Appendix 2 – Commissions’ Report 1847

Reports of the Commissions of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales

Part III North Wales including Carnarvon, published in 1847

Presented to both houses of Parliament by Command of her Majesty. Motion of Mr. Williams of March 10 1846 for an address to the Queen, praying her Majesty to direct an Inquiry to be made into the State of Education in the Principality of Wales and especially into the means afforded to the Labouring Class of acquiring a Knowledge of English Language. (Often referred to as the ‘Blue Books’)

Eglwys Rhos- Endowed Church School – a school for boys and girls taught buy a master only, in a school built for the purpose. Number of Scholars 65, number employed as Monitors. Subjects taught the Holy Scriptures, Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. Two catechisms are used viz. the Church Catechism and another in Welsh. The instruction is free.

I visited the school on the 11th March when only 22 scholars were present; 10 of these were above the age 10 years of age and there were 7 who had been in the school above five years. I found 3 who could read well, 4 who could repeat the Catechism correctly and 4 who could answer a few very plain questions respecting the Bible; the rest know nothing of that subject. Forty-five copies were shown, 40 of which were wretchedly bad, and none were well written. Of 6 were learning arithmetic, none could work sums in compound rules correctly, except one little girl, born at Liverpool, and who spoke English and Welsh. Very few of the scholars could understand anything of English.

The master is of 57 years and has without any preparation kept school for 27 years. He was clerk to the Comptroller of Customs of Conway, and is now parish clerk, vestry clerk and secretary to a Society for the Prosecution of Felons. He speaks English very well. There is apparently no system of interpretation but he occasionally attempts to explain English words. The first explanation he made was quite incorrect. He had a vocabulary and so long that as he kept to that his explanation was correct. As regards the Bible, he did feel himself competent to question the children without a book. He governed the school by blowing a whistle about once every four minutes, during the greater part of my stay. At first, this seemed to effect the purpose; but at every repetition the school became less attentive, till at last nobody heeded, and while one class was under examination, the rest of the scholars were playing. The monitors were utterly unfit for their office.

The building, though a little out of repair, is a good one. There was no fire on the day of my visit, which was very cold, with snow on the ground. The room is very dirty, everything in it being covered with dust. There was a deficiency of books and slates.

The outbuildings, besides being insufficient, are in very bad repair. There never was a division of the path to them and they lie very close together. Only one of them is now available. On my asking the master if he did not think this improper in a mixed school, he replied that he ‘never studied the question’. There two females employed to teach sewing and knitting to the girls.

John James, Assistant

The schoolmaster was probably John Jones (1841, 1851 census, postal directory of 1844) and if he had been the schoolmaster for 27 years, this would probably suggest that he had been the schoolmaster of Llanrhos school since it opened in 1822.