These children were celebrating their school’s centenary in 1958, although no-one knew for sure when it opened.

Elderly villagers at Bladon, near Woodstock, had blurred memories of a shed-like structure where children were taught before the Duchess of Marlborough School opened in 1858.

The only record which existed was a long scroll with the words “The Duchess of Marlborough School, erected 1858, enlarged 1889 and 1894” carved into the stonework near the entrance.

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Headmistress Mrs LE Edwards contacted Blenheim Palace and the county council to try to find out the day it opened, but drew a blank so the school managers chose September 14.

However, there was so much enthusiasm in the village that festivities were extended to a week