The Isham family has historically had a long tradition of interest in education. From the 16th century the Ishams built up a reputable library collection, containing works on theology, philosophy, science and the languages. The education of Isham children was taken seriously. Home tutors were employed and many went to Rugby School and the University of Oxford. Over the eighteenth century alone, five Ishams graduated with an MA qualification and four with a Doctorate. Crucially, the daughters were also educated along with their brothers, which was unusual.
Until universal education became law in the 1880s, the poor had very little access to education. The Ishams were struck by the unfairness of this. Sir Justinian, 2nd Bt, founded a charity for apprentices in 1675 and oversaw the building of Clipston School. He served as trustee for the school, a position held by an Isham for over 200 years. Sir Edmund, 6th Bt, left money in his will to build the parish school at Hanging Houghton, which offered free schooling for every child in the parish. It was later extended in the 19th century by Sir Charles, 10th Bt – a founding member of the NUT.
When Sir Gyles Isham set up the Lamport Hall Preservation Trust in 1974, he included within the aims of the Trust the promotion of historic and aesthetic education. Today, this is done through a variety of different channels. Study days and lectures are offered, as well as the series of Lamport Masterclasses. The Trust also works closely in conjunction with several higher education institutions.
The Trust was delighted to be awarded the Sandford Award in 2017 for its educational programmes. The Sandford Award is an independently judged, quality assured assessment of education programmes at heritage sites, museums, archives and collections across the British Isles.