Reports of the Commissioners appointed to enquire into the state of Education in Wales. 1847
This report was published by three English university scholars into the educational system in Wales. The three were Lingen, Symons and Vaughan Johnson. The report unfairly drew attention to the inadequacy of Welsh education . One of their main points was that Welsh children , and often their teachers too, could not speak English. The report was produced in blue books, hence the name. Apart from , and because of, the understandable outrage of Welsh people the report helped to forge a greater sense of national identity and the publication was referred to as "The Treachery of the Blue Books" [Brad y Llyfrau Gleison]. One of the principal Welshmen who fought a campaign against the report was Evan Jones , better known as Ieuan Gwynedd, a minister and a journalist .. One of the report's statements was that Welsh was a " peculiar language isolating the masses from the upper portion of society". Sadly, for the Welsh language, faced with such criticism many people did opt for an education in the English language despite the efforts of Ieuan Gwynedd and others. [ Based on an article in"A Helping Hand "by W J Jones 1996]
This is an extract by Aidan Jones from the actual Report as far as it relates to this parish;
I visited to-day the parish of Brongwyn. The Rev. J. Hughes, the Incumbent, is living in the parish of Penbryn, but the Rev. Isaac Hughes, of Llandyfriog, the Curate, whom I had previously seen, informed me that there is no school in it of any kind connected with the Established Church. I also saw Mr. David Jones, farmer, Pen-allt-wen, the Poor Law guardian, who informed me that there is no school in the parish besides the Sunday school connected with the Independent chapel at Trewen. I visited several cottages in this parish, and found a number of children about 9 years of age and under who would have been at school if there had been one near. I was told that there are about a hundred children in the district at the lower part of this parish who require daily instruction. There is no school nearer than New Castle Emlyn. I examined a boy, aged 7 years, named John Jones, at Bank-y-felin, and two girls Eliza George aged 9 years, and Mary George, aged 7 years. Not one of them can read; they did not know what day it was; how many in a week. I found it quite useless to multiply questions to these, for they were quite incapable of answering me the simplest question upon any subject. I would have examined some older children if I could find them, but the person who went with me, and lived in the neighbourhood, did not know of any. He said all the children at present in that locality, which was the most populous part of the parish, were about that age.
December 15th, 1846. (Signed) HENRY PENRY, Assistant.
I visited this morning the Sunday school belonging to the Independents at Trewen, in the parish of Brongwyn When I entered, the scholars, who were able to read the Scriptures, were engaged in learning and repeating aloud, simultaneously, a portion of a catechism. After this they read the 13th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. I heard two classes reading, and examined them in what they read as to the meaning of the words, and the situation of the places mentioned in the chapter, and also on some of the principal doctrines of the Gospel. I found them rather deficient in the ability to explain the meaning of words, the import of sentences, and in a knowledge of scripture geography and history, but their doctrinal knowledge was correct, and, as far as I had the means of judging, tolerably extensive. The superintendents acknowledged to me that they had not paid sufficient attention to the practice of questioning the scholars on what is read and learnt, and to explain what is not comprehended. They expressed themselves greatly obliged to me for the suggestions I gave them on the subject.
December 13th, 1846. Signed HENRY PENRY Assistant.