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Former School House Approximately 15 Metres North of Church of Holy Trinity

A Grade II Listed Building in Hethe, Oxfordshire

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Latitude: 51.962 / 51°57'43"N

Longitude: -1.1451 / 1°8'42"W

OS Eastings: 458837

OS Northings: 229619

OS Grid: SP588296

Mapcode National: GBR 8WK.Z66

Mapcode Global: VHCWR.3YHB

Plus Code: 9C3WXV63+QX

Entry Name: Former School House Approximately 15 Metres North of Church of Holy Trinity

Listing Date: 3 October 1988

Last Amended: 10 May 2016

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1046451

English Heritage Legacy ID: 243633

Location: Hethe, Cherwell, Oxfordshire, OX27

County: Oxfordshire

District: Cherwell

Civil Parish: Hethe

Traditional County: Oxfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: Hethe

Church of England Diocese: Oxford

Tagged with: Building

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The former school house of the Church of the Holy Trinity, Hethe begun circa 1832 and completed in 1870.


School building, now church hall, thought to have been begun in the early 1830s, but not completed until 1870.

MATERIALS: coursed limestone rubble, with a hipped slate roof. There are chamfered brick dressings to the windows and door surrounds.

PLAN: rectangular on plan, set on a west/east axis, and entered from the south, the single-storey building has an entrance porch to the west, in line with the south elevation. To west and east are single-storey outbuildings, originating in the C19.

EXTERIOR: rising from the centre of the roof is a rectangular copper cupola with louvered openings with round-arched heads and a lead roof; this originally housed the school bell. The south elevation has two pointed-arched windows, the timber frames having Y-tracery. To the east is a pointed-arched door opening, containing its original boarded door. Added to the building to the west is a gabled brick porch, also having its original boarded door, leading to an attached kitchen, and into the former schoolroom. In the north elevation there is a small window at a high level towards to the east.

INTERIOR: the western porch leads to a narrow room, attached to the former schoolroom, and now used as a kitchen; this does not retain historic features. The schoolroom, always a simple room, retains few historic features, and has a new timber floor. The chimneybreast has lost its original plain surround, but there is still an opening, which once served a stove.


The western porch and attached kitchen are at the eastern end of a small attached outbuilding, with C20 timber boarding to the front and a corrugated iron roof. This was not inspected internally.

Attached to the east end of the former school building is an outbuilding of coursed limestone with a C19 or early-C20 king-post roof structure, covered with slate. This has two wide openings and a third to the east has been partially filled with brick. The building has been much altered but appears formerly to have been in use for vehicles and for sheltering animals. The eastern bay has two vestigial pointed-arched openings, and may have at one time provided lavatories for the school.


The Catholic parish of Hethe owes its existence largely to the long presence of the Catholic Fermor family in the area, first at Somerton, with which the family was connected from the late C15, and from 1642 at Tusmore, where a free-standing chapel was built. The servants and tenants on the Tusmore estate were largely Catholic, and the area was known for having many Catholic inhabitants. In addition to the chapel at Tusmore a place of worship was provided during the C18 in the neighbouring Hardwick manor house, also belonging to the Fermor family. Following the death of William Fermor in 1806, Tusmore was rented to a succession of tenants, all Protestant, and eventually sold in 1857 to the 1st Earl of Effingham, who demolished the chapel.

The Second Catholic Relief Act of 1791 had allowed the building of Catholic chapels, and the 1829 Act of Emancipation removed many other obstructions. The establishment of a public chapel to serve the spiritual needs of the many Catholics who remained in the Hethe area was undertaken by Father Alfred Maguire in 1831, who was charged with providing a building to hold 300. The cost of £800 was raised partly from local people; Maguire also made an appeal in the Catholic Directory, explaining that the death of the local squire had left his people ‘destitute of a place where they may be enabled to be present at the adorable sacrifice of the Mass’. The new church opened on 22 May, 1832. The identity of the architect is not known.

The presbytery was erected at the same time as the church, with which it is linked. Land was acquired for a school in 1831, and work began, but the building was not completed until 1870, when it opened as St Philip’s school (named for St Philip the Deacon). In its early days, the school provided places for about 20 pupils, divided into four classes. In 1930 numbers dropped, and the school closed. The school opened again during the Second World War, when some 30 children were evacuated to Hethe from St Patrick’s School, Walthamstow with numbers rising to about 60. In 1947 the school closed for the last time.

Since ceasing to function as a school, the building has been used as a workshop, and for social gatherings. It underwent a thorough programme of repair and refurbishment circa 2009-14 and is now in use as a church hall. The school bell which formerly hung within the building’s cupola is now housed under a gabled canopy to the west of the church.

Reasons for Listing

The former school house of the Church of the Holy Trinity, Hethe begun circa 1832 and completed in 1870, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historical interest: as a C19 school building constructed as part of the historic group with the Roman Catholic church of the Holy Trinity;
* Architectural interest: for its simple design, distinguished by the copper cupola, and with an ecclesiastical element given by the pointed arched windows;
* Group value: with the Church of the Holy Trinity, and the adjacent presbytery, both also listed at Grade II.

External Links

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