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Life and times of Griffith Jones, sometime rector of Llanddowror

By D. Jones.
Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, Ireland, Tentmaker Publications (1995) 200 p. [ISBN: 1899003134]
[Reprint. Originally published: London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1902].

It is a general history of the movement, it doesn't mention specific locations of any of the schools.

Here is a brief extract contributed by David Pike (June 2003).

Circulating Schools in Wales  pp. 161-163.

The number of those who attended the day schools in his life-time amounted to over 150,000, while those who attended the night schools were twice as numerous, in many of those places where the schools were established. We are further told that many learnt at home. "It should also be kept in mind," writes Judges Johnes in his admirable essay on the Causes of Dissent in Wales, "that the number of scholars just given applies merely to those who frequented the schools in the day time; Griffith Jones informs us that those who received tuition by the night visits of the schoolmasters were twice as numerous a class as the regular day-scholars. Nor are these details in any respect a matter of vague conjecture, as one of the duties of the schoolmasters was to keep a minute account of the names, dispositions, and progress of their pupils." "This was certainly a degree of success which the most sanguine friends of the institution could hardly have anticipated; we can only justly appreciate its real extent when we recollect that the population of Wales during this period continued, on average, between 400,000 and 500,000." (Causes of Dissent in Wales) .

In Welsh Piety for 1777, the year in which Madam Bevan died, a statement is given "of the number of Schools established by Griffith Jones and Mrs. Bevan, and the number of scholars instructed in them from the commencement of 1737, til the death of that lady in 1777 (NB Griffith Jones died in 1763 - DP), a period of forty years." The total number of schools was 6,465 and of scholar 314,051(See table below) . It was a magnificent work. It is no exaggeration to say that in a little more than a generation, the great majority of the population of Wales was directly affected by these schools. And their beneficial results were unquestionable.
The Rev. Dr. Thomas Llewelyn, a learned non-conformist minister, in his Tracts, & Etc. printed first in 1769, says:

"Reading among the lower class of people, is become much more common and general in that country (ie Wales) now than formerly. Since the year 1737, 220,000 persons and upwards, we are informed, have been taught to read in one particular sort of schools, called Circulating Welsh Charity Schools, first set up by the late Rev. and truly pious Griffith Jones, and since his death, supported by the voluntary contributions of well-disposed persons."


Year  Schools Scholars

Year  Schools Scholars

1737    37       2,400

1759    206     8,539

1738    71       3,981

1760    215     8,687

1739    71       3,989

1761    210     8,023

1740    150     8,767

1762    225     9,616

1741    128     7,995

1763    279     11,770

1742    89       5,123

1764    195     9,453

1743    75       4,881

1765    189     9,029

1744    74       4,253

1766    219     10,986

1745    120     5,843

1767    190     8,422

1746    116     5,633

1768    148     7,149

1747    110     5,633

1769    173     8,637

1748    136     6,223

1770    159     9,042

1749    142     6,543

1771    181     9,844

1750    130     6,244

1772    219     12,044

1751    129     5,669 

1773    242     13,205

1752    130     5,724

1774    211     11,685

1753    134     5,118

1775    148     9,002

1754    149     6,018

1776    118     7,354

1755    163     7,015

1777    144     9,576

1756    172     7,064


1757    220     9,037 


1758    218     9,834 



Totals  6,465   314,051


(Gareth Hicks  9 Sept 2007)