THE VILLAGE of Uffington near Wantage is normally a quiet and peaceful little place.

Tomorrow, however, it will erupt in celebrations for a very special birthday party.

This year is the 400th anniversary of Uffington's old schoolroom.

The occasion is hugely significant for villagers two reasons: firstly, it marks four centuries of public education in the village, and tomorrow morning the primary school, now on a different site, will celebrate its annual 'Founders Day' to honour its original benefactor – Thomas Saunders.

Saunders, a wealthy gentleman and landowner from Woolstone, founded the original school for 12 local boys in 1617.

The Saunders Trust founded by his son – also called Thomas Saunders – endowed the school with land and a house to provide, in perpetuity, for a schoolmaster.

On Founders Day, the school children give thanks to both Thomas Saunders: first they walk to the old schoolroom and lay flowers on the original Thomas Saunders' grave.

This is followed by a presentation in the church those pupils who will be leaving.

Finally then go back out onto the school field and run around while sweets are thrown from the tower above.

However, this year's anniversary is almost as important for the organisation which now inhabits the original schoolroom, and which also celebrates Uffington schooling in its own way – the charmingly-named Tom Brown's School Museum.

Tom Brown’s School Days, written by Thomas Hughes, includes extensive descriptions of life in Uffington in the 19th century.

Hughes, who was born in 1822, was the son of Uffington’s vicar, and much of the village is still as it was during his childhood.

The schoolroom that Hughes was familiar with carried on being used as a school until 1872 when the new primary school was built and boys and girls were educated there together for the first time in the village.

The old schoolroom was left empty for decades and at some point was acquired by Lord and Lady Craven who owned most of the village.

In 1958 they sold it to the parish council which continued to use it as a reading room and meeting place for Guides and Cubs until 1984.

That year the then parish chairman John Little had the idea for setting up a museum about Uffington's most famous (if fictional) schoolboy.

He even helped the museum get going by donating 137 editions of Tom Brown's Schooldays which are still in the museum.

Today, Tom Brown's is one of the smallest museums in Oxfordshire and was granted official Accreditation status in 2013 by Arts Council England.

It is run entirely by volunteers, who plan the exhibitions each year, care for the collection and organise a rota to open the museum from Easter until the end of October.

The museum also explains the history and archaeology of the area including the famous White Horse, illustrates the village’s connection with Thomas Hughes and Tom Brown’s School Days and also the time that the late poet laureate Sir John Betjeman lived in the village with his family.

It continues to record the changes in village life in Uffington with nearly half the collection consisting of photographs and articles from the late 1800s to the present day.

This year it is hosting a special quadricentennial exhibition to tell the story from Thomas Saunders the founder through to the present day primary school.

It including artefacts from a Victorian schoolroom. There is also a display about the history of the building and how it has survived 400 years.

Tomorrow the village will combine the annual Founders Day celebrations will the unveiling of a special plaque to mark the 400th anniversary.

The museum is open 2pm to 5pm every Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday from April 15 until October 29 and entry is free.

All visitors have the opportunity to enter a free prize draw to win one of three hampers.