Our history

Origins

The manor of Bayford was part of the lands owned directly by the king in the late Saxon period, and there was almost certainly a church here at that time (although the first written evidence for the village church is from 1222). Our school’s history begins in the early nineteenth century as a partnership between that village church, St Mary’s, and the Baker family, who then held the manor of Bayford.

Our logo

Our school history is summed up in our logo, which has two key parts. First the greyhound, which comes from the coat of arms of the Baker family, who gave us permission to use it when the school was founded. Our greyhound is a modern version of the particoloured, heraldic dog you can still see on the sign outside the Baker Arms pub in the village. The second element is the colour scheme: blue and yellow are the colours of the Diocese of St Albans to which we belong, and you can see them on the flag of St Alban which dates back to the middle ages. So our logo represents the partnership which brought our school into being two hundred years ago.

Foundation

In 1758 the manor of Bayford passed to Sir William Baker, and his family were to play a key role in village life for the next two hundred years. In 1833 they supported the foundation of our school, providing a site and building the first school, along with a house for a teacher. The original school was close to what was then the Vicarage, the village smithy, and the Manor House, not far from the road junction by the Baker Arms. We celebrate the founding of our school every year in April.

Growth

In 1836, the will of Miss Charlotte Amelia Baker set up the Baker Foundation, a charitable trust to support education in the parish, and later, in the 1870s, additional land was provided for the school and the whole site was formally given to the parish. In 1899 the school was again extended to provide space to take in forty five children from the neighbouring village of Brickendon, and we continue to serve both villages today.

‘It had one large hall with one fire to warm it in the winter. It had three rows of forms for each class… I remember if we were late, we had to go up to the Headmaster for the cane in front of the whole school… The toilets were a pit with a wall dividing the boys and girls. Ours had a long wooden seat with nine large and small holes in it. The toilet paper was newspaper, if any. These pits used to be emptied once a term.”

Memories of Bayford School in 1903 by a former pupil, Mary Barnes

‘It was a pretty daunting school. The windows were really high… a very, very old fashioned school… No heating. They had an old coal boiler… and that had a big fence round it… to stop anybody burning themselves. The old caretaker, Sonny Camp, he used to rule with a rod of iron. Outside toilets… and we used to have to walk from the school up to the local village hall for school dinners.’

Memories of the old school building in 1964 by former pupil, Neil Morris

New site and building

In 1965 we moved from the original school building to our present site on Ashendene Road. If you read the reminiscences of two of our former pupils you can see why a new building was really needed! The core of our present premises is still that new school opened by the Bishop of St Albans in 1965, but our school has been enlarged and remodelled several times (spot the different roof colours in the photo!), most recently in 2010, and there are exciting plans for further improvements in time for our two hundredth anniversary in 2033.

‘That was a lot more modern, obviously. Indoor toilets, for us, that was a big thing. There was three classrooms, infants, juniors and senior infants… But you also had your own hall and kitchens and a playing field, so everything was contained in that school. The classrooms, yeah. They were big, they were bold, they were bright. The windows were all down low. Lots of light in.’

Former pupil, Neil Morris, remembers moving to the new school in 1965

Bicentenary and beyond

Today we are what we have always been: a school which belongs to the community it serves; a partnership between the Church of England and the local authority, Hertfordshire County Council; a place open to everyone and in which everyone is welcome. Our Christian values and heritage are unchanged, but we have a renewed vision for our future.

The quotes on this page from former pupils are reproduced by permission of Hertford Museum and taken from a booklet on the villages of Bayford and Little Berkhamsted which you can order from the museum.

Are you a former pupil? Do you have memories of your time at Bayford School? Do you have photographs you could share with us of the school buildings, or of school events, or old class photographs?

If you do, please get in touch!
This page was last updated on 23rd July 2022