The history of Clophill, Bedfordshire, UK
Including historical descriptions, maps and statistical analysis.


Data from the 1841 to 1911 censuses were transcribed and analysed using a spreadsheet.


The definition of the term 'scholar' in the census instructions was vague, and became vaguer over time.

With the advent of compulsory education after the 1870 Education Act there may also have been a temptation for some working-class householders to use the term to conceal the work of their children.

In 1851 parents were to record their children as 'scholars' if they were above five years of age and were 'daily attending school, or receiving regular tuition under a master or governess at home'.

In 1861, however, regular tuition at home did not require the presence of a master or governess.

In 1871 and 1881 children only needed to be 'attending a school, or receiving regular instruction at home', to be returned as scholars.

In 1891 there was no instruction on the subject.

In 1901, however, children attending school 'and also engaged in a trade or industry should be described as following the particular trade or industry'.

In 1841 no children were recorded as being 'Scholars'.

In 1901 no children were recorded as being 'Scholars'.

Teachers and Governesses

It was common for well-off parents, especially in rural villages where no suitable school existed nearby, to employ a governess. Parents prefered to educate their children at home rather than send them away to boarding school for months at a time.

Governesses were usually in charge of girls and younger boys. When a boy was old enough, he left his governess for a tutor or a school.