Historically, the Church had a monopoly on education, and as the Manor of Eppingham was owned by Waltham Abbey from before Domesday, residents of Epping Upland would have benefited. Promising intelligent young boys would have been taken to the Abbey to be schooled, later becoming monks. The priest was the most educated person in the parish, and he had a duty to teach the catechism (usually during Lent) to boys and girls. Conscientious priests would have extended this teaching to other areas. As the catechism was taught in the Church porch, that could be considered the earliest site of the School for almost a thousand years.
In 1825, an Anglican day school was set up in Epping Green. In 1833 there were 80 pupils, but attendance subsequently declined. A new building with accommodation for 63 children was erected in 1862. Epping Upland School was mentioned in a Government report of 1872 as being part of a universal provision for the area. The school does not appear to have received a Government grant until 1893. By 1904, there were 75 children in the Upland School, and accommodation for 100.
Before the Memorial Hall was built in 1913, Public Meetings were held “in the Upland Schoolroom”. Church services were also held there, for example, when the new heating system was installed in 1907. Rummage Sales and other parish events are also mentioned.
The School is frequently mentioned in parish records. When the Memorial Hall foundation stone was laid on September 17th 1913, “the school children sang a hymn led by Miss Garner, the Head Mistress”. At the “Peace Celebrations” on 19th July 1919, “a number of girls and boys of the Epping Green School then rendered in a very pleasing manner suitable items of singing”.
On its original site in the angle of Carter’s Lane and the High Road, the school had 90 children in two groups, 5-10 years and 10-14 years, meeting in two rooms. Facilities were primitive, with buckets for toilets. In 1940, the school was reorganised for juniors and infants.
The School was granted Controlled status in 1950, and on 25th October 1950, it was unanimously agreed that the laying of the foundation stone for the new school at its present site in Epping Green would be a very fitting memorial of the Festival of Britain. There was considerable delay, and in May 1952, the Parish Clerk was instructed to write to the Essex Education Committee to enquire if any date could be given for the commencement of building the new school. The School moved to its new buildings in Carter’s Lane in 1953.
Our former Chair of Governors, Chris Bard, was chair for over 25 years. Chris was born on leap-year day, 29th February 1952 and had immence fun telling the children how ‘young’ he was! He trained for the Church of England priesthood through St Augustine’s College, Canterbury and King’s College London and was ordained in 1976. He and his family moved to Epping Upland in 1981, and was appointed Diocesan Communications Officer, priest at All Saints Church Epping Upland and Chair of Governors at Epping Upland school.
In 1989 Chris was appointed BBC Essex Religious Programmes Producer, and presented many programmes over the years with his wife, Mary. In 2003 Chris was appointed Honorary Canon at Chelmsford Cathedral a position he was rightfully proud of. Chris was also ‘Priest in Charge’ at the horticultural College, Capel Manor where he also designed their ‘Silver Guilt’ award winning garden at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2007 called ‘Growing Together in Faith’.
Chris suddenly died in September 2007 on a trip to Ireland to research gardens for a planning book. He is missed by all who knew him.
We are always grateful to anyone who has any memories of the school, so please write to us so we can share them with others.