Between the Hills

the story of Lilley, a Chiltern Village

by Roy Pinnock

The Book Castle, Dunstable, 1993
ISBN 1 871199 02 6

  Between The Hills, Book Cover, Roy Pinnock. Lilley, Herts

Sample Text Extract


The Village School


According to these testimonies there were three schools in Lilley that taught children to plait. An old lady called Fanny Ebbs is reputed to have kept a small school at Church Cottage where, for 2d. a week, children were taught to read and write ... and, of course, to plait. There was supposedly such a school at "No. 55" - which once housed the village post office and blacksmith - and yet again the local "grapevine" has it that a Miss Eaton ran a much earlier Dame School at Church Cottage.

It has not been possible to uncover any documentary records of plaiting schools in LiIley, so we must assume that, despite conflicting stories, plaiting was taught sometime, somewhere in the village.

The first real piece of educational documentation shows that a school of sorts was started in 1865 in the Reading Room, where children were taught by Mr. Jennings, the Curate. After he left, this work was carried on by Rector Haviland and Matthew Feakes for five winters, before a National Society School was built and opened in 1875, the first Head being Miss Esther Cundall, who was to occupy that position for thirty-three years, having been in the village for two years prior to the school's opening.

By 1890, education in the three R's was universal, or nearly so, but many countrymen regarded it as no more than a mixed blessing. There was so much he had to learn that was not contained in books.

Captain Vye, in Hardy's "The Return of the Native", must have expressed the opinion of many LiIley people when he declared:

"There's too much of that there sending to school these days! It only does harm. Every gatepost and barn door you come to is sure to have some bad word or other chalked upon it by the young rascals; a woman can hardly pass for shame sometimes". Ted Holmes can tell a story of the time when he wrote something detrimental to the squire - which I will not repeat here - on Trussell's barn opposite the school. After being uncovered as the culprit, Ted had to spend several hours removing the results of his wit!



1 Viewed Through The Vestry
2 The Norman Church
3 Transport
4 Background
5 Mainly Topographical
6 Domestic Issues
7 Some Entertainment
8 Employment
9 The Village School
10 Some More Background
11 Pheasant Shooting And All That.
12 Some Famous Common Land
13 The Sport Of Kings
14 The Squires
15 The Parish Council
16 Village Characters
17 A Boy's War

Some pictures from this book, and some relevant history, can be found on the Lilly Cricket Club web site.

Roy Pinnock also wrote  The Guiding Stars  and In a Green Valley

Sample page of pictures.


Locating Books
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November 2011   Page updated