William Frederick Brown

William Frederick Brown (1841-1906) was born at Boreham, Warminster. His parents were Frederick Brown and Mary Dunford of Longbridge Deverill, who were market gardeners at Boreham and had a stall at Warminster market. William married Sarah Woodman of West Ashton, Wiltshire, and had five children, Rosa (b.1863), Annie (b.1866), Mary (known as Polly, b. c1869), William Frederick junior (b.1872) and Edith Louisa (b.1875). The three youngest were born in Chitterne.

In 1867 William took over as Headmaster of Chitterne School and stayed for 39 years. There was no schoolhouse so the Browns lived in the Post Office (where Syringa Cottage stands nowadays) as William was sub-postmaster, parish clerk and churchwarden as well. His wife Sarah taught alongside him. Henrietta Titt (b.1859) was an assistant teacher in 1877. After Henrietta left to get married and have her own family William and Sarah's daughter took her place. William was the only one of the three who was qualified to teach. He studied in the evenings and took lessons in Warminster on Saturdays to obtain his teaching diploma, as required by the new law. He and his daughter attended weekly Art classes in Warminster, paid for by themselves and later he held a night-school for Agriculture and Drawing five nights a week, until the extra work became too much. He taught the Fourth Standard and his wife and daughter took the lower standards and the infants, alternating morning and afternoon. In 1892 the salaries for the three teachers totalled 100 per annum.

Some good results were achieved under his headship. The Bazell family, who lived at Clump Farm, for instance, had thirteen children and all the boys won scholarships to Dauntseys School (a public school at West Lavington). William said, of his boy pupils, that: "No young fellow of energy will stay in Chitterne." They didn't, there was nothing but farm work for them in the village, and for the girls, domestic service. Chitterne was too far away from a town to walk to work there and the nearest station was three and a half miles away at Codford, so most of those boys left the village to find work and became postmen, policemen or drivers, as did William's own son. (See William F. "Farmer" Brown link)

William died in 1906 and Sarah died 6 months later in 1907; they are buried in the local graveyard.

See also Chitterne School.

Thanks to Dewey Museum, Warminster for the 1877 photo of William and Sarah.

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