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Help and advice for Reports of the Commissioners appointed to enquire into the state of Education in Wales. 1847

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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 Llanfihangel Lledrod. I had before seen the incumbent, the Rev. Mr. Felix, at Llanilar. There is no day or Sunday school in this parish at present connected with the Established Church, although there is a good schoolroom built in the churchyard. There is a school generally carried on in it during the winter, which has not commenced yet ; but owing to the inefficiency of the master, who is a farmer's son, lame and incapacitated for any laborious employment through an accident, the parents and friends of the youth in the neighbourhood are very indifferent about sending the children to the school when it is open.

There are Sunday schools with the Calvinistic Methodists, at Rhyd-llwyd, Bronnant, and Swyddyfynnon. I saw parties connected with these schools, left schedules with them, and gave them directions how to fill them up.

I examined the following persons in this parish -

David Jones, aged 21 ; Richard Davis, aged 16 ; Ann Philips, aged 14: and Daniel Phillips, aged 12 years.

The first-named individual of the four had never been to a day school, and could not read English ; but the other three had been a short time at school, and could read some English. Neither could tell me the name of the present month, nor the first or last in the year, nor the name of either of the twelve. Neither knew how many weeks or days in the year; what regulates the Year, season, day, and night; whether the sun goes round the earth, or the earth round the sun. Neither could tell how many pence in 5s. or 2s. 6d., nor how much 40d. are. Not one of them could repeat correctly the Ten Commandments nor could explain what is meant by "false witness " or "covet." I examined them also as to the principal persons and leading events recorded in the Old Testament, and the history of our Saviour, with the important doctrines taught by him and His Apostles; but they were very deficient in accurate and connected knowledge of any of those subjects. My questions were in Welsh, and in language simple and within their comprehension, and in the presence of two or three respectable persons.

November. 14th, 1846

(Signed) HENRY PENRY, Assistant.

(Gareth Hicks)