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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;

LLANDEWI BREFI

On November 9th [1846] I visited the above parish, in which I found only one day school, which was held in the village of Llandewi.  It was kept by a person 63 years of age, in a building 27 ft. long by 16 ft. wide.  It was on the whole in tolerable repair, excepting the floor, which was damp in some places, and covered with small loose stones.  It had been built originally by the Calvinistic Methodists, upon a lease for a certain number of years; but when the time of their lease had expired, the Church partly became possessed of it, and now hold it secured by deed in trust for ever.  The furniture consisted of one small table for the master, two larger tables for a few of the children, and about five benches, all of which were in a wretched condition.  There was no fire-place of any kind in the room; in one corner of it there was an old pulpit; opposite to which, in another corner, there was a pew, left since the building was used as a place of worship by the Calvinistic Methodists.  There is once a week a prayer meeting, held in it by the members of the church of Llandewi Brefi.  The master has a salary of 10 l. a year, eight of which were left about forty years ago by a lady (whose name I failed to ascertain) for the education of some poor children in the parish; the other 2 l. (which make up 10 l. per annum) are given by a Mrs. Davies, of Llwyn, who lives in the parish; for the above salary the master is to take into his school, free of expense, sixteen poor children of the parish who are to be elected by the clergyman.

The children were not divided into classes; I therefore desired the master to call up a company of boys whom he thought most proficient, which he did.  I heard them read the 48th chapter of the Prophecies of Jeremiah, which they did miserably; false pronunciations were made in almost every verse; sometimes their master would endeavour to correct their false pronunciation of words. but would often falsely pronounce the same himself; e.g. anger he pronounced anjer.   I afterwards heard the same boys read a part of the 3rd chapter of the gospel by St. Matthew, which they did wretchedly, making constant false pronunciations; raiment they pronounced rimaint; wrath, hwrath.  To questions I had the following answers: - only one of the whole number (which was ten) knew the first man was Adam; he was cast out of the garden for eating of the forbidden fruit; did not know what the tree was called.  Had heard of the prophets; did not know what was meant by a prophet.  Moses divided the Red Sea for the children of Israel to pass through.  Christ was born in Bethlehem; did not know which of the four quarters of the globe Bethlehem was in.  They knew little or nothing of the history of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. There were twelve hours in the day; one thought there were twenty-four; 365 days in a year. Did not all know the parish and county in which they lived.  Had heard of the Queen; did not know where she lived or what she was doing.  3x4=12; 8x7=64; 2 pints = 1 quart; 4 quarts = 1 gallon.  The remainder of the school were in letters and monosyllables.

(Signed)      D. B. PRICE, Assistant.

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