Joseph Duncum

Headmaster 1868-1882

Born 1835, Beverley, Yorkshire

The 1841 Census shows a 6 year old Joseph Duncum to be living in Keldgate, Beverley Yorkshire with his family. His 50 yr old father a cordwainer (shoemaker) and his 45 yr old wife, Jane. There are 3 more children at home; Henry aged 14, Sarah 12, Eliza, 9.

The family are still in Keldgate in 1851, Earlsman is still a shoemaker and is shown to be married but his wife is not recorded at this address, but two children Sarah Ann a 22yr old dressmaker and Joseph 16yr old national school pupil teacher are living with 23 yr old lodger William Priestman an agricultural labourer.

Joseph Duncum had moved to Millbrook by 1861 and is the master of the National School – he is married to Anna, aged 20 and has a 7 month old daughter Alice Kate.

On June 8th 1868, his first day at The South Stoneham, Portswood and Highfield National School. Joseph E Duncum records in the log that he found the school to be in good working order but a little noisy in the intervals of lessons.

January 29th 1869 the school’s name is changed to become The South Stoneham, Highfield & St Denys National School. The Inspector’s report January 1870 states that the discipline appears to be very fair.

The 1871 Census shows him to be now aged 36 and living in the School house on Church Lane with his wife Ann, National School Mistress. He has 6 children, the youngest 1 yr old Margaret Emily, being the only one born in Highfield. The others Alice Kate aged 10, Charles Stewart 9, Henry Frank 7, Annie Ellen, 6 and Herbert James aged 3 were all born in Millbrook. Elizabeth Piga, Domestic Servant from St. Denys, Southampton is also recorded as living with this household.

Five years later, in 1876, Alice Kate Duncum, the HM Inspector’s report shows her to be a pupil teacher of the third year who has ‘passed fairly under article 19E’. Whereas the 1877 inspectors report states A.K. Duncum has passed fairly, but should attend to History and goes on …. ‘I am to enquire whether C S Duncum presented himself for Examination.

1878 was quite an eventful year in the Duncum household. January 25th, Alice Kate was absent from school owing to sickness at home and Charles Stewart Duncum was bound as an apprentice having passed the Candidates Examination. August 23rd Charles started two days absence for Volunteer Duty, and September 13th Joseph Duncum records that Alice Kate was away from school owing to her brother’s death. This would appear to be Henry Frank, aged 15 (who is also the Head’s son – but no mention of him having time off!)

The 1879 inspector’s report states that C.S. Duncum & A.K. Duncum have passed fairly, but A.K. Duncum should attend to history . A year later Nov 15th 1880 it is recorded that on Tuesday, Assistant Mistress A K Duncum left the School after a most satisfactory connection of 6 years as Teacher. Ellen Duncum replaces her as Pupil Teacher. (presumably Annie Ellen – a third child of the head to become a pupil teacher at the school)

The 1881 census shows that the Duncum family has continued to increase, living with Joseph and his wife Anna are Annie Ellen aged 16, Herbert James, 13, Margaret Emily, 11, Philip Joseph 9, Mabel Mary, 8, Jessie 6 and 3 yr old twins Edgar Wigram and Frederick Callender who appear to be named after the Vicar and Curate of Highfield Church at the time of their birth. This would suggest that Joseph and Anna have had at least 11 living children in the schoolmaster’s small 3 bedroom house with at least 1 live-in domestic servant

They appear to have one more child Stanley Earlsman in early 1882. It is recorded on 6th April 1882 that the Master and Pupil Teacher Annie Duncum resigned their offices at Easter by special arrangement with the Committee

Once they leave Highfield the Duncums can be found living in Kilburn, Hampstead on the 1891 and 1901 censuses. He appears to have had a change of career and is now an Assistant Secretary. Annie and Mabel have become teachers

Notes on the History of Highfield School written by Archer T Flux
Diary of a School – compiled by Jo Ladkin & Isobel White
Census Information