposite the school we did maypole dancing (see 1960s photograph). Bill Douglas from the George and Dragon, Aysgarth did the school taxi. The Mudd children (Sheila and Agnes) from Cote Bottom, also had a long walk to school each day, and Heather would call for them on her journey across the fields from Gayle-Ing. In good weather they wood walk across the top of the mill dam, using it as a short cut on her long walk to school from Gayle Ing Farm to Cross Lanes School. It is not surprising the y were often 'told off' by the teacher for being late, or for having muddy shoes, who probably had little idea how far they had walked (½ miles), nor the nature of their journey. Heather attended Cross Lanes from 1943-1949. See for the O.S. map for the location of Gayle-Ing and Cote Bottom.
Below a less formal school photograph, c.1953 with Headteacher Mrs. Dinah Knifton, courtesy of DCM, Hawes.
Ruth Spensley, Agnes Mudd, Eileen Mitchell, Hilton Raine,Derek Heseltine,
Robert Webster, Dinah Knifton, head teacher and ?, ?, ?
Cynthia Yong, Alan Tunstall, Mary Tunstall and David Percival
Michael John Heseltine, Hilary Shaw, Judith Heseltine,
Elizabeth Kilburn, Jean Hartley, John Young and Michael Jeffles
Below is Newspaper clipping from The Darlington & Stockton Times, courtesy of Linda Cooper (née Atkinson), c. 1953. Cross Lanes School annual trip to Morecambe, funded by the people pf Thoralby, Newbiggin and Aysgarth, when the children went carol singing.
Below is a school photograph, Mrs. Dinah Knifton, head teacher,courtesy of DCM, November 1954.
?, Cynthia Young, Alan Tunstall, Eileen Mitchell, Hilton Raine,
Brian McGregor, Robert Webster and Dinah Knifton, head teacher
John Young, Mary Tunstall, Barry Smailes, Michael John Heseltine, David Percival, Michael Jeffles, Hilary Shaw,
Jean Hartley, Elizabeth Kilburn, Judith Heseltine, Hazel Tunstall and Christine McGregor
Elizabeth Routh, Dorothy Percival, Janet Shepherd, Sally Hartley, Maureen Jeffles,
Linda Atkinson, Kenneth Bell and David Raine
Below is a newspaper cutting from The Darlington & Stockton Times, courtesy of Liz Martin (née Scarr), c.1957
The same photograph, below, Mrs. Dinah Knifton, head teacher,and pupils, c.1957, courtesy of Liz Scott, née Kilburn.
The Newspaper compares the 78 scholars of 1899 (1886), with the school roll of today of 28, 23 are pictured above they are:
Mrs. McCubbins (teacher), Hilary Shaw, Brian McGregor, Robert Webster, Eileen Mitchell,
Cynthia Young, Judith Heseltine and Mrs. Dinah Knifton (Head teacher)
Elizabeth Kilburn, John Young, Kenneth Bell, Kenneth Jeffles, Barry Smailes, Elizabeth Routh,
Hazel Tunstall, Mary Tunstall and Michael John Heseltine
Christine McGregor, Dorothy Percival, Maureen Jeffles, Janet Shepherd, David Raine, Linda Atkinson,
Sally Hartley and Michael Webster.
Below is a newspaper cutting from The Darlington & Stockton Times, courtesy of Liz Martin (née Scarr), 1958, on the occasion of the much loved and well respected Headmistress, Dinah Knifton's leaving the school.
FAREWELL GIFTS. Mrs. D. Knifton, headmistress of Cross Lanes School, Aysgarth, has completed her duties there and is to leave the district. She received gifts from the school managers, present and former pupils and staff and a number of friends. In the large picture the senior girl, Carole Mudd, presents Mrs. Dinah Knifton with a barometer, a purse and a memo pad from the staff and pupils.
In the large photograph the pupils are:
Brian McGregor, Michael Webster, Carole Mudd, Linda Atkinson, John and Edith Heseltine, Beryl and Jean Andrew,
Brian and Mervin Mudd, David Raine, Christine McGregor, Dorothy Percival, Hazel Tunstall, Hilary Shaw, Barry Smailes, John Young, Sally and Jean Hartley, Janet Shepherd, Judith Heseltine, Elizabeth Kilburn,
Jean and Sally Hartley and Kathryn Routh. Plus some unknown names.
A similar smaller picture of the presentation to Mrs. Dinah Knifton is shown below, courtesy of Mattie Furnish, 1958.
In the group from the left are, Rev. John Benson, Mrs. A. Lancaster, [Trustee], Mrs. Hilda Hedley, [Trustee], Miss D. Bell, (school cook), Mrs. Dinah Knifton, headteacher, Miss. Mattie Furnish, [Trustee], Carole Mudd, [senior girl], Mr. Frank Snaith, [Trustee] and Miss E. Raine, assistant teacher.
Mattie Furnish and my grandparents, Frank and Martha Snaith, remained lifelong friends with the Knifton's, despite them leaving the area, visiting each other on an annual/regular basis.
Dinah Knifton (headteacher at Cross Lanes School), and her dog in the School house garden (now Thoral cottage), 1950's. Courtesy of Mattie Furnish.
Dinah Knifton holding her cat, her dog is sat in the School house garden. The house behind to the right is Holmeside Farm, home of my grandparents, Frank and Martha Snaith, and to the left is Stanley cottage. Courtesy of Mattie Furnish.
Below is a newspaper
Following Mrs Knitons, departure, Mrs. Marie Teasdale of Prospect House, Thoralby, became headteacher, having two young daughters of her own who attended the school, when they were old enough.
The school photograph below is, Mrs. Marie Teasdale, head teacher, courtesy Mary Atkinson, c. 1960.
Back Row L – R
Ken Bell, Christine McGregor, Beryl Andrews, Hazel Tunstall, Elizabeth Kilburn, Sally Hartley, Elizabeth Routh,
Hazel Mudd and John Heseltine.
Middle Row L –R
Linda Atkinson, Ronnie Hartley, Brian Mudd, Stephen Coltman, Michael Webster, Elizabeth Scarr,
Linda Heseltine, Kathleen Nottingham and Janet Shepherd
Front Row L – R
Rita Mudd, Mervyn Mudd, Mary Nottingham, Kathryn Routh, Edith Heseltine, David Spence,
Stephen Porter, Kathryn Harker, Jean Andrews and Hazel Hartley
The school photograph below is of May pole dancing, courtesy of DCM, Hawes. The date is unknown, but it is probably c. 1962, because there are nine girls in photograph.
The girls Maypole dancing on the grass verge apposite the school are:
Rita Mudd, Mary Heseltine and Jean Andrew.
Susan Pounder, Linda Cockburn and Josephine Foster.
Mary Nottingham, Edith Heseltine and Kathryn Routh.
Below is a school photograph, in 1964, Marie Teasdale is the headteacher, courtesy of Dales Countryside Museum, Hawes.
Mary Nottingham, Jean Andrews, Kathryn Routh, Rita Mudd, Susan Pounder and Martin Bethell.
Billy Bell?, Andrew Sayer, Josephine Foster, Susan and Karen Teasdale, Stephen Crawford and Mary Heseltine.
The same photograph below, in colour is courtesy of Dales Countryside Museum, 1964.
Mary Nottingham, Jean Andrews, Kathryn Routh, Rita Mudd, Susan Pounder and Martin Bethell.
Billy Bell?, Andrew Sayer, Josephine Foster, Susan and Karen Teasdale, Stephen Crawford and Mary Heseltine
The school playground photograph below is courtesy of Dales Countryside Museum, 1964.
Pupils, Mary Nottingham of Aysgarth, Katherine Routh
and Jean Andrews
in the playground at Cross Lanes.
The school trip photograph to Flamingo Park, below is courtesy of Dales Countryside Museum, 1964.
School trip to Flamingo park in the photograph are:
Rita Mudd (Thoralby),
José Foster, (Worton) and teacher, Mrs. Foster
Below is the photograph of a presentation to Mrs. Mary Foster leaving the school, on its closure, courtesy of DCM, Hawes, 1964. Mrs. Marie Teasdale transferred to West Burton and was one of my teachers there.
L-R Rev. John Benson, Mrs Mary Foster, Headteacher, John Hedley (Trustee), Alice Hammond, cook,
Ada Lancaster (Trustee), Isobel Pounder, cook, and teacher Mrs. Marie Teasdale, head teacher.
Finally, a newspaper clipping of the school's closure in 1964, after serving the community for 222 years, courtesy of DCM, Hawes.
Back Row: -
Mary Nottingham, Rita Mudd, Jean Andrew, Kathryn Routh, Edith Heseltine, Mervyn Mudd,
Martin Bethell, Susan Pounder.
Front Row: -
Andrew Sayer, Stephen Crawford, Susan and Karen Teasdale, Angela Alderson, Linda Cockburn and Mary Heseltine.
Below is a table of teachers at Cross Lanes School, the first mentioned in each case is the headteacher, and when known the number of pupils is given in the final column.
Below is a photograph of the former School in 2003, now used as a bunkhouse.
The building has changed little from the opening photograph taken in 1955.
Following the closure of the school, the building was used by West Yorkshire Education Services as an Educational facility for children from the towns. It was later used as a field study centre and hill walking centre and is now a bunk house.