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School holidays, Secondary Education, Early Secondary Schools, Secondary Education in 1880, Intermediate Education Act of 1889, Higher Education, Sunday Schools

There were many sorts of school in Ceredigion during the 18th and 19th centuries, and although it was said that education in Ceredigion in 1880 was good compared with the rest of Wales, it was still very poor. However, Wales became one of the first nations in the modern world to become widely literate and Cardiganshire was one of the best educated counties.

'At the present time Cardiganshire is to Wales what Scotland is to England. It is the county that has kept education to the front in Wales, and the spirit of education prevails in Cardiganshire more than in any other place. Therefore I think Cardiganshire has a claim, not as a question of justice or of right, but of expediency, as being the county in Wales where education has been most appreciated, and therefore, we may infer, where it would still be most appreciated.' (Aberdare Report, p. 60)

Primary Schools
Circulating schools
British schools (non-conformist)
National schools (church schools)
Parish schools and workhouse schools
Charity schools and endowed schools
Dame School (private)
Board schools (un-denominational, after 1870)

Secondary Schools
Private schools (Adventure schools)
Navigation schools
Grammar schools (which taught Latin, Greek, Hebrew and English)

Higher Education (Universities and Colleges)

Sunday schools
Evening schools

Before the 1870 Education Act children could attend
• circulating schools for a few months over winter
• locally run permanent schools throughout the year, but would often take much time off to help on the farm.
• Private schools
After 1870, education for those between 5 and 11 became compulsory.

Circulating Schools
Griffith Jones
Griffith Jones (1684-1761) Rector of Llanddowror was a preacher who attracted large crowds and established schools where people were taught to read the bible.
It is claimed that nearly half the population of Wales learnt to read Welsh at these schools.
Annual reports of the schools provide a list where they were held.

Madam Bridget Bevan's School
Mrs Bevan (1689-1779) continued the work of Griffith Jones.
On her death, her will was disputed, so circulating schools ceased until 1807.

National and British Schools
National schools supported by the church.
The National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church, was founded in 1811

British schools were supported by the nonconformist British and Foreign School Society (founded in 1814). There were five British Schools in Ceredigion in 1847 - Ysgol Skin in Aberystwyth;  Gwynfil: Llangeitho; Melindwr: Goginan; Melindwr: Penllwyn and Talybont

From 1833, both National and British schools were supported by government grants, dependant on attendance and exam results in the 3Rs (reading, writing and arithmetic) so little else was taught.
Each child who had attended 200 days and passed at least one exam would attract a grant of 2/8d for the school after 1862.

Parish and Workhouse schools
Some parishes established their own schools, paid for out of the local rates.
For example, in Llansantffraid in 1832 it was decided that 'A school house to be erected at the expense of the parish upon Wein-tyr-cwll and a poor house to be made for the use of the poor within the parish' but it appears that neither were actually built.

The unions of parishes which ran workhouses, many of which were established after the new Poor Law of 1834, often agreed to pay for the children of workhouse inmates to attend local schools, but some may have had their own teachers.

Private and Charity Schools
There were many private schools in Ceredigion. Many for primary pupils were run by women and a few by men. Some were short lived, either because they were unsuccessful, or because the teacher moved on. Many were held in private houses and were for the education of younger children of parents who could afford the fees, in preparation for grammar schools. Charity Schools were normally funded by the interest on bequests.
Some private schools were known as Dame schools because they were run by women. Some of these were preparatory schools for secondary and public schools.

Navigation Schools
Many young men and some experienced sailors attended Navigation schools to learn about the use of charts; octants, sextants and other navigational instruments; astronomy and some quite complex mathematics. This would help them qualify as ships' masters or captains. Most coastal villages had Navigation schools. Famous examples include John Evans' Mathematical and Commercial School, Aberystwyth and that of Sarah Jane Rees (Cranogwen, 1839-1916) at Llangrannog and elsewhere.

Board Schools
In 1870, parishes had to form committees, known as Boards, to establish local schools, erect the buildings if necessary, and appoint teachers.
The schools were supposed to be un-denominational but some non-conformists put themselves forward for election to the boards to stop Anglicans being appointed but didn't attend meetings so there was not always a quorum.

Aberystwyth formed the first Education Board in Wales, and first met in December, 1870. John Gibson, the editor of the Cambrian news was very critical of almost every public body. He wrote:
There is not, perhaps in the whole of Wales, a more incompetent body than the Aberystwyth School Board. It has never done anything in the whole 30 years of its feeble existence to lift it above the dead level of mediocrity.
Cambrian News, 17.5.1901

School Holidays
School terms were long and holidays short, but there were many reasons why school pupils didn't attend school. Many children took time off from school during the summer to help with harvests.
The following is derived from the Log book of Aberaeron British School, August 1873-December 1918 (Ceredigion Archives).

official holidays
• Summer, one month, (late July to late August)
• Good Friday and Christmas Day
• Week off at Easter and January
• Bank holidays (including Boxing day; January 1st and August 1st)
• fairs (November), later one day off officially
• trotting races (March)
• Chapel Sunday school events and other meetings
• bad weather (very severe winter in January 1881)
• spread of disease (and hoping cough)
• tea parties for the children and concerts by them

The children had a day off when a Menagerie visited town in 1899; for a horse show in 1900; to celebrate the Relief of Mafeking in 1900, to visit a Wild beast show in 1901 and to mark the death of Queen Victoria in 1901

Other examples from the same log book:
1st July, 1881 Many boys absent having gone to the beach to gather stones
1st September 1882 No school: Regatta in town
26th March1883 (Monday) Rang the bell this morning but so few came, they were dismissed early. This day is a bank holiday in town.
1911 Pupils given free train ride on the new railway

Breaking up school
There is a tradition that some pupils decided when to have holidays, (Tori'r Ysgol). At Pont Saeson, Nebo, near Llanon, boys collected food and locked themselves in the school for a week. A similar example is recorded for one of the Llanon schools.
Welsh Gazette, 2.11.1911, school customs

Secondary Education
Before 1896 there were a very few secondary schools in Cardiganshire. Some were endowed, others private. They taught Latin, some Greek and Hebrew, mathematics and some taught natural science. Many parents who could afford to, sent their boys to Public schools in England, particularly Shrewsbury. (Public schools were, in fact, private schools where the children often stayed all term). Girls were sometimes sent to finishing schools where they learnt sewing, music and foreign languages.

Early Secondary Schools
There were two sorts of Grammar School: endowed (i.e. funded by money left by people in their wills) and private (also known as Adventure schools)

Cardigan School was one of the free schools established in the main towns if Wales to provide training for potential ministers under the Act for the Propagation of the Gospel in Wales (1650).
It was funded from 1653 with Tythe income from the parish of Llansantffraid and, unlike most of the others, survived the restoration in 1660.
Boys were taught Classics, French, English and Welsh. It survived until 1889.

SPCK Schools, early 18th century
Esgair-hir mine school founded in 1701
Llandysul School, founded 1727 for 10 boys

John Pugh's School, Llannarth
Motygido school run by the Rev John Pugh (1690-1763) possibly between 1733 and 1760.
He knew Greek, Latin, Hebrew and Arabic

Ystrad Meurig / Lledrod Schools
Ystrad Meurig school was established in 1732 by Abraham Richard, and on his death was taken over by his brother, Edward who closed it between 1740 and 1745 to educate himself. He built the Ystrad Meurig School and endowed it on his death in 1777.

Lledrod School was endowed by Dorothea Oliver in 1746: Edward Richard became headmaster of both schools.

Ystrad Meurig school was established to educate 12 poor boys of the parish 'in the Latin tongue and in the principles of the Church of England'

Lampeter School
Established by the vicar of Lampeter, Eliezer Williams (son of Peter Williams, bible commentator), in about 1805.
It became the St David's College School and closed in about 1950.

Dissenting Academies (run by non-conformists)
Castell Hywel, established by David Davies (1745-1827) in 1782 and closed on his retirement in 1820.
Neuadd-lwyd (near Ffos-y-ffin)
Established by Thomas Phillips (1772-1842) in 1810
Some pupils went to Madagascar as missionaries.

There were Unitarian schools at Llandysul, (1813-1861); Pont-sian and Cribyn (1886-1906)
Non-conformists were debarred from Oxford and Cambridge universities.

Secondary Education in 1880
Ystrad Meurig, Lledrod, Cardigan and Lampeter had 84 pupils in 1880 but they were half empty.
In 1880 there were 9 private Grammar or Adventure schools:
Aberaeron, Lampeter, Llandysul (2), Cardigan (3, one of which was for girls), Llanddewi Brefi and Llanon (total of 186 pupils in 1880).

Many of the pupils were trained for the church, ad some as non-conformist ministers.

There may have been another 170 pupils in other private schools in Ceredigion
(A total of 440 pupils in a population of 70,000)

Ardwyn was a private school for boys in Aberystwyth. It was established by the Rev Llewelyn Edwards in about 1876.

Intermediate Education Act of 1889
This Act enabled the Education Committee (which was not part of the County Council until 1902), to adopt or build the following Secondary schools:
Llandysul (1895)
Cardigan (1895)
Aberystwyth (Ardwyn) (1896)
Aberaeron (1896)
Tregaron (1897)
Lampeter College School and Ystrad Meurig Schools were not included in the scheme.

Higher Education
Lampeter University was opened in 1827 to train students for the Anglican church.
The University College of Aberystwyth was established in 1872. In order to improve dairying skills, the University College of Wales arranged classes in Farm Dairying throughout Ceredigion from 1881.
In 1929, a farm institute was opened at Piberlwyd (Carmarthenshire), and a Farmer's Education Centre was opened in Felin Fach in 1952.
There was an agricultural department at Aberystwyth University and an Agricultural college was opened in Aberystwyth.
Sunday Schools
Most chapels and churches had Sunday schools which were very well attended. Many people who had not attended day schools regularly, learnt to read at Sunday schools.
Sunday schools organised trips to the seaside and elsewhere which became important social events. Chapels sometimes organised special meetings during the week, some of which lasted all day.

The numbers of school and pupils who attended day schools and Sunday schools as recorded in the Blue Books, (1846). Many of those who attended Sunday Schools were adults. 
                Day schools     schools pupils
Private     49                    1617
British      2                       136
National   37                    1643
Dissenting 5                    307
Dame         8                    182
total         101                 3,885 (1/3 were girls)

                                    Sunday Schools  pupils
Calvinistic Methodist     70         13,776
Congregationalist         44         5,183
Wesleyan Methodist     19         1,773
Baptist                          18         2,025
Church of England         55         4,074
total                              206     27,131

Population of Ceredigion         69,000
no school age children               6,846