Prior to its purchase in 1844, the front of the Property had comprised an old Malthouse with a cottage and living accommodation attached. Built over 300 years ago, this was originally owned and operated by a maltster - a person who makes or deais In malt- called John Hance. He was one of the Churchwardens in 1726.
 
 
It is understood that the Property was purchased at Auction in 1844 for £155 by the Reverend Thomas Willis, then Curate of Rayne, as a site and premises for a School in the Parish. Records indicate that it was used as a School for 40 - 60 children of the poorest parishioners and that the Schoolteacher's salary and other expenses were mainly met by local subscriptions and small parental fees.
 
 
It was used as the Village School and the cottage accommodation was occupied as living quarters by the Schoolmaster(s) appointed.
 
 
From 1878, its use as a School ceased. Board Schools had been established by Act of Parliament in 1870 and, in 1878, a new School was built on a site in what is now Old School Lane on the Felsted side of the Village for 210 children. This was to serve pupils from the Rayne and Felsted parishes until the current School opened in 1975.
 
 
From 1878, the property was used for the benefit of the parishioners of Rayne for a variety of purposes under the auspices of the Rectors of Rayne.
 
By construction, the front part of the building is timberframed and weather-boarded. The rear part of the building is a single-skinned, brick-built extension..
 
The Cottage at the south end of the Property was let for residential purposes to meet a social need. At least two village men held long-term tenancies. In historical sequence, these were Mr. Finch and, latterly, Mr. Bill Dorking until his death in 1984. Each tenancy included the current garden area which each of them used for recreational and horticultural purposes, including the growing of vegetables.
                
         
                                                    
The Old Schoolroom
has been an integral
 part of Village Life
for over 160years.
 
 
 
 
  Today, it is used regularly by the Church and various Church Groups, the Rayne Village Pre-School Group, both Rayne Brownie Packs, the Rainbows and for meetings of the Parish Council, Rayne Wives and the East Anglian Single Reed Choir alongside other occasional bookings 
 
 .
To Book the Old School Room
please Contact
 Shirley Tyrell  01376 321402
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The rear extension to the original building was added in 1928 after 3 years of hard work to accommodate an existing Lending Library. Money for its construction was raised by public subscription.
 
 
This Library had been formed initially before 1898 for the benefit of the inhabitants of Rayne from a collection of books made by Rev. Hemming. After his death, it grew under the incumbency of his   successor,   Rev.   Charles Hutchinson. He established it in The Old Schoolroom. For its time, this was a fairly unique enterprise and, by 1940, it was described as being one of the best libraries seen in Essex. Use of the Library appears to have reached a peak in the mid 1940's but declined in the early 1950's as other facilities became available elsewhere. The final disposal of the Library occurred in the mid 1970's.
 
From  1903  and  earlier,  the property was used for a variety of local activities linked to the life of the  Village  and  the  Village Church. These included regular use not only for the Sunday School and Bible Class but aiso a Mothers' meeting, a Girl's Guild with tennis facilities, a Young Men's Club, a Clothing Club and a Coal Club. By report, smoking concerts took place from 1906 onwards with members taking it in turns to supply the tobacco and beer!
 
In 1909, a floor was laid in the loft to create 2 rooms as a Reading and a Games Room. The Reading Room was supplied with magazines. The Games Room was equipped and then used by the men of the Village who, for the sum of 6d a week, could enjoy games of darts, billiards ands snooker every night except Thursdays, when popular "penny hops" were held.
 
It was aiso used for other social meetings of, for example, the Mothers' Union (formed in 1922), the Women's Institute, the Labour Club, local Football, Cricket and other Sports Clubs, the Youth Club and local uniformed organisations for children and young people (Scouts, Guides, Brownies, etc.) to name but some of the regular and varied local users at various times. It was aiso used for a variety of other social activities including wedding receptions, private parties, public village and private club dances, whist drives, concerts and the like.