Coleorton Alms Houses and School

Coleorton School & Almshouse

This is an engraving by S Shaw which shows the School and almshouse building in 1794 - quite an imposing building. (Note the slag-heaps from Coleorton coal-mines behind.)

Thomas Beaumont, the 3rd and last Viscount Beaumont of Swords died on the 11th of June 1702, under his will he devised the great tithes of Swannington in trust for the erection of a hospital and free school for the support of six poor widows and the education of poor children in the Parish. The building was completed about 1707 at the confluence of the Rempstone and Loughborough to Ashby roads and contained on the ground floor ten rooms, six for the accommodation of the widows and four for the schoolmaster and his wife. On the first floor were two classrooms for the accommodation of up to sixty girls and sixty boys each.

In 1863 the tithes provided a yearly income of £200 out of which the schoolmaster and his wife received £80 and taught around 100 children reading, writing and accounts, books and stationary also being provided. The six almswomen received a weekly pension of 4s 6d and a stuff gown (one of woven wool) every other year. The building did not function as a hospital in the modern sense, but more as a place of sanctuary and retirement, and indeed the original plaque on the building referred to it as an asylum.

In addition to the free school, further help for Coleorton youngsters was available under a bequest by Lady Margaret Beaumont (wife of the 7th Baronet) who in 1828 bequeathed £200, in trust, the yearly profits thereof to be used in apprenticing poor children of Coleorton, Worthington, Thringstone and Whitwick. Under this trust a premium of £10 was given yearly to a boy from one of the four parishes in rotation.

In 1867 the original almshouses were demolished and rebuilt on the same site at the expense of Sir George Howland William Beaumont 9th Baronet to house just the six widows and a new school was built by Sir George’s brother Canon William Beresford Beaumont, Rector of Coleorton, on what is now the Old Ashby Road next to St John’s Chapel. The new school was named the Viscount Beaumont Church of England School in commemoration of Thomas Beaumont the original benefactor of the Village. The Alms Houses were sold in 1979 and are now a private residence, but the village school continues to thrive, continuing the legacy of Coleorton’s Beaumont benefactors to this day.

Coleorton almshouses

The rebuilt Alms Houses as they were before conversion to a private residence

Terry Ward
May 2023