DRIGG GRAMMAR SCHOOL
Report by Mr C I Elton, H.M.I.
The grammar school of Drigg has been very many years closed, owing to the following circumstance. By a very pernicious custom, common in Cumberland, the fund of the school (£260)1 was lent to the late patron, and the payment of sufficient interest was secured by his bond. During his life the interest was paid, but I am told that it is now refused, although the money has never been returned. Consequently there is no endowment to attract a master beyond an annual sum of 19s. 9d. There would appear to be no difficulty in recovering the £260, if more interest was felt in the school by the parishioners. Certain persons who should receive loaves in the church at stated times have the freedom of the school for their children. At present, however, the payment of the bread charity has been discontinued, and I am informed that a stone on the school front, which bore a history of the charity, has been removed. I am also informed that the decay of the local charities is mainly due to the influence of a gentleman in the neighbourhood, who was opposed to any wide-spread education among the poor of the parish. Some of the inhabitants are very anxious that the school should be restored to its old degree of usefulness. When I visited Drigg, a young man had lately opened the school. He had about six children in one class, all too young to learn anything but the easiest spelling. He is willing to teach as many children as will pay 2d. per week, and those in addition who have the right to free admission, but he will not, of course, remain many months or weeks, unless the school money should be fortunately recovered.
There is another endowed school in the parish, taught by Mr. J. Clements, B.A., which is attended by most of the village children. In former times this gentleman was accustomed to teach the classics to the farmer’s sons and others preparing for the Church. He has now none but children receiving an elementary education, and is preparing to retire from the profession. Although it is an endowed school it is not called a grammar school; the master has no desire for any independent report of visitors or examiners. He has a good house and a comfortable school building and yard; but “the grammar school of Drigg” before described is a hut by the roadside in a very disgraceful condition.
DIGEST OF INFORMATION
(Ch. Com. Rep. iii. 28)
Foundation and Endowment. - By benefaction of £260 from Joseph Walker in 1727, and a further subscription among parishioners towards building schoolhouse. The school fund of £260 lent to the late Lord Muncaster.
School Property. – Interest formerly paid, now discontinued. Principal not yet restored. Annual sum of £19 9s. from an old parish stock. Building dilapidated.
Objects of Trust. – To educate youth in English and Latin and writing, to the sole benefit of subscribers to the building of schoolhouse, their heirs or assigns, and of certain families receiving a charity of bread.
Subjects of Instruction prescribed. – English and Latin, and writing.
Government and Masters.- There are two trustees, who do not manage the school. A master has recently been appointed.
State of School in Second Half-year of 1866.
Closed for some years. Just re-opened with half a dozen children.
Braithwaite Jackson, Yeoman, Mite House.
William Porter, Linen and Woollen Draper, Whitehaven.
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. 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 £.
A pamphlet, “Drigg’s Georgian Grammar School”, has been written by Dorothy Ravenswood and published by the Ashwater Press. Copies, price £5. are available from her at 29 Hogarth Hill, London NW11 6AY
19 June 2015
© Steve Bulman