Woodhill, later Westfield, School (1850- )

By Helen Tyler

Hatfield Library

A Brief History of the School

Mr Thomas Rossiter founded Woodhill School, later renamed Westfield School, in 1850. He was appointed as a teacher on Norfolk Island in the West Pacific Ocean after leaving Woodhill School.  William Prosser became an assistant master at Woodhill School before training at Highbury College and then returning to Woodhill as headmaster in 1863.  Daniel Tarran replaced William Prosser as headmaster of the school when he was twenty-one and stayed as headmaster for forty-four years.

Woodhill School log book 1863-1868

A log book was kept from 1863-1868 by the school as a daily record of events. An interesting part of the log book is the comments, which are under the heading ‘remarks’.  These ‘remarks’ cover a wide range of comments. Some examples are: children not making it to school due to the weather, how well different classes were doing in certain subjects, inspector visits, absences, children copying other children’s work, caning and many more comments.

Working on the log book has been very interesting and the decision was made to transcribe the ‘remarks’ section.  This has been done from the first comment made in 1863 to the end of 1865. This can be accessed at the end of this article.  The log book is kept at Hertfordshire Archives in Hertford.

This page was added on 04/03/2011.

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  • I went to Westfield from I think 1967-1968, I remember Mrs Horlick and Mr Churn. I lived at Barbers Lodge Farm.

    By Matthew Brown (03/06/2022)
  • I have recently been reminded that my father Thomas Palmer and his siblings all went to this school as did my mother. Kathleen Oakes. My grandmother on my mothers side was a teacher at Westfield before she married

    By Linda Armstrong nee Palmer (15/02/2022)
  • I lived in Wild Hill a small village a couple of miles away and went to Westfield School from 1954/5 till I was 12. The teachers were Miss Walker and Miss Horlick {not sure if spelt right and I think she was a married lady} I am now 71 and remember this school with great affection, with all different ages in one large room Miss Walker was an amazing teacher. I remember more of what she taught me than anything that came after, my lifelong love of history and geography came from her teaching, also my love of books and reading.

    By Linda Armstrong nee Palmer (11/01/2022)
  • Any history of Westfield School which I attended 1941-1950. Would like to have school reunion and tell our tales before we all disappear. I lived in Kentish Lane Woodhill House. nee Hazel Ager.

    By Hazel Olivia Muncey (26/07/2020)
  • An article in Hertfordshire Country Side by Dorothy Colville “Westfield School’s Claim to Fame” tells us that in 1888 Anthony Mundella MP for Sheffield, who was interested in education, described Westfield School as “One of the best in England”

    He told Parliament “I have recently been in Hertfordshire during the holiday and I found just on the borders of Lord Salisbury’s park one of the best schools in England.  It earned 21s/6d a head last year.  The school has been established for a quarter of a century and is managed by a lady who knows her business thoroughly.  I learn from all classes in the neighbourhood that this school is a perfect blessing to the whole district……”

    By Christine Martindale (11/03/2015)