History in Structure

Sandringham and West Newton Primary School and attached former teacher's house with outhouse

A Grade II Listed Building in Sandringham, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.8207 / 52°49'14"N

Longitude: 0.5164 / 0°30'59"E

OS Eastings: 569665

OS Northings: 327763

OS Grid: TF696277

Mapcode National: GBR P4F.5CT

Mapcode Global: WHKQ0.XC3F

Plus Code: 9F42RGC8+7H

Entry Name: Sandringham and West Newton Primary School and attached former teacher's house with outhouse

Listing Date: 23 February 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1423791

ID on this website: 101423791

Location: West Newton, King's Lynn and West Norfolk, Norfolk, PE31

County: Norfolk

District: King's Lynn and West Norfolk

Civil Parish: Sandringham

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Sandringham with West Newton and Appleton

Church of England Diocese: Norwich

Tagged with: Architectural structure

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Elementary school, built in 1881 with later additions made before 1905; later C20 extension.


Elementary school; built in 1881, with later additions before 1905, and in the later C20; commissioned by Edward, Prince of Wales.

MATERIALS: the earlier school hall is rendered, with some applied timber framing. The rest of the building is mainly carstone, with brick quoins and surrounds to doors and windows. The roofs are tiled.

PLAN: the plan is complex, and consists of a two ranges next to each other oriented north-south, that to the east containing the first hall, while that to the west contains the second hall at its south end and a former part of the teacher’s house to the north. The roof at the north end of the east hall is oriented east to west; this represents the east end of a cross-wing, and continues west across the teacher’s house. Further wings of the teacher’s house are stepped out to the south-west. There is a single storey outhouse or service building immediately to the west of the house. A modern, single storey flat roofed addition extends around the south-east corner.

EXTERIOR: the north elevation has a single storey section to the centre, flanked by a two storey gable end to the west and a single storey porch to the east. The central section is mainly brick, with windows rising up to the eaves of a catslide roof that sweeps down from the roof ridge of a cross-wing. There are three windows set under the eaves: to the centre is an oriel window, supported on tiered brickwork; this has a timber mullion and transom and is flanked by two narrow windows with transoms. The two storey gable end to the west, originally part of the teacher’s house, is of small shaped and coursed carstone. The roofline is slightly swept to oversailing eaves, which are bracketed to the gable end. The windows, one each to ground and first floor, have brick surrounds under hood-moulds. The ground floor has a tripartite window with mullions and transom under a segmental arch, the latter set within the brick surround, while the first floor casement window has a slightly cambered arch. The porch to the east is of carstone, and has brick quoins, a brick surround to the arched entrance and a brick and terracotta dentilled cornice. Between the arch and cornice is a square stone plaque consisting of a rose set in a moulded frame. The hipped roof has a band of fish-scale tiles, and is surmounted by a circular belcote of carstone, a band of moulded brickwork supporting the timber arcading surrounding the bell; the belcote is capped by an octagonal and conical tiled roof.

At the north end of the east elevation is the return of the porch, which has a small window with segmental brick arch. To the south, slightly advanced, is the east gable end of the cross-wing, of roughly coursed uneven carstone rubble. There is a small ball finial at the tip of the gable, at the centre of which is a round window of six segments, surrounded by brick. Three courses of brick, stretchers between headers, also define the gable, with two courses at the base of the gable creating a triangle; there is some tumbled in brickwork. Below the round window is a square bay with mullioned window, the roof of which is similar to that to the porch, with a band of fish-scale tiles; to the south it sweeps down to create a shelter for seating. There is a decorative, curving bracket between a supporting post and eaves. To the south, the east elevation and south gable end of the hall are largely concealed behind the modern flat roofed extension; this extension is not included as part of the listing. The visible upper east elevation is pebble-dashed, with applied timber framing, while the south gable end is rendered and has a bowed window under a tiled roof; the gable has decorative bargeboards. At the north end of the roof is a circular glazed timber turret; a band of vents suggests this served as both light well and air vent. The turret is capped by an inverted conical roof with a weather vane at the tip. The lower half is concealed behind the modern extension.

The second hall to the west has a boiler house attached. The south gable is hung with alternate bands of plain and fish-scale tiles, below which is a large window under a cambered brick arch, with light coloured brick surrounds, set in small and neatly shaped coursed carstone. This kind of stone and brickwork, and this form of construction, continues to the west in the teacher’s house. The window surrounds are also similar with cambered brick arches set within brick surrounds. The south-west wing of the teacher’s house projects west from the west elevation of the second hall. The west elevation of this wing presents itself as a series of single and two storey gable ends of contrasting pink brickwork and yellow ochre carstone. Set in the angle between this west wing and the return to the north is a stair turret of the same materials and construction, with quoined chamfered corners, immediately to the north of which is an apparently inserted timber framed and rendered upper floor projecting over an entrance and supported on a corner post. Wedged against this at ground floor level is a modified canted bay window with slate roof, placed slightly off-centre below a casement window with brick hood-mould. The window is centrally placed within a gable, where the form of construction and the use of materials and detail are very similar to that to the east elevation, suggesting that these are opposite ends of the continuous east-west cross-wing. The gable eaves are slightly modified to the north to accommodate the roofline of the north wing of the house, which is set at a right angle to the cross-wing. The gable end of the north wing is described as part of the north elevation, above.

The modern flat roofed extension to east and south of the school is not of special interest and is not included as part of the listing.

INTERIOR: the earlier hall, to the east, is fully open to the roof, where there are three trusses below a planked ceiling. The trusses consist of rafters tied by collars and supported by curved braces rising from corbels. In the triangle between collars and rafters a pattern of squares and triangles is created by king and queen posts and a second collar. At the south gable end, a high bow window is set immediately below the collar and between the braces. Towards the centre of the east wall is a chimney breast, and there is wainscoting to west and east. Rising through the roof towards the north-east corner of the hall is the circular light well.

At the north end of the hall is a gallery, apparently a modern insertion within the east-west oriented cross-wing; below the gallery a screen separates the cross-wing from the hall. The space beneath the gallery is lit by the three windows to the north, the corners of their reveals ovolo moulded with lambs tongue stops. Further light is provided by the bay window to the east; here, the moulded dado rail and wainscoting curve down to sill height. In the north-east corner a plank and batten door opens onto the porch, the walls and vaulted ceiling of which are of unrendered brick. To the west, a stair to the gallery has been inserted, crossing in front of fixed shelving below a cupboard. There are modern doors to either side of the small landing at the top of the stairs. That to the east gives access to the gallery, open to roof where the north-south aligned hall joins the west-east aligned cross-wing. The only natural light in the gallery is from the circular east gable window.

At the south-west end of the hall is a plank and batten door that opens into the later hall to the east; there is another entrance into hall, with a similar door, from a corridor to the south. This hall is also open to the roof, which has arch braced rafters with collars and king posts. There is wainscoting below a moulded dado rail, a cupboard with shelves below and a chimney breast; as with the chimney breast in the first hall, the fireplace, if it survives, is concealed behind a radiator.

The modern door opposite the entrance from the stairs to the gallery opens onto a room that was formerly part of the teacher’s house, now a classroom. The room below is also a classroom, and contains the bay window and entrance from the west. These rooms contain little detail. The remainder of the teacher’s house is still (2014) in residential use, with the entrance from the west. The house has two main rooms to ground and first floors, the first floor reached by a winder stair. One of the first floor rooms has an inset cupboard over drawers, the cupboard doors with raised foliate decoration. The doors are plank and batten or plain four panelled. There are no original fireplaces.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: to the west of the house is an outhouse, of brick and flint, with a hipped pantiled roof. This contains a washhouse and a larger space with double doors. The washhouse has a stone sink and planked cupboards


The architecture of rural schools in Norfolk is a physical representation of the history of education for poor and working class children from the early to mid-C19 up to the Butler Education Act of 1944. Nationally, until the late C17 education was provided predominantly by grammar and endowed schools, but was generally restricted to those who could pay. In 1698 the newly founded Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge (SPCK) established charity schools, primarily to educate urban working class children, but until the early C19 the education of rural children depended on local initiatives, generally informal classes held in a variety of existing spaces, and often referred to as 'Dame Schools'. The provision of more organised and formal education for working class children appeared with the founding of the Church of England's National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor (National Schools) in 1811, which was preceded, in 1808, by the Non-Conformist's British and Foreign Schools Society (British Schools); the former were dominant in the countryside, while the latter were mainly urban based. These two organisations were the main providers of voluntary schools, although other bodies also set up schools, and particularly in rural areas these could be established by landowners and estates, sometimes in conjunction with the National Society. In 1833 the first government grants became available for those voluntary societies willing to submit to inspection, with an increase in the budget in 1843 to cover the cost of teacher's houses (particularly essential in remote areas of rural Norfolk) leading to an increase in the number of schools in the county built in the 1840s and 1850s.

From the mid-C19 the religious societies were the main providers of education for the poor, but schooling was not universally available and the presence of schools in communities was patchy. The Education Act of 1870 recognised the need to widen access to education in response to social and political change, reflected particularly in the extension of the franchise by the Representation of the Peoples Act of 1867. The Education Act allowed for the setting up of secular school boards, empowered to establish local schools where there was a need, and between 1870 and 1902 160 new schools were built in Norfolk (including church schools); however, attendance was not made compulsory (for children aged between five and ten) until the Elementary Education Act of 1880. The next major change in educational provision did not come about until 1902, when the Balfour Act transferred responsibility to newly established Local Education Authorities. New Building Regulations issued by the Board of Education revealed some schools to be sub-standard; new schools were built, but there were also some closures in Norfolk. In the inter-war years the building of elementary schools slowed, and further closures followed. Under the Education Act of 1944 the newly established Ministry of Education required all LEAs to submit development plans with provision for secondary education, and also laid down a minimum standard of accommodation for primary schools. A programme of new school building was proposed to replace inadequate schools, and although ambitions for the building of new schools and the closure of those that were deemed sub-standard or too small were not realised, by 1990 190 schools in Norfolk had been closed.

Historical changes in educational provision and funding, as well as the evolution of ideas about education, tend to be reflected in architectural styles, and in the plan and function of school buildings. The earliest rural schools are often very plain, single storey one room structures; porches are generally present, at least one, and sometimes two, where money and space allow for separate entrances for boys and girls, and these remained a consistent and sometimes prominent feature. Within the classroom, benches were arranged longitudinally on one side of the room, grouped to allow for the teaching of smaller numbers of children by monitors, a system known as the Madras method. A development of this plan was the addition of a smaller infants' classroom at one end, which may have had raked seating; evidence of this is rarely found, and no original benches survive. A variant on this plan is where the second classroom forms a cross-wing, while a tripartite plan might be formed with an integrated teachers' house as a cross-wing at the other end of a central classroom, forming an H or U plan. From the 1840s teachers' houses might include a parlour, kitchen, scullery and three first floor bedrooms. After the 1870 Act, progressive layouts are scarce in rural Norfolk, including the widely adopted plan, devised by the London Board architect, E R Robson, of classrooms off a central hall. In the countryside the tripartite plan remained in use, added to and modified as necessary.

Architecturally, the favoured style of early schools was the Classical, but by the 1830s and '40s Gothic had become dominant, combined with elements of Tudor architecture. Schools funded by local landowners or estates could be a particularly elaborate in their design as an expression of philanthropic wealth. After 1860, a style merging elements of the Tudor and Jacobean styles, the Jacobethan, emerges, and although the establishment of school boards after 1870 saw the introduction nationally of a more secular Queen Anne style, this was slow to be adopted in Norfolk, and Gothic or Jacobethan remained in favour, as well as the earlier legacy of building styles. After the creation of Local Education Authorities in 1902 the Queen Anne style was introduced, often fused with elements drawn from the Arts and Crafts movement, with the latter occasionally featuring as the predominant style. The new Building Regulations reflected a growing interest in health and hygiene, with a particular concern for light and fresh air. This is physically represented by classrooms lit by large windows on two sides and by hopper opening windows in lower panes, allowing cross ventilation with reduced draughts. A programme of enlarging windows in existing schools was also introduced, sometimes by inserting dormers to rise above eaves level. In new schools, marching corridors also provided opportunities for exercise. The Derbyshire County Architect George Widdows was a pioneer in the development of school plans capturing the new thinking, and although these are more usually seen, nationally, in larger urban schools, there are examples to be found in rural Norfolk. In the inter-war years school building slowed, and the design of new schools adopted a functional Queen Anne style.

Sandringham and West Newton school was built in 1881, under the patronage of Edward, Prince of Wales, who had acquired the Sandringham Estate in 1862. The existing house there was demolished, and in 1870 was replaced by a new build, designed by A J Humbert. Further work was undertaken between 1881 and 1884, when the house was enlarged to designs by R W Edis. The start of this later work is contemporary with the building of the school; a row of neat, well spaced, semi-detached cottages to the east, named after Edward’s wife, Alexandra, may date to the same period, as well as a similar row to the south-west of the church. The Historic Ordnance Survey (OS) map of 1884 shows the school as an L shaped structure, the long arm of which, oriented north to south, is on the site of the present hall and cross-wing. A short, narrow wing, attached to the south-west, may represent a second classroom and small teachers house, absorbed or replaced by additions made before 1905. These enlarged the school to almost its present (2014) extent, and included a second hall to the west of the first, with attached boiler house, and a larger teacher’s house. Although the maps suggest two main stages of historic development, both fabric and plan suggest rather more complex phasing. C20 additions and alterations include a single storey flat roofed extension to the east and south, and the absorption of part of the teacher’s house into the school.

Reasons for Listing

Sandringham and West Newton School, built 1881, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: for its imaginative and picturesque composition of gables, small turrets and varied rooflines, with close attention paid to sparingly applied decorative detail, and to the quality of materials and craftsmanship;
* Historic interest: it was constructed under the patronage of Edward Prince of Wales, and as part of his improvements to the Sandringham Estate from 1870 onwards;
* Intactness: the late C19 school, attached teacher’s house and outhouse all remain substantially intact both in form and detail;
* Interior detail: the interior retains detail that includes joinery in the form of doors, cupboards, shelving and wainscoting, as well as roof trusses, all displaying intention in their design and craftsmanship in their execution;
* Group value: the school lies just outside the area of the park (registered at Grade II*) with which it has group value, and forms part of the late C19 remodelling and design of the built and natural landscape of the estate.

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