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;


On December 24th [1846] I visited the above parish, in which there are two day schools, both of which I found closed for the Christmas holidays.  I visited one of the schoolrooms, which was a strong and substantial building, built about two years ago by a farmer in the neighbourhood, with the intention of putting one of his sons to keep a school there.  The room was 24 ft. long by 12 ft. wide; the floor was paved, but very damp; the school furniture consisted of a desk and a chair for the master; two desks and some benches for the children.  In the above schoolroom, in the presence of the clergyman of the parish, I examined some children; they were six boys, some of whom belonged to the day school, held in the schoolroom in which I examined them.  There were only two that professed to be able to read.

They read to me the 4th chapter of the Gospel by St. John in a most miserable manner, appearing to have very little idea either of the meaning or pronunciation of the most simple words.  To questions given I had the following answers: --- The world was created by God.  Adam was the first man; did not know where God placed him; Adam and Eve had two sons only, Cain and Abel, who were both good men.  Knew nothing of the history of the deluge.  Did not know whose son Joseph was; he was sold; did not know to or by whom, or what subsequently became of him.  Could answer no question given them from the history of Moses and the children of Israel, either before or after they left Egypt, except that the Ten Commandments were given to Moses; did not know when or where.  Did Moses receive them from God orally or written upon anything? --- Written upon the heart of Adam. Prophets tell things which are to come; did not know the number or anything foretold by them.  Christ was born in Bethlehem, which is in the land of the Chaldeans; son of Mary Magdalene and Joseph.  What Joseph? --- The carpenter (from one only).  Crucified by Pilate; some said by thieves; Christ was buried; did not know where or by whom; rose in three days, and immediately ascended into heaven.  Could not mention any of the miracles wrought by Christ or the Apostles.  The Apostles were twelve, a few of them they named; did not know their office, or by whom appointed.  Were right as to the persons who denied and betrayed Christ; but did not know what became of Judas, or whether Peter repented or not.

The Queen lives in London, making money; William the Conqueror was her immediate predecessor.  Four quarters of the globe, and the names (from one only); did not know which they lived in; knew only the parish and county they lived in.  All (except one) were wrong as to the number of days and weeks in a year; days in a week six, five, and seven (from two).  The sun turns round the world.  One boy professed to learn the English grammar, but could not answer the most simple questions in it; e.g. What is a noun, verb, pronoun, participle, &c.  Two of the boys were learning arithmetic.  I gave them a few questions in the tables, &c.  They only answered a few in the very beginning of the multiplication table.

(Signed) D. B. PRICE, Assistant.