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The Old School and Schoolhouse

A Grade II Listed Building in Bodfari, Denbighshire

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Latitude: 53.22 / 53°13'11"N

Longitude: -3.3578 / 3°21'27"W

OS Eastings: 309440

OS Northings: 370073

OS Grid: SJ094700

Mapcode National: GBR 6Q.10W4

Mapcode Global: WH76W.DB9B

Entry Name: The Old School and Schoolhouse

Listing Date: 30 May 1991

Last Amended: 12 April 2002

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 1520

Building Class: Education

Location: At the east fringe of Bodfari Village, reached by a track to the north of the B5429, and occupying a terraced site on the hillside with extensive views south. Stone wall at north, with two gateways. P

County: Denbighshire

Community: Bodfari

Community: Bodfari

Locality: Bodfari Village

Traditional County: Flintshire

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Formerly Bodfari New School or the National School for Boys and Girls (including infants), replacing an earlier school at Brynhyfryd; latterly St Stephen's Primary School until c.1969 and after an interval of industrial use now a private house.

The school was designed in 1858-9 by H J Fairclough of St Asaph (who was also executant architect under Sir G G Scott for the restoration of St Asaph Cathedral) for the St Asaph School Board in the simplified Gothic idiom generally thought suitable for educational buildings. It incorporated boys' and girls' departments in its west range separated by a movable screen, and a separate infants' department to the rear; also a teacher's house. The contractor is said to have been the same as for the church. Thomas refers to the school as having cost about £2000; an endowment of £100 by Mrs Hughes of Denbigh dated 1857 is recorded in the parish church.

It includes a lightning conductor which is of some technical historical interest, relating to a long scientific controversy in the early C19 over the preference for balls or spikes as lightning conductor terminals.


The school retains its historical integrity to a considerable extent; it is in red brick with sandstone dressings to doors and windows and with roofs clad in Dinorwic slates. Sandstone also used for quoins and for the coping of the gables, including kneelers.

The west of the building is the present approach side, and the west range contains the former main classrooms. This range and the former infants' classroom to its rear are tall single storey structures; the teacher's house formed in the angle of the two classroom ranges is of two storeys but similar height.

The west elevation is of four windows, articulated by generous buttresses between windows and diagonally at corners. The windows are each of three trefoil-headed lights with stone mullions. Similar windows in the gables of the west range with a trefoil light in each gable apex. The former infants' classroom at right angles to the north main classroom is of simpler construction, but with two tall mullion and transom windows to the north side and one similar to the east gable; these windows have been reconstructed or their positions moved.

The teacher's house is to the south east of the building, facing south. Sandwiched between the south former main classroom and the house is the school entrance porch of two storeys plus an octagonal belfry tower and spire; the door has a four-centred arch and the window above is a smaller single light version of the main schoolroom windows. There are two courses of stone to reduce from the square porch to the octagonal tower. This tower has a lancet window to the front with restored louvres and a slated spire terminating in a brass ball lightning conductor and a weathervane.

The front elevation of the teacher's house is of two storeys, with two gables and the main door between. Timber mullion and transom windows. The right gable advances considerably and the ground-storey has a bay window.

The building has been added to in two phases. To the north is a flat-roofed suite of entrance and two rooms, said to have been a school canteen of c.1950. The house has also been more recently enlarged by the addition of a w.c. and kitchen to the north, with room over, in lean-to form, overlapping the east gable of the former infants' classroom. Other alterations include the rebuilding of the east gable of the latter classroom in Ruabon or similar bricks.


An upper floor has been inserted in the former infants' classroom, creating rooms now functioning as an integral part of the house. The main former classrooms (in the west range) are still open to the roof; their dividing partition has been lost.

Reasons for Listing

An especially good example of an unaltered village school with integrated schoolhouse designed for the Diocese of St Asaph by H J Fairclough.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

  • II Dinorben Arms Public House
    Immediately south of St. Stephen's Church. The house is sited downslope. Extensive carparks at rear.
  • II* Church of St Stephen
    At the centre of Bodfari Village, approached by a lychgate and long flight of steps. The orientation of the church is north east, but conventional orientation is assumed in this description. Stone chu
  • II Lychgate and Steps to St Stephen's Church
    To the south-west of St Stephen's Church
  • II Hafod-tan-yr-eglwys (Formerly Ty-gwyn)
    Immediately west of St. Stephen's Church, on a site raised above the roads of the village. Rubble limestone wall to front with iron gate.
  • II Geinas Farmhouse
    At north side of the A541, ½ km south of Bodfari Parish Church. Small walled garden at front, other enclosed ground at sides and rear. Farmyard on opposite side of road.
  • II Barn at Aberwheeler House
    To the north of Aberwheeler House
  • II Aberwheeler House
    Reached by a narrow lane ½ km north-east of Pont Geinas, located in private grounds. Set of bee-boles to east, old brick barn to north.
  • II Bee-boles at Aberwheeler House
    At north-west corner of the garden to the rear of Aberwheeler House

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