October 1873: William Masters became Vicar of Long Marston and the surrounding parishes in January 1871. He made an immediate impression and attracted such large numbers to his services that there was soon standing room only in Long Marston Church.
His first initiative was to raise the funds to build a more suitable vicarage, securing substantial funding from Oxford University, his own Alma Mater (Christchurch College).
When excavating the building, the builders found a woman’s skeleton.
Undaunted, the Vicar then moved on to consider the schooling needs of Long Marston children. They were then attending a Church School at Wilstone (built in 1848) while the Rector of Puttenham organised his own daily school . On October 23rd 1873, the vicar held a meeting of ratepayers of Long Marston and Puttenham to discuss fund raising and they unanimously agreed an extra shilling rate.
The site was donated by Mr J.G Williams and the total £1100 cost was donated by a combination of Christchurch College, The Rothschilds, The Board of Education and The National Society. The contract was signed in May 1874 and the school -complete with quarters for the teacher, opened in April 1875.
The parishioners collected for a school bell which cost £5, The organisers stipulated that the bell should ring at 12 noon each day during school term for ever.
This Flashback is based on Margaret Vincent’s recently obtained and excellent history of All Saints Church Long Marston, 1883 – 1983. Further flashbacks from this new source are to follow.