I was most interested to read the article recording the 75th anniversary of the School of which I was a near-foundation pupil. The amazing Founder, Miss Phyllis Burden had taken the church room opposite my grandparents’, Major Douglas and Mrs Rachael Coles, Court House on Church Street. My mother “Peggy” was brought up there from a very early age with her sister Elizabeth (“Tibby”, whose first husband Michael Hankey was in 1943 killed at Malta flying a Swordfish protecting the Convoys).
Although we lived at Collingbourne Ducis, at 5 I was sent to St Francis’ School and stayed with Granny Coles. I was delivered on Monday mornings in the Gig after a 45 minute open pony-cart drive in all weathers. Home again on Friday p.ms.
I remember well Edmund Prideaux, son of the Rector Humphrey; the Peall girls Belinda and Caroline from Oare and Verena Fisher who became a good pal over many years. I may well get a mention in Miss Burden’s later diary pages as the most reluctant scholar of her team!
This was a wonderful little school – by then with at least 10 on the register, and I am delighted it still thrives in its very grown-up form. I eventually attended Marlborough College and continued to visit the grandparents (and Phyllis several times) until their burial in Pewsey churchyard; and then Aunt Elizabeth who had married a second time to become Mrs Holmes-Tarn of the Brow – virtually adjacent to the present school.
Yours very sincerely,