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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;

LLANFAIR-TREF-HELYGEN.

I visited to-day the parish of Llanfair-tref-Helygen. The parish church was in ruins many years ago. The oldest inhabitant in the neighbourhood did not remember it standing. The living is held by the Rev. J. Hughes, of Llandyfriog. There is no day or Sunday school in this parish connected with the Established Church. There is a Sunday school in it belonging to the Independents, which I have already reported, and I could find no other school of any kind in the parish.

 I examined a girl named Mary Evans, living at Blain-y-llyn, aged 11 years. She was very ignorant; had never been at a day school, and unable to read. She seldom went to any Sunday school, or any place of religious worship. She said a good man made the world, sun, moon, stars, &c.  She did not know that she had a soul, nor anything about Jesus Christ, nor the purpose for which he came into the world.  She did not know how many pence in 2s. 6d., nor how many shillings in 20d.  She did not know how many days in a week the name or number of the months in a year.  Of every kind of general or religious knowledge she seemed entirely ignorant.     

December 28th, 1846. (Signed) HENRY PENRY, Assistant.

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