Introduction - Researched
and written by Christine Forbes
( nee Lloyd )
Until the Middle Ages education was the preserve of a wealthy
elite and a religious hierarchy with Latin being the lingua franca;
education for poorer children was confined to isolated charity
schools. Sunday schools, which were first set up in the 1780’s,
taught the poor - both children and adults - to read the Bible,
but not writing or arithmetic or any of the 'more dangerous subjects'
which were 'less necessary or even harmful'
In 1808 the Royal Lancastrian Society (later the British and Foreign
School Association) was created to promote schools using the monitorial
system where abler pupils were used to assist the master in passing
on information to the pupils. In 1811 the National Society was
founded to establish schools using a similar principle but based
on the teachings of the Church of England, as opposed to the non-denominational
approach of the Lancastrian schools. The first National School
in Glasbury (which later became known as Coed-y-Bolen) was opened
in 1816 although a school already existed in the village and is
referred to in a letter dated 12th September, 1814 (see Appendix
1: Coed-y-bolen) the original of which is in the Lambeth Palace
The 1870 Education Act established a system of School Boards,
locally elected and drawing funds from local rates, to build and
manage schools in areas where they were needed. However, attendance
at school, for those aged 5 – 10, did not become compulsory
until 1880 and fees were payable until a change in the law in
1891. Further legislation in 1893 extended compulsory attendance
to the age of 11 and in 1899 to the age of 12. In 1902 the Educational
Boards were abolished and schools came under the control of the
newly created local education authorities. By 1918 the leaving
age was raised to 14 and in 1945 to 15 following the ‘Butler’
education act. In 1969 it rose to 15 and currently to 17 in September
Ffynnongynnydd primary school opened in 1876. The date for the
opening of Hampton Grammar School is uncertain. Thus Glasbury
National School, Ffynnongynnydd School and Hampton Grammar School
the three main schools in Glasbury at the end of the nineteenth
century. However, there were also one or more “Dame Schools”
in the village as the school log books (introduced in 1862 for
schools receiving grants and written by the Headteacher) contain
frequent references to receiving children from such schools –
nearly always backward in everything but reading.
The log books make frequent reference to poor attendance and
truancy. Many activities affected attendance: potato planting
and picking, apple picking, blackberrying, mushrooming, acorn
picking, tending young geese etc. Bad weather was frequently a
factor and snow often prevented the children from reaching school.
Other causes of poor attendance were Hay Fair which was “regarded
by all in the neighbourhood more or less as a festival week”
and illness – with frequent epidemics of diphtheria, measles,
scarlet fever and whooping cough, not to mention colds and flu.
The schools closed for 2 weeks at hay making time as the children
were needed to help at home and half and whole day holidays were
granted freely for a variety of reasons, for example:
1867: August 6th – Children dismissed at 12.00 on account
of the “club” (Oddfellows) in the village
1873: January 22nd – Holiday to give the Headteacher a day’s
1882: October 13th – holiday for opening of All Saints Church.
1885 August 13th: dismissed early as many wish to see cricket
match in Parks.
Sources : --
School log books lodged in Powys Archive, Llandrindod Wells.
Glasbury Parochial School: Rules and Regulations 1816
School log books 1863 – 1986. (lodged in Powys Archive,
Lambeth Palace Archive.
Articles found in local newspapers
Anecdotal evidence from former residents of the village.