A Brief History of Robert Love’s Charity School, Froxfield Green (1734-1876)
Robert Love lived at Basing, Froxfield, the original house at Basing Park. He died in January 1722 and left £1,000 to found a Charity School to ‘educate twenty of the poorest boys in the village for ever’. His nephew and heir, Richard Love did not carry out Robert Love’s wishes until twelve years later when he had a building erected at Froxfield Green at a cost of £200. A School Master and five Trustees were appointed and the Charity School opened on 29th September 1734. A further £300 was added to the Charity in 1768 when Francis Beckford, the husband of Robert Love’s great niece died. She had inherited Basing and her husband took a great interest in the school when he became a trustee after their marriage.
Vacancies at the school were announced at church services in the original, ancient church of St Peter-on-the-Green. Girls filled the places where there were not enough boys but by about 1817 only boys were being admitted. Age at entry appears to have been from four to thirteen. The children were given clothes, as Robert Love had stipulated in his will and these were paid for by the income from the legacy. There are many references in Account Books to hats, shoes, cloth and breeches as well as to pens, primers and paper etc.
The children were taught to ‘read, write and cast account well’ as Robert Love wished, ‘so that when they go afterwards abroad as servants in husbandry or such like a strict good education may be some great advantage to them.’ The trustees allowed the children two half day holidays in their six - day week in term time which later changed to a whole day off on Saturdays. Holidays of two to three weeks were given at Christmas and three or four at Harvest.
In 1876 the trustees had a new school for all the children of the parish built more centrally at High Cross, Froxfield where the new parish church had been built.
The Charity still exists as a ‘School including Gifts of Love and of Beckford’, but has historically been called ‘Loves Charity’ by local residents as it still is today. The capital of the Charity was boosted by the sale of the adjoining 1876 schoolmaster’s house in 1961. The interest on this money is still used to benefit all the children of Froxfield. It has provided some past and present equipment in the play park, has given donations to the Youth Club and regularly provides educational extras for the school.