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;


Rhyd y Pentre School.

This is an adventure school, established after the failure of one by the Calvinistic Methodists. I visited it with the Rev. Mr. Davies, the Curate of the parish, on December 29th. It is held in a wretched place without any floor, and a heap of mortar and rubbish encumbered the area. Four forms were placed round a culm fire, piled up on the dust of the floor; and here the scholars crouched, some reading Easy Lessons, some the first book of Samuel, some Vyse's Spelling-Books, and others St. John's Gospel, and all aloud. The class in Samuel were called up and read the words with great difficulty. They gave a few tolerably correct answers to my questions. One or two of the boys were rather advanced in arithmetic.

The second class, who were reading in St. John, were ignorant of every thing. They thought Christ came to see the world, and give alms. This was a Welsh answer to a question put in Welsh. Of geography they knew nothing. I found one copy book only, which was tolerably well written. There is an evening school held in this parish. There was a school under Mrs. Bevan's charity here until lately.

J. C. S. [Jelinger C. Symons, the chief commissioner in Cardiganshire]

(Gareth Hicks)