Click here to return to the main site entry page
Click here to return to the previous page

New Board Schools - 1878

Part 2

Wellingborough News, 13th July 1878, transcribed by Kay Collins


Present : Mr. G. Denton (in the chair); Messrs. W. Colson, Butcher, and Knight.

The minutes of the previous meeting having been read and confirmed, the Board proceeded to consider the report of H. M. Inspector, which, on the whole, was satisfactory.


It was resolved that the joint salaries of Mr. and Mrs. Wood be £170, instead of £160, the increase to commence from June last. Miss Bland was appointed to assist in the mixed school, at a salary of £25 per annum.


The following letters were read:-

Sir,—I am directed to inform you that the Education Department approve of the site shewn upon the enclosed plans for the erection of a school for 175 children, and that they will be prepared to recommend the Public Works Loan Commissioners to lend to your Board a sum, not exceeding £450, for the purchase of this site, but it will be advisable to defer making the recommendation till my Lords have further approved the plans, specifications, sand cost, as shewn by tender, of the buildings, in order that the whole cost of the undertaking may be dealt with as one loan. A distinctive name must be given to the school, and written at the head of every letter relating to it. Detailed plans and specifications of the proposed buildings should now be forwarded to this office. The pamphlet enclosed may be found useful in their preparation.—Your obedient servant,


Mr. Heygate, Wellingborough.

28th June.

Sir—Adverting to your letter of the 30th ult. I am directed to state that their Lordships' architect reports thus upon the plans herewith returned: "The general arrangement of the plan is satisfactory. Accommodation is provided for 95 older children and 100 infants. If the Board-room be omitted some saving might be made in the cost of the building. The proportion of infants to older children could be altered by revising the plans, making the infants' room rather smaller and increasing the length of the room for older children. It would be desirable also to add about 2ft. to the width of the class-room. A further saving might be made by reducing the size of the rooms of the residence to the smallest dimensions required by their Lordships' rules. My Lords would be glad to know how your Board have arrived at their estimate of the relative proportions of the accommodation required for infants and older children respectively.—I have the honour, &c.,


The Chairman said, in reference to the excess of accommodation for infants over older children, the Board were influenced by existing accommodation, and the requirements of the village, as shewn by the census. He thought that the Education Department had made a mistake in their figures, as both the rooms were of equal dimensions. Referring to the Board-room, the Chairman said the intention of the Board was to have a Board-room to serve as a class-room, and unless the Board-room was retained there would not be accommodation for the specified number.

The Board were unanimously of opinion that the suggestion of the Education Department referring to the class-room was a very good one, and one that they should adopt.

Ultimately, on the suggestion of the Clerk, Mr. Knight mixed, and Mr. Colson seconded, that the letter from the Education Department, together with the plans, be referred to a committee of the whole Board, with power to call in the architect and act on his suggestions.

The resolution was carried.

A letter from the Rev. J. T. Barker was read, accepting the terms of the Board for the room on Mr. Pendred's property.


The Attendance Officer seated that all the children previously reported had attended school properly since, with the exception of Joseph York, who had attended as a half-timer only.

The Officer was instructed to inform the boy's parents and his employer that unless he attended as a whole timer, proceedings would be commenced forthwith.

The Chairman called the Officer's attention to a number of complaints that had been made to him of several children not attending school who ought to do so.

The Officer promised to give the matter his careful consideration. He then laid before the Board two lists of half-timers who had not passed the Third Standard at the recent examinations.

The consideration of this question was deferred, and the Board adjourned.

Wellingborough News, 17th August 1878, transcribed by Kay Collins


Present: Messrs. G. Denton (in the chair), W. Colson, S. Knight, and Jas. Heygate (clerk).


The minutes of the previous meeting having been read and confirmed,

A letter was read from the trustees of the Wesleyan Chapel, claiming £15 for the use of the rooms for the Infants' schools. The letter explained that the Board only agreed to rent one room, but finding that the number of children so very greatly increased the Board found it necessary to use two and it was for the use of the second room that the trustees asked an additional £5.

It was unanimously resolved that the amount be paid.

The following letter from the Department was then read by the Clerk :—

Sir,—In adverting to your letter of the 11th inst., I am directed to state that their Lordship's architect reports as follows upon the plans herewith returned: "I should have no further objection to make to the general arrangement, but I think the design is rather extravagant." Having regard to the above report, my lords desire me to suggest that the plans should be revised with a view to increase economy. Unless this is done their lordships, as at present advised, will not be prepared to recommend the Public Works Loan Commissioners to advance a loan under section 10 of the Elementary Education Act, 1873, but must leave your Board to borrow in the open market. With reference to the proposal to provide a Board-room in connection with the new school, l am directed to furnish you with the enclosed communication upon the subject, which my lords have received from certain ratepayers of the district, and to invite the observations of your Board thereupon. I have the honour to be, Sir, your obedient servant


The following is the letter referred to:

Rushden, Higham Ferrers

Sir,—We, the undersigned ratepayers of Rushden, suffering under the heavy burden of the Education rate levied in this parish, are constrained again to call the attention of the Committee of Privy Council to the proposed expenditure of the Rushden School Board, in respect of a Board-room in the plans for the new school buildings, when a large convenient vestry hall, built out of the poor rates, and available for all meetings of the Board, already exists in the parish.—We beg to remain, your obedient servants, Signed,




Secretary, Education Department.

It was resolved to refer the plans back to the architect, and that he should meet the committee to confer with them as to the advisableness of altering the plans.

It was reported that several parents objected to obtain certificates of the ages of their children.

The School Attendance Officer was instructed to obtain all possible information with regard to the age of children attending the Board Schools, and lay it before a committee of the Board; and the Clerk was directed to sign certificates of age, by the authority of the committee, who would also have the power to obtain the Registrar's certificate of birth at the cost of the Board.

The Board decided that the harvest holidays should commence on the 16th inst., and continue until the 30th prox.

The School Attendance Officer reported that he had issued four notices upon parents for neglecting to send their children to school, and that they had the desired effect.

The Clerk had issued a summons against Mr. W. Laughton for employing a boy named York when he ought to have been at school, and a summons against the boy’s father for allowing him to be employed.

There was no other business before the Board.

Wellingborough News, 14th September 1878, transcribed by Kay Collins


Present: Messrs. W. Colson, in the chair; F. U. Sartoris, R. 0. Butcher, and S. Knight.

Mr. Colson said he had received a letter from the clerk stating that Mr. Sharman had not completed the revision of the plans. He (the Chairman) therefore suggested that the meeting should be adjourned for a week.

Mr. Sartoris said he must object to the suggestion as he was leaving home, and his engagements would occupy him until the 25th inst. He hoped the Board would adjourn until the 30th inst.

Mr. Knight thought there had been great delay already, and he did not think the matter should be deferred longer than was absolutely necessary.

Mr. Colson was of a similar opinion.

Mr. Sartoris said he had put himself to inconvenience to attend this meeting because he expected there would be important business to be transacted. He thought it would be only a matter of courtesy to adjourn the business to a time when there could be a full meeting.

Mr. Colson said he was sure he and the other members wished to show every courtesy to Mr. Sartoris and were pleased to see him at the meeting, but they were anxious to proceed as soon as possible.

After some further discussion it was resolved that the meeting should be adjourned until the end of the present week.

Wellingborough News, 21st September 1878, transcribed by Kay Collins


Present: Mr. G. Denton, in the chair; Mr. F. U. Sartoris, J.P., Mr. Colson, Mr. Butcher, Mr. Knight, and Mr. Heygate, (clerk), Mr. Edward Sharman, architect, Wellingborough, was also present. The meeting was called specially to consider the plans of the proposed new school buildings, and the original and the revised plans were produced. The proposed new buildings would accommodate 180 children.

Mr. Sartoris thought the Board had authority to provide accommodation only for 175 children; and bearing in mind the extent of the population, as proved by the last census, that accommodation was not required.

The Clerk laid before the Board a letter from the Education Department, showing that as it was represented there was a deficiency of school accommodation in the parish for 133 children, the Education Department would permit the Board to build a school to accommodate 175 children.

Mr. Sartoris said there would be an excess of accommodation if the plans before the Board were approved of.

Mr. Knight stated that 49 new houses had been erected in the parish since the last census was taken, although, at present, the houses might not all be finished.

Mr. Colson hoped Mr. Sartoris would not alter the plans because they would provide accommodation for five more children than the Board was authorised to provide accommodation for.

Mr. Sharman, in reply to Mr. Sartoris, said the carrying out of the revised plans would cost £200 less than the carrying out of the original plans.

Mr. Sartoris proposed, "That the members of this Board pledge themselves, in the administration of the educational question in Rushden, to redeem the promises of strict economy made to the parish at their election; and, further, that in the purchase of land and the erection of school buildings they will not exceed £1,500, the expenditure of that amount having been sanctioned by the Educational Department."

The Clerk said no expenditure had yet been sanctioned beyond £450 for the site of proposed new buildings.

Mr Sartoris remarked that he was content to let his proposition stand as he had read it.

Mr. Butcher seconded the proposition.

Mr. Sartoris said the average attendance at the Board schools now was 150; the average attendance at the National schools was 250. With an average attendance at the Board schools of 150, how could it be said that accommodation was needed in the parish for 180 more children? In the National schools there was accommodation for 464 children, so that it seemed they wished to provide accommodation for 240 more children than attend school. He thought the Board ought to be very careful not to go to any unnecessary expenditure, and no doubt the Education Department would see they did not spend money extravagantly.

Mr. Colson stated that the rates in the parish were not so heavy now as they were a few years ago.—A long discussion ensued, in the course of which

Mr. Sartoris thought that if the parish were polled the ratepayers would show that they were in favour of economy.

The Chairman: I should have no objection to poll the parish on the question.

Mr. Colson: Nor I; I know there are a considerable number of small ratepayers who talk about calling a public meeting to protest against the erection of a mean school.

The resolution was put to the meeting and lost, two voting for it and three against.—Mr. Sartoris and Mr. Butcher afterwards left the meeting.

Mr. Knight proposed that both the plans should be sent to the Education Department, and that the clerk should be requested to ask their Lordships' approval of the revised plans, and, at the same time, to express the regret of the Board that the appearance of the schools should be spoiled for the sake of £200.

Mr. Colson seconded the proposition, and it was carried unanimously.

The other business before the Board was devoid of public interest.

Wellingborough News, 19th October 1878, transcribed by Kay Collins


Present: Mr. G. Denton, in the chair; Messrs. W. Colson and S. Knight.

The minutes of the previous meeting having been read and confirmed, the following letter was read by the Chairman:—

Whitehall, 80th Sept., 1878.

Sir—I am directed by the Committee of Council on Education to return to you the accompanying revised plans and specifications, which are satisfactory. I have to request that when your Board have obtained tenders for the erection of the buildings, but before any contract has been signed, the plans and specifications may be returned in duplicate to this office, together with one of the enclosed forms (No. 7) duly completed. My Lords will then be able to inform you what sum they will be able to recommend the Public Works Loan Commissioners to lend to your board.—I am. Sir, your obedient servant, (for secretary)


To James Heygate, Esq.

P.S.—The above preliminary applies to plans marked "Design No. 2," with reference to it and the alternative design the Lordships' architect reports: "I observe as respects both designs the amounts are only estimates; my own opinion is that the difference between the cost of the two designs would prove to be considerably more than £200."

A. T. C.

A precept was issued on the overseers for £80, to be paid on the 30th of November.

The accounts for the year were examined and signed by the Chairman.

A circular from the Educational Department was read, asking what, if any, religious instruction was given in the Board Schools, and the Clerk was instructed to answer that the school is opened by the singing of a hymn, and reading and expounding a portion of Scripture each morning.

The Master sent in a number of children's books to be filled up, and it was resolved that the Chairman and Vice-Chairman be a committee to fill up the same, the information of the parents as to age to be taken unless the committee have reason to doubt their statements, in which case a registrar's certificate is to be obtained.

After the transaction of some other business, the meeting adjourned until Monday next at 5 o'clock to receive tenders for the erection of the school buildings.

Wellingborough News, November 16th 1878, transcribed by Kay Collins


Present: Mr. G. Denton, in the chair; Messrs. Colson, Knight, Sartoris, and Butcher. The minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed.


The following letter was read from the Education Department:- "Whitehall, 4th November, 1878. Sir,—In adverting to your letter of the 23rd ultimo, I am directed to state that their Lordships' architect again draws attention to certain saving of expenditure which might be effected in the plans herewith returned. His report is as follows: 'The design is simple, but the Board might save by omitting the Board-room, and taking two feet off the height of the walls throughout.' My Lords commend the above report to the notice of your Board, and I am to add that before my Lords definitely decide with respect to the loan for the provision of the school, they would be glad to have the observation of your Board upon the extracts herewith enclosed, from a protest received by their Lordships from the ratepayers of your district. The passages omitted do not seem material to the issue. The plans which have not been cancelled by their Lordships' architect, and the estimate should be returned with your answer.

I have the honour to be your obedient servant. P.CUMIN."

Extract from 78720634: "The Secretary, Education Department. Sir,—0nce again, and before the question of the School Board loan is finally settled, we beg most earnestly to protest against the useless and reckless expenditure about to be thrust on the occupiers of land in this parish, who, under the present incidence of the School Board rate, represent by far the largest proportion of the rateable value of the property in this parish. If the present plans are carried out, the National and Board Schools will actually provide accommodation for no less than 170 children in excess of the requirements. Within a comparative small number the National Schools alone would provide accommodation for the whole education of the place. The estimates for the Board Schools are out of all proportion to the wants of the parish. In a parish near Preston, in Lancashire, very nice schools, providing class-room and school-room accommodation for 170 children, exclusive of Master's house, are being built for £1200; but both in the purchase of land at the absurd price of £900 per acre, and in their estimates, the Rushden School Board endeavoured to spend as much as they think the Department likely to allow them, with a view to securing, more accommodation than they possibly can require. We therefore trust that the Department will not sanction the spending of any money beyond the £1,500 loan formerly applied for. We venture to assert that, under the working of the Education Act, no greater case of hardship, arising from the injustice of the present incidence of the School Board rate can be adduced in England. We venture to say that if an official could investigate and report on the spot on the whole of the School Board question in Rushden, he would come to the conclusion that a very small building, say for 60 children at the most, would be amply sufficient, at the cost of some £400 or £500. The average attendance is now — In the National Schools, 285; in the Board Schools, 160; total, 445; while in the National Schools afforded accommodation for at least 430, or within 157 of the total average attendance in all schools. With this broad fact before them, the Board are asking leave to build for 180 children. Surely the Department will consider very carefully before sanctioning such needless expenditure?

The Chairman said: Before proceeding to discuss the documents just read, it appears to me that I ought to make a few observations with a view of defending the policy of this Board against the persistent attacks, through the Education Department, of the members forming the minority of the Board and as it is now incumbent on the Board to resolutely make a stand, a favourable opportunity presents itself. A short review would, perhaps, be necessary to fully explain the present position of the educational question in Rushden. Previous to the year 1869 this parish was, practically speaking, without any educational means. This fact was admitted and deplored, but no tangible steps were taken until the present Rector came to the village, when a vestry meeting was called to consider the question. The ratepayers attending were in favour of providing school buildings, which should be truly parochial; it was also fully expected that the promised Education Act would contain provisions which would enable the parish to satisfactorily and justly provide the requisite means to efficiently satisfy the growing wants of the village. Notwithstanding this expression of opinion, a proposition was submitted to the meeting. "That it was desirable that steps be taken to erect National schools," was rejected by an overwhelming majority, an amendment in favour of forming parish schools was carried, with but few dissentients. The advocates of Church of England schools were appointed, and expressed their disgust at being dictated to by a set of shoemakers, and vowed that they would not be deterred from their object. The success of the erection of the Church of England schools was secured, the opposition on the part of the vestry contributing in no small degree to hastening and completing the structure. From that time the whole of the present differences may be traced. The Church of England school erected, they at once presented a great difficulty and hindrance to the securing of unsectarian education in the parish. An attempt was made, nevertheless, to introduce a society, termed the "General School Society," which established an undenominational school in the Temperance Hall, under the control of managers elected annually by the members, a contribution of not less than one shilling per year constituting membership. With this healthy competition for several years, education matters remained in this state until, through want of funds, great difficulty was experienced in continuing the efficiency of the schools.

Mr. Sartoris stated that the Chairman could not prove that the memorial emanated from the members of the Board, and he further wished to state that it was only the General School that experienced any difficulty in keeping the school on.

Mr. Colson: There is your letter, which states that you could not keep up the National Schools.

Mr. Sartoris again asked the Chairman to state that it was the General School that experienced the difficulty. If it was left as he had stated it would appear as if all the above were in difficulty. He (Mr. Sartoris) only wished the truth to go to the public.

The Chairman said he preferred to let it remain as it was, and asked Mr. Sartoris to make a note of what he objected to and discuss it when he had finished. Some two years ago a move was made to obtain a School Board for the parish of Rushden. At first it was thought that the managers of both schools would be prepared to hand over their charges to this Authority, but when the meeting was called for passing the requisite resolution, the Church of England school managers opposed it, and, being out-voted, demanded a poll of the parish, which resulted in a Board being ordered to be formed. Then followed the contest for the seats, which was fought on the direct issue of Denominational v. Board schools, the former being again defeated, and the three members forming the majority of the Board returned at the head of the poll. As an expression of the opinion and wishes of the parish, it was most emphatic in favour of Board schools. It was well known that a deficiency of school building existed, and the Board at once proceeded to obtain a census of the children of school age, the result of which was forthwith forwarded to the Education Department, and permission was asked to provide the requisite accommodation. But the Department, having received a communication from the minority, taking exception to the figures and information, a second census was taken, which proved most conclusively the accuracy of the Board's figures. Then the Church of England managers provided to supply part of the admitted deficiency by opening a building as an infant school, near to the site the Board contemplated using. Ultimately, after a deal of correspondence and thorough investigation, the Education Department granted permission for the Board to erect buildings to accommodate 175 children, both in choice of site and design of building. The Board had been actuated by no other desire than to serve the best interests of the parish as a whole, by providing school buildings conveniently situated and adopted to the use intended at the lowest possible cost. Having, as he thought, arrived at that point when everything relating to the building was finally settled, with the entire consent and approval of the Department, the communication just read was undoubtedly a surprise, but before he referred to them he felt compelled to express his strong disapproval of the whole course pursued by the minority of this Board, in persistently refusing to share in any work relating to the business School Boards are elected to transact.

Mr. Sartoris said he was sorry to have again to interrupt the Chairman, but he was sure he and his Colleague would be pleased to work together with the other members of the Board, but they found that they were so small a minority that they were always out-voted, and that the business was previously arranged; and he felt it was only a waste of his time to attend, but he liked to attend to watch the doings of the Board, and to enter a respectful protest, as in the case of the ground when he thought they were offered a cheaper site.

The Chairman: Not cheaper.

Mr. Sartoris: It is a cheaper and a better piece, and I challenge the Chairman, notwithstanding all his bias, if he did not for some time waver in coming to a conclusion, but I feel it is a waste of time to come, as I am only a cipher.

The Chairman, resuming, said he would now invite their attention to the protest, the receipt of which by the Department evidently induced them to send the letter now before the meeting. As it bore no signatures, he should assume that the same parties signed it who had before signed similar communications to the Department. As one of the members of the minority complained at a recent meeting that they could not be heard as a minority, and must therefore take other steps to make their opinions known to the Department, he thought he was doing them no injustice in assuming that the opinions are theirs, although they did not bear their names.

Mr. Sartoris: You need not tell us we are not wanted. Your statement is very specious and fallacious; you only assume that our schools are not sufficient, but you look at the future, which you should not do. Seeing the low price of corn and the high price of labour the evils of the day are sufficient, and your calculation for the future is one of the points on which we are at issue. The price of the ground, I consider, is very high. I think we should only take the numbers in attendance, and not the numbers in the parish.

Mr. Colson, in reply to Mr. Sartoris, said the Board had the census taken, and they had the area of the National School and the accommodation provided in the village. They then had the census taken again, which proved that the first was correct, and after the Education Department had accepted the plans they had this letter to say that they only required accommodation for 15. The law stood the same as it did when they had the census taken, and the Education Department allowed for 175. He was sorry to be personal, but he hoped Mr. Sartoris would excuse him, as he felt bound to be so, seeing that they were always talking of the "absurd and extravagant price of the piece of land sold by Mr. Packwood." Some time since Mr. Sartoris's bailiff came to him, and asked him (Mr. Colson) if he wanted to enlarge his premises, and offered him a piece of land not nearly so large as the piece sold by Mr. Packwood, and he asked him £1000 for it.

Mr. Sartoris: I must object. Mr. Chairman; here is a loose statement of which I have no knowledge, and which is entirely outside the question, and I put myself under the Chairman's protection.

The Chairman said he must rule Mr. Colson was out of order, as the matter was irrelevant to the subject.

Mr. Colson said he knew that he was out of order, but they were so frequently being told about this piece of land and the absurd price, that he thought he was justified in defending himself.

Mr. Sartoris said he thought this conversation ought not to be reported, but he would leave it with the reporter.

After this discussion the Chairman again resumed his remarks, saying that several statements in the protest required their attention. The terms "needless expenditure” and “should not be daunted” were charges which were actually incapable of proof to anyone who deemed the work of a School Board of any importance. He also protested against the use of the definite article before "occupiers of land," and would suggest a more modest expression.

Mr. Sartoris said the memorialists did not intend it to be understood that all the occupiers of laud were against the Board, but those in favour of the Board could be counted on the fingers. They were not so foolish as to say that all the occupiers were against them, and if the memorial stated such it was a clerical error.

The Chairman, continuing, said the figures as to the accommodation and attendance were not calculated in accordance with the Government requirements, consequently they were useless for proving a anything whatever. That a deficiency of accommodation existed in the village was beyond question. The fact of there being at the present time an attendance of 203 children in the temporary Board Schools, and provision only being made for 180 in the new schools, repudiated any statement of providing an excess of accommodation. It was clear that overcrowding would be the first difficulty that would present itself upon the opening of the new schools, and suggestions for enlargement would most assuredly, at no very distant time, have to be considered. The rest of the objections had been most carefully considered by the Board, and were undoubtedly put forward to hide the, chief objection, viz., the desire to have the control of educational matters in the hands of managers of the Church of England school. With a view to attain this object, they, with a determination worthy of a better cause, sought to prevent, if possible, the School Board from obtaining a permanent footing in the parish. There was one other point he wished to notice, and in that, if it had been suggested long ago he should have been pleased to have united, viz., that an official from the Education Department should investigate on the spot, being confident that if this had been done the Department would have been spared the trouble of having to notice the vexatious and factious interference of those who sent memorials and protests which not by any means represented the feeling of the parish generally. He therefore proposed that the clerk be instructed to reply to the letter from the Education Department to the following effect: "That the plans having been sanctioned and the tenders obtained strictly in accordance with the instructions of the Department any alterations now would involve expense, be most unusual proceeding, and subject the Board to ridicule. That the alterations suggested cannot be entertained by the Board, on the ground that the school as furnished will be crowded to its utmost limit, and if the cubical area is lessened by covering the side walls it will be calculated prejudicially to affect the children; while if the Board-room were omitted it would most materially lessen the efficiency of a crowded school. The Board therefore trust that their Lordships sanction will be given to a loan for Board schools in accordance with plans already sent in. To point out that the protest emanates from the minority of the members of the Board who oppose without attempting to assist in carrying out the Education Act. The rateable value of the parish is £7,292. The house property, exclusive of farmhouses and premises, represents a total of £2,665, which doubtless is greatly in excess of the proportion of houses to land in rural districts generally. That the protesters have no right to assume that all the occupiers of land are opposed to the School Board, which assumption is contrary to fact. And further, to refer the Department to previous letters addressed to them by the Board, in which the whole of the objections have been considered and dealt with. That the Board regret that the names of the persons sighing the protest should not have been attached to the extracts."

Mr. Sartoris said in case of reference he was totally ignorant of the piece of land named by Mr. Colson, and repudiated the assertion that any of the managers used the expression of being "dictated to by a set of shoemakers," as he was sure none of the managers of the National Schools were capable of using such an expression, either in regard to the manufacturers or the artisans, and he totally denied that the expression was used by any of the managers. He moved an amendment to the effect that the Education Department only sanction a loan to build schools on the basis of the last communication, viz., the basis of strict economy.

Mr. Colson seconded the original proposition.

Mr. Sartoris said he was surprised at the smallness of the attendance, and contended that the Board should only calculate on the number in attendance, and not on the number in the parish.

The Clerk said as the area of the National Schools bad been introduced he might say the Board obtained the area from the Education Department, in a letter of December 15 last. He also stated that the Board were bound to provide for the whole of the children in the parish, and not those in actual attendance.

Mr. Sartoris: That is a question for the Department and no doubt they will attend to it.

The Chairman said if there was only a small number attending it shewed that the Board were not doing their duty.

Mr. Sartoris: There is no crowding in any school; I am sure there is not in ours, and I do not think there is in the Board schools.

The Chairman said when the new schools were opened the temporary schools would be closed.

Mr. Sartoris: But if there is accommodation in the village then the Board should not build. I do not say this to be factious or vexatious, as you term it, but it does bear unfairly on land.

On the amendment being put to the meeting, Messrs. Sartoris and Butcher voted for, and the Chairman and Messrs. Colson and Knight against, and it was therefore lost.

Before the original motion was put, Mr. Sartoris said the minority had no power to protest, and the Chairman had no proof that they were factious.

The Chairman: Only your statement at a previous meeting, when you said you should take steps to make yourself heard.

Mr. Sartoris, continuing: Neither do we assume that all the occupiers of land are on our side, but I can count with my fingers those who side with you, and I repeat that it is a clerical error if it is sent otherwise. Referring to the unfairness of the incidence of the land being ivited, Mr. Sartoris said some might feel it to be unfair and yet like it to be so. All the memorial meant was that it did bear unfairly on the land.

The motion was then put to the meeting, the Chairman and Messrs. Knight and Colson voting for, and Messrs. Sartoris and Butcher against; it was therefore carried.

The Attendance Officer presented his report, which was of no public importance, and the meeting terminated.

Wellingborough News, November 23rd 1878, transcribed by Kay Collins


SIR,—My attention has been called to a letter signed "Pro Bono Publico" which appeared in your last issue, and as it may give rise to erroneous impressions I venture to make the following remarks upon it. If your correspondent had the enviable (?) advantage of being a large ratepayer of Rushden and was also acquainted with its educational statistics, I think his benevolent interest in the children attending the existing Board Schools in Rushden would not have created such "horror and surprise" as to make him urge the immediate erection of "splendid buildings" by the Board I would suggest that on his next "reconnoitering expedition" he should make the following inquiries: 1st. The relation between the accommodation in the existing Board Schools, and the average attendance at those schools. 2nd. Whether the sanitary arrangements connected with those schools have been passed by the Inspector as meeting the stringent requirements of Government, or have ever during the past seven years caused the out-break of "fever and other unhappy diseases." Perhaps too if "Pro Bono Publico" were to inquire among the ratepayers of Rushden, he might not find them quite so keen for the immediate erection of "splendid buildings" with "lavatories, &c.," at a cost of £2,500 for the accommodation of 180 children (which I understand to be the present proposal of the majority of the Board). The National School at Rushden (which your correspondent graciously styles "very decent") cost about half the above sum, with accommodation for over 300 children. I will make no further comment except that if your correspondent were aware of these facts he would perhaps abandon the signature he adopts and substitute one meaning "for the benefit of private individuals". —I am, Sir, Yours obediently,"


SIR,—In your report of the School Board meeting at Rushden, on the 11th inst., the Chairman is said to have made the following statements:—"Previous to the year 1869 this parish was, practically speaking, without any educational means. The fact was admitted and deplored, but no tangible steps were taken until the present Rector came to the village, when a vestry was called to consider the question. The ratepayers attending were in favour of providing school buildings which should be purely parochial. It was also fully expected that the promised Education Act would contain provisions which would enable the parish to satisfactorily and justly provide the requisite means to efficiently satisfy the growing wants of the place. Notwithstanding this expression of opinion a proposition was submitted to the meeting that it was desirable that steps be taken to erect National Schools which was rejected by an overwhelming majority, and an amendment in favour of forming Parish Schools was carried, with but few dissentients. The advocates of Church of England Schools were disappointed, and expressed their disgust at being dictated to by a set, of shoemakers,"&c. Upon these statements I desire, as Chairman of the vestry meeting referred to, to make the following remarks. The proposition submitted by Mr. G. Walker, and seconded by Mr. Sartoris to that meeting, was to erect efficient National Schools, in the management of which due regard should he had to the religious opinions of the parents of the children attending the same. To this proposition no amendment "in favour of forming Parish Schools" was ever moved. No word was uttered respecting the provision of "school buildings purely parochial," or upon any other plan than the proposition suggested. A direct negative was moved and carried in this form:— "That the question of a school be deferred to this day twelve months." About 25 persons attended this meeting, and about two-thirds voted in the negative. A reference to the minute book will confirm what I say. This vestry meeting was held early in January, 1869, when the provisions of the Education Act of 1870 were necessarily no more than vague rumours. II. If the Chairman of the School Board means that at this vestry meeting "disappointment" and "disgust" were expressed in the unmannerly language he quotes, or in any language at all, I must tell him that he is utterly mistaken—that no vituperative language would be permitted, even in quotation, without rebuke, in any meeting of which I was Chairman; and I may add that, never from any supporters of the schools, before or since that meeting, have I ever heard such language, or anything like it.—I am, yours obediently,

Rushden Rectory JOHN T. BARKER,

Nov. 19, 1878. Rector of Rushden.

Wellingborough News, November 30th 1878, transcribed by Kay Collins


Sir,—It, is with reluctance but after most careful consideration I feel obliged to notice the remarks of our worthy Rector in your last week's issue in reference to certain statements I ventured to make at the last meeting of the Rushden School Board. The point I wished to enforce, and which I conceive to be the point upon which the present Educational difficulty hangs, is that the formation of the Church of England Schools in the parish was not in accordance with the wishes of the inhabitants, but directly in opposition to the expressed opinion of the ratepayers in vestry assembled. Exception is taken to the account I gave of this meeting, which was given entirely from memory, but I must still maintain that in substance it is correct. It is quite true the amendment was for postponing the question for twelve months, but the reasons for so doing were most fully stated, namely, the unsuitability of National Schools, for the wants of the parish, and the possibility of providing such schools that would satisfy the requirements of the place. I now find that 34 ratepayers were present at that meeting, and that 30 voted in favour of the amendment, and four only for the resolution to erect National Schools. I certainly could not be so utterly mistaken as to suggest for one moment that the unmannerly language was used at and in this meeting, and if anyone has thus understood it, I am most thankful for the opportunity of correcting it, and would add my testimony to the very able manner which at all our parish meetings our worthy chairman conducts and regulates its proceedings. It is most satisfactory to me that the use of the offensive terms which have been current in the village for years have been repudiated, after which moat willingly would I desire to withdraw and forget them. I would only further add that to me it has been, and is, a matter of concern that no understanding of a mutual character should have been arrived at, sacrificing and if need be destroying our sectarian interests, so that the jealousies and party feeling might be crushed, and an united part be given to the accomplishment of the one great object of giving to the children such instruction as shall fit them to fulfil the duties of life, and thus enable them to share in its enjoyments. — I am, faithfully yours,


Rushden, Nov. 27, 1878.

Wellingborough News, 7th December 1878, transcribed by Kay Collins


SIR,—As I am anxious that the Church of England should not, from any action of mine (assumed or real), appear sectarian or obstructive in the matter of education, permit me some brief remarks upon the courteous letter of Mr. Denton in your last issue. I am glad Mr. Denton admits that no alternative proposition was submitted to the vestry which I called when first coming into this parish, for the purpose of inviting co-operation in building of schools, wherein the rights of conscience should be strictly guarded. Had any such proposal been made or promised, I for one would carefully have considered it. That, vestry meeting simply neglected all co-operation with the promoters of the proposed schools. The parish was then asked for money and land. Both were supplied mainly by the parish, and the existing schools were built. I contend that in the management of these schools sectarian interests have never been considered. The principle that religious teaching is an essential part of education has been maintained. Such teaching has always been given; no child has ever been withdrawn from it. I am glad that Mr. Denton admits the "offensive terms" he quoted were not, as his first letter implied, used in the vestry, and that, indeed, they are but unauthentic current gossip. Let me say a word respecting the School Board controversy. I objected to a School Board, not per se, but as a needless expensive educational machinery, for a parish in which good schools already existed; a machinery calculated, moreover, to foster uncharitableness and ill-will, and giving no guarantee for the selection of the best materials for school management. I am of opinion that a contribution of little more than £220 a year from the parish ought to supply an excellent education for every child in it, or that is likely to be in it, for some years to come. Having regard to the rates already levied by the School Board, to its proposal to saddle the parish with a debt of £2,500 for a school accommodating only 180 children, to the possible contingency of the existing schools being thrown upon the rates, I greatly fear that the Burden upon the ratepayers will be much in excess of what it need have been. Let me in conclusion assure Mr. Denton that I entirely share his "concern" that the question of education should supply fuel for feeding our unhappy divisions.—Yours obediently, JOHN T. BARKER.

Rushden Rectory, December 3rd.

Click here to return to the main index of features
Click here to return to the Education index
Click here to e-mail us