Documents 6 - 8

6) School Registers 1861

Miss Squire took up her post in April 1860 so when she filled in this set of registers for 1861, she had been at Sevington for a year. Numbers have gone up a bit. Most day pupils continue to pay a penny a week, but a few are marked as paying a ha’penny.

The registers give us glimpses of school life in the early years. The last week in August is marked as Harvest Holidays. In January the reason for John Hunt’s absence is given as pig keeping.

December 22nd – January 3rd is marked out as Christmas Holiday and the school feast at Grittleton House takes place on the 30th December.

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1861 October to December

Day girls

Martha Whiting
Emily Pearce
Elizabeth Whiting
Emily Bird
Mary Pearce
Ann Dollman
Jane Hall
Amy Gough
Martha Hunt (back after a long absence in the spring term, paying only a ha’penny
Mary ?
Mary Merrott (frequent absences and paying a ha’penny)

Sunday girls

Ann Monk
Elizabeth Wicks
(100% attendance for both girls)

 

Day boys

Alfred Gingell
Charles Monk
Frederick Leonard
Charles Gingell
Joseph Wicks
John Hunt (absent in the first week, marked as pig keeping)
Charles Pearce (paying a ha’penny)
William Weeks (paying a ha’penny)
William Merrott (a scattering of absences and paying a ha’penny)
William Dollman (paying a ha’penny)

Sunday boys

William Hall
George Hall
George Weeks
James Leonard
William Gingell
Henry Whiting
Edward Pearce
Robert Pearce
Isaac Bird
Edward Whiting
(Very high level of attendance)

7) School Registers 1862

A complete set of registers is available for 1862 and this section, for the summer term is a typical example. Miss Squire had been in charge for two years and it is clear that the school is thriving.

She did not record the age of her pupils, but where they can be deduced, either from the 1861 census or the parish records, they have been included.

The children were the sons and daughters of agricultural labourers who worked on the Neeld estates. It seems from the register that most boys had left school by the time they were ten. Even before that, attendance, for some families was sporadic with boys taking time off school to earn a little money by pig keeping and bird scaring. Attendance in late July was generally very low, presumably because it was harvest time.

Leavers had an opportunity to continue their education by attending the Sunday School which Miss Squire offered to her former pupils. The register shows eleven boys and two girls on her register for 1862. By June, one of the girls has left and is shown as going into service. She was twelve.

It is not clear whether the Sunday pupils paid for their schooling but the register shows that day pupils were expected to pay a penny a week. The money went towards oil for the lamps, coal for the schoolroom and supplemented Miss Squire’s salary. She kept a careful record of who had paid and totted it up at the end of each term. Some families seem to have struggled and certain pupils, often in large family are marked as paying a ha’pence. Even then, a period of half payment is sometimes followed by a prolonged absence, as in the case of Martha Hunt.

December 22nd to January 3rd is marked out as Christmas Holiday and the 31st December is recorded as School feast at Grittleton House. Needless to say, there was 100% attendance on that day.

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Day girls

Martha Whiting 11
Emily Pearce 11
Elizabeth Whiting 10
Emily Bird 11
Anne Monk
Mary Pearce 7
Anne Williams
Ann Dollman 7
Jane Hall 7
Emma Gough 6
Martha Hunt 7 (back after a long absence in the spring term, paying only a ha’penny
Sarah Pearce 4
Mary Ann Merrott (frequent absences and paying a ha’penny)
Fanny Pearce 7

Sunday girls

Elizabeth Wicks 10

 

 

Day boys

Alfred Gingell
Charles Monk 6
Frederick Leonard 7
Charles Gingell
Joseph Wicks 7
Jonas Hunt 8
Charles Pearce (paying a ha’penny) 6 years old
William Wicks 6 (paying a ha’penny)
William Merrott (a scattering of absences and paying a ha’penny)
William Dollman 4 (paying a ha’penny)
James Hall 4
Moses Pearce 4
Thomas Hall
John Hall
Abraham Pearce
Thomas Hunt

Sunday boys

William Hall 15
George Hall 9
George Wicks 10
James Leonard 9
William Gingell
Henry Whiting 12
Edwin Pearce 11
Robert Pearce 11
Edward Whiting
William Hudd
Abel Gayford

8) School Registers 1863

There is a good set of registers for 1863, however they are missing for the periods 22nd February to 22nd May and 22nd November to the start of the Christmas Holidays. Three register lists of names exist, entered in January, July and October, showing that with up to 31 pupils on roll, excluding Sunday pupils, class sizes were large even by today’s standards. The weekly registers were marked from Sunday to Friday. On Sunday, up to 10 additional pupils were listed, although attendance on a Sunday was variable. Attendance was also markedly poor in the weeks leading up to the Harvest Holidays, from 17th August to 11th September. Interestingly, Sunday school continued through these holidays, though only a few attended. Unfortunately there is no explanation of Miss Squire’s various absence symbols. Only on one occasion in November are we informed that Jonas Hunt is occupied with “birdkeeping”.

1863 was a particularly sad year for William and Mercy Pearce, the parents of 9 year-old Mary, 7 year-old Charles, 5 year-old twins Moses and Sarah and 3 year-old John, all listed in the same class in 1863. Miss Squire recorded the death of Moses on 5th June 1863. His burial took place on 8th June, followed only 9 days later, on 17th June, by the burial of his younger brother Alfred, just one year old. Between 1853 and 1874 William and Mercy Pearce had eleven children in all; they went on to name two later sons Moses and Alfred. They paid Miss Squire just ½d per week for each child, but despite straitened circumstances they ensured that their children’s attendance at school was very good.

The class of 1863 also lost Joseph Monk, whose death Miss Squire recorded as 1st September 1863, at the age of 3 years and 5 months. Martha Whiting, aged 12, was to die in 1866, aged 15. James Hall, aged 5, was to live only to the age of 12, dying in 1870; his brother, John, born in 1863, would be buried at the age of 7 just 6 days before him. Martha and Jonas Hunt, aged 6, were the two surviving members of a set of triplets, having lost their sister Elizabeth at the age of 1 year and 4 months. All these facts are a stark reminder of the harsh reality of child mortality figures in the nineteenth century.

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1863 January

Day girls

Martha Whiting
ElizthWhiting
Emily Pearce
Emily Bird
Anne Monk
Mary Pearce
Anne Dollman
Jane Hall
Martha Hunt
Sarah Pearce
Fanny Pearce
Mary A Merrit
Mary Rummings
Elizth Wicks

Day boys

Alfred Gingell
Charles Monk
Frederick Leonard
Charles Gingell
Joseph Wicks
Jonas Hunt
Charles Pearce
William Wicks
William Dollman
James Hall
Moses Pearce
Abraham Pearce
Thomas Hunt
William Hudd
William Merrit
John Pearce
Thomas Hall
John Hall

Sunday boys 

William Hall 15
George Hall 9
George Wicks 10
James Leonard 9
William Gingell
Henry Whiting 12
Edwin Pearce 11
Robert Pearce 11
Edward Whiting
William Hudd
Abel Gayford