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The Reports of the Commissioners appointed to enquire into the state of Education in Wales. 1847

This report was published by three English university scholars into the educational system in Wales. The three were Lingen, Symons and Vaughan Johnson. The report unfairly drew attention to the inadequacy of Welsh education . One of their main points was that Welsh children , and often their teachers too, could not speak English. The report was produced in blue books, hence the name. Apart from , and because of, the understandable outrage of Welsh people the report helped to forge a  greater sense of national identity and the publication was referred to as "The Treachery of the Blue Books" [Brad y Llyfrau Gleison]. One of the principal Welshmen who fought a campaign against the report was Evan Jones , better known as Ieuan Gwynedd, a  minister and a journalist . One of the report's statements was that Welsh was a " peculiar language isolating the masses from the upper portion of society". Sadly, for the Welsh language, faced with such criticism many people did opt for an education in the English language despite the efforts of Ieuan Gwynedd and others. [ Based on an article in"A Helping Hand "by W J Jones 1996]

This is an extract by Aidan Jones from the actual Report as far as it relates to this parish;

BANGOR

I visited to-day the parish of Bangor. I called at the residence of the Vicar, the Rev J. I. Walters, but he was not at home. I had been informed before, and was also informed by some of the parishioners that there is no school of any kind in the parish, neither day nor Sunday school. I called also upon Mr. Daniel Evans, of Tynewydd, the Poor Law Guardian, who also confirmed my previous information, that there is no school in the parish.

 I examined three persons in this parish; namely, Enoch Jones, aged fourteen years, Sarah Davis, aged twelve years, and Evan Davies, aged seventeen years. The first had been to school and could read English. He was a sharp boy, and answered tolerably well simple questions in arithmetic on the multiplication and pence tables, and on time, weights, and measures; but he was very deficient in Scripture knowledge. The only answer he could give me about Jesus Christ was, that he came into the world to save sinners. What he did to save sinners, or how sinners were to be saved, he did not know.

The two others could not read either Welsh or English. They were also very ignorant. Neither knew the name of the present month; how many months, weeks, or days in a year; how many pence in 2s 6d.; the name of the Queen; nor how many counties in Wales, &c. They were also both equally ignorant of Scripture knowledge. They knew nothing of the chief or remarkable events or persons recorded the Bible. They could not tell me anything about Jesus Christ, and the way of salvation by him. They could not repeat, one of the Ten Commandments.  All the three lived within half a mile from the parish church.

December 17th, 1846.                                     HENRY PENRY, Assistant.

 

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