United Schools Committee, 1874-80

As the result of the arguments about the Infants School in 1871-73, a new committee was formed to oversee all the schools (Infants, Girls and Boys) operating under the Education Act. This was to avoid the creation of a school board funded from the rates. Regular reports from the committee were published in early 1874, and some are given below. The Bicester Herald was a Liberal paper and sometimes reported things differently from the others, probably with material supplied by W.H. French (the probably identity of "Pro Bono Publico" in 1877). The Buckingham Express, also Liberal, gave a very full account of the first meeting in 1877.

Bucks Herald, 10 Jan

  A public meeting was held on the New Infants’ School-room on Friday week, to take into consideration the best means of carrying on the present schools of the town.  The meeting was attended by a large number of the tradesmen, and an amount of interest was manifested throughout the proceedings, which at times were very lively.

  The gentlemen present included the Rev. A. M. Preston, (vicar), Sir T. F. Fremantle, T. F. Fremantle, Esq., D. T. Willis, Esq.,  Dr. Newham, Merrick Lowndes, Esq., Mr. James King, Mr. R. W. Jones, Mr. W. H. French, Mr. G. [=E.] Braggins, Mr. J. Woodward, Mr. S. Syratt, Mr. H. Monk, Mr. J. Grace, Mr. J. Hathaway, Mr. W. Neal, Mr. Rand, (of Shipton), Mr. C. Treadwell, Mr. A. Barton, Mr. G. Jennings, Mr. T. Saving, Mr. J. Sear, &c.

  Dr. Newham presided, and in the course of his address said that according to the returns for the parish of Winslow, they were compelled to provide accommodation for 75 infants.  Some parishioners considered the school sufficient, but they were driven to the present enlargement, of which he hoped they would agree upon.  The Vicar had not been thoroughly and heartily supported in this work, and the result was the handing over of the schools to the Education Department.  Now the parishioners had a new room; he must also tell them that a mistress had been engaged, and would attend school duties in the course of ten or twelve days.  He need not tell them of the good Mr. Preston had effected in performing as he had done his duties aright.  Their Vicar had been the means of keeping the school going for many years, and the deficiencies in money which had often arisen were met by him, and their thanks were due to that gentleman.  (Hear, hear).  They now stood as it were at a crisis.  Mr. Preston had come to resign the treasurership of the schools into their hands.  The boys’ and girls’ school was in thorough working order, and a mistress had been engaged for the infants’ school.  The schools, as they were aware, had been carried on by voluntary subscriptions, and it was for them now to consider if that course should be pursued in the future. As to the Government grant, he must tell them the amount received by trustees was in accordance with the amount of voluntary subscriptions.  Supposing £50 was collected as voluntary subscriptions, they would be entitled to £50 from Government.  The committee of the present schools considered it incumbent upon them to do something in connection with the schools, and call all voices into the matter.  They had only two measures before them - one, the carrying on the schools as before by voluntary subscriptions, and the other, the election of a School Board to carry it on for them.  He hoped the trustees would sanction the transfer of the twenty boys, especially on the promise of giving them a thoroughly sound education, and that they might work amicably together, and believe the old proverb “If we help the trustees the trustees will help us.”  The question was: They had £90 to collect; should the present schools be carried on as usual, or go to the alternative of a School Board?

  Mr. Neal proposed, “That the school shall be jointly carried on by a committee with the present trustees added, and that such a committee being elected by the parishioners, shall be answerable for the necessary funds.”
  A long discussion ensued.
  Other resolutions and amendments, all of which tended to the amalgamation of the bodies as one committee, were put and withdrawn.
  The Chairman then put the first resolution to the meeting, which was carried.

  Mr. W. H. French proposed and Mr. Hathaway seconded, “That the committee shall consist of gentlemen, at present serving on the boys’ and girls’ school, and such other names as shall be deemed expedient at this meeting.”
  After further discussion.
  Sir Thomas Fremantle said he came there as a representative of the trustees of the boys’ school, and he was very pleased to see the way in which the tradesmen of Winslow had come forward to support measures concerning the education of the children.  He considered the voluntary system the more preferable of the two, and was glad to see them supporting it.  The only difficulty would be providing sufficient funds, and he thought that of very little importance as they had carried them on for many years.  He would like to say one word with regard to the amalgamation of the trustees and committee.  He did not think that the trustees of the other school should have anything to do in the management of that school.  As one of the trustees of the other schools it was his duty to see that the funds were well expended, and these of course would have to be handed over to the new committee.

  Mr. Monk said he was pleased to see Sir Thomas amongst them.  His offer, which was something like £42 per year, would be very acceptable.

  The proposition of Mr. W. H. French was then put by the chairman and carried.

  The Chairman asked the meeting to nominate gentlemen whom they thought fit to act as committee-men, and the following were proposed, seconded, and elected:- W. Selby Lowndes, Esq., jun., Mr. G. D. E. Wigley, Mr. W. George, Mr. W. H. French, Mr. Silvanus Jones. Mr. James King, Mr. H. Monk, Dr. Newham, Mr. T. P. Willis, Merrick Lowndes, Esq., Mr. Grant King, Thomas Fremantle, Esq., Mr. J. Woodward, Mr. W. Rand, Mr. J. L. French, Mr. J. French, jun., Mr. R. Gibbs, to act together with the present trustees, viz.,- The Vicar and Churchwardens, Messrs. E. W. S. Lowndes, D. T. Willis, S. B. Dudley, Dr. Wynter, G. Maydon, R. W. Jones, A. Barton, and W. Neal.

  Mr. James King proposed, and it was seconded, that Messrs. Willis and Willis be treasurers, and Mr. Grace proposed, and Mr. King seconded, that Dr. Newham be secretary.

  Sir Thomas Fremantle proposed a vote of thanks for the able manner in which Dr. Newham had filled the office of Chairman, which was duly seconded and acknowledged.
  A list of subscriptions received was then read, and the meeting separated.

Bucks Herald, 14 Feb


  The managers of the above schools met on Monday, January 19th, at the Bell Inn, and Mr. R. W. Jones was voted to the chair.

  Mr. Silvanus Jones proposed that notice should be given at each meeting of any resolutions to be brought forward; he certainly was surprised that at a meeting called to consider details and expenses such important resolutions should have been hastily passed as were passed at the previous meeting.  Had he known that a resolution excluding the vicar from giving religious instruction in the schools was to be discussed he should have attended.

  Dr. Newham said that notice was given of the different questions which were considered, but on correction from the meeting, he found himself to have been in error.

  The meeting then resolved to grant the use of the room in response to the applications of the Rev. A. M. Preston, Mr. J. L. French, and Mr. Bailey.

  Mr. W. H. French considered that the question which at present had been brought before the managers, it was not in their province to consider.  Their duty was to conduct the schools in the manner most likely to attract the children in large numbers, and to give them the best and most suitable education.  The Infant School had only just been started, and perhaps the managers need not be surprised that only 16 children attended while 70 still went to the Old School, but in the Girls’ School, while 54 names stood on the list, the average attendance had been 36, on that day it had only been 26; 17 girls were absent without leave and 11 with.  This was not satisfactory, and a cause should be found for such a state of things, and a remedy provided.  Some elder girls had just been removed by their parents from the school because the girls had been sent up to be educated with the boys and by the master during the absence of the mistress.  He considered that the managers ought to have been consulted on this point, before so improper a step was taken.

  Dr. Newham said it was only for a day or two.  The mistress left on Thursday on account of her father’s sudden illness, and returned on Saturday.  It was impossible to consult the managers, the time being insufficient.

  Mr. W. H. French found the secretary to be in error.  On Monday the mistress gave notice that she must go home, and she only returned that day (Monday).

  Dr. Newham certainly had not thought the time so long, but he considered Mr. French’s remark amounted to a vote of censure on him, and he thought that they should take that form.

  Mr. W. H. French wished for nothing of the sort, but he considered it high time that the managers returned to their legitimate duty of increasing the efficiency of the schools.

  As no further business could be done that evening on account of the passing of Mr. S. Jones’s proposition, Mr. R. W. Jones gave notice that at the next meeting he should bring forward Mr. Preston’s application to give a Scripture lesson once a week to the boys of the school, when he hoped the committee would recall the determination to forbid the Vicar from instructing the children religiously.

  Mr. W. H. French gave notice of a motion “That this committee at once resume its sittings in the New Infant School.”

  There being no other notices of resolutions the meeting then came to a close. 

[report continues] The managers of the above schools met at the George Inn, on Friday, Jan. 30th, when Mr. Neale was voted to the chair.  The other members present were Messrs. R. W. Jones, T. P. Willis, W. George, S. Jones, Dr. Newham, J. Grace, W. H. French.- Mr. R. W. Jones proposed and Mr. W. H. French seconded, “That the offer of Mr. Preston to give a Scripture lesson to the boys be accepted.”- Carried.

  Mr. W. H. French proposed, and Mr. S. Jones seconded, “That this committee at once resume its sittings at the New Infant School.”  He considered it unseemly that the School board of Winslow should find it necessary to adjourn to a publichouse, and should be glad to see the meetings held at the proper place, the schoolroom.

  Mr. S. Jones seconded the proposition, and thought it unbusiness-like and contrary to the usual plan, for a board to meet at a publichouse, with a schoolroom so near.

  Mr. Neale, as chairman, said that all who came to his house were welcome, and those who chose to stop away were welcome to do so.

  On a show of hands, Messrs. R. W. Jones, W. H. French, and S. Jones supported the proposition, and Mr. Willis, Dr. Newham, Mr. Grace, and Mr. George opposed it.  So the next meeting was fixed for the Bell, and Dr. Newham, taking up Mr. French’s question, of how to increase the efficiency of attendance at the school, suggested that a circular be printed, reminding parents of the impending Agricultural Labour Bill, and calling for the co-operation of all classes in extending the usefulness of the schools.

  Mr. French was glad when he opened this question at the last meeting, to hear Mr. Neale offer a parish document, from which might be obtained the actual number of children in the place.

  Mr. Neal said that the list was in charge of the proper official, who, he doubted not, would be able to give an approximate account of the ages of the different families.

  After a few more words the circular was decided on, and the meeting came to an end.

Bicester Herald, 27 Feb


Met on Friday, February 13, at the Bell Hotel, Winslow.  There were present:- Messrs. T. P. Willis, R. W. Jones, W. Neal, J. Grace, W. H. French, Silvanus Jones, W. George, and Dr. Newham.  Mr. W. Neal was appointed Chairman.

  The first business was the signing of agreements between the managers and the master and mistress, who both complained of a report which appeared in the papers to the effect that they had acted improperly in educating boys and girls together.  They considered they had acted in one form, though it was regretted that three valuable scholars had been lost through this action.

  Mr. W. H. French said- The words were mine.  I (not the paper) thought the step an improper one, and I am still of the same opinion.  I am not considering the legal position of the case ; but I consider that the parents showed a high and proper sense of decency in removing elder girls from such a position.  In saying this I make no implication on the master or mistress.

  Mr. Neal said- Mr. W. H. French proposes “That this committee at once resumes its sitting at the New Infant School.”  I think this notice of motion should be ignored.  The thing has so recently been settled that I consider it an act of great disrespect for Mr. French to bring it forward.

  Mr. W. H. French- I shall continue to bring it forward until I have induced a majority of the Board to consent to meet at the proper place, or till I am stopped by an express resolution of the committee.

  Mr. S. Jones- The notice is placed in due form, and I think, as Mr. French can be stopped by a resolution, he should be heard.

  Mr. Neal- But I want to stop him now.

  The meeting resolved that the resolution should be considered.

  Mr. W. H. French- I think we ought to give such a proof of earnestness as is involved in forgoing the comfort of a snug room for the sake of good taste and propriety.  The education question has been raised by legislation to the rank of an imperial one, and is not a thing to be contemptuously thrust aside for discussion in the nearest public-house.  That mode of dealing with the subject may have benefit for the middle of the last century, but not for this.  At the same time, I am not prepared to accept Mr. Neal’s invitation to stay away from these meetings, as given at last meeting.

  Mr. Neal- I gave no such invite.  I said all were welcome to use my room for this purpose.  Those who came to my house were welcome, and those who stayed away were equally welcome to do so.

  Mr. French- I am sorry to have misunderstood Mr. Neal’s words.

  Mr. Neal- You certainly did.  If you, gentlemen, think it best, I will put the resolution to the meeting.

  It was then proposed by Mr. W. H. French, and seconded by Mr. R. W. Jones. “That the committee at once resume its sittings in the New Infant Schools.”  Messrs. W. Jones, S. Jones, and W. H. French were in favour of using the school-room, and Messrs. Grace, Willis, and George, and Dr. Newham against.  The proposition was, consequently, lost.

  It was proposed by Mr. W. H. French, and seconded by Dr. Newham, “That two members of the committee act as visitors of the schools for each month, and that the visits be paid at any time, either morning or afternoon, as may be convenient to the visitors.”  The proposition was carried.

  The following arrangement for the coming four months received the sanctions of the committee, and was ordered to be posted up in the schools:- March- Dr. Newham, Mr. W. Neal; April- Mr. R. W. Jones, Mr. W. H. French; May- Mr. J. Grace, Mr. Silvanus Jones; June- Mr. T. P. Willis, Mr. W. George.

  Mr. Neal- I now propose “That the secretary send to the local papers the official minutes of these meetings,”” and I do so because of an isolated report which I find in a newspaper, which must have been sent by a member of the committee of so partial a character that, while I acquit the gentleman whose name appears most prominently thererin of any intention of self-glorification, I attribute it to the spleen of a disappointed partisan.

  Mr. S. jones- Your remarks seem so pointed, Mr. Neal, that I think you must have an inkling of who sent the report.

  Mr. Neal-  I have not the least idea.

  Mr. French- I shall propose as an amendment, “That reporters be invited to attend.”

  Mr. Neal- You cannot do it.  You can only give notice of such an amendment.

  Dr. Newham- I think that some latitude should be given to the secretary as to which minutes should be sent.

  Mr. W. H. French- I think all previous minutes should be sent, to give a correct idea of their connexion.

  It was proposed by Mr. W. Neal, and seconded by Mr. W. George, “That the official minutes of each meeting of the committee be sent by the secretary to the local papers.”  After some discussion, Mr. Neal’s proposition to publish only future minutes was carried by a majority.

  The committee have issued the following address
“To the inhabitants of the Parish of Winslow:-
  “The committee of the above schools beg to inform the inhabitants, that schools for the education of boys, girls, and infants are now open under the Elementary Education Act, and with duly certified teachers.
  “The committee are sorry to find that the numbers in attendance at the schools are much below what they ought to be; and they appeal to every ratepayer to use his influence in persuading parents to give a good education to their children.
  “Employers of labour are much interested in this matter under the Agricultural Children’s Act, which comes into operation in January 1875.  By this Act it is ordered that no child whatever to be employed upon the land under the age of eight years.  Between the ages of eight and ten, the child must have registered 250 attendances at school during the year 1874 and 150 attendances if between the ages of ten and twelve.  The committee, therefore, trust that occupiers of land will assist them in procuring these attendances.
  “It is possible that, unless voluntary education is properly carried out, compulsory attendance at school will be adopted by Government, and, to avoid this, the committee hope that parents will hasten to take advantage of the school provided.
  “In the case where persons are in the receipt of permanent parish relief the fees of the children are paid by the Board of Guardians; but if such children do not attend properly at school, the guardians have power to suspend the relief of the parents.
“Finally- The committee wish it to be understood that they will not only provided a good education, but are unanimous in declaring that this educations shall be based on the solemn truths of the Bible.
“Winslow, February, 1874.”

Bicester Herald, 3 April

  WINSLOW UNITED SCHOOLS.- A meeting of the committee of these schools was held on Friday, March 20, when the following gentlemen were present- Messrs. T. P. Willis, Neal, Grace, R. W. Jones, W. H. French, S. Jones, George and Dr. Newham; Mr Neal in the chair.  The following is the only business allowed to come before the public: It was proposed by Mr. Grace, seconded by Mr. R. W. Jones, and agreed to without a division, “That when any resolution has been rejected by this committee, it shall not again be brought forward for six months.”  It was proposed by Mr. W. H. French “That the Rev. A. M. Preston take the place on this committee vacated by Mr. James King,” but the suggestion found no seconder, and after discussion, it was decided that the committee have no legal power to fill up vacancies in their body.  The motion, by Mr. W. H. French, “That reporters of the Press be allowed to attend the meetings,” not meeting with the views of any other member, was not seconded.  The report of the visitor’s which gave a favourable account of the working of the schools, was read, and when a considerable amount of routine business had been transacted, the meeting closed.  It appears from the above scanty report, furnished by the hon. sec, that Mr. French is the only member of the committee who is willing for a full report of the meetings of that body to come before the inhabitants of Winslow and the public.  It is a bad sign when the transactors of public business wish to do it privately.

Buckingham Advertiser, 21 Nov


  The Committee have received the following reports from Her Majesty’s Inspector who visited the schools for the purpose of examination on the 9th July last.

  Great difficulty has been experienced in obtaining a mistress for the girls’ school, which has, consequently, been closed for three months; but the Committee have now secured the services of Miss Vipond, a highly qualified mistress, who will re-open the school in about a fortnight:-

  Boys’ school- “This school continues to be well disciplined and well taught, and the results of the examination are creditable throughout, the paper work especially neat, and (as a rule) accurate.”

  Girls’ school- “This school continues in a fair state of efficiency.  The first standard is somewhat week, but this may be accounted for by the want of a good infant school up to this time.  The arithmetic has apparently improved.”

  Infants’ school- “Miss Halstead has only been in charge of this newly-opened school since January.  It promises to do well under her management.”  

Buckingham Advertiser, 23 Jan 1875


  Messrs. Willis and Willis’ account as treasurers for one year from the 1st January 1874, to the 31st December 1874.  Submitted to, and passed by general committee January 7th, 1875.

  Receipts- Voluntary subscription for year 1874, £91 12s. 6d.; Government grant to July, 1874, for the three schools, £68 16s; pence from children- girls, £8 7s. 9d.; ditto infants, £8 19s. 6½d.; ditto, boys, £23 4s. 8d.; home lesson books, ditto, 17s.8d.; from trustees of land at Kimble towards master’s salary, 1874, £42; total, £243 17s. 7½d.

  Expenditure – Boys’ school – Master’s salary year ending 1874, £70; cleaning, washing, registers, slates, books, ink, &c. as per book £3 9s. 4d.; repairs of school, £7 13s. 6d. half of the Government grant to master, £18 18s. Girls’ school – Mistress’s salary to July 1874, £29 12s. 3½d.; ditto 1st December to 31st December, 1874, £5 16s. 8d.; half Government grant to mistress, £10 11s.; cleaning, washing, &c., £1 12s. 9d.  Infant school – Salary of mistress, £60; cleaning, washing, &c., £4 12s. 11½d.; new school apparatus, books &c., £12 12s. 1d.  United schools – Printing £4 5s. 11d.; gas fitting, £2 2s. 6d.; Coals, £5 1s. 8d.; collector’s commission, £3; secretary for sundries as per book, £3 6s. 1d.; balance in treasurer’s hands £1 2s. 10½d.; total £243 17s. 7½d.

  Outstanding liabilities – United schools – Total, £23 0s. 8d.

  At the annual meeting of the general Committee held January 7th, 1875, the sub-committee, treasurers, and secretary were unanimously re-elected.  Mr. Henry Monk was appointed to the sub-committee in place of a member who has retired.

  Last year it was estimated by the honorary secretary that in order to carry on the schools upon the voluntary principle, subscriptions to the amount of £120 would be required.  It will be seen by the above balance sheet that this sum has not been realised.  Through the kindness of the treasurers, the committee are still able to keep the schools open, and they appeal for more help, or they will be compelled to relinquish their efforts.  In such case, a very heavy burden will fall upon the ratepayers, a burden much in excess of the sum at present asked for. –

William Neal, chairman.

Buckingham Advertiser, 26 Aug 1876

  These schools continue their useful work with increased success; giving satisfaction to the committee who superintends them, to the subscribers who support them, and to the parents of the children educated in them.  The following reports have been recently received, and will, no doubt, be read with much interest.
  The committee have much reason to be proud of their work.  The order and discipline in the schools are all that could be desired, and the annual grants to the schools have increased from £7 5s. 2d. in 1871, to £89 in the present year.
  Boys’ School-National.- The school is progressing favourably.  The examination in elementary subjects has produced, upon the whole, good results, and the condition of the School is quite satisfactory.
  Girls’ School-Parochial.- This School is in good order as far as it goes.  There are very few names on the books, but those who are in attendance are well looked after.  The reading of the lower standards, and the arithmetic of the upper standards, are the two weak points.  The sewing is excellent.
  Infants’ School-Parochial.- This is a very efficient little infant school.  The first class are thoroughly drilled in the rudiments of the elementary subjects, and seem cheerful and well-cared for.
  Boys’ School.- This school is in a satisfactory state throughout; the answering of the boys is bright and intelligent, and their knowledge is good. – Prize, Frederick Lomas; commended, Roads and Kennings.
  Girls’ School.- The religious knowledge is very fair, some of the older girls answering with intelligence.  It would be advisable for them to learn more by heart.- Prize, Georgina Roads; commended, Fanny White, and Martha King.
  Infant School.- This school is in a satisfactory state; the children know much by heart, and for their age, the religious knowledge is good.- Signed: Edward M. Holmes, Local Diocesan Inspector.

Buckingham Express, 3 Feb 1877


  The Education question at Winslow has of late been the occasion of much feeling and interest, and was the occasion of an interesting gathering in the Infant school-room on Tuesday evening last.  [Three circulars, representing different views were distributed prior to the event:
Thomas Newham invited the subscribers to elect the Sub-committee, Treasurers and Honorary Secretary.
Winslow United Schools declared the Sub-committee would resign its powers at the meeting and invited ratepayers to attend.
The Working Men of Winslow invited the entire town with children at the schools to attend and vote.

  It was proposed by Mr. W. Neale and seconded by Mr. W. H. French that Mr. J. [=Henry] Monk be Chairman. Mr. Monk took the Chair. Mr Neale was door–keeper. Mr Leonard [=Lewis] Clarke, one of the delegates of the National Agricultural Labourers Union was present, Mr Neale told him, “This is a meeting for subscribers only and you have no right here, Mr. Clarke.”
  [Mr. Clarke appealed to Mr. Willis, claimed his right to attend, but was thwarted by Dr. Newham who told him only subscribers were invited. After an altercation with the Chairman, Mr. Clarke agreed to leave, commenting:
I had not been to a public house drinking before I came here, so I am not so noisy as some of you.
but stated that he protested against the proceedings, and more would be heard of him.

  Mr. Monk praised the Sub-committee, commented that Inspectors recently had been satisfied, and the schools were in receipt of a good Government Grant. He defended the religious teaching of the schools.
  He continued with a personal attack on Mr. French, and continued with a discussion with Mr. Savin (?T.B. Saving) about Mr. Savin’s daughter who had been punished, unjustly in the opinion of her father. Mr. Monk stated that Mr. Savin had withdrawn his objection to the punishment, Mr. Savin denied this, Mr. Monk told him the matter was closed.
  At this point, many parents tried to join the meeting, Mr. Neale found it difficult to keep them out

  Dr. Newham then proposed “That the functions of the late general committee be merged in the general body of subscribers.”
  Mr. J. L. French jun., seconded this proposition which was carried, after which T. P. Willis, Esq., said he considered it very desirable they should define what they meant by a subscriber?
  Dr. Wynter said he knew that some persons were under the impression that if they sent their children to school, and paid the fees, they were subscribers, and therefore had a right to be present at that meeting.
  Dr. Newham said those who thought that, were evidently in error.  A subscriber was one who gave a certain sum voluntarily without the thought of receiving any benefit therefrom.  Parents who paid their children’s pence had far more back in return than the worth of their money.
  Mr. Parrett said he would move that a subscriber mean anyone subscribing one shilling and upwards per annum.  Mr. Neal had pleasure in seconding this proposal.
  As an amendment Mr. J. Grace moved that a subscriber should be one who paid not less than two and sixpence per annum.  This amendment was seconded by Mr. Sirett, and was put to the meeting by the Chairman, as was also the original motion.  The show of hands being considerably in favour of the original motion, it was declared carried.

  [Mr. Matthews proposed re-electing the present committee, seconded by George Ingram.] (Meyrick Selby-Lowndes, Esq., T. P. Willis, Esq., Dr. Newham, and Messrs. Monk, Neale, S. Jones, W. George, J. Grace, and G. D. E. Wigley). Mr. W. H. French suggested an amendment, that the new Committee be elected separately, by a show of hands, and that the number be thirteen. Mr. J. Walker seconded the amendment, and Mr. R. Jones supported it.
  [There was considerable discussion regarding the number and make-up of the Sub-committee, and the venue of the meetings. The Chairman wished the current members to be re-elected. Various people suggested the pros and cons of new blood and experience, the maximum numbers suggested for the committee were 9, 12 and 13. T. P. Willis made very clear that he would not support any Clergyman or Minister on the committee.]
  The chairman then put the amendment, and twenty-one hands were held up in its favour.  The original motion of that the old Committee be re-elected received forty votes, and was therefore declared carried amid many tokens of approval.

  Mr. Parrett then proposed and Mr. S. Jones, seconded, and it was resolved that the meetings of the Committee be in the future held in one of the School-Rooms [instead of The Bell].
  Mr. Hathaway then moved, and Mr. John Grace, seconded and resolved that Messrs. Willis and Willis be re-elected treasurers.
  Mr Savin said he would propose that, during the term of office of the Committee then elected, the Word of God be read pure and simple by the children, and no explanation be given by the teachers.  He had no fault whatever to find with the secular teaching given in the Schools, for he believed it to be good.
  Mr. J. Walker, said, he had great pleasure in seconding Mr. Savin’s proposition.
  [The Chairman suggested three cheers for Dr. Newham which were given, and Mr. Parrett then tried to bring the meeting back to Mr. Savin’s proposal. At this point, Mr. Neale told the meeting that as door-keeper he had not be paying much attention to the proceedings. He said he had £50 towards £61 that they were in debt, and thought he would find people to make up the remainder. In answer to Mr. Savin, he (Mr. Neale) would say when the Committee did anything wrong in the way of teaching, and would call them to book.
  Dr. Newham then expressed his gratitude to the people present and went on to explain at some length the background to the teaching of religion in the schools which he described as "undenominational" even though he was a "high Churchman" himself, and how it earned a grant of £50 from the Diocesan Board of Oxford. He vigorously  defended the teaching. There was a little discussion on this.
  Mr, J. East asked how long the committee was elected for and was told 12 months.
  On the motion of Mr. J. Grace, seconded by Meryick Selby-Lowndes, Esq., Dr. Newham was unanimously re-elected Honorary Secretary.  A vote of thanks was then proposed to the Chairman by Mr. Parrett, and seconded by Mr. J. Grace, and carried unanimously.
  [Various people made summaries of the meeting – Mr. Francis, Mr. G. D. E. Wigley and Mr. Monk. The meeting then broke up.]

Buckingham Express, 7 July 1877

To the Editor of the Buckingham Express.

  SIR.- You were good enough in January last, to give an excellent report of the meetings of the subscribers to our Schools.  The religious teaching given in the schools was a prominent topic in several of the speeches, and, personally, I was referred to more than once in a critical spirit.  In justice to me, I beg the insertion of this communication.  I do not write officially, but I wish to shew your readers in this town, how earnestly our committee (consisting exclusively of laymen) have worked to instruct our children in the great principles of Christianity, and how ably we have been assisted by our Teachers.
  Thanking you in anticipation, for your courtesy,
                                         I remain,
                                               Your obedient servant,
                                                           THOMAS NEWHAM, M.D.
Winslow, July 4th, 1877.
Winslow Schools for Boys, Girls, and Infants.
Examined by the Diocesan Inspector, Rev. E. M. Holmes, Rector of Marsh Gibbon and Rural Dean, July 3rd, 1877.
  BOYS.- Ages from 7 to 13.  In writing and viva were.- Bible subjects:- The offering up of Isaac; Jacob’s Dream; Moses and the burning bush; Account of the Ascension of Our Lord; The day of Pentecost; The death of Stephen; Jesus raising Lazarus, and other miracles; Thorough knowledge of the books of Genesis, Exodus, St. Luke, and the Acts of the Apostles.  The Lord’s Prayer; The Apostles’ Creed; The Ten Commandments; The duty to God and to our neighbour, with scriptural proofs.
  GIRLS.- 7 to 13.- Bible subjects:- Account of the Tabernacle, the Passover, Mount Sinai and the delivery of the Law; Manna in the Wilderness; The water delivery of the Rock; Passage of the Red Sea; Joseph’s Dream; Joseph’s conduct to his brethren; Thorough knowledge of the life of Christ, books of Genesis and Exodus, and also of the Lord’s Prayer, Ten Commandments, Apostles’ Creed, The Two Duties, and the explanation of the Lord’s Prayer.
  INFANTS.- Ages 3 to 7.  Viva Voce.- Portions of the Holy Scripture committed to memory:- Isaiah 53; Psalms 23, 51, 91, 103; Romans 12; Sermon on the Mount; Prodigal Son, and various texts.- Old Testament.- Creation, Fall, Flood, Patriarchs, Journeyings of Israelites.- New Testament:- The Birth and Death of Our Lord; His miracles; The importance of truth illustrated  from Bible, (Gehazi, Annanise and Sapphira).- Hymns A.& M. 160, 190, 142, 368, 18, 201. (Sung.) The Apostles’ Creed, with Scripture proofs of; God the Father as Creator; God the Son as Redeemer; God the Holy Ghost as Sactifier.
  Hymns are taught and sung in Boys and Girls School and the report of the Inspector will be favourable in each school.

Oxfordshire Telegraph, 12 Sep 1877

To the Editor of the Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire Courier.

  SIR.- Since the agitation of last year in reference to the advisability of continuing the voluntary system of carrying on the schools in this town and of making a requisition for a School Board, the cry of a better style of management, and of a sounder basis regarding religious instruction, has never been silenced.
  As is well known the committee were re-elected, and the system of raising the necessary funds by voluntary contributions decided upon, so far so good; but has this loose way of controlling the greatest local question of the day succeeded in the manner for which the Elementary Education Act was penned?  Certainly not. The Act enacts that religious instruction is not prohibited, but the use of “formularies,” of a particular denomination, is entirely derogatory to the meaning of the law, and it is rumoured that, at the advent of the new governess to the girls school, certain “ceremonies” also crept in, which, to parents, who wish to train their children to no particular sect, might produce some sort of apprehension as to whether their intentions were carried out.  According to the Act of 1876 there should be appointed by the guardians, a school attendance committee, whose power is nearly equal to that of a School Board in enforcing attendance of children at school, whose duty it is to “make known in a popular form the important clauses of the Education Act,” whose sphere it is to regulate the working hours of children over eight years of age. But none of these excellent provisions seem to have received the slightest attention from this committee, when they are the great objects for which legislation has been called to amend the old state of affairs when the education of the working classes was entrusted to the vicar of the parish.  Whose great aim was to teach them nothing but to “submit themselves to their Spiritual Pastors and Masters.”  Surely this state of things must soon be rectified, or the rising generation of the town of Winslow will grow up ignorant and uncultivated to be the laughing stock of the neighbouring villages.  But how is it to be altered?  Nothing but the determined administration of a Board, elected by the parishioners, can end their struggle satisfactorily.  The working man of the present day knows that, in order to give his children a place in ordinary society, he must first give them education; he knows that the universities, the colleges, and the government offices can no longer be closed against them; he knows that the man with the most brains is preferable to the idiotic son of a country gentleman with none at all.  How then is it to be wondered at that he should be content to watch his children grow up mere ciphers in the world to what they might have been with the advantages of a sound education imparted in the Board School.  But what is the first step to gain these grand social reforms?  The formation of a School Board is the only alternative by which the masses can gain the greatest boon ever bestowed, and the way to obtain it is by a requisition of the same, signed by 50 ratepayers of the parish, to the Clerk of the Union, who shall be bound to convene a public meeting for the purpose of voting on the question.  Let us hope that the time is not far distant [see the unsuccessful proposal for a School Board in 1885] when Winslow shall figure prominently in throwing off a tyrannical party control, and by upholding the noble standard of free education under the administration of parents themselves.
                                           I am, Sir, sincerely yours,
                                                                   PRO BONO PUBLICO.
Winslow, September 10, 1877.

At a subscribers' meeting on 4 Jan 1878 (Buckingham Advertiser, 12 Jan), the accounts for 1877 were presented showing income of £366,. The retiring Committee was re-elected, with Dr Newham as secretary. It was claimed that a (voluntary) 4d rate was sufficient.

However, there was much ill-feeling over the conduct of the 1877 meeting, and an extensive correspondence developed in the Liberal Oxfordshire Telegraph, which began to have a special section called the Winslow Standard. It lasted from 23 Jan to 22 May. It was mainly carried on by the proponents of a School Board, and the Committee refused to be drawn in although some people spoke for them.

Buckingham Advertiser, 18 Jan 1879

The controversy seems to have died down by the end of 1878, partly because of the schools' improved finances, and also probably because the correspondence of the Liberal local press was dominated by internal warfare in the National Agricultural Labourers Union.

Dr. Newham’s Report for the Year ending Dec. 31, 1878.
  Another year has rolled away, completing the fifth of the management of the Voluntary Schools of Winslow, under the present system.  In calling the attention of the subscribers to the balance sheet, I cannot but congratulate them on the soundness of our finances, and upon the signs of progress in the schools, proved by the best of all tests – the Government Grant, and the children’s pence.  It will be seen that we commenced the year 1878 with a balance of £16 2s. 10d.: a sum of £24 12s. 4½d. now standing to our credit for the ensuing year.  By a slight reduction of some subscriptions (due I believe to the unusually heavy rates for the past year), and by the removal or decease of some subscribers, the voluntary subscriptions are somewhat less than last year; but in the main, the parish has been true and loyal to the voluntary system of education.  The Government Grant has increased from £90 4s. to £105 1s.; and the children’s pence from £63 4s. 11d. to £68 3s. 9d.  The increase in grant is not altogether due to the larger number of children examined, but chiefly to the improvement in the standard of requirements.  For the first time we have received a grant for excellent needlework in the Girls’ School, and both in this school and the Infants’ School, this work was much praised by Her Majesty’s Inspector.  It will also be satisfactory to the subscribers to know that the schools are free from debt.  Every account has been paid, and although some considerable outlay has been made upon books, furniture and appliances, the sum expended will not be required again for some years; and indeed, I can point with just pride to the completeness of the buildings and furniture, which are not to be excelled for usefulness and solidity.  The increase in the number of scholars is shewn by the fact that while the highest average attendance in the quarter ending December, 1877, in all the schools was 149, in the same quarter in 1878 it amounted to 168.  Watching as I do, the state of the schools from week to week, I have frequently to express my regret at the very irregular attendance of many of the children, and more especially in the Girls’ School.  Parents keep their children from school for the most trivial of reasons, the result being – increased work for the mistress, and a backward state of knowledge.   For this the schools are blamed, and most unjustly.  The girls distinguished by their good attendance are always best in the examination, and I am sure that parents will see their reward in the progress of their children if they will but second the efforts of the committee by striving to diminish this irregularity.  The reports, both of Her Majesty’s Inspector and the Diocesan Inspector of Religious Education, have been made public, and need only be referred to here, to point out that they are satisfactory.  I shall be supported by the committee in the assertion that our teachers have faithfully performed their duties.  Firmness and kindness are doing their work.  The order in the schools is improving every year, and I am pleased to say, with an almost entire absence of corporal punishment.  Not a single complaint of any kind has been before the committee during the past year.  For my own part, I am grateful to the committee for the harmonious manner in which we have worked together.  I am grateful for the support they give me in the performance of my duty, which to me is a labour of love and for which I am amply repaid by the undoubted progress of the schools.
THOMAS NEWHAM, M.D., Hon. Sec. of Schools.

Bucks Herald, 4 Oct 1879: report of Oxford Diocesan Conference, discussing co-operation between Anglicans and Nonconformists in education

  Dr. Newham seconded the resolution, in so doing giving some details of the difficulties experienced in Winslow.  Some years ago, the vicar did not think himself called upon to take the requirements of the Educational Act upon himself.  In consequence a committee was formed to do so, and the first difficulty they experienced, was that great bugbear of modern life, the religious difficulty.  By-and bye it was determined that the religious educations should consist of the first part of the catechism, but subsequently a trouble arose about ritualism and other matters, which resulted in pecuniary difficulties.  An eminent Dissenting minister said - “Doctor, why you be going straight to Rome, you teach the Church Catechism.”  Ultimately they came to the conclusions to continue upon the Voluntary Principle, which had succeeded; they had wiped off a previous debt, had a balance in hand, and an increased amount of Government grants.  He contended that they should treat Dissenters as sensible men, who only wanted to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  If they trusted to the common sense of Englishmen he believed they could get rid of the School Board difficulty.

Buckingham Express, 24 Jan 1880

  At the Annual Meeting of the Subscribers held on Thursday, January 8th, 1880, at the Infant School,- Mr. Henry Monk in the Chair,- the following Balance Sheet was presented by the Treasurer, T. P. Willis, Esq.,
  The Treasurer’s Account from 1st January, 1879 to 31st December, 1879.

By Balance in hand, January, 1879.
By Voluntary Subscriptions
By Government Grant for the three Schools
By Pence from Children - Boys
By                   Ditto          -Girls
By                   Ditto          -Infants
By Trustees of land at Kimble
By Cash for use of Boys’ School




To Master’s Salary for 1879
To Half Government Grant to him
To Him for Instructing Pupil Teacher
To Pupil Teacher’s Salary
To Cleaning, Washing, Books, &c. as per his book
To Land Tax


To Mistress’ Salary for 1879
To Monitress’ ditto
To Nelson & Young for Harmonium
To Cleaning, Washing, &c. as per her book


To Mistress’s Salary for 1879
To Half Government Grant to her
To Monitress’ Salary
To Land Tax
To Cleaning, Washing, &c. as per her book


To Commission on Subscriptions collected
To Coals and Gas
To Books, Printing, &c
To Repairs, Furniture, &c
To Secretary’s expenses (returned to funds)
Balance in hand 1st January, 1880
At the Meeting the accounts were passed, the Committee, Treasurer and Secretary elected.

The following are the names of the Committee: G. R. Greaves, Esq., Messrs. Neal, Parrett, H. Monk, W. George, John Grace, James East, Meyrick Selby Lowndes Esq., and Dr. Newham, (Hon Secretary) T. P. Willis, Esq., (Treasurer) is an ex-office member of the Committee.

  Dr. Newham, the Hon. Secretary, in his report says “The expenditure for the year is somewhat larger.  The Committee have been compelled to drain the Boys’ School, to repair the inside, and to re-lay the gas.  The average expenditure for five years under this head, has been £9 15s.; but this year it has amounted to £36 3s. 6d. Notwithstanding this extra call upon the funds, the balance in hand exceeds that of last year.  Any remarks upon the financial condition of the schools would be incomplete without an expression of satisfaction that our Treasurer, while resigning his seat on the Committee still gives us his hearty support and services.  During a considerable portion of the last six years he has been a true friend to the schools, and had it not been for his public spirit in advancing money, the schools could not possibly have continued their good work.

See also:

Copyright 5 January, 2021