For a history of schooling in the area there is a booklet produced in 1989 to "celebrate two and a half centuries of praiseworthy effort to establish a day school in the area. It also celebrates a half century of the unfailing service of the present school to the community." The book also contains many extracts from the School Log Book for 1930-1989.
Here are relevant extracts from the Timeline section which in turn are extracts from the various books detailed on this site;
- 1738/39, the first report of a school in Llangiwc parish. In the first list of charity schools in "Welch Piety", 1738-9, we have the note; "Llanguke, 56 [pupils].
- 1739-40, in a charity schools list we have the name of Llanguke again, with 84 pupils, and also"Waun-Cygurwen in Llanguke, 45". This was the first record in GCG of the Circulating schools initiated by the Rev.Griffith Jones, Llanddowror, following this Sunday schools began to be used as places of elementary education.
- 1745-6, we have a record relating to the exact location of early charity schools in this district; " Llanguick Parish Church, 24; Llwyn y celyn in Llanguick, 34; Another school in Llwyn celyn, 28".
- 1750, in this year came another interesting note re schools, namely "Neuadd in Llanguick, 43". Neuadd farmhouse is in the northerly corner of the district, on the edge of Cwmaman, and it is likely that the children of Cwmaman as well as those from the Waun went there. In 1750-1, we have "Cigerwen in the parish of Llanguick,49" [I wonder whether that was a continuation of Neuadd school ?]. Whatever, that is the last record in "Welch Piety" about a school in the place.
- 1762, evidence that a number of small holders of the area were ardent dissenters by 1762, they built a school house on the land of Cwmbach farm, GCG as a place to preach in. That was the start of Carmel chapel , but a church was not formed in the school house for several years.
- 1762, Noah Jones left two pounds a year towards teaching the children of the inhabitants of the district, and it is fairly certain that a school was held in the Cwmbach school house from 1762 onwards for some years at least. Early in the last century, there was a school in the stable loft of Old Carmel, although there are no further details on it.
- 1821, the little old thatched roof school house at Cwmbach , GCG became too small and they raised a larger building.
- 1832 ' Hen Abraham' kept a day school in the stable loft of Old Carmel Chapel.
- 1857/8, the next certain information is that a man called Philip Rees[ who lost his leg in the Crimea War, and came to keep the Caegurwen Inn] held a school in the loft of the inn. It seems there was scant approval for the old soldier's efforts to cram a bit of English and arithmetic into the heads of the children of the Waun, and the life of the school was brief.
- 1865 ?, John Davies the weaver held a school in the old house at Penyrinclein.
- 1866, at Caegurwen Arms, miners and others held a meeting and decided to build a ' British' school and contribute 1/- a month for the school and it's maintenance. They accordingly built a one room school house at the bottom of the Waun, and by Dec 1867 there were 90 children at the school. In 1868, the teacher said;
"On the whole, I noticed that those who were always present were most successful in the examination; the others either copied or failed, Most of the children were exceedingly nervous". Yes, poor things, no wonder, with the language of their homes banned from the school.
- 1875, we see references to establishing a Board School in Llangiwg parish and, after some disagreement about compensation, Carmel did eventually transfer the school house to the Board
- 1877, an interesting note, " According to the census made lately for the parish, Caegurwen has 424 children of school age, of whom 283 attend school, 39 are working and 102 are at home.
- 1888, a GCG school log note said "June 11---"Wombell's Menagerie passed by to exhibit at Brynaman. Allowed the children to go out and see the Elephants and Camels and the procession generally"
- 1912, Cwmgors primary school opened
- 1935 , a new school opened for the older children on Waun common
- 1938/39, they pulled down the old Waun school [containing the original room built in 1867]
Notes re the following photographs.
The first photograph, being of the staff at the Waun Board School in March 1890, has kindly been provided by Gordon Rees [see the Memories item] whose uncle, Evan Rees, is the young man shown second from the left. Evan Rees had celebrated his 17th birthday a fortnight previously but had sadly died from tuberculosis by the June of that year. Unbeknown to them, the family had a tubercular cow on one of their farms and as a result of that, Gordon's grandmother lost three of her children in 18 months, Evan being one of them.
Gwauncaegurwen Board Schools Teachers, March 17th 1890
Gwaun-cae-gurwen infants school.
I guess the date to be c1913 as my father, Handel Hicks, is fifth from the right in the front row.
The only other child I can identify is the third child from the right in the back row, my father's cousin, Willie Davies, who supplied the original photograph.
(The colouring is not true to the original)