Another episode of Exploring Bampton is finally here, and in this third episode we’re exploring the old Bampton Grammar School, now used as the Bampton Library and Archive. The roof is being completely restored. Robin takes us through the history of the building, how it was used in the Downton Abbey TV show and why the building is being completely restored.The Bampton Grammar School will be familiar to fans of the popular TV series Downton Abbey as it features as the Community Hospital in the fictitious village of Downton.
History of the Building
The Old Bampton Grammar School was built by Robert Vesey (d.1635), a wealthy local merchant living in Chimney, now a nearby village. At that time, Bampton was the largest town in the area and it badly needed a school for the children of the increasing large merchant class.
The Grammar School building continued to be used as a village meeting place and for a range of other village functions. The library moved arrived in 1964 and the Girl Guides, the Brownies and the Scouts had their meetings on the upper floor. There are still some (quite old!) people in the village who remember these gatherings.
The restoration is expected to be complete by the summer of 2017. One of the aims of the restoration of the Old Grammar School is to give the the Bampton Community Archive a permanent home – where visitors can visit and access the database catalogue; browse the collection of historic local history books; and see the current exhibition.