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The Journal of William Roberts ('Nefydd'), 1853-62

E D Jones, National Library of Wales journal Vol X/3 Summer 1958.

Extracted onto the pages of GENUKI with the kind permission of the National Library of Wales

This is a complete extract of this article [Gareth Hicks 2002]

This eighth and final part of the series includes the Journal entries from November 1858 to February 1862 (although no entries for 1860/1 ), which cover his visits to places in Glamorgan, Monmouthshire, Carmarthenshire, and Brecknockshire.

See the first part for links to all the other  parts


1858

November  1.

Llwynhendy. I am glad to state that this school is progressing beyond what we expected when Mr. J. Jones took charge of it he being not only without a Certificate but also not Scheduled. W. Harris of Hirwaun seemed to be much more promising in every respect, but it seems that Mr. Bowstead is very much pleased with J. Jones's progress, and vice versa with Harris. J. Jones has had the consent of the Committee of Council to remain to prepare himself until the examination of 1859.

December 10 and  11

Cardiff to meet Mr. Baxter in order to converse about the appointment of Masters to the various Schools in want of them. This was our first meeting after his illness. I stated my arrangements to him. We had 14 Schools in South Wales wanting Certified Masters this Xmas and one wanting a Mistress. Mr. Baxter arranged for a Master to the Cardiff Dock School, Mr. Wilks for Tydee, and for a Mistress to Ebbw Vale. J. Price of Capel Iwan who was at Bangor, was already engaged to go back to Capel Iwan, and I had the remaining   to arrange; viz. Hirwaun, Dinas, Cardigan, Cross Inn, Bryn, Talgarth, Canton, Felin Foel, Cwmsyfiwc, Cymer, Crai. I had only 5 Masters for the   Schools, viz. J. Jones who was leaving Cardigan, W. Harris who was leaving Hirwaun, and the 3 South Wales students from Bangor. I had therefore only means to supply the 5 best Schools and to leave the other 6 to be supplied by some others that could be found, or not to be supplied at all. 3 are shut up for want of Masters, and the others supplied with very inferior ones.

Canton. This being in the neighbourhood of Cardiff, I visited some of the Committee in order to let them know that we should be unable to find them a Master on the terms they were ready to offer, and therefore it would be better for them to try to find some one that they could get, at least for a time.

December 13.

Cross Inn. This School was supplied in January last with a Master from Boro Road who came originally from Swansea. But although he was a good Teacher, he did not give the Committee satisfaction, as to his general behaviour, and moral character. This of course led the Committee to express their disapproval of his conduct, and he therefore left the British School and was engaged by the Clergyman to be Master of the National School which is within a mile and a half to the British School. The Committee of this School afterwards received information that J. Roberts, Master of Llangaddock British School would be glad to come to the Cross Inn School. They corresponded with him, and after keeping them long without a decided answer he sent a negative one. They immediately sent to me, requesting a visit, in order to make arrangements about the future. We had a meeting when the above statements were made to me and I advised them

(I) to keep the School open until Xmas and to let the Pupil Teacher do as well as he can, so that any of the children might not follow Mr. Beddow (the late Master) to the National School if possible.

(2) To visit the School alternatively as often as convenient, so that if possible the school would receive a visit of one of the Members of the Committee every day during the management of the Pupil Teacher. I arranged further that Mr. T. Davies of Bangor College should be the future Master of this school.

December 14.

Felin Foel. The Master of this School having accepted the vocation of a Relieving Officer in October last, I had paid a visit to this School in the month of November advising them to get some sort of supply as soon as possible. I called upon some of the members of the Committee this time to let them know that we could not furnish them with a Certified Master this Xmas, and that the scarcity of Masters is such that we cannot at present supply several schools besides Felin Foel.

1859

January 5.

Machen. A private school was established in this place about two years ago by the Rev. T. Morgan the Baptist Minister. Previous to that time the National schools were the only schools in the whole neighbourhood. The Rev. Augustus Morgan brother to Sir Charles Morgan, Tredegar, is the Rector of this parish, he resides here, and is a very active good Clergyman. By that, and the influence of the Tredegar family who live near Machen we thought it impossible to establish a British School. Mr. Morgan wish[es] to have one that [will] take the room fitted and pay the debt, &c., but if he does not meet with a sucessor that will do that, he will assist us to try to establish a British School here.

January 10.

Blaengwawr. Having been given to understand that D. Davies, Esq., the proprietor of the Works, who employs some hundreds of men was wishful to establish a school in connection with his Works, I visited the place in order to see Mr. Davies, and to induce him to establish a School on the liberal and broad basis of the British & Foreign Schools Society. Mr. Davies was himself from home, but I was informed by the Agent that because Mr. Davies is a member of the Wesleyan Methodists it is supposed that he will establish a Wesleyan School, although the workmen generally desire to have a British School.

January 11.

Aberaman. This populous neighbourhood is without a School of any value. The Rev. J. Davies, Independent Minister, being against Government aid established some time ago a School in the vestry of his Chapel which is under the charge of an untrained Master, who is only to have the school pence; this with a few dame Schools form the only preparation for the education of the children of this very populous district. I have been trying several times to move in this matter, but Mr. Davies's opposition to Government aid, and the others thinking Government aid essential to success obstruct the whole business.

January 12.

Cwmbach. This place is rapidly increasing in its population, owing to the Coalworks that have been established here sometime ago. A National School was erected here some three or four years ago, chiefly with a view at that time of being used as a church, and although the population consists of Dissenters nearly all, no other School has been established since. We had a good meeting where the subject of establishing a British School was considered. It was arranged to try to have a freehold site in order to have Government aid towards building a British School. I think that we have hopeful prospects in this place at present. As soon as they can secure the site I am to visit them again.

January 17.

Briton Ferry. Visited this place with a view of establishing a British School. The population is from 3,000 to 4,000. There is a Church School, but no British School. I mustered a meeting of a few, and the subject was considered. They seemed to be afraid of the expense. It was proposed to engage a room in order to establish a temporary School that they may see how it will be appreciated, and then they should be better prepared to know how to proceed. I have some reason for hoping that such a trial will be made but the worst of it is that we have no School Masters to offer even to those that have more matured arrangements and preparations than the above.

January 18.

Llansamlet. A small School by way of trial has been commenced lately in a room connected with the Calvinistic Methodist Chapel in this place, and already the children number from 40 to 50. The present Master is not at all capable of managing a School, but he will do good to remain until we can supply them with a Master. This would be a place to establish a 'Probationer' or a 'Scheduled man' if we had any, on the new Minute plan. I fully believe that we might establish a great number under inspection at once were we able to find the qualified young men. I urged the friends who take the lead with this movement to carry it on as well as they can until a Master can be found, so that the School may be made an efficient one.

January 19.

Swansea. Seeing that the want of young men is now our general complaint in South Wales I went to Mr. E. Davies, the Tutor of the Normal College, to inquire if he could find any young men that have been educated at his College or elsewhere, such as would soon come to be 'Certified' or 'Scheduled' or even some of inferior qualifications to meet some of the many wants of small schools in rural districts. Mr. Davies thinks that he can find one or two if not more that with a little training may pass their examination, and be Certified or Scheduled, and he supposes will be willing to try as he will give them some training for nothing. Mr. Davies kindly promises to do his best to assist us. It was from his College two of our schools were supplied at the beginning of this month, viz. Ffaldybrenin & Felin Foel.

Llanelly. Having been informed 2 or 3 months ago that a Clergyman had applied for aid to build a National School and having advised the friends in December to remind the Committee of Council of the 200 public money that have been wasted in 1837 and 1839 in erecting the National schools that are now in ruins, and having heard since that an application had been made to the Committee of Council for aid towards a second National School in order to have one in the town and one near the Dock, I wanted to ascertain what steps were taken by the friends of the numerous British Schools in the neighbourhood to counteract this procedure. I was glad to be informed that a room which was erected by the Independents near the Docks for preaching is about to be used for a School so that this ground will be pre-occupied by a British School and Mr. Lingen had been informed of the above, and in his reply he had stated that 'a satisfactory account must be rendered of the money granted in 1837 and 1839 before any more will he granted for a National School'. This town is remarkable for its British Schools. There are in the town and within two miles of it, eight British Schools under inspection containing about 900 children; and the above will form the ninth School.

January 21.

Cwmsyfiwc. Having no Master for this new British School that has just been erected here it struck me that it would be advisable to establish a Mistress here under the new Minute regulation, I therefore visited the place with that view. But I was informed that the Committee will not have a Mistress, they would rather have an inferior Master, and wait until we can supply them. They can only promise from 40 to f45 as the Master's salary.

January 28 and 29.

With W. R. Baxter at Newport & Dowlais.

April 8 and 9.

Cwmbran. According to an arrangement made on the 31st ult. I went at the request of W. R. Baxter to meet the Committee of this School in order to inform them as to the mode of procedure necessary to put the British School under inspection and also to obtain the Grant for building a new Schoolroom with a house for Master, &c.
   The history of this School is rather peculiar. The population of the neighbourhood amounts to something approaching to a thousand, consisting chiefly of Colliers & Miners. These hard working men about 15 years ago provided for themselves in cases of sickness or such contingency by establishing a Benefit Society. This Society has worked well, and gained strength up to this time having for its members nearly all the leading men of all denominations. About 5 or 6 years ago in one of the Club meetings the subject of establishing a School in the neighbourhood was brought forward; and the discussion on this subject engaged several of the meetings of the Society from time to time. They all agreed that a good School was wanted there, but the mode of raising funds to meet the necessary expenditure was the difficulty. They all agreed to give a percentage out of their earnings,---engaged a Master at a salary of 52 a year,---paid a small rent for the use of the Chapel of the Primitive Methodists,---and elected annually a working Committee. Thus the Machinery was set to work, and any deficiency that took place in the financial affairs of the school was made up from the box of this Benefit Society after passing a vote to that effect. The Master intended to sit for a Certificate but his health gave way, and he is likely to die. I took Mr. Baxter to see the School on his first visit to Wales. He was very much pleased with its progress under the circumstances, and he was confident that the Master would gain his Certificate. However it pleased the Lord to visit the Master with rapid consumption, and they engaged a Certified Master about October last. They have not been able to put the School under inspection because it was held in a Chapel, but lately they have removed it to a large room that will be lent them until the new schoolroom will be ready. They have mustered and canvassed the neighbourhood towards the erection of a new schoolroom, and I am glad to add that they have promises amounting to about 100 and a freehold site gratis. I gave them all the necessary directions in their present position.

April 11 and 12.

Cymer. A small school was held here in connection with the Coalworks previous to 1857, when the extraordinary firedamp burnt 113 of the workmen. The work stopped, and the school was then discontinued. At that time the Clergyman took advantage of the opportunity to build a National School. New National Schools were built, and Certified Master & Mistress engaged. The Schools were crowded with children, rules of teaching the Catechism and attending Church was rigidly observed. Children came from all the country around, on account of the Master & Mistress being Certified and other features in the Schools promising good education. But this year we have established a Certified Master at Dinas (within two miles of this place), built a new British School at Ystradyfodwg, about three miles, and we have re-established this School which is within 200 yards of the above National School. This has caused them to relax their rules as regarding the children of Dissenters, but it is too late. It is a pity that we had no Certified young Welshmen to take the charge of this School and that at Ystrad. The young man that we established here (David Morgan) was one of Mr. Davies's Students at Swansea. He has been here only a month. He has 55 children, and the School looks as well in every respect as we expect under the circumstances. It is to be under Inspection.

April 18 and 9.

Cwmsyfiwc. On February the 28th this new School was opened and because we had no Certified Teachers to offer to the Committee they were obliged to engage some sort of a substitute. They therefore engaged a young man that had been a Teacher at Newport British School which is not under inspection. We did not expect that he would be able to manage the School satisfactorily, it was only an arrangement for making a beginning. It seems that he knew but very little about the work, and that he did not like to exert himself to do what he could. Some of the members of the Committee reasoned with him on the necessity of his punctual and regular attendance as an example to the children, and he left. The Committee sent for my assistance. I came with a view to recommend Mr. Thomas Jenkins, Bridgend, another of Mr. Davies of Swansea's students. Sixty children have attended the School already. The want of qualified Teachers in such places as this, Cymer, Ystradyfodwg, &c., forms a very serious obstacle in the way of the progress of our Schools.

April 20.

Newport. I went according to a previous appointment to have an interview with J. Jones, Esq. Coal proprietor, respecting his Coalworks near Tonyrefail in Glamorgan. A School is greatly needed in that place, and I had promised to see Mr. Jones on the subject as I am well acquainted with him. I am glad to add that he will give the site, and contribute liberally towards the erection of a British School there. We have arranged to go to the place together some time in June.

April 21.

Tredegar. To arrange about Mr. Baxter's visit in July and the examinations of the Tredegar Schools. I had a long conversation with Mr. D., the manager of the Works on the subject; he will let me know in time.

April 26.

Penydarren. I had visited this School on the 10th of March with a view to put it on an improved plan, to have it under inspection, &c. It was erected about two years ago chiefly by the exertions of the Rev. J. M. Bowen, Independent Minister (who was then strongly against Government aid) under the directions and patronage of the Congregational Board. They have never been able to engage but very inferior Masters, consequently the School has not met the encouragement and respect a School ought to command in a populous district like this. I am glad to state that I have this time completely answered my purpose. Mr. Bowen will put the School under inspection. A Certified young Welshman of the name of David Hughes in Holyhead is invited to take charge of the School. I gave Mr. Bowen and the Committee all the necessary information to proceed as above.

April 29.

Pontygof. The School in this place is one of those connected with the Ebbw Vale works. I visited it in order to make arrangements as to Mr. Bowstead's visit in July and the examinations of the Boys' School under the charge of Mr. Gwyther, and the Girls' under the charge of Miss Mary Anne Davies. When Mr. Bowstead examined the School in this place, July 29th 1858, it was a mixed School under the charge of an uncertified Teacher held in a very incommodious building. The building has been enlarged, and is now used for the Boys' Schools under a Certified Master, and another building prepared for the Girls' School under Mary Anne Davies from Boro' Road.

May 2.

Bontnewydd and Pontrhydyrun. In this neighbourhood Tinworks have been established many years ago where several hundreds of heads of families are constantly employed.
I visited the place about 3 years ago, and found that the proprietor and Manager (who are Members of the Baptist Church, Ponrhydyrun) were under the influence of Rev. T. Thomas, D.D., Tutor of the Pontypool College, strongly against Government aid in educating the rising generation. The consequence is that the whole of this populous district has been left without a School of any description. The Rev. D. James, Ph.D., Rector of Pant-teg, taking advantage upon this inactivity of these wealthy Anti-Government-aid parties is now about to build a National School which will be an expensive building and convenient to take in the children of the whole neighbourhood. The inhabitants are nearly all Dissenters; the workmen would have gladly availed themselves of Government aid and establish a good British School some 2 or 3 years ago, and they could have done it easily, but it would not answer for them to do so against the will of their Employers, hence the field is left entirely to the Church Schools. Several feeble attempts have been made to establish a School to be carried on, on the voluntary system, but each of these proved a failure. What a pity it is that Dr. Thomas of Pontypool influences the whole of this district, including Pontypool itself, and that resulting in maintaining only one voluntary British School, and that a very inferior one, [in] which there are 4 efficient National Schools, and that among from 30 to 40,000 inhabitants, nine-tenth (at least) of whom are Dissenters. This 'Dog-in-the-manger' system is carried on at this place, Newport, and Abergavenny. It was the case at Cardiff, and is yet to a very great extent, but we have had a good beginning there in the establishment of the new School by the Dock. This injurious system has kept the wealthy Dissenters of Haverfordwest quite out of the field of Education leaving the whole place in the hands of the Church, but I am glad that we are about to conquer there, and to have a British School established with Government aid, by all Denominations. It is now near 5 years since Mr. Hugh Owen came with me to Haverfordwest and tried to persuade them to do what they are now about to begin. I had an interview with W. C. James, Esq., the Manager of Bontnewydd & Pontrhydyrun Works; but I am sorry to add that I was unsuccessful.

May 6.

Blaina. New Girls' School with two additional Infant Schools to be built.

May 7.

London at Anniversary of British & Foreign Schools Society.

May 23

Llysfaen. The new road throwed off the British School from 1858 to this year. Visited to see what became of it, &c.---promised another visit when the Committee of Council will have sent papers, &c.

July 8.

Blaenavon. The population of this place (which is situated in four or five parishes) is between 7,000 and 8,000. There is a group of public schools; they are old endowed National Schools. Although the Dissenters number about 19/20th of the religious population, they have not yet established a British School excepting a small one in a vestry of a Chapel. I have paid several visits to the place from time to time with that view. But now however we have some prospects of establishing one. There seems to be a strong feeling among Dissenters on the subject. I was requested to attend a meeting where several of the leading men of some of the denominations attended and I have reason to hope that the result will be satisfactory.

July 9.

Llantarnam. Having when I was here June 24th appointed to meet the Committee of this School on this day, I attended with a view to stir the members to act with more energy, to collect money towards the salary of the Master, and to co-operate with him in various ways. There is a strong desire on the part of the Clergyman and also the proprietor of some new Wire works in this place to establish a National School, but the Workmen, being all Dissenters, are quite against the project, but still they do not manifest the zeal and co-operation that they ought in order to ensure success in this newly established British School. I hope that I have been successful to arouse them to a sense of duty in regard to the British School.

July 12.

Llangynidr. A small School was established here about 10 years ago by Sir Joseph Bailey. The Clergyman at that time exercised very rigidly his Church principles in connection with this little School. A petition was sent by the tenants of Sir Joseph asking him to allow more liberty of conscience to those who availed themselves of his School. He complied with their wishes. The Cleryman then started a Church School in opposition to it. However, the School went on very successful in this rural district notwithstanding the opposition. After Sir Joseph died the Clergyman succeeded with Mrs. Bailey to reestablish the School on Church principles. I was requested to advise them. When I found that it would be very difficult for them to have a site of any other land owner, because they are all Tories, I persuaded them to memorialize to young Sir Joseph Bailey for the same liberty in the School as his grandfather allowed, or to grant the inhabitants of Llangynidr (his Tenants) a site to build a British School upon.

July 15.

Newport. To meet Mr. Baxter in order to make arrangements for our tour through South Wales this year.

July 24.

Llanelly with Mr. Bowstead.

July 25.

Felin Foel. It was of great importance for this School to have a Certified Master to commence on this day, so that he should be at work when Mr. Bowstead will be here the next day. I wanted also to see if the Class-room was erected, and other improvements effected. We had no Welsh Certified Master to offer them therefore I was obliged to appoint a Student from Carmarthen College. He took the charge of the School this day. The Classroom was in course of erection. This school having lost the Certified Master that was here, who is rapidly declining, went backward very considerably. I think it will be on the way to progress once more.

July 26.

Llwynhendy.

July 27.

Copper Works. This was the day for Mr. Bowstead's collective examination of Pupil Teachers, Candidates, &c., and I attended in order to meet the Masters of the British Schools of the district. I had much information by so doing.

July 30.

Machen. Meeting to appoint deputation to Lord Granville.

July 31.

Beaufort, to meet W. R. Baxter.

December 2.

Lantarnam. This School which has been established in March last, under the charge of a Scheduled young man from Bangor, is under a great disadvantage to succeed for want of a commodious room, and a better working Committee. The commencement of it was done rather prematurely and hurriedly, in order to take the lead of a National School that was about to be established at that time. About 12 months ago an extensive Wire-works were established here by a high Churchman (Mr. Hill). His workmen are nearly all Dissenters, and when I understood that he and the Clergyman of the parish was about to establish a National School in connection with the Works I went and aroused the Dissenters of the neighbourhood. We succeeded in establishing this school in the vestry of an Independent Chapel, which is a very inconvenient room but the best that we could get. I am glad to add that the people come to appreciate it more and more every day. I have been in the summer with some of the members of the Committee trying to get Mr. Hill to co-operate with them but he seemed to be under the influence of the Clergyman,---he refused although he knew that 35 of the 70 are children of his men. Mr. Baxter came here with me in August to address the parents. Mr. Bowstead inspected the School lately and suggested the necessity of having a new room. The schoolmaster being laboring under so many discouragements, intended to return to Bangor to spend 1862. I came here now to see what was to be done. I suggested the propriety of the members of the Committee asking Mr. Laurence, who is a proprietor of some works in the neighbourhood, a Churchman, and is one of the leading men in connection with the Cwmbran British School, to accompany some of them to Mr. Hill to try again to get him to co-operate, and to have the School to be in some way connected with his works. If they will succeed the Master intends stopping here.#

# January 10. I am glad to state that they succeeded with Mr. Laurence to go with them, and that Mr. Laurence succeeded with Mr. Hill.---I understand that a new room is taken as a temporary place nearer the Works than the other.

December 5.

Gwendraeth Works. Having been informed by a friend in this part that the leading men connected with these Works were anxious to establish a School I hastened to see if we could persuade the parties to establish a British School. I am happy to add that they were very glad to see me. We made an arrangement to leave one of the young men from Bangor to commence a British School in January, to fit up a room temporarily that will be convenient to hold about 70 scholars.

December 6.

Croeslaw. This is one of the places mentioned in the Churchmen of Llanelly's application for aid to schools when the Committee of Council sent Mr. Bowstead and the Rev. H. L. Jones to make inquiry into the case. The application, it will be remembered, asked for aid to build Schools for 700 children, viz. 400 in the town of Llanelly, 150 at Llwynhendy, and 150 at Croesllaw, to serve for the neighbourhood of Velin Voel and Croesllaw. After the inquiry took place two years ago, the Committee of Council promised aid to build a National School for 100 children at Llanelly, and a National School with the conscience clause in the Deed, at Croesllaw. The applicants felt disappointed, and very indignant towards Mr. Bowstead and the Committee of Council. This was undoubtedly the cause of the Bishop of St. David's attack upon that gentleman in October 1860, which has caused so much writing, &c., in Wales, and it may also be considered the best stimulus that our countrymen had for years to arouse them to a sense of duty. The Llanelly [churchmen] did nothing here, and I came here along with some Ministers, &c., to try to establish a British School here. I think that our prospects are very promising. The site is secured and correspondence with the Committee of [Council] has commenced.

December 9.

Merthyr (Penrhewl). A few months ago the Baptist Church meeting at Zion in this [town] built a commodious [room] for a Sunday School. The Minister sent to me to ask for information about establishing British Schools, stating that he was anxious to establish a British School in the new room if they can see their way clear. I came and saw him and a few others, and I gave them all the necessary information. They promised that I should know the result of their deliberations before January.

December 10.

Blackwood. Knowing that Mr. Bowstead advised the Committee of this School to take a mistress instead of a Master because the fund was too low to maintain a Master I came to see what were they going to do. I was informed that they intended to carry out the advice of Mr. Bowstead and I was entrusted with the care of sending them a Mistress by January 6th.

Decembcr 11.

Cross-inn. Having been informed that Mr. T. D. gave notice and intended to leave, I visited this place to ascertain whether they would want a new Master or not. I found that Mr. Morris, proprietor of the Chemical Works in the neighbourhood, is on the one hand entrusted by the Clergyman with the management of the National School and on the other hand by the Committee of the British School with the leading directorship of that School. When T. D. understood that the salary given at the National School was a little higher than that of the British School he applied to Mr. Morris for the National School when it would become vacant. It was therefore arranged for him to have the National School. The Committee did not like to make any arrangement for a new Master without Mr. Morris, and as he happened to be from home my object was frustrated. Some of the members thought that Mr. Morris intended to induce the children to leave the British School to attend the National School, others thought that he would not do that. They promised to call a Committee as soon as Mr. Morris would return.

December 12.

Llansadwrn. Having been informed that J. Morgan, the Master of this School, was about to leave I wanted to know if they could take one of our British students. I found that J. M. had given notice, but that they had made a new arrangement for him to stay.

December 17.

Aberdare (Blaengwawr). When I had visited this place before, they intended establishing a British School, but I find that the new Code has frightened them. They will not move further in the matter until the fate of the New Code is decided.

December 18.

Cymmer. This place is exactly in the same position as Blaengwawr (Aberdare).

December 19.

Llanwenarth. The young man from Bangor College that has been established here in January seems to neglect his work, and to run into such amount of debt that he will never be able to pay. The Committee begin to be very uneasy about him, for he is likely to injure the School very seriously. They requested me to attend in order to advise them. I had anticipated this, and had taken Mr. Baxter there a few months ago, and he said then that Mr. Reynolds must be removed. I advised him to give notice to leave. This has been done, they will therefore want one of the Bangor Students as soon as the three months will be up.

December 20.

Cardiff (Bute Docks) to meet Mr. Baxter. The meeting was highly interesting, hundreds of parents remained after the Tea party, and were edified by the singing, and the addresses, especially that of Mr. Baxter which lasted an hour.

December 27.

Merthyr (Penrhewl). This is the same as those at Blaengwawr, Cymmer &c. not ready to begin their new School until the New Code is out of the way.

1862

January 2.

Abercarn. Having been informed that the Master of this School (who had no Certificate) had left or was about to leave, I went to see what was the cause of his leaving, and whether we could place one of our Bangor students there in his stead. I found that the Master left because the Works stop. This School was established about ten years ago, by the proprietor of the extensive Coal Works at this place. The Manager that was here at that time, E. Rogers, Esq., commenced building a very good schoolroom. He built the back wall of it, and a narrow room to be used for a class-room in the form of a slope behind the schoolroom. He also built the wall of the schoolroom about 3 ft. high. The school was commenced in this slope until the room would be ready. The room would have been a very expensive building had it been carried out according to the commencement. The building was discontinued in consequence of an order to that effect from Sir Benjamin Hall (who is now Lord Llanover) the owner of all the land in and about Abercarn. I could never find out the reason of Sir Benjamin for refusing permission for the building to be finished. It was supposed that he did so, because such good building would outshine his Church which had been erected by him a few years previous. However the School has been ever since kept in the narrow slope, where about 70 children were huddled toegther like sheep in the pound. It was of very little use to expect much improvement under these circumstances. Lately, on account of some misunderstanding among the Company the works have stopped, and the school discontinued. I must watch the time when the Works will move in order to try to have a better arrangement.

January 6.

Abernant. About 2 years ago a small school was established in this place under the charge of a very inferior Teacher. The friends have lately thought it desirable to improve the School and to have my advice to that effect. When I laid before them the particulars they were rather afraid of the amount of the salary required for a Certified Teacher, with other expenditure requisite for Books, Maps, &c. They could not venture to give me a decided answer whether they would have a Certified Master of not, until they will have another meeting attended by some persons who were absent on this occasion. This shall take place in the course of a few weeks.

January 13.

Beaufort. Such great number of Candidates for Queen's Scholarships having failed this year at Bangor, many of them were applying to me for situations as Assistant Masters, and knowing that J.M., who was Assistant Master at this School last year is going to Bangor College I went to see if another was wanted. The Committee promised to correspond with the Committee of Council, and if they will give the usual grant they will have one and let me know soon.

January 14.

Llanelly (Brecknock). In November friends from this neighbourhood were asking for my advice respecting the mode of procedure in establishing a British School. Being now so anxious to prepare plans for the Bangor Students, I went to see what had become of that project. I was sorry to find that all that Works in the place had stopped, the minerals had been exhausted, and now hundreds of families are thrown out of employment; under these circumstances our project must fall.

January 21 .

Llansamlet. This was a public meeting to celebrate the opening of a New British School. The friends and promoters of this School have met with some opposition from the proprietor of Works in the neighbourhood who has a National School for the children of his workmen. This caused them to build a room much smaller than it ought to have been. They prepared a room for about 50 children, but now they are under the impression that they must have a new one to accommodate 120 children, reserving this as a Classroom. We had a large Congregation, we therefore went to a Chapel, and the meeting was addressed by several of us, Ministers and laymen. They desired me to send a Certified Master to them as soon as convenient, and they are prepared to commence building the new room at once. When I visited this place on previous occasions the prospects were very gloomy, but now they are quite contrary.

January 24 and 25.

Blaina. Being requested by Mr. L. to make an inquiry with him into the nature and grounds of the accusation brought against the female Candidates who tried for Q. S. at Stockwell, we made and investigation of the whole matter, sent copies of the same to the Committee of Council, and brief statement to Mr. Wilks. On the 25th I also wrote several other letters to various schools, students, &c.

January 28.

Tydee. I went to this School with the same view as I went to Beaufort on the 13th, that is, in order to see if they will engage an assistant Master instead of the one they had last year. I found them wishful to have one. An ex-P.T. is to be sent there as soon as convenient.

January 29.

Gelligroes. Visited this place with a view to establish a British School. When I visited this place in 1861, the difficulty that stood in their way was the want of a piece of freehold land. They are now in hopes of getting a quarter of an Acre, so that they can avail themselves of Government aid. It is a good place to establish a British School, there is only one small school (and that is a Catholic School) within a large circle of a neighbourhood. We had a comfortable meeting of parents and others, and they seem to be determined to carry out their arrangements as soon as the site is finally secured, providing the New Code of the Committee of Council will not be prejudicial to such rural district Schools.

January 30.

Lantarnam. This little British School is an object exciting great envy and opposition among the Churchmen, especially the Clergymen of the district. A whole district containing a population of from 15,000 to 20,000 (including Abersychan, Pontnewynydd, Pontypool, Pontymoil, Pontnewydd, &c.), has been allowed to be almost entirely possessed by the National school education, and that chiefly through the influence of our great voluntary educationist, Thomas Thomas, D.D., Pontypool College. Within the above district there are 12 National Schools containing about 1,200 children, and only one voluntary British School containing about 120 children. At the same time the district contains four Dissenters, at least, for every one Churchman. This fact would be worthy of Mr. Miall's notice, who is the great director of Dr. Thomas's thought. This little School at Lantarnam is on the border of the above district, and the Churchmen thought of possessing this neighbourhood also by establishing a National School but we took the lead and they are using every possible means of frustrating our object. They are now trying to induce our Master (by offering a higher Salary than he gets) to be engaged for them. I was requested by the Committee to attend to arrange.

February 4.

Maesycwmwr. Visited this place with a view to establishing a British School. I found that the New Code has entirely marred the prospects we had of a British School in this place, because that it is proposed to do away with the augmentation grant specially made for rural districts, the 25 for a Probationer or a Scheduled man. I am almost sure that the withdrawal of this Minute will ruin scores of small schools in Wales, and will prevent many more, where we had prospects, from coming into existence.

February 5.

Abertillery. I was requested to attend a Committee in order to make arrangements about the annual meeting, when Mr. Baxter is expected to be with us in our Tea party, and our examination, and to deliver addresses to the parents. Last year we had an attendance of 600 in such a meeting, and it did much good. We shall endeavour to have such another this year.

February 12.

Blackwood. This was my first visit to this School after Miss Ellen Ll. has been established there. When Mr. Baxter visited the School last summer when Mr. L. (who was a Certified Bangor student) was the Master, there were only 25 children. I was glad to see that the number with Miss L. reached 65, and she expects several more, so that I expect that she will have an average of about 80. She had a good order in the School.
That evening we had a public meeting of parents and others. The meeting was well attended and addressed by several persons.

February 12.

Maindee. I have been anxious for many years to have a British School under inspection in the neighbourhood of Newport. This town with its population of very near 40,000 (taking Maindee, Pill, and all the neighbourhood) has only one group of British Schools for Boys, Girls, and Infants. They are Voluntary Schools where from 300 to 400 children are educated, towards the support of which subscriptions are given by all the wealthy Dissenters and some Churchmen, and collections arc made annually in the 18 Chapels and preaching stations of Dissenters, while at the same time Dissenters' children are seen in hundreds filling the National Schools. There are about eight National Schools containing about 1,100 children; and that in a town where about five-sixth of the religious people are Dissenters. Now I think that I have a chance to establish a British School at Maindee, which is the other side of the river Usk, and may be considered as part of Newport. There is a schoolroom belonging to the Baptists, where preaching is occasionally, and the use of it may be had for a British School. I had an interview with the Minister and others, and we went to see the room. The room is a convenient place, and I hope that in a few months a British School will be established in it.

February 17.

Cross Inn. An opposition to the British School in this place is carried on similar to that at Lantarnam. There is a National School in the neighbourhood; they made an offer to the Master of the British School to take the charge of that with more salary. He left, and by his effort and influence many of the children went with him, so that when the Bangor Student that I sent there had only 20 children at first, he sent to inform me all about the case, and I came to try to get the Committee to make an effort to use their influence to get more children to the School. I was glad to find that the number had increased to 32, and that they had prospects for more.

February 18.

Gwendraeth Works. This is [a] new School and the promoters had desired me to send a Certified Master to them. I sent a young man, and told him that he was to have 52 in addition to the 25 from Government until the New Code would come into operation. He went there and acted so unwisely that we lost the chance of supplying the school with our men. He was not pleased with the room, the managers said that a new room would be erected as soon as convenient. Then he would not stay unless they would bind themselves for 65, and of course they suffered him to leave. The managers seeing one of our men, sent by me, acting so and that after they had given me to understand all about the salary, &c., took the matter in their own hands and engaged a Master from the Carmarthen College of the Church. However, I am glad to find that the School must be still carried on as a British School and that a new room is to be erected.

E. D. JONES.


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