The History and Description of the Public Charities in the town of Frome published in 1833 is based on the report of the report of the Commissioners appointed to enquire into the Charities of England which was published on January 15, 1820, together with other material. This account of the finances of the Free Grammar School was published as an appendix.
FREE GRAMMAR SCHOOL.
Although the trustees of the other Frome Charities have never had any control over or connection with this Free Grammar School, yet they have thought it a duty which, as inhabitants of Frome, they owed to the public, to make enquiries into the circumstances, which the commissioners have so very properly and attentively noticed in their report. And first as to Flintford Farm. The Charity Commissioners having stated that
“from part of the evidence before them, there is ground for supposing some lands called Flintford Farm, at Rodden, the property of the Rev. J. M. Rogers, Rector of Berkley—and a farm at Trudoxhill, in the possession of King, a farmer, to be two of the estates so charged”
(towards the support of the Free Grammar School,) due enquiry has been made; and it is ascertained that Flintford was not the name of any one particular Farm, but of a manor, and many farms or lands. It is not, as stated by the Commissioners, in Rodden; but in the parish of Frome. Miss Prowse, whom Mr. Rogers afterwards married, bought the manor of Flintford about 1780—and sold off various parts—A part was sold to Mr. King of Trudoxhill, in the parish of Nunney. Mr. Rogers, who has now possessed this estate for 50 years, has never paid any sum to this school—nor has any demand been ever made for it—and there seems to be nothing to shew or to make it probable, that this land is thus charged Mr. Rogers has been a most munificent donor to the charities, and churches in this neighbourhood;—having given many hundred pounds to Frome—and no man is more unlikely to neglect paying any sum due from his estate to a charity. The 20s. per annum given by John A’Court to the Free School, out of a tenement in Nunney as mentioned in page 10, may be the charge here alluded to.
As to the information respecting Mr. Pocock and the books and globes. It appears that Mr. Pocock died intestate. His administrators and nearest relations are gentlemen incapable of having designedly disposed of property not belonging to them—and Mr. Pocock was, as a very attentive and conscientious schoolmaster, a most unlikely person to be guilty of wilfully destroying or embezzling the globes or books in question.—It seems that the globes which the executors sold were a new pair,bought by the late Mr. Pocock. There were once two old globes, but they had become worthless; and were not used during the time the Rev. Mr. Pocock was master of the school. However, there certainly were some books : of which, it is feared, due care was not taken by Mr. Pocock—the boys of the school having very improperly been allowed access to them after the library was added to the north end of the school room, in order to accommodate the increased number of his pupils.
The present master of the Grammar School, the Rev. W. M. H. Williams, A.M. (who was elected to the mastership in 1819) on his appointment to the school, found remaining, of the supposed former school library, only three old worm-eaten books, of very little value; but as about sixteen years elapsed between the death of the Rev. J. Pocock and the appointment of the Rev. W. M. H. Williams, during which period the school room was occupied by other persons, it is very possible that many of the books may have been lost or destroyed during the interval of so many years.
The annual sum paid out of the treasury is £5. 2s. 10½d. No payments have been made to the present master out of any of the estates, supposed to be chargeable with them.
It is hoped that this compilation will contribute to prevent similar inattention to the property and interests of the Frome Charities in future.