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The John Bentley School

An Outstanding Centre For Learning

School History

Education and Calne have a long history together. The oldest Calne school was founded in 1557 by Walter Finamore of Whetham (just outside Calne).  He gave an annuity of 40 shillings towards the foundation of a free school to be established within the Borough of Calne.  The money devised was to be used 'for the education and bringing up of ten children of the poor'.

Various other bequests were made during the 16th century and the school's revenue was further augmented by a grant from borough funds.

 The school did not possess a building until 1830 - lessons had been held in a disused malthouse until that date.  Subscriptions from residents and a few wealthy landowners were collected and a site was given by the Marquis of Lansdowne.  The school became the Boys' National School.  In 1856 a site on the Green in Calne was occupied by the Girls' National School - built at the expense of a Mrs Wetherall of Patford Street, Calne.

 The second oldest school in Calne sanctioned by the Charity Commissioners was The Bentley Grammar School founded in 1663 by the trustees under the will of John Bentley of Richmond, Surrey.  Although he had no intention of establishing a school in Calne, three of the trustees under his will had an association with the town.  The school commenced in 1663 and by 1665 a tenement was purchased by Samuel Staples which was converted into a school together with a school master’s house. This remained until 1833.  In 1894 the Charity Commissioners reorganised the school and modernised it.  In 1901 it was combined with the Technical Institute which had also been established in 1894.

Both schools continued to expand into the 20th Century.  The Bentley Grammar School moved onto the present site in 1959 and the Elementary School (later to be the Fynamore Secondary Modern School) was built at the Wenhill Lane site (now a housing estate) in 1930. The two schools joined in 1974 to form the John Bentley comprehensive school on a split site basis. This continued until 1998 when the old Fynamore School, by then known as North Wing was sold and the current site expanded to accommodate all of the school.