Latest news

Respect for Ralph Allen features in new book A Village of Schools

'A Village of Schools' by Jill Woodhead has just been published by the Combe Down Heritage Society, price £6.

The book is a fascinating study of education in the village of Combe Down, Bath 1727-2000 and includes a section on Ralph Allen School, Combe Down Primary School and the schools that preceded them - dame schools, workhouse schools and many other institutions.

The book was launched on Wednesday 13 December at Combe Down Primary School.  Speakers included Richard Bullard, retiring Headteacher of Combe Down Primary School, and Steve Rose, ex-Assistant Headteacher at Ralph Allen School who served the school for 36 years.  One of the themes was the respect in which both schools are held.

Combe Down has always been influenced by proximity to Bath but its own history is distinctive and varied.  The schools reflect this and are as interesting and diverse as the families they serve.

Jill carried out extensive research for her book.  She said that 'one of the pleasure of carrying out research on Combe Down is that the origins of the village are so recent.  In 1727 Ralph Allen, quarry master and 'builder of Bath', began to develop a downland previously devoid of human settlement.  There is therefore "no need for the local historian to tangle with Elizabethan statutes, secretary script or outmoded systems of lfand tenure.  All that is rquired is interest, some time, and an enjoyment both of libraries and of listening to memories of local people".'

Copies of the book are available from the Oldfield Park bookshop and online via