The first school in Heyshott was a very small one about which Richard
Cobden, in a letter dated 7th October 1850 to his life-long friend Henry
Ashworth, says 'we have no school and no schoolmaster unless I give
that title to a couple of cottages where two illiterate old women collect
a score or two of infants while their parents are in the fields.'
These cottages were at Heatherview on the boundary of the heath to the
north of the village. And so these women provided little more than
child minding. Unfortunely their predecessors hadn't been very good
even at this because, in 1806, two small children, Mary Hedger, aged 7,
and Stephen Hedger, who was only 1, drowned in an uncovered well there.
The main village school, in what is now Cobden Hall, was opened
in 1867 and closed in 1951, due to the County Council's reorganisation of the education system. The younger children were transferred to Graffham School and the ones who were old enough went to Midhurst Grammar School.
In 1863 the lord of the manor, Lord Leconfield, gave to the Minister
and Churchwardens of Heyshott 'all that piece of land containing 40
perches or thereabouts situate near to the church to permit building
of a school'. The land included not only the site of the school but also
the flat area of grass in the direction of the church which could be used
as a playground. As there was no national Education Act at the time,
the gift was confirmed by Order in Chancery, which stated that it was
to be used:
In accordance with the principles and in the furtherance of the ends and
designs of the National Society for promoting the Education of the Poor
in the principle of the established Church throughout England and
Wales under the control of the Minister and Church wardens and 4 others.