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 Llangunllo. I had an interview with the Rev. - Davis, the Vicar. He informed me that there is no day school in the parish connected with the Established Church, although there is a convenient schoolroom erected near the church, which was built for the use of one of the teachers of Lady Bevan's trustees. This room is now used as a dwelling-house. There is a Sunday school connected with the Church, and I left a schedule to be filled up, with the clergyman.
I afterwards went to Bwlch-y-groes in this parish, where there is an Independent chapel and a day school kept in a schoolroom close by it. This room is well built, in every way suitable for the purpose, and in good repair, except the floor. This is only earth, and worn lower than the outside. It was damp, and no fire in the room to-day, so that it was intolerably cold to stand on it; but the scholars did not seem to feel it so much as strangers, for they all wear thick wooden shoes, which are very warm for the feet.
Ten of the scholars read to me a part of the 9th chapter of Genesis, very imperfectly. They spelled very correctly; but in examining them as to the meaning of the words, or the general comprehension of the subject read, I found that they did not understand anything of it. They were only able to answer me very few questions respecting the most remarkable events and persons recorded in the Bible. They knew who Jesus Christ was; the purposes for which he came into the world; and that they had a soul which must live for ever in hell or heaven. This was the amount of their Scriptural knowledge. Two boys were studying arithmetic, but they did not know correctly the multiplication table, nor the pence table as far as 100d. The writing much as usual, full of errors, blots, and badly executed. A few were studying English grammar, but they read it without understanding it. They had not even committed the definitions in it correctly to memory.
I was informed by the clergyman and the Independent minister with whom I left a schedule for the Sunday school in the chapel, that there are no schools in this parish besides this day school, and the above named two Sunday schools.
December 21st, 1846. (Signed) HENRY PENRY, Assistant.