The tombstone set in St Denys’ church floor tells us that William Alvey died on 10th August, 1729, at the age of 60. He was a merchant and a gentleman, who had lived from about 1700 in a fine house in Northgate, Sleaford, a house which still stands as part of Lloyds Bank. You can see his wife's initials, EA., over the handsome, but now blocked, front doorway. William was quite a wealthy man and was obviously interested in education, for he was the Bursar of Carre's Grammar School, Sleaford, for several years. He was also a churchwarden of St. Denys' Church, a Christian man, who felt the need to do something to help the poor children of the town. In those days, it was usually only the sons of the more wealthy families who went to school, while ordinary boys and girls were uneducated, unable to read or write. When William made his will, signed and dated 26th August 1726, he decided that after his death a new school should be set up in Sleaford. He gave part of the income from 53 acres of farmland at Fishtoft, near Boston, to the vicar of Sleaford and to 6 other trustees, for them to use to pay for the teaching of some poor children of Sleaford to read, write, sew and knit.
We know so very little about William Alvey all those years ago. The current children have written a sort of biography describing how they thought he might have grown up and lived his life. Every year, the whole school attend a service in the church, when the Vicar receives £2 for preaching a sermon in remembrance of William Alvey. Here we have the origin of Alvey Day, which we still celebrate today at the end of the summer term.
In 2015, David Mackie, internationally renowned artist, worked with artsNK and our school to produce 18 roundels that now form part of the very successful ‘When in Sleaford…’ Town Trail which includes our ‘Project 72’ WWI Memorial.
We have asked David to produce a bronze roundel in a similar style to the ‘When in Sleaford’ roundels commemorating the work of William Alvey which we are hoping to hang up in Lloyds Bank.
In order to fund the project we asked the children in school to bring in their spare 1p and 2p pieces. We arranged it as a competition to see which class could collect the heaviest amount. In total we collected 190Kg which is just under £550. Mrs Mason’s class collected 45Kg by themselves and we are hoping they can attend the presentation day.
I am taking the coppers in on Monday 7.1.19 (by trolley) and hoping to arrange an installation day with the current Bank Manager. We can’t melt them down-that would be fun but illegal, so we are cashing them in and using the proceeds to fund the cost of the bronze roundel.
“It is important we remember how we got here and what went before. We are grateful for William Alvey’s vision and we are keen to continue his legacy in the spirit in which he originally set up the school in 1729.”