The Boyle and Petyt School at Beamsley owes its foundation to the charity of men of bygone times who, having made great wealth, wanted to benefit those less fortunate than themselves.
Sylvester Petyt was born in Storiths in 1638. He was educated at Ermysted’s Grammar School in Skipton and left Yorkshire for London to study law, starting his studies at Barnard’s Inn. When he died, in 1719, he left a substantial amount of money most of which was to be used for charitable purposes. One of the main points of his will was to give £300 to provide a school in or near Storiths. The Petyt School in Hazlewood was founded ‘to teach children to read, and when fitting or desired, to write’.
Robert Boyle (1627 – 1691) was born in Lismore Castle, Ireland. A founder member of the Royal Society and enunciator of ‘Boyle’s Law’ in physics, he left a sum of money to his nephew, the second Earl of Burlington, for the benefit of the tenants of the Bolton Abbey estate. His nephew used this money to build what is now the rectory at Bolton Abbey, but was formerly a Grammar School for ‘the sons of noblemen and gentlemen to give their children a liberal education in Latin and Greek.’ But the poor children of the parish could be instructed ‘in the English language, writing and arithmetic for one shilling a quarter.’
The Boyle and Petyt School
In response to the 1870 Education Act which introduced compulsory education for all children under thirteen, it was suggested that the Boyle and Petyt charities should be united and a new school built in a central position. The then Duke of Devonshire gave the charities the present site in Beamsley and lent the money for the new building which was completed in 1875.
There have been several changes to the school building since that time. The ‘much needed’ shelter in the playground was built in 1901. The opaque glass in the windows was replaced with clear glass in 1905. The large school room was divided by partitions in 1928. Rebuilding in 1973 included the kitchen, extensions to the infant classroom and lower junior classroom and indoor lavatories. In 2002 the upper junior classroom and staffroom were added and in 2015 the purpose build Foundation Stage Unit was opened.