Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

3 erthygl ar y dudalen hon



EARLY WELSH SCHOOLS. An interesting address was delivered by the Bishop of St. Asaph, on Saturday last, at Colwyn Bay, before the members of the Denbighshire Teachers' Association. His remarks were founded mainly on recent discoveries among the historical documents under his control at the diocesan head- quarters at St. Asaph. Speaking of the first schools founded in Wales, he said Let me give my authorities. There are among the diocesan records visita- tion returns from every parish, rural deans' returns from every deanery, and a large mass of other original documents never yet pub- lished, but throwing a flood of light upon the whole of the 18th century in this part of Wales. An official document in the hand- writing of Bishop Griffiths in 1666—just like the petition from Monmouthshire and the six South Wales counties-shows that the same wave of ruin and spoliation had swept over North and South Wales. In 1674 the Archbishop of Canterbury, several other bishops, and Mr. Gouge formed a voluntary society for circulating Welsh books in Wales and for establishing and maintaining schools in Wales to teach Welsh children to read, write, and cast accounts. The funeral sermon preached upon the death of Gouge in 1681 shows that a large number of schools were established and a vast amount of literature distributed by this organisation. SIR JOHN PHILLIPS. Then arose Sir John Phillips, the foremost figure among the promoters of Welsh educa- tion in the 18th century. In 1700 he directed the attention of the Christian Knowledge Society to Wales, and for a record of his transcendent services, carried on after his death by his brother-in-law, Griffiths Jones, of Llanddowror, I refer you to the invaluable monograph lately published by the Rev. Thomas Shankland, librarian of Bangor College. Truly it is a refreshing experience to find in Mr. Shankland a writer who has the courage and ability to tell the whole truth about the 18th century without keeping his eye on present controversies and shaping his history accordingly. The move- ment in which Sir John Phillips took part was enthusiastically Welsh. Circulating and charity schools, lending and circulating libraries were among its chief results. Parochial libraries were largely established in this diocese, and an Act was passed in the seventh year of Queen Anne for the better preservation of such libraries." I still have the list of these libraries in 1712 in the very parish where we are assembled, and the adjoining parish of Llanrhos and Llysfaen. The lists represent a large outlay, entirely by private benefaction, and indicate that there must have been in these parishes a reading public. In the first half of the 18th century there were 69 out of 121 parishes in this diocese where schools had been es- tablished. A full record of these schools survives. CIRCULATING CHARITY SCHOOLS. At Llangernyw "there was one of the Welsh circulating charity schools, which remained in the same parish for six or nine months the teacher was paid Y.2 a quarter, and the country folk eagerly desired to re- tain these schools." The returns reveal pathos and humour. John Jones, the clergyman of Capel Garmon, says that their school was so excellent that parents sent their children from other parishes to attend it, and he adds Our schoolmaster, my lord, is the second Busby in this country an interesting testimony to the fame of the great Westminster head master. In this same record of 1753 Mr. John Jones patheti- cally explains to the bishop that he was himself unable to visit the school as often as he wished, because he was afflicted with a cold and dry rumbling commotion internally which some call the hyp." Hence came, I suppose, our word hipped." You re- member Addison's words, I have always looked on the institution of charity schools, which of late years have so universally pre- vailed through the whole nation, as the glory of the age we live in." These schools were established long before the year 1730, a year selected by some for the birth of move- ments already long in existence. In per- using these early documents I am inclined not to deride but to admire tho efforts, blundering as we may regard them, thus made in the cause of education, and to wonder whether we in like conditions would have done equally well. Fortes ante Aga- memnona. The close of the century saw the first impulse to popular education given by the Swiss teacher Pestalozzi in his" Lein- hardt und Gertrud." Seven years later Lancaster at Southwark, and two years later Bell began their systems. In these charity schools religious instruction formed a large part of the teaching. Here we must re- member one salient fact. Throughout the eighteenth century there was hardly a parish in this diocese where the system of catechi- sing on Sunday was not regularly main- tained during stated periods of the year. Parents, servants, children attended these catechising classes.