Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Griffith Jones, Llanddowror: A Legacy?

The death of Griffith Jones was not the end for the Welsh Circulating Schools. Before he was called home, Griffith Jones had been careful to arrange for their continuation. In his will, Griffith Jones made over all the funds for the schools to his friend, Madam Bevan, along with property to the value of £7,000.

Madam Bevan superintended the schools until her own death in 1777, and made provision for the schools in her will, providing up to £10,000. However, it was not to be, one of the Trustees of Madam Bevan's Will, Lady Stepney, contested the bequest, hoping to lay her own claim to the money. The bequest went into chancery for thirty years, and although the sum, much enlarged to the sum of £30,500 7s. 6d. was finally assigned to the use of the circulating schools in 1804, by this time the circulating schools were dead through inaction.

The schools had not contracted under Madam Bevan's benefit, and there is no reason to doubt that they would have continued, had they been so managed. But the lack of funds meant that the education of almost ten thousand scholars had to come to an abrupt end

The schools having been destroyed through the greed of a trustee, the torch of education had passed to Thomas Charles of Bala, a man who would be eventually forced out of the church. The movement towards separation had become irreversible. And when education again became a major topic in Wales, it would be a divisive and sectarian issue.



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