The Journal of William Roberts ('Nefydd'), 1853-62
E D Jones, National Library of Wales journal Vol VIII/3 Summer 1954
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 second part of the series
-includes the Journal entries from July 1854 to Dec 1855, which cover his visits to places all over south and west Wales.
See the first part for links to all the other parts
THE JOURNAL OF WILLIAM ROBERTS ('NEFYDD) (continued)
Bridgend. At the request of some friends of education in this place I paid them this second visit having been there in April before. A good B. school might have been established here some years ago had it not been for the old dispute; that mars our prospects almost everywhere; that is about Government aid. Some 5 or 6 years ago they took an old malthouse, went to a great expense to have it altered and fitted up as a school room. But they found afterwards that it would not answer the purpose and that disheartened several of those that were zealous for education; after spending about £100 or £150 to a very little or no purpose, and as they could not agree about Gov.aid they gave it up, altogether. But now there is some prospect of coming to a better understanding about Gov. aid, and to have a good school established in an old Independent Chapel.
Aberavon. There are two good schools in this populous place established in connection with the Messrs. Llewelyn's Works. They are very good and efficient, both the Boys' and the Girls' school. They are carried on nearly on the British system. Number of children in them about 240---Population of the place about 5,000.
Cwmavon.There are three good schools in this place, in connection with the extensive works of the British Copper Co. The schools are on the National system only that they do not compel the children of Dissenters to learn the Catechism or to go to church. They did use to be very strict in compelling them but the Dissenting Ministers (more especially the Rev. E. Roberts, Independent Minister) exposed in the Newspapers the ridiculousness of their conduct in compelling 9/at least of the children of the workmen, either to be left uneducated or to act contrary to the conscientious conviction of their parents. Number of children in the Boys', Girls' and Infant Schools about 450. Population about 8,000 or 9,000.
Briton Ferry. This British School in this place is a small school, supported by voluntary subscriptions and the pence. Miss Dunlop, that was the Teacher, has been married, and now a Miss Richards is the Teacher. Number of children from 50 to 60. There are two other schools in this place, and the neighbourhood is not yet very populous, although increasing rapidly.
Llwynhendy. This British School has been established since 1849. It is held in an old Baptist Chapel. A new Chapel was built elsewhere, and the old Chapel fitted up as a schoolroom. It is supported by voluntary subscriptions --- number of children 70 to 80.
July 20 & 21.
Llanelli (Carmarthenshire). I have visited this day the Boys' and Girls' British Schools. These schools were built when the great voluntary movement took place in Wales. They cost near £1,000, which were paid by voluntary efforts within about £300, which stood as a dead burden upon the Committee. One of the leading men on the Com. was the Rev. D. Rees, Independent Minister, who is a very good and eminent man, and was then one of the most zealous supporters of the anti-Gov. aid movement in Wales. But the failure of this school convinced him of the necessity of Gov.aid, they applied, and had a grant, and now the debt is paid, The Girls' School is a very good and efficient one. Number of children about 150. Teacher, Miss Smith who came from Borough Road last Christmas. The Boys' School is not so good in consequence of the late Teacher having failed to obtain a Certificate of Merit, and therefore had notice to leave. He commenced to keep a private school in the town, which took away some of the children. But Mr Barnacle (who came from Borough Road) has succeeded in raising the number of children from about 30 to 75 in about 3 or 4 months. I intend meeting J. Bowstead, Esq., H.M.'s Inspector there about Aug. 16th.
Loughor. This is a very small, and a very old corporated town. There is a small School in connection with the Church.
Llanelly.Visited some of the Sabbath Schools here.
Llanelly. British Schools at the Copper Works, called Mr Nevill's Schools. [These are very good and efficient schools --- cancelled]. But it was inconvenient for me to see them this day. I must visit them when I shall come to meet Mr Bowstead here.
July 25. Corresponded with various persons.
Swansea. Bethesda British School. This is a school held in the vestry of a Baptist Chapel and supported by voluntary subscriptions and the school pence. It is in the extreme end of the town where no other school is. Teacher, Mr Williams. Number of children about 50.
Swansea. Wycliffe British School. This is a Girls' school supported by voluntary subscriptions, and the pence. It is a good school. There are several Church schools in this part of the Town, and Miss Jardine, the Teacher, complains very much of the unfair means and influence that are exercised by some (especially before the examinations) to induce her scholars to those schools. This Complaint was made in all the British Schools of the town. I do not think this competition entirely disadvantageous; for, by that good education is given to the children, and liberality exercised in the National Schools towards the children of Dissenters. No of children about 75.
Swansea. Girls' British School. This is a very good school under an able Teacher (Miss Hussey) and under Gov. inspection. The room ought to be in a more convenient form. The Committee intend to alter it soon. They have lately gone to about £500 expense to alter the boys' school, which is in another part of the town and they will alter this as soon as they can. I was very much pleased in examining the children, hearing them reading, singing &c. Number 120 to 130.
Swansea. Infant school. This school is supported by voluntary subs and the school pence. The Teachers Mr & Mrs Williams seem to have a peculiar way of teaching, and pleasing the children. This is a large convenient room, with a large playground attached near the centre of the town. It was amusing to me to see so many little children together, and so orderly and happy. Number of children 230.
Visited some of the Sunday Schools in Swansea.
Swansea. Boys' British School. I spent a most happy day in this school. This is I think the best school in Wales. It is under Gov. Inspection. Number of Child'n 250. Mr Hainmett the Teacher told me that the noble room is nearly as large as the B. Road.
Ferry-side. A small Church school is in this place. It is rather on a liberal footing, as I find the case to be in almost all the rural districts, where the Church schools cannot be filled without the children of Dissenters; and where the Dissenters object to the Catechism & Church attendance.
Llanstephan. This place is similarly situated to the above; no school excepting that connected with the Church.
August 3 & 4.
Carmarthen. The British Schools in this place were closed that the Teachers might avail themselves of the advantages of the Educational Exhibition in London, being advised to do so by H. Dunn, Esq. The Committee kindly paid their fares. I saw the rooms of the Boys' & Girls' schools, and was much pleased with the situation, and with the buildings of rooms & master's house, and also with the fittings of the rooms which have been altered during this year (as J. Bowstead, Esq. recommended in August 1853) to the Boro' Road plan.
I met several of the members of the Committee to arrange about J. Bowstead, Esq.'s visit, which they wanted to be deferred until September because of the Teachers' visit to London. But I find that it is not likely that Mr. Bowstead can visit them this year.
Fountain Hall. I find that the small school that was in this place and that was on my list has been discontinued for the last two years.
Writing my Journal for July and other letters.
Felin Voel, near Llanelly. This School is a good one. The Teacher is a very intelligent man. The Children very expert in Arithmetick, Grammar, Geography &c. Attendance 90. This is not under Gov. Inspection, but the Teacher Wm George will endeavour to get the sanction of the Committee to let him try for a Certificate.
Bryn. This school also is near Llanelly. This neighbourhood including Lanelly is so full of influential Dissenters that they have 2 Boys' Schools, 2 Girls' Do., 3 Mixed Do. on the British system, containing in all about 1,100 children; and the only national school that was here has been closed many years ago. Another School has been established lately in connection with a new Tinworks, and is under the Inspection of H.L. Jones. Attendance 75. Teacher, Mr Broad.
Cwmtwrch. A new school has been lately established here at the lower end of Cwmtwrch near Ynyscedwyn. It had a grant of books lately from Boro' Road. This movement of building it was entirely by the people themselves. It is to be under Gov. Inspection as soon as convenient. The present Teacher intends going soon to Brecon College; after that, they will get a Certificated Teacher. They evince great zeal here for Education.
Cwmllynfell. This school is on my list. It was not convenient for me to see it, because it was beyond school hours when I reached the place. But I had some information concerning it. It is considered a good school. Teacher --- Levi Rees. Attendance about 50.
This being a wet day I spent it in writing letters.
Cross Inn. There is a small school in this place under the Tuition of a Mr Edwards. The room was fitted, and is given gratis by G. Lawford, Esq., for the education of the children of the neighbourhood. It is not a Church school.
Cwmaman. There is a Church school in this place, rather liberal in its mode of being carried on.
Ynyscedwyn. This was the first place where I met J. Bowstead, Esq. according to our previous arrangement. This school was established and supported in connection with the Works in this place. The upper school under the Tuition of Mr Williams is in an efficient state, but the lower one Mr Bowstead found very backward. Attendance in the upper school about 60; the lower about 140.
Llanelly --- Copperworks. Boys' & Girls' schools. I attended the examination of this and other schools in this neighbourhood with Mr Bowstead the Gov. Inspector, this, and the two following days. I found this very beneficial to me in many respects. This is one of the best schools in Wales. Mr D. Williams is one of the best school masters in Mr Bowstead's district. The Girls' school is not so forward.
Llanelly --- The Town. Boys' & Girls' schools. These schools have this year for the first time been placed under Inspection. Although they are not so efficient as might be desired, yet, they are in a fair way to become very good and efficient schools under the guidance of Mr. Barnacle & Miss S.
Llanelly. The Infant School. There is about £250 debt on these premises and Mr Bowstead recommends an expenditure of £ 150 more, and promises the half of the £400 from the Com. of Council. Afterwards they will have a new Certificated Master & Mistress. Attendance now about 120. It has been about 220.
Pontyberem. This is a small and inefficient School kept in the old Barracks that was in use at the time of the Rebecca riots. Attendance about 50.Teacher Dd Williams.
Llantisilio (Pembrokeshire). This school has been broken for two weeks. I met some of the members of the Committee and had some information respecting it. It is considered a very good and efficient school. Children attend from a great distance. Mr Stephen Williams the Teacher has been trained in Boro' Road. Attendance about 120. The Committee object to Gov. Inspection.
Narberth. The British School which was built here some years ago by Gov. aid, has become empty. But there was another school, which was built by the Dissenters of the neighbourhood in 1811, and is now in use as a B.S. The Teacher, Jno Lewis, is very wishful to try for a Certificate and to have his school under Gov. inspection. He is deformed, but Mr. Bowstead informed me afterwards that that will not be against him. The school wants repairs, fittings and books.
Templeton. I suppose this is the place called Temple Druid in my list. A small British school was also built in this place by Gov. aid, and is now shut up. A better room being a private property is given for the purpose by one of the inhabitants. The teacher Geoe Phillips is a good scholar, but his health is declining. He has 70 children, some of which are in a forward state. I find here, as I found in several places, the Committee, after getting unable to pay a salary to the teacher, has become inactive, but the schools are carried on the same as when they did act, only the charges are higher.
Begelley. This being on the list which I had from W. R. Baxter, Esq., I enquired for the British School here, but could not find that any such school did ever exist. There is a small school in connection with the Church.
Rhydborth. Not finding a British S. in Begelley, nor indeed any school worth seeing, I went to this place, where Miss Thomas's National school is. This is a good School under Gov. Inspection under the Tuition of Mr T. Rowlands with from 100 to 120 children. It is too rigid in its Church-ism.
Tenby. There are good Church Schools in the Town, and also [out of it]. It is a wonder that the Dissenters do not muster to [have] what they desire so much; i.e. a good British S.
Returning to Glamorganshire at the request of friends in Pyle.
Pyle. The Rev. R. Davies of this place having sent to invite me, I came. They are now in a fair way of establishing a B.S. here. Mr. G. T. Lewis who corresponded with H. Dunn, Esq., made the first movement towards it, some Clergymen wanted him to join them in establishing a National S., but he stood well for free principles, and is likely to be a good supporter of the School.
Returned home after making a Tour of near seven weeks. I visited Sunday Schools this month at Llanstephan, Carmarthen, Swansea, & Aberavon.
Corresponded with various persons including R. Forster, Esq., H. Owen, Esq. &c.
August 31 & September 1.
Devynock. Went to this place according to a previous arrangement to meet Mr. Bowstead who inspected for the first time the schools here.
Devynock. I mentioned in my last journal that I went on the 31st of August towards Devynnock to meet J. Bowstead, Esq. according to a previous arrangement.
1 met Mr. Bowstead there on the 1st. He inspected the boys' and girls' schools. These were until lately Church schools, supported by an endowment. Mr. & Mrs. Davies removed here about Christmas last from the B. School at Landovery, and succeeded with the Clergyman (who takes a considerable interest in the schools) to put them under Gov. Inspection, and under the Inspector of the B. Schools, so that they can get all the children of the neighbourhood, whether Dissenters or Churchmen, to the school. It is to be greatly desired that all the Clergymen of the Principality may become to act on the same liberal principles. There is one stipulation in connection with the endowment, that will be an obstacle in the way of the progress of the schools unless it can be counteracted by the Lords of the Council; that is, It is stated in the Will, 't hat no fee whatever must be received for teaching the children'. Mr. Bowstead said that he thinks it may be altered and advised them on the subject.
Talgarth. We went to this place from Devynnock in the afternoon.
Mr. Bowstead came here at my request, although it was not in his plan, as he did also the following week visit Brynmawr, Rumney, Beaufort and Risca at my request. The Rev. D. Charles, B.A., of Trevecca College, and others, met Mr. Bowstead here. He adviced them to alter the room and said that the Com. of Council would pay the half of the present debt and the additional expenditure.
Merthyr. Went part of the way towards this place to meet Robert Forster, Esq., of Tottenham.
Merthyr and Dowlais. I met Mr. Forster this morning with the first Train from Neath.
We visited the Dowlais Schools, which have this year for the first time been put under the Inspection of Jos. Bowstead, Esq., instead of the Rev. H. L. Jones, by the renowned proprietress of the works, Lady C. Guest. We first visited the boys' school. Mr. Forster examined the children in Geography &c. We visited afterwards the Girls' and Infants' Schools. In these schools there are no Pupil Teachers; we were informed by Mr. Hirst (one of the Teachers) that her Ladyship thinks it too difficult to keep them at their post during the 5 years because so many other openings come in their way; and rather than let the schools suffer in that way, her Ladyship thinks it most prudent to employ about nine Teachers in her five schools to teach about 1,000 children. But they now build new excellent schoolrooms instead of the whole miserable buildings where the schools are held.
We visited also the National School at Merthyr.
Mr. Forster returned with the afternoon Train, after this short, but interesting and encouraging visit. I hope that other Gentlemen who take interest in Education, if they come to South Wales, will follow Mr. Forster's example in condescending to accompany me to visit schools, &c. Their influence is of more value than they think to counteract the Anti-Gov. aid principle.
Blaina. I was with J. Bowstead, Esq. this day at the Boys' and Girls' school in this place. Mr. Bowstead advices that some refittings should be immediately made here on the plan of the Boro' Road; he is wishful to have this as a Model school for the District.
Brynmawr. Mr. Bowstead kindly came at my request this day to this place, Rumney and Beaufort. After visiting the school here, we met some members of the Committee.
Mr. Bowstead could give them no encouragement to expect Gov. aid towards having a new building on 99 years lease, therefore it was arranged to refit the old school rooms at about £90 expense, and the Gov. will pay 2/3d(two thirds) of it.
Rumney. We visited this place met G. P. Hubbuck, Esq. on whose promises I had before placed much confidence. He made a most decided promise on the 10th of March last, to exercise his influence with the Directors of Rumney Works to have two good B.S. at Rumney, and to take for one the B.S. that has been built there already with its whole debt, or to let the present Committee have the land freehold (in order to obtain Gov. aid) instead of the present lease of 99 years. He also wished me to draw a plan how the Schools might be best supported with a halfpenny in the pound on £11,000 monthly payment. I did that, and sent it to H. Dunn, Esq., I gave it to Mr. Hubbuck on the 10th of April, and the remarks of Mr. Dunn upon it, and he made that time a statement to the same effect as before, adding 'my workmen are almost all Dissenters therefore I must find them Education in the form which will be satisfactory to them'. I had put much confidence in such a decided and strong promise from a person in Mr. Hubbuck's position, but I am sorry to find that he is not to be depended upon. He said once in the presence of Mr. Bowstead 'that the Com. of the present B.S. might have the land under the school freehold' afterwards he said 'that they cannot have it'. We met afterwards some of the Com.; they were greatly disheartened by the unstable conduct of Mr. Hubbuck. Mr. Bowstead advised them not to depend any upon Mr. Hubbuck but to proceed as well as they could themselves, and that he would do all in his power for them with the Com. of Council.
Beaufort. We met the Com. of the B.S. in this place and Mr. Bowstead gave them some information and advice to proceed in building a school.
Blackwood. I went this day with Mr. Bowstead to this place. He inspected the School, and advised them as to the necessary improvements &c.
Risca. Mr. Bowstead came at my request to this place to meet the Com. and gave them directions to proceed in re-establishing the school in this populous district.
I met the Com. again to have some further conversation respecting Mr. Bowstead's suggestion as to the refitting of the rooms &c.
September 11 & 12.
Writing my Journal for August and other letters with several of the 'Plain Directions', and Catalogues of the books of the B. & F. School Socy, to various places I had visited during the last two months. Mr. Bowstead wished them to have the 'Plain Directions' where some alterations were to be made inasmuch as the Model plans of the B. Schools have not yet been issued by Government.
Brynmawr. Attended the Committee of this school in order to have a further conversation respecting the plans and alterations recommended by J. Bowstead, Esq.
Beaufort. Attended a similar meeting at this place and for the same purpose.
September 22 & 23.
Blaina. It was proposed here some time ago to offer prizes for the best Welsh essays on Education treating on the three following points; viz. ' The necessity of Education in Wales', 'The propriety of receiving Gov. aid towards it', & ' the adaptation of the British & Foreign system to impart it'. We rec'd four Essays which were judged by the Reverend H. Griffiths, Liverpool (late of Brecon), D. Charles, B.A., of Trevecca College, and D. Lloyd, LL.D., of Carmarthen Col. The first prize of Ten Guineas was awarded to Rev. J. Jones of Newport, the 2nd prize of Three Guineas to the Rev. D. Griffith, Bethel in Caernarvonshire. We hope to be able to publish these in some form, and to glean some of them to be published in the form of a pamphlet under the sanction of the Welsh Educational Socy which is in course of being established.
October 6 & 7.
Writing my Journal for September, and letters to various places.
Rumney. The Committee in this place wished me to attend in order to explain to the whole of them more fully the recommendation of J. Bowstead, Esq., to them on the 7th of September. It was to the following effect: to refit the rooms on the present B. &. F. plan, and that the Com. of Council would pay 2/3d(two thirds) of the expense. Afterwards they might have a good Teacher with a Certificate, and when they can get from 200 to 300 children, the school would nearly support itself with the Gov. aid; to leave the debt now until the School would be in good working order, and then the Committee would be more able to meet with the sympathy of the public in the neighbourhood.
Writing to the various places where Hugh Owen, Esq., and myself intended visiting according to our arrangement. We had settled to visit Neath and Aberystwyth at the request of Robt Forster, Esq., and Haverfordwest, Cardigan, New Quay, & Aberayron, at the request of J. Bowstead, Esq. with some other intermed'e places commencing Oct.23 rd and to return to the Conference on Education to be held at Merthyr Tydvil Nov. 3rd.
Merthyr Tydfil. I went this day to arrange the preparatory proceedings respecting the above Conference such as fixing places to hold the meetings and to have lunch on reasonable terms between the two sittings of the Conf. and was persuaded that it would be better to defer the Conference, in consequence of the state of the Cholera just now at Merthyr; that people in general are afraid to come to Merthyr now, even when they have important business to transact, and therefore that it would be very likely that even the friends of Education would be much the same, from 10 to 20 being every day carried off by the Cholera. Being thus persuaded I was greatly disappointed.
October 18 & 19.
Abertillery. Went to this place to measure the school room, and to draw a rough sketch of it to send to Mr. Bowstead in order to have his advice respecting the fittings and to have his opinion concerning the amount of aid to be received towards the building from C. of C.
The Committee met to consult about the above subjects, and I was requested to correspond with Mr. Bowstead, respecting them.
October 20 & 21.
Writing. In consequence of the postponement of the Conference at Merthyr, it was necessary to postpone the Tour of Mr. Owen and myself, because several of the most influential friends of Education in S. Wales are very anxious to have him with us at that meeting. I had therefore to send to all the places where Mr. Owen & myself intended visiting, as well as to the friends who had been invited to attend the Conference apprizing them of the postponement of the Tour and the Conference for a month.
Blaenavon. Went to this place to stimulate the promoters of a British School. I had heard that they had given up the idea, being disheartened chiefly by the misunderstanding among them respecting Gov. aid. And I was sorry to find that the report was correct. I gave them all the encouragement that I could on the subject, and urged them to proceed.
Blaina. Went this day to these schools, in order to fill the sheet sent to me from the Boro' Road. The Teacher and myself summed up the Schools of Boys, Girls and Infants into one and filled the sheet accordingly.
Penmain. A B. school was erected in this place about 6 or 7 years ago in connection with, and on the property belonging to, a Dissenting Chapel to be supported entirely by subscriptions. It was well supported for a few years, and afterwards declined, and now it is shut up. They rather let it die than to open it in connection with Gov. aid and Inspection.
MynyddisIwyn. This British school (which is on the list I had from Boro' Road) was erected in 1847 in connection with a dissenting Chapel the same as the above, and their objection to Gov. aid was so strong that they put the following inscription on the outside of the school, to be seen from the Highway; viz. 'Non deligatus admititur'. But they are now inclined to put it in connection with Gov. aid and Inspection. The room is a good building 45 feet by 18. They are now without a Teacher, and are in want of a Certificated one. The usual number in the school when properly conducted was from 70 to 80.
Abercarn. Ebenezer Rogers, Esq., the manager and part proprietor of these extensive Coal works established a school on the British System here about seven years ago, which has been supported by the proprietors of the works, without keeping any from the wages of the workmen, or making any charge on the children. A new school room is now in course of erection 56 feet by 22. The number of children now in school is about 100. I had a conversation with E. Rogers, Esq., concerning the school, and he said that he should be glad to have a long, interview with me on the subject but he had a particular engagement that day, and that he will appoint a day very soon when the Rev. James Rowe of Risca and myself will be requested to meet him and to enter fully in the matter. Mr. Rowe has lately in connection with the Committee at Risca put their school under Gov. inspection, therefore I hope that he and myself will succeed to persuade Mr. Rogers to do same (although he is at present against Gov. aid) in order to have a good, efficient school in this populous place.
Abercarn. There is another school here held in the Town Hall to teach Welsh, and English, supported by Sir B. Hall's Lady. The Teacher John Hall, is pretty well informed in the Welsh language, but is very backward in the English, therefore the school is a very inferior one. Number of children from 30 to 40. It is free from being connected with the Church.
Blackwood. Went to this school to fill the sheet.
Writing the monthly Journal for October and other Correspondences respecting Schools.
Newbridge (Mon.). Visited this place with a view to establishing a B.S. This neighbourhood is full of Coal works, very populous and without a School. The friends all agreed that a school is greatly needed, but they were afraid of the expense without Gov. aid, and some of them object to receiving Gov. aid for Education.
Sending announcements of the intended visit of Mr. Hugh Owen & myself to various parts of S.W.
Cardiff. Visited the Boys' & Girls' B. Schools in this place in order to fill the Forms from Boro' Road.
Cardiff. Visited the Wesleyan Schools. The Wesleyan Boys' School is under the care of a very efficient (Mr. Saunders) he has 130 children on the books --- present when I visited it 104. It was the time for Bible lesson --- subject Prodigal Son. The answers were very ready and intelligent, and that by the children generally. The Girls' School under the care of Miss Nicholas is also very well attended---106 on the books --- average attendance 80 to 90. The Children were very orderly and ready with their answers. These schools are very creditable to the Wesleyans of this town.
Newport. Came from Cardiff this day and attended the Girls' and Infants' B. Schools in this place in order to fill the Forms.
Newport. The Boys' B. School is about three quarters of a mile from the Girls' and Infants' school in this town, but they are both under the management of the same Committee, supported without Gov. aid. The Boys' school is a very inconvenient building, which is a great disadvantage to carry on the school properly and efficiently. I attended it this day to fill the Form and returned home the same day.
November 17 & 18.&
Having ordered 200 printed Circulars respecting the Conference to be held at Merthyr Dec. 1st, I sent off 120 of them to various persons in South Wales.
Started this day to meet Mr. Hugh Owen. Travelled with the horse & Gig to Cwmdwr near Llandovery (about 40 miles).
Llangadock. Visited the B. School in this place this morning in order to fill the Form. Went to Carmarthen, left the Gig there and went by Train to Neath to meet Mr. Owen.
Neath. This was the first meeting on our Tour, which was a very good one held in the Town Hall. J. T. Price, Esq., in the Chair. The leading men of Neath are all alive to the importance of a B.S. and they are coming forward to subscribe liberally towards the same.
Haverfordwest. I came with an early Train (leaving Mr. Owen with Mr. Price to visit his schools at Neath Abbey Works) from Neath to this Town and attended the B.S. to fill the Form. The building where this School is held is one of the most miserable places I ever saw for a School in such an important Town. Being an old Chapel of the Primitive Methodists, in a dirty place with a narrow dangerous entrance, which is for the use of the school, of a Smithy and a stable. There is a Foundry close to the school where a great noise is kept all day, so that it is difficult to hear the Children with their lessons.
We had a Conference here this evening with the leading men of the Town, including the Mayor, Mr. Owen, Rev. T. Burditt and others spoke well on the necessity of establishing a good B.S. Sub Committees were formed to apply to the Corporation for the Site, and to collect subscriptions &c.
Newcastle Emlyn. On our way to Cardigan we had a conversation at this place with some friends, and found that there is prospect for a B.S. I promised to visit this place in about two months to deliver a lecture on the subject.
Cardigan. We had a public meeting in this place, where about 400 attended, the Rev. R. Jones in the Chair. We had an excellent opportunity to lay before the necessity of a B.S. in this Town, where there is only a National school. Mr. Owen answered many queries here, and in all the places where we visited.
Llechryd. In the meeting at Cardigan, the leading men connected with the B.S. in this place (where about 150 children are educated) attended in order to know the particulars respecting Gov. aid. We gave them all the necessary information, and I promised to visit that school in January or February.
Blaenanerch. We called at this school between 9 and 10 o'clock this morning --- from 50 to 60 children are taught here by Mr. G. Davies, a Student of Trevecca College. Mr. Davies intends going the next year to Scotland, therefore a Schoolmaster will be wanted here. I intend visiting all the schools in these parts (Counties of Carmarthen, Pembroke & Cardigan) in January & February.
Penymorfa. We had a meeting here according to appointment at 11o'clock. We were much pleased to find such zeal as was manifested here for Education, a B.S. is to [be] built forthwith, and it is to be under Gov. Inspection. A Committee was formed to carry out the work.
Llwyndafydd. We met about 150 or 200 of the inhabitants of this place at 3 o'clock in the new school room. Several Dissenting Ministers, the Clergyman of the Parish, and ourselves took part in the proceedings of the meeting. This was a School which had been commenced about 6 or 7 years ago (as was the case with about 30 others in this part of the Principality) through the instrumentality of the Camb. Educational Socy, with which Mr. H. Owen was connected. Mr. Owen employed Agents in various localities, who endeavoured to stir the people to their duty, and after a very prosperous commencement was made, the dispute about Gov. aid arose and frustrated almost all the prospects at that time; consequently this Schoolroom and Teacher's house although commenced in 1847 had to wait Mr. Owen to open it near the beginning of 1855.
New Quay. We held a public meeting in the B. School room in this place to call the attention of the inhabitants to the necessity of co-operation with the Committee, and master of this school, in order to carry it out efficiently.
Llanarth. We called at this place and found here a nice little school room. We observed that in small rural districts like these the conditions attached to the last Minutes of the Committee of Council requiring so much to be done in the localities, make them useless excepting in a very few instances.
Aberayron. We met some of the members of the Committee of the B. School in this place and the School master. We had reasons to hope that this school will be established on a more permanent and efficient footing than it is at present.
Aberystwyth. We had a preliminary meeting at this place to make some arrangements for a good meeting on Monday evening.
Aberystwyth. Having printed circulars and distributed them we had a very good meeting in a large room this evening. We had members of the Church, as well as Dissenters not only to attend the meeting, but also to be on the Committee in order to establish a good B.S. in this important Town.
Penllwyn. We called at this B. School found about 55 children taught by an old man, not well adapted for the office. However he is going to give up as soon as they can [get] a certificated Schoolmaster. There is a very good prospect in this place if we can recommend to them a good schoolmaster. Indeed the want of good Teachers is the GREAT obstacle in the way of our prosperity now in Wales. Could we have from 20 to 30 Certificated Teachers, I think that we could find comfortable situations for them in S. Wales alone.
Ponterwyd. We visited this School room, which is a good neat little building. The Teacher that was there left, and a new one was expected. It is to be feared that they cannot come up to the conditions of the last minutes in this place.
Rhayader. There is a school supported by an endowment here connected with the Church. We could not at present find any prospect for a B.S. here,
Builth. We visited the Independent Minister (being the only Minister at present in the Town) and he informed that he thinks that a B.S. might be established. I will pay another visit to the place as soon as I possibly can.
We travelled this day from Trevecca College to Merthyr Tydvil to be ready for the Conference the following day.
Merthyr. This was the day of the Meeting held at this place to establish a Society for the extension of British schools in South Wales. Mr. H. Owen was with us at this meeting, and he probably gave the Committee some account of it. The account appeared in the provincial newspapers of the Principality, Welsh and English. This meeting, I find, has produced good effect already in some localities, by enlightening those that were afraid of receiving Gov. aid towards establishing schools.
Writing various letters on acct of schools &c.
Blaina. Mr. Bowstead when at Blackwood B. School in Sep. had advised the Teacher (Mr. Dangerfield) to spend a day in the Blaina school, in order to have more information on the mode of teaching the various sections, and wished me to accompany him. He came this day, and I went with him.
December 7 & 8.
Writing my Journal and sending letters to various directions, including one to Mr. Bowstead with rough sketches of the schools at Penllwyn in Cardiganshire and Blackwood inquiring about the best way of preparing fittings &c.
Bassaleg. Went to this place according to a previous appointment to deliver a Lecture, with a view to create a feeling in the neighbourhood for establishing a B.S. A committee was formed, and promises of near £30 were obtained towards the erection.
Risca. Met some of the Committee in order to advice them concerning the preparations to be made for opening the school at the beginning of January. They are now very spirited here, and have formed a plan to have the school out of debt. Applied for a certificated Teacher to Mr. Dunn and promised him £70 per annum independent of the grants to him by Government. Not having heard from Mr. Dunn after the first time and being afraid of disappointment I took upon me to ascertain some particulars respecting their future Teacher --- which was subsequently done.
Cwmbran. Visited this B. School, and filled the Form. There is a desire and a prospect of having a new school erected in this place. I met the Committee, and it was arranged to make inquiries about the site, and I am to meet them very soon again. The school at present is held in the Chapel of the Primitive Methodists,
Pontypool. Visited this B. School with a view to fill the Form, but the Teacher gave me understand that he must not allow that to be done without first consulting the Committee of the School. However he took one of the Forms, and promised to fill it, and send it to me, if he should get the consent of the Com. This school and its Com. is very much under the influence of Mr. Thos.Thomas the Tutor of the Baptist College in this Town, who is so zealous against Gov. aid for Educational purposes that he called the B. & F. S. Society, 'The Educational Church establishment in the Boro' Road'. (see Nonconformist Dec. 20th 1854). The number of children (boys and girls) in this school under the care of Mr. & Mrs. Smith is about 180.The Iron Co. in the neighbourhood give £50 annually towards the school, notwithstanding that they have been obliged to discontinue the payments of Pupil Teachers.
Abergavenny. Visited the school and filled the Form. This school had been on the [---] for some time (see my Journal June the 9th) owing to its high charges and inefficiency, compared with the National S. The Master (Mr. Tomkins) left lately, and the Com. applied to the Boro' Road for a Teacher, making an offer of a Salary (I do not know the amt) and rec'd a reply that 'there was no Teacher to be had at such a low Salary'. They were obliged to engage Mr. James of Llanvihangel who went from Boro' Road to the Swansea B.S. about 6 or 7 years ago. The school is as prosperous as can be expected.
Blaenavon. Visited this place in order to arrange with the Com. about the time to have a meeting for explaining the principles of B. Schools &c. I am engaged to deliver a lecture on Wednesday Jan. 3'd
Tredegar. Visited this Town in answer to an invitation which appeared in the Star of Gwent. It was arranged to form a Committee and to have another meeting soon. The only public school in this populous Town is the National school, which belongs to the works. There are some now who are on the point of moving for a B. School. I considered this place almost hopeless when 1 visited it before notwithstanding the great number of Dissenters but I think now that we have a prospect.
Kendle. There is a school that was established here by the Doctor of the Works about 12 months ago, and it was to be in connection with the church. Dr. Bevan engaged a Female Teacher from a National institution. The school succeeded well, but the Dr. sees that the more liberal it is, the more popular it comes, therefore he is anxious to put it on the British system, and under the Inspection of Mr. Bowstead; and I had rec'd intimation to that effect, therefore I went to see the Dr. He was home, and also the Teacher, being the Xmas Holydays. I arranged to see him in a fortnight hence.
Corresponded with Committees of schools which are in want of Teachers and with Schoolmasters in want of situations and with young men about to go to the Normal College, Boro' Road.
Blaenavon. Delivered a lecture at this place (as we had arranged on the 21st of Dec.) on the nature of British Schools, and Gov. aid &c. The matter was taken up with zeal and earnestness by the most influential persons in this neighbourhood. A Committee of 42 Gentlemen was formed to carry out the project. They requested me to attend a Committee to be held on the 18th instant. The National school in this place was established about 40 years ago, and has done a great deal of good, it has been for years under Gov. inspection; but Gov. aid and inspection was discontinued on account of the Trustees of the schools refusing to let the Committee put in them wooden floors, which has caused the good Teachers which they had then to leave; inferior one being substituted, with the loss of Pupil Teachers &c, caused the schools to be much more inefficient.
Bryn Mawr. I mentioned in my Journals in 1854 that the B. School in this place has been surrounded by other buildings, such as slaughter house, Stables, Gasworks, &c. since its erection, rendering the neighbourhood very unhealthy; and that the Duke of Beaufort is the owner of the whole neighbourhood, and that he will not grant a site in Fee simple which must be the case in order to receive Gov. aid. Mr. Dunn wrote to me wishing me to urge the Com. of the B.S. to try again with the Com. of C. saying 'that they make sometimes exceptions to their general rules'. I did so, and they applied but in vain. They were about to refit the [rooms] according to Mr. Bowstead's suggestions, when they became acquainted with a piece of ground which they think may be had on the terms required by the Com. of C. and which is not much more inconvenient than the forementioned site the property of the Duke of B. I attended a Committee here this day to arrange about the above, and I earnestly hope that we shall succeed.
Writing notices to the members of the Executive Com. of the 'South Wales British School Association' to attend at the Town Hall Bryn Mawr on the 19th instant.
Risca. I went to meet Mr. Lewis Llewellyn the new Schoolmaster from the Boro' Road, introduced him to the Com., and we opened the school which had been shut up for 14 months.
Beaufort. Visited the British School in this place in order to fill the Form.
Beaufort. Visited Dr. Bevan's school. I mentioned in my journal of December that Dr. Bevan had established this school as a Church School, but finding that it is more acceptable by the people on the British system he wishes to [place] it under the inspection of Mr. Bowstead. I had a long conversation with Dr. Bevan about it. These transformations are very pleasing. Filled Form.
Tredegar. Having visited this Town on the 27th of Dec. and partly formed a Com. &c. in order to establish a B.S.; R. P. Davies, Esq., the Manager of these extensive Works when he became acquainted with the movement, and with the dissatisfaction which existed in the Town with regard to the compulsion exercised in the schools of the works in connection with learning the Catechism, and attending Church, gave orders to the Schoolmaster that the children are henceforth to go wherever they (or their parents) wish to worship God, and that no Catechism is to be taught in the schools. Thus, these National schools which had been established and held for 25 years on the exclusive system, became in one day virtually British Schools. They have (I am told) at present about 600 children in the schools,
Blaenavon. Attended Com. as arranged on the 3'd instant. It was settled there to rent a room for a year or two, and to have a B. S. established probationary that they may ascertain, before building a room, what number of children would attend. They will want a schoolmaster immediately at a salary of about £40 besides Gov. aid. I do not know where to find one for them.
The South Wales B.S. Association. The meeting of the Executive Com. of this Association was held at Bryn Mawr Town Hall. Several resolutions were adopted, which would be too long to be introduced into this Journal. An account of the meeting appeared in the Star of Gwent.
Abersychan. Went to this place to meet John Norton Esq. the Architect from London to consult with him respecting the fittings of the Abertillery B.S. as stated by Mr. Bowstead in a letter to me.
Abercarn. Visited the B.S. in this place, and filled the Form.
Abergwyddon. Visited Lady Hall's school in this place. This school is supported by Sir B. Hall's Lady. It is held on the B. System in all things excepting (it if may be called an exception) that the Welsh language is taught in it as well as the English language. I filled the Form.
Rumney. Visited this place with a view of moving the Com. to re-establish the school, and to try to have a good Schoolmaster in order to be ready for inspection when Mr. Bowstead comes in August. They are very much disheartened by the heavy burden of debt on the school, but still they think to proceed if they possibly can. I recommended to them a Schoolmaster who is preparing himself for a Certificate at Christmas next, and who is willing to resign if he will fail in obtaining it.
Returned this day.
P.S. I did think that 1 could manage to get a few young men to go to the Normal College, Boro' Road, to prepare for obtaining a Certificate at Christmas; but I failed entirely.
Gelli-groes. This is a small hamlet containing a population of 400 to 500, in the midst of a country rather thickly populated, depending chiefly on the Coal works of the surrounding neighbourhood. There has been from time to time a private school held here. That not sufficiently answering the requirements of the district I met some of the inhabitants in order to urge the propriety of establishing a good B.S. It was arranged to have another meeting soon, and in the meantime to make inquiries about the freehold property of the neighbourhood, and other conveniences required for the erection.
Blackwood. J. Bowstead Esq. having sent to me the plans of refitting this school, and other suggestions, and requested me to deliver the same and to give them some explanations as to the tripartite system, I visited it accordingly. I had undertaken on behalf of the Com. to send to Mr. Bowstead for the above.
Abertillery. In preparing the plans of this schoolroom and house, we had entrusted the care of it to J. Norton Esq. 24 Old Bond St, London, who had already on hand several buildings in this neighbourhood, such as Churches &c. We did not know at that time that we should be entitled to the privileges of the Minutes of 1853, the population of the parish being more than 5000. But having been subsequently informed by Mr. Bowstead that our case is such that we might have the half towards the above erection providing we observed the conditions as to the space &c., we began to think that we had acted unwisely in letting Mr. Norton to prepare a building that would exceed the expense allowed by the C. of C. in rural Districts; the schoolroom being only 51 feet by 18, the cost of which will be (including Deeds, boundary wall &c.) about £650, without the value of the site, which is given, and may [be] considered from £100 to £120.Thinking that the above schoolroom will in a very few years be too small (for we have now above 80 children in the B.S. held in an inconvenient room, although we had only about 55 six or eight months ago) and that we had better have an additional space, and we met this day in order to arrange about that. It was resolved to make further inquiries of the Sec. to the C. of C. on the subject.
February 9 & 10.
Writing my Journal for January, and other letters to various schools, Teachers, Mr. Bowstead, &c.
Rumney. This school has at last been re-opened. I had recommended a Teacher, Mr. D. Lewis of Llanelly, Carmarthenshire, to the Com. on the 26th of January and I came this day to meet him and the Com. in order to reopen the school.
Aberdare. Visited this school in order to fill the Form.
Hirwaun. Visited this school with an intention to fill the Form, but found that the school was shut, and that the Teacher had left a few days since.
The state of Education in this place is in a deplorable state.
There are some sort of two schools in connection with the Works. The Teachers are shamefully deficient as to their morals, and competency. --- One of them being in the habit of cursing and swearing the children in his school, the other drunk about half his time. One gets from £3 to £4, the other from £4 to £5 per month, towards which a half penny in the pound is kept out of the workmen's wages. In April last a Teacher (not very competent) was engaged in the B.S. at a salary of £20 besides the school pence. The number of scholars decreased after a few months, so that he was obliged to leave. And this will be the state of things I suppose until the school will be established with a good Teacher in connection with Gov. aid. But we cannot at present have Teachers. Pop'n. about 4000.
Aberaman. In this populous place there is no public school, there are some friends very wishful to establish a B.S. I called upon some of them, some were for receiving Gov. aid, the others against. There are some difficulties also in the way as regarding the ground. These things will be inquired into more fully in the course of a month or two.
Tongwynlas. Visited this school in order to fill the Form.
Blaina. Held a Committee in accordance with the resolutions at the Bryn Mawr meeting on Education January 19th. Present the Revds D.Charles B.A., J. Byewater, W. Roberts, Mr. E. Jones and Mr. W. Williarns, to consider
1. Whether we can publish the Prize Essays on Education sent to the Blaina Eisteddfod in 1854; if not, to send them to one or more of the Welsh periodicals.
2. The instructive Pamphlet on Education, in connection with Society established at Merthyr Tydvil to be prepared towards the meeting to be held at Dowlais in May next, to be prepared by Messrs. Edwd Jones and W. Roberts, and to be examined and approved of by Rev. D. Charles, B.A. and Hugh Owen Esq.
3. That the deficient state of Education in S.W. at present requires some effort in raising funds towards the following objects, viz.
To assist young men to go to Boro Road College.
To assist poor localities to obtain, and pay salaries to good Teachers for the first few years, and
To assist by donations in some places towards building schoolrooms with Gov. aid.
4. That W.R. be requested to send to the Star of Gwent about Tredegar.
Corresponded respecting schools at Cardigan, Llwyndafydd, Aberaman, Blackwood, & Abercarn; and with Teachers at New Quay, Pembroke Dock, Cemaes & Dinorwic.
Writing a letter to the Star of Gwent in accordance with the resolution in the Blaina Com. the 19th, replying to the correspondents who invited me to Tredegar, and acknowledging the liberality of G. P. Davies Esq.
Llangattock (Brecknockshire). This place is in the neighbourhood of Crickhowel. Some gentlemen in this Town made an effort to establish a N.S. some years ago, and having obtained promises of money, the site, &c., they disagreed about it and it was left in a state of abeyance ever since. Now it is the intention of some of the Dissenters to apply for the sanction & support of Sir Jos. B[ailey]and some of the more liberal parties to establish a B.S. I gave them information as to how to proceed in connection with Gov. aid &c. and we shall soon know the result.
Sirhowy. This school (as well as the others under Mr. Brown of Ebbw Vale's guidance) used to be on the exclusive system as Church schools; But now they are all on liberal principles, unsectarian.
March 9 & 10.
Writing my journal for Feb. and other letters.
Started towards Cardiganshire, I was lame. I went as far as Tredegar, was advised to return.
P.S. On the 3'd of this month my brother in law died, and was buried on the 7th.
After having returned from Tredegar (March 12) I have been up to this time (April 7th) unable to do anything besides writing in consequence of hurting my leg. I think it will be well in a week or a fortnight hence.
April 6 & 7.
Writing my journal for April, my Report for the year and other papers towards preparing the annual Report of the Society.
April 9 & 10.
Writing letters in connection with establishing schools and giving information as regarding Government aid &c. to those already in existence.
Abertillery. I went with Mr. Norton the Architect from 24 Old Bond St., London, in order to understand more fully his objections to the British School fittings being placed in the Abertillery British School. Mr. Norton thinks that the light will be shut from the writing desks in the middle part of the room by the curtains and that the heat will be chiefly confined to that part of the room. I sent to Mr. Bowstead the substance of Mr. Norton's objections and rec'd an answer stating that he does not see any strength in Mr. Norton's objections adding that 'to train a man upon the British system and then give him a Battersea school to work with is not one whit better than to teach a musician to play upon the flute and judge of his success by his ability to perform upon the fiddle'. It is to be earnestly hoped that this will not cause a delay in getting the school ready.
Sending a letter to the Star of Gwent containing some information as to Government Inspection &c. 1 had 200 slips struck out at my own expense in order to send them here and there in my district.
Blaina. A public meeting was held here this day for the occasion the opening of a commodious new building erected for the Infant school. The meeting was well attended by parents. F. Levick, Esq. presided. The Clergyman of the Parish and several Dissenting Ministers, the Teachers, Mr. E. Jones & Miss Tozer, and the Pupil Teachers with about 120 infants took part in the proceedings and made it a very interesting meeting.
Ty-du Works. I had visited this place once before and delivered a lecture and thought the prospects here very promising for a new British School. I went now to try to stimulate them onward. I had a consultation with several of the leading men and they seemed to be determined to proceed as soon as they can,
Abertillery. This was a public meeting held with a view to arouse the inhabitants of the neighbourhood to send their children to the B. School, and also with a view to collect money towards paying for the new school now in course of preparation. T. P. Price, Esq. in the chair, A lecture on the progress of knowledge in Wales was delivered by the Rev. T. Rees, Kendle. The meeting was addressed also by the Revds D. Williams, Blaina, J. Lewis, Abertillery, and myself. The congregation seemed to be highly delighted, a very enthusiastic spirit prevailed as to the success of the B.S. notwithstanding the opposition (or competition) of the N.S. now in course of erection by Sir Thos Phillips and a few other wealthy gentlemen. It was arranged to apply to C. of C. for a grant to build an additional room and I was requested to meet Mr. Norton to arrange these matters when he will come next.
May 11 and 12.
Writing letters on business connected with schools, Teachers &c., and my monthly Journal for April.
Bryn Mawr.The Com. of the B.S. in this place has been very much discouraged in connection with the laudable work; they had applied to the Duke of Beaufort for freehold site either as a grant or on Sale, having been refused, they applied to H. Bailey Esq. of Nantyglo for a piece of the land not so convenient for a school as the land of the Duke, which he held on lease for a term under the Lord of Manor (Abergavenny) soliciting his influence with the Ld of Abergavenny. They were thus disappointed in their second attempt to meet the requirements of the C. of C. They afterwards made up their minds to refit the old school rooms notwithsg. the inconv. & unhealthy position and applied to the C. of C. for a grant to that effect. This was also met with a refusal on acct of the leasehold. I had therefore to solicit the interference of Mr. Bowstead who had in Aug. last given his word that they could have the grant. A promise of the grant towards the fittings was however obtained after a long and protracted correspondence concerning the Deeds &c. They are obliged to convey the property from the present Trustees to others, and afterwards from those back again. So intricate and difficult is the dealing with the C. of C., especially with Leasehold property, that it forms an additional strong [---] to the anti-Gov. aid party.
Abertillery. Filling the sheet of extended Report.
Canton. This is a populous district in the vicinity of Cardiff. I had visited it in July 1854 and found that a new schoolroom in connection with a Chapel has been erected, and I had some hopes of seeing them availing themselves of the Gov. aid to establish a B.S. However I find now that the friends disagreed on the subject and having no sufficient amount of fund to the working of it, it has remained almost useless; and now the Churchpeople are moving to build a National School here. This is a specimen of the result of the contentions as regarding the above subject, which is unfortunately to be seen in many districts where Dissenters greatly preponderate.
Written and sent letters to various school Committees and Teachers.
Cwmbran. When I visited this place in December last I was requested to meet the Com. to confer about building a new schoolroom. It has not been convenient for me to do so until now in consequence of the accident which I met on the 7 th of March. The Com. met and it was arranged to have a more public meeting to ascertain the views of the neighbourhood on the subject. I promised to attend it to deliver a lecture at that time.
Llanvihangel Crucorney. Visited this B.S. with a view to fill the 'Form of Extended Report' but it was the summer holidays. I was informed that the school is in a prosperous state.
Abertillery.Went with Mr. Norton in accordance with request expressed in this journal (see May 8th) arranged to position of the additional room &c.
Cardigan. When Mr. Owen and myself visited this place in Nov. last we had a very good meeting, we explained to them how to proceed with or without Gov. aid in establishing a B.S., we formed a Com. and made everything as we thought complete; but after a few of the parties objected to Gov. aid, and the plans were entirely frustrated in consequence of that and the difficulty of procuring a site. However I succeeded in recommencing a movement that I think will be eventually successful in establishing a B.S. there.
Llechryd. The B.S. in this place is progressing and according to time & circumstances is in a very satisfactory state as the Form will show.
Blaen-annerch. The School in this place had been given up until the winter, as is the custom in many parts of this country. The Teacher a young man who was preparing himself for the Ministry is going to Glasgow and they are looking out for another, as is the case in many of our schools. Teachers, even inferior ones are very scarce.
Penmorfa. This Committee which was formed in Nov. when Mr. Owen and I visited the place, has met with considerable difficulties otherwise the school building would have been ready by this time. But they are now about to commence building the room. They intend this school to be under inspection at once.
Neuadd Lwyd. This school was in the same state as that at Blaenannerch; having been given up until the winter, and they are without a Teacher. Each of these schools have from 60 to 70 children in the winter. I think that in order to meet the requirements of this country the C. of C. ought to give half the Capitation grant for attendance during the winter time for it will be very difficult to have but few to alter the old custom of the country of working in the summer and harvest and going to school in the winter.
Aberayron. This is a small B.S. carried on on the monitorial system. It is very inferior compared to what ought to be in a town like this. I filled the Form.
Lampeter. I visited this town and found that there is only a National school, and a private school under the care of an Unitarian Minister. I could see no prospects of establishing a B.S. here at present.
Rumney. I met Mr. Bowstead in this School, and found that the school was in a very satisfactory state, considering the time Mr. & Mrs. Lewis have been here. (See the Form.)
Blaina. Mr. Bowstead and myself were at these schools, and we examined the Boys, Girls and Infants and found the schools in a very prosperous and efficient state.
Abertillery. We went in the afternoon to this school, and Mr. Bowstead was much pleased with its state, and the number of children &c. considering the disadvantages arising from the shortness of time Mr. Bevan has had it under his care, the want of Books, Maps &c.
Risca. We proceeded thither and examined this school. This school may also be considered in its infancy, Mr. Llewellyn having only been in it since January last.
Blackwood. We went in the afternoon to this school and examined it, and Mr. Bowstead was pleased with its progress, considering the disadvantages under which Mr. Dangerfield has proceeded, without Pupil Teachers, and without a sufficient supply of Books, Maps &c. I have not filled the Form of Extended Report in the above schools, Blaina (Boys', Girls', and Infants' schools), Abertillery, Risca, and Blackwood because I sent the Forms from them since October last and I take for granted that they are not to be filled from the same schools oftener than once a year unless some great change takes place in them. No one informed me of that, and if I am under a wrong impression I should be thankful for information on the subject.
Writing my Journal and other letters.
Llanelly. I travelled part of the way to Llanelly (Carmarthenshire) after writing some letters in the morning.
Llanelly. Copper works B.S. I met Mr. Bowstead here again. Attended the examination of these excellent Schools. I filled the Forms at the Boys' and Girls' Schools.
Lanelly Town B.S. We examined these Boys' and Girls' schools, and I filled the Forms. I met this day the Rev. John Phillips the Agent for N. Wales. I was very glad to meet him. I had often been longing for an interview with one of the Agents of the Society. He being an Agent in Wales could give me more assistance in some respects than others.
Llanelly. Mr. Phillips had not seen Mr. Bowstead and I had the pleasure of introducing them to each other at the examination of the Pupil Teachers which was held here this day. There were between 40 and 50 Pupil Teachers in all from Carmarthen, Swansea & Lanelly.
They were from 16 schools in this district. I spent the greatest part of this day with Mr. Phillips. He gave me some valuable information, which will be of considerable service to me with my important work.
Tregaron. I had been informed that a movement was taking place in this small town towards establishing a B.S., but 1I was sorry to find that no such movement had taken place, and more sorry, when I found that no school of any sort was in the town. I have only to hope that some movement will soon take place for a B.S. here, the Dissenters are numerous and able to do it.
Llangeitho. There is a small B.S. in connection with the old Cal. Meth. Church in this place, which is very numerous in the winter. I filled the Form. I had a conversation with some of the most influential persons in the place and I think that there is a good prospect for a new schoolroom and a house to be erected if connected with Gov. aid. The Teacher expressed a desire to be qualified at the Boro' Road for a Certificate.
Aberystwyth. The state of the Committee that was formed here by Mr. Owen and myself in Nov, last is much the same as that in Cardigan. But a Mr. CharIton from Bristol has been here lately and endeavoured to reform a Committee, which is to be a working Committee. I hope that they will work, never was more need of a good B.S. anywhere than in this town, and it would be an easy work if only commenced. The school that is connected with the Cal. Meth. Chapel happened to be broken up for a month during the harvest. I am informed that it is a very inferior one, and that most of the Dissenters send their children to the National S.
Penllwyn. This B.S. is a very good [one] considering that Mr. Williams has been there but a short time. I consider it the best we have in the rural and agricultural districts of S. Wales, I filled the Form.
Goginan. This is a school connected with the Works in this district. Carried on in the old style, and of course is a very inferior one. I filled the form.
Ponterwyd near Devil's Bridge. This school has been shut since I saw it before when Mr. Owen was with me. They will open it this winter if they can get a Teacher. It would have been opened last winter only the supporters were exerting themselves more than usual in enlarging the Chapel and paying its debt.
Capel Evan. I met Mr. Bowstead in this B. School, we examined it, and found it in a satisfactory state considering the disadvantages. In this and other schools in entirely Welsh districts Mr. Bowstead found my service of assistance to him, but I think that his examinations were of more assistance to me. I filled the Form.
Newcastle Emlyn. I attended this place with a view to establish a B.S. I met several of the influential inhabitants and formed a strong desire for such a school and the matter is put in a form to proceed if they can get a site.
Trewen. This small school is carried on in the old style, and is a very inferior one, but still it is of great service as it is in purely agricultural and entirely Welsh district. They think in many of these districts that the Gov. standard is too high for them to think of any aid, and in that they are right until the certificated or Registered Teachers will be much more plentiful.
New Quay. I examined this school with Mr. Bowstead and found it in a very efficient state, considering the want of books, and the effect produced on the school in the winter when about 60 children died in this small place many of whom were in school.
Llwyndafydd. This schoolroom and the house were built with Gov. aid, and because they could not get any Teacher, it was only held for 3 months, and by a very young man inexperienced in Teaching. They have now engaged a Teacher that was in a National School under inspection in Llandysil.
Capel Trisant. The promoters of a B.S. in this place had been corresponding with [me] since Apl. last. Now the room is in course of erection, and they seem to be very anxious about getting it ready soon and will endeavour to have it under inspection at once if they can get a Teacher. This is our constant complaint --- want of teachers, and such will be the case for years.
Abertillery. Visited this school in order to carry out Mr. Bowstead's suggestion of establishing a Pupil Teacher here from Blaina school; one that has passed his examination at the above school. I had applied to the Committee of Council for their sanction to his apprenticeship, and had received the papers, and we completed his apprenticeship. I was glad to find that a considerable progress has taken place in the school since I had visited it with Mr. Bowstead, August 9th, the number of scholars had increased to 153 on the books and 130 average attendance. Want of books is a great drawback.
Risca. Two candidates were examined from this school by Mr. Bowstead, but not one of them could be apprenticed; one was below the mark, and the other (a girl) would not be sanctioned by the C. of C. Mr. Bowstead requested me to go to Risca, and to endeavour to persuade them to try to get one from Blaina, because several candidates from that school passed their examination creditably, besides the three that were apprenticed this year. I met the Committee in the school, and we had a long interview respecting the various requirements of the school. They resolved to carry out Mr. Bowstead's suggestion respecting the Pupil Teacher, to send for more books and other school materials and to take into consideration the propriety of engaging Mrs. Llewellyn to teach the girls sewing &c. Promised another visit to the school on the 21st.
October 5 & 6.
Writing letters on matters connected with Education, and my Journal for September &C.
Tredegar. Having been informed that the old Teacher intends to resign I visited this town with a view to try to have his successor to be a Teacher on the British System, inasmuch as it is now entirely unsectarian. I called with some of the leading members of the Dissenters and we arranged that some of those that are most acquainted with Mr. Davies the Manager of the works to introduce the subject to him. We arranged to meet again in the course of a month or so to know the result.
October 10 & 11.
Gelli-groes, and Maesycwmwr. Some of the friends in Gelligroes intended some time ago to have a good British School there, more adapted for the progress of the times and the increase of the population than the one they have at present. It is now proposed to have it about a mile from Gelligroes, and about the same distance from Maesycwmwr for the convenience of these places the population of which are increasing rapidly. This was a preliminary meeting of a few friends to ascertain the particulars respecting Gov. aid &c. I think that we have a good prospect here.
Several friends with myself this day met the Rev. D. Charles B.A. of Trevecca College. We had a long interview,
1. On Education in Brecknockshire, and some other parts of South Wales.
2. On the case of Talgarth school. It seems that they are determined now in Talgarth to pay the remaining debt of £240 on the British school room, house & garden belonging to the school, to refit the school &c. with Gov. aid, and to have it put without delay under inspection.
3. We made some further arrangements to have another meeting at Merthyr early in 1856 in connection with the Socy that was established for extending British Schools in South Wales about the end of the last year. Merthyr was considered the best place to meet, being a central place, and in order to try to stimulate the people of Merthyr to establish a B.S. there.
October 15 & 16.
Newport, Mon. I visited these days the Girls' and Infants' schools. These schools are not under inspection. The Committee has lately decided upon building new school rooms for the Boys, Girls and Infants, which will cost about £1500. The subscriptions amount already from £1000 to £1200, which is very pleasing. At the request of the Committee of Abertillery School, I engaged Miss Bartlett the Teacher of this Infant school to take charge of the Girls at Abertillery, B.S.
Tydee (ty du) works. I visited this neighbourhood in order to try to stimulate the Committee that was formed here to carry out their intention. 1I found that the Committee had been rather inactive trusting that the Parliament had some sweeping measure in view. I endeavoured to persuade them that they had better proceed in the meantime, and by that they shall have all the advantages of the old and new measures.
Abercarn. When I visited this place before the new school room was in course of being erected and being informed that it is not going on, I wished to know the reason, and was informed that some misunderstanding had arisen about the site, which has not yet been settled. However it is to be hoped that it will be arranged ere long, for the present room is much too confined.
Blackwood. I was invited to meet some members of the Com. of this B.S. in order to examine the plans & specification of the new fittings before they were sent to the Com. of Council. I pointed out some improvements and alterations that seemed to me quite necessary. The Teacher intends trying for a Certificate at the Boro' Road this next Christmas.
Mynyddislwyn. I visited this place by coming home this day. Being Saturday, the school was not held. I met some of the Committee and found that the school is progressing gradually, and they intend to put it under inspection when Mr. Bowstead will come next. The number of scholars on the books are (as I was informed by the Rev. Moses Ellis) 70, and the average attendance about 50.
Risca. According to arrangement made on the 2nd instant I visited this school, and I am happy to state that it is progressing gradually.
October 25 & 26.
Commenced my canvass for subscriptions these days and obtained some small sums.
I wrote letters this day to various parts of S.W.
Abertillery. A few of us met this day to open the box, and to view the books granted by the Com. of the Socy. We felt thankful for the Grant, it will cause much improvement in the school.
November 9 & 10.
Writing my Journal and letters.
Bryn Mawr. Visited this school, examined some of the classes.
Tredegar. I visited this town as arranged October 9th (see journal) to ascertain whether the friends were able to introduce to the Manager of the Works the subject of having a B. Teacher to the Tredegar school when the head master would resign the rumour being that he intended doing so, because he had applied for a situation as a Governor of an Union in England. I found that Mr. Sargent (the Teacher) had been unsuccessful regarding the above application, and that he resolved to remain for some time yet in the Tredegar school. But it is generally supposed that his age and incompetency and the dissatisfaction evinced by the people on his acct ere long will lead to his removal. Although the change that has taken place in these schools, as regarding the freedom of Dissenters' children from attending Church and learning the Catechism, is valuable, yet, schools of a more decided British system and of a superior order, is greatly to be desired in such a populous town comprising at least the 9/10th part of Dissenters, and we must not rest until we have it.
October 19 & 20.
Swansea. Travelled from Blaina to this town and visited the Boys & Girls British Schools.
Bridgend. Visited this place with a view to encourage those that are anxious to have a B. School established in this town. I had visited the town before in 1854, and urged the necessity of co-operation in establishing a B.S. and found that the friends of Education had unwisely incurred a considerable expense in altering an old building some years ago, when the hot voluntary agitation prevailed in S.W.; this old building being an old Malt house, and quite unadapted for teaching, it was no wonder that the expense of converting it should answer but little or no good purpose, and therefore it fell on a few of the good men that took the lead in this affair. We have now a better prospect here, although considerable difficulties are expected to be met with in obtaining freehold ground for a site of a B.S. to be erected by Gov. aid. As soon as this is secured I have promised them another visit.
Newport. Boys' Brit. School. Visited this school, examined some of the classes and listened to others.
Corresponded with various Teachers, Committees, &c.
Bethel near Narberth. Travelled from home, visited and examined this little school, as I had lately been requested by Mr. Dunn. This school had lately had a grant of books from the Socy. The Teacher is wishful to be qualified in the Boro Rd Normal College for a Certificate.
Ffynon well na buwch.# A school had been held in connection with a Baptist Chapel in this place from time to time for about 80 years, but some 4 or 5 years ago when the last Teacher they had here left in order to become a Minister of the Gospel, the above school at Bethel (about two miles distance) was established, and the National School at Llanddewi Velfrey (about a mile distance) was considerably improved, so that the friends at Ffynon could not venture to promise a sufficient amt of salary to have a good Teacher. They were so discouraged that the school was discontinued. I was given to understand by [the Reverend J. Edwards cancelled] a respectable party, that a very curious custom is exercised towards the children of Dissenters in the Llanddewi Velfrey school; i.e. they charge those who object to attending Church on Sundays, and to be taught the Church Catechism, double the amt of the charge made upon those who are willing to submit to the above rules; by this they in some instances succeed in bribing the consciences of Dissenters, and they keep others away, others submit to the double charge. I have endeavoured to persuade the friends at Ffynon to re-establish the school, and to have it under inspection. I hope that they will do so, and I promised them another visit ere long.
# This place consisted originally of a small cottage built by a well. It is sometimes for the sake of brevity called Ffynon.
Narberth. I visited this town at the request of Mr. Dunn who had rec'd an intimation from the C. of C. that the small B. School room which had been built in 1839, (towards which the Lords of the Treasury granted £40) is not in use at present. I found that to be the case, the room I was informed was lately used for a private school, but at present there is no school in it. I observed that the arches above the door and windows are in a very dilapidated state, and unless the Trustees or others, will have the room repaired soon, it will be of no use as a school. The person towards whom I intended to apply for information respecting the Trustees &c. was from home, I shall soon know all about them, and will correspond with them and endeavour to see them as soon as convenient.
November 20 & 30.
Carmarthen. Boys & Girls B. School. (see forms).
Neath. I visited this town where Mr. Owen and myself had held our first meeting just twelvemonth ago, and was glad to find that the Com. had worked well, although death had snatched away one of their leading men. (a subscriber towards the school of £50).They had bought a very convenient piece of ground, and had erected an Infant school on part of it.
Neath. Had an interview this day with seven of the members of the Com. of the B. School and was informed that hey intend immediately to erect a Class room in addition to the present Infant School, and also to proceed as soon as they can with the boys' and girls' schools. I had also this day an interview with the Rev. D. Rees of Braintree who visits his native country every year, and takes a considerable interest in Education in Wales by visiting schools &C. He supplied me with some useful and necessary information.
Wrote letters to Com. of Council, R. Forster, Esq., Carmarthen, Narberth, &c.
Twyngwyn. Visited this B.S. and examined several of the children.
Gelli-groes. Visited this place at the request of those who are wishful to build a B.S. room with Gov. aid to give them some information as to the mode of obtaining Gov. aid, the terms &c. They have an old established unsectarian school (see my journal June 11th last) held in a very inconvenient room. There will be a considerable difficulty to get freehold site, because almost all the land is the property of Mr. Herbert of Llanarth who is a Roman Catholic and who maintains a Priest in this neighbourhood and a School master at his own expense, where the children of the Irish and others in this populous district are educated, and initiated into the Catholic principles. As soon as land can be secured I have promised them another visit.
Maesycwmwr. There are several in this neighbourhood anxious to establish a B.S. It was arranged some time ago to have one school between this place and Gelli-groes, (being only little more than two miles from each other) however they are now anxious if possible to have one at each place, because they think that such an amalgamation would be injurious to both the neighbourhoods the school being too far from them for infants to attend for whose benefit most particularly the schools should be established. At their request I gave them all the information I could, as to how to proceed.
Argoed. This populous neighbourhood having only a National school where children of Dissenters do not enjoy the advantages and liberty they conscientiously desire, I enquired of some friends in the locality respecting the prospects of establishing a B.S. there, and found a strong desire for it, although they feared that the means towards it would be inadequate to such an undertaking. I have only to hope that something will be done, there are plenty of children to fill three schools in addition to the present National S.
Beaufort. This place is kept without an efficient school, although the population amounts to between 5000 and 6000 because the Duke of Beaufort will not grant a site on the terms approved by the C. of C. Dr. Bevan had established a small Church school here some two years ago, which he afterwards changed to be entirely unsectarian,# now the Doctor thinks that he can get land of the Duke on the approved terms, and my object is now to try to have the Com. of the B.S. in this place to co-operate with the Doctor, and to amalgamate their projects to have one good B.S. under inspection. A difficulty arises from some misunderstanding that exists between one of the leading men on the above Com. and Doctor Bevan. A great pity that some petty things very often are great obstacles to a good cause.
#I consider Church and National schools to be sectarian.
Pontytypridd. This town and neighbourhood which contains about 7000 inhabitants is without a public school of any value, and the leading men connected with the numerous congregations of' Dissenters are (like those of Merthyr Tydvil) afraid of the expense, and some difficulties are apprehended as to the possibility of getting a site, fee simple. Some are also against Gov. aid towards education, and between all these various and conflicting opinions among the leading there is more difficulty to move thousands to a sense of duty as regarding the education of the poor, and the rising generation, than would be to have a few scores to work in many places. I find that all depend upon the quality of the leaders of the people.
Darren Felen. I visited this place with a view to examine and to report the state of the school, but found that the Xmas holy-days had commenced, therefore it must be deferred to a future time.
Pyle. This is where Mr. Lewis who sent a letter about two years ago lives. Although an attempt to form a Com. was made and that Mr. Lewis offered £10 as a beginning of a list of subscriptions towards a school, yet nothing has been done effectually here yet. The project has not been abandoned, and it is to be hoped that it will be successful.
Hirwaun. In consequence of two schools being supported in connection with the works in this place, and that the workmen are obliged to pay towards the support of the very inefficient Teachers (see journal Feb. 14th 1855) that are in them, out of their wages, it is impossible for the B.S. to succeed. In consequence of the delay of the Marquis of Bute's lawyer to give the lease here and in Aberdare they can have no aid from the C. of C. towards refitting the schools. It is a deplorable fact that in many instances, men of wealth, who ought to do most for facilitating the education of the people, are the readiest to mar all the efforts in its favour.
Newport. There are some friends in Newport who are wishful to have a B.S. under inspection, they wanted to have the necessary information to proceed. But it was deemed more expedient to defer the matter now because it would appear like opposition to the effort that is now being made towards the erection of new B.S.
Castleton. J. Davies, Esq. and others are wishful to establish a B.S. &c.
(to be continued)
E. D. JONES