AIKTON (WIGGONBY) SCHOOL
MR. C. I. ELTON’S REPORT
The school was founded to instruct persons of the name of Hodgson of any age, and of the children of Aikton, Burgh-on-Sand,1 and Beaumont between the ages of six and twenty-one. It does not appear in reality to have been a grammar school, although Latin and a little Greek have many years ago been taught “as proper and useful learning.” It is now simply a national school under Government inspection. The trustees are very attentive to the wants of the school, and pay constant visits to it. In former years attendance for a few days entitled the children to a gratuity of £1 each according to the founders intention.2 This practice produced great abuses, and the trustees made the salutary regulation, that the £1 should be given to each child only after attendance for 176 days in the year. During the past year 40 children have qualified themselves in this manner, and some have attended 240 days. A good many of the elder children are absent in the summer, but their places are for the most part supplied by younger children from the same families. During the late violence of the cattle plague the numbers of the scholars [fell] off considerably, but they are now rising again; there are 93 on the register, and in a full season about 70 in attendance on the average. The rents of the school lands and interest received on stock amount at present to nearly £185, of which the master receives £75, and the mistress £25, the rest being spent on repairs, gratuities, books, and stationery. The lease by which the school land is held will soon expire, and it is expected that the rent will be raised by the trustees. One of the fields adjoins the school itself, and certainly should be used as a playground, the present yard being insufficient for the wants of the children. This field was occupied by a former master, who did not agree with the trustees; on the appointment of the present master the field was [let] to the tenant of the other lands. The schoolroom is new, well built, and well furnished with desks, blackboards, and other appliances. A smaller class room is used by the mistress. The reports of H.M. Inspector are satisfactory as to the progress of the school under the present master, who is fond of teaching and very successful. The children appeared to me to be especially well trained in Geography. The writing was good, and the arithmetic highly satisfactory. Two of the elder boys had begun algebra, but did not know much about it. On the whole the school appears to be in a very good condition as a national school. It is, however, a question whether the large endowment increased by money paid in quarter fees, by those children, whose parents own £20 a year in land, might not be employed in teaching the children from a larger district. The trustees do not wish to admit children from other parishes. A great deal might, however, be done with £200 a year, especially if some of the small endowments in the surrounding villages were added to it. Thus Aikton might be the educational centre of a group of parishes, supplying a good commercial education for all those who require it, and no longer providing a bare national school education to a population of 800 persons.
Digest of Information
(Ch.Com.Rep. V.96, A.D. 1821)
Foundation and Endowment. – Margaret Hodgson, by indenture dated 19th Oct. 1793, conveyed to the trustees 140 acres in Wiggonby, on trust to build a school, and to pay the master £40 per annum, and by her will in 1797 conveyed the residue of her personal estate upon the same trusts (after payment of legacies, etc.) Some small bequests have been made at various times which have been invested by the trustees.
School Property. - Income in 1864-5 £128 8s. from rents and £60 dividend on stock in the funds; together £188 8s. gross, £163 net. On an average, £40 is given for clothing. Buildings good. Residence for master.
Objects of Trust. – To teach all persons of the name of Hodgson as long as they continue at the school, and all poor persons’ children in Aikton, whose parents have not real estate worth £20 per annum; and all poor persons’ children in the parishes of Burgh by Sands and Beaumont, whose parents should not be possessed of a real estate of £12 per annum, without receiving any money or other gratuity whatsoever. Age to be between 8 and 21. also to pay to such of said boys and girls as the trustees think fit, 20s. a year each towards finding apparel, and more in cases of real necessity; and to provide all necessary books for the education of such children. No trustee or minister of any church or chapel to be master of the school, and no person holding lands in Wiggonby to be a trustee.
Subjects of Instruction prescribed. – The principles of the Church of England, reading, writing, accounts, the catechism, and other proper and useful learning.
Government and Masters. - Government by nine trustees residing within seven miles of Wiggonby. They appoint and dismiss the master and the mistress now appointed to teach the girls. When the number of trustees sinks to two, these elect nine, and they themselves retire. Master and mistress are to belong to the Church of England. There is no formal new scheme, but the trustees have made alterations in the management with approval of the Charity Commissioners.
State of School in Second Half-year of 1864.
General Character. – Mixed elementary school under government inspection.
Master. – One, receiving from the trustees £75 (recently raised to £80) School pence (£7 10s. 8 ½d. in 1864-5) carried to trustees accounts. Mistress received £25.
Day Scholars. – Average number of boys and girls on register from 1863 to 1866 was 92.5; daily attendance 70.7; come from distances of three miles and under. Children of richer parents pay 28s. a year.
Boarders. – None.
Instruction, Discipline, etc. – No knowledge required on admission. School classified by one group of subjects solely. A Sunday school held in the church. All taught the Catechism. Promotion by examination quarterly.
Punishments: lines for repetition, and occasionally slight caning by master.
In the last three years two boys have gone to other schools.
Playground, 66 by 44 yards, adjoining the schoolrooms. School buildings well adapted to their purpose.
School time, 46 weeks per annum, 30 hours per week. Play-time per week 12 hours, including interval for dinner.
Rev. J. S. Hodgson, Rector of Aikton.
John Stoddart, Yeoman, Gamelsby.
Thos. Ismay, Yeoman, Parton.
Richard Hodgson, Yeoman, Oughterby.
William Hodgson, Yeoman, Slack.
Thomas Twentyman, Yeoman, Grayrigg.
Benjamin Olivant (certificated).
Paul Haslam transcribed the original document, converted to HTML by Steve Bulman.
Paul has an interest in education in the county, and further historical documents may follow in due course.
1. Now Burgh-by-Sands (it is referred to as this later in the document).
2. In the original text money is shown as e.g. 4l, i.e. 4 librum, or £4. To avoid confusion, I've regularised all of these as £.
19 June 2015
© Steve Bulman