The founding of Ropley Primary Church of England Primary School is the story of a village and the vision, passion and determination of two men to bring learning to the children who lived there.
In the Domesday Book Ropley was part of the "Hundred of Bishops Sutton". Ropley is noted as having provided the honey for William the Conqueror's mead.
Ropley CofE Primary School was founded in 1826 by the Reverend Samuel Maddock, who first built it on a previous site in Petersfield Road. William Faichen was the co-founder of the school, and became the first Headmaster.
There was already another school in the area, located in present day Four Marks (originally called 'Ropley Street'). Maddock thought that it was too much of a struggle for young children to walk a long distance every day, so he built his school in the centre of the village. The older school was demolished in the mid-1800s.
In 1869, the school burned down in a fire. It was rebuilt on the present day site at Church Street and reopened the same year. Since then, the school has operated continuously.
The school values its historic links with the community. Parts of the original Victorian traditional flint and brick buildings remain, and now form the hall and the school kitchen. The main teaching area consists of six modern classrooms with shared corridor working spaces. The most recent classroom was built in 2001 and is especially equipped for early years children. Ropley is one of the feeder schools for Perins School, and both maintain high standards.
The chronicle of Maddock and Faichen has been traditionally kept alive by our Year 6 children through dramatic telling as part of our annual Founders' Day celebrations, it is one of hope, faith, aspiration and battling against the odds.
We want our history to hold a more permanent form for a wider audience, both as written text and as a channel for the reawakening of the oral tradition. Above all we wish it to reflect the shared values and principles of all those linked to Ropley Primary School.
The desire to create a lasting narrative for the school and village community led us to seek a writer who could make this a reality. We contacted Elaine Crinnion who worked with us to create The Ropley Ballad. We believe that the ballad is a testament to the vision of the people of Ropley, past and present, and our thanks go to Elaine.
Next year we will celebrate 150 years of the school being on our site. Look out for details of our celebratory open day coming soon!