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

The School Logbook

Clophill is unusual in that the school log books have survived.

Here are some extracts taken from:-

The Bedfordshire Schoolchild - Elementary Education before 1902

School attendance.

Many children were kept away to help their parents.

20 June 1890 Several children kept at home whilst their mothers are at work.

23 June 1893 Some children have been irregular [this week] owing to their mothers going out and gathering peas or fruit and the children kept at home to mind the house and baby.

Many activities were seasonal.

15 March 1822 16 boys left school for a few weeks to go stone-picking. 5 went to Countess Cowper`s to work.

22 September Several boys potato picking.

21 March 1823 A few boys at work dropping potatoes.

24 October Several children picking up acorns.

9 April 1825 Fall [in attendance] because several boys at work at Wrest Park.

22 September 1822 A large number of children away this week owing to the harvest not being over.

6 October 1829 Owing to the harvest being so backward this year another week's holiday was given to enable the children to go gleaming.

Misbehaviour, Discipline and Punishment

Many log books make little reference to corporal punishment, but this seems to have been because it was too common to merit mention rather than because it was not used. In fact there is the occasional comment that a week has passed without the use of corporal punishment, suggesting that this was quite remarkable.

6 October 1887 Punished J Sharp for inattention after being told to attend. upon which he refused to do what he was bidden. l again gave him a stripe which had no effect in making him do as he was commanded. So I sent him away from the school until he should confess his sorrow and error and promise prompt obedience.

20 April 1890 Punished two boys for throwing stones into the girls' closet - 4 strokes each with cane.

Treats and Rewards

Most schools had an annual school treat of some form or other. There were also other rewards, especially at Christmas. Towards the end of the century almost every school came to have a prize giving, usually to reward good attendance.

14 August 1873 Broke up - School going to Countess Cowper's for annual treat tomorrow.

11 December 1891 School Attendance Officer exhibited a Magic Lantern to the scholars at 7 as a reward for regular attendance. This school has had more regular attendance than any voluntary school in the Ampthill Union District.

23 June 1893 Attendance shield won this week by Standard 1 and the shield for punctuality by Standard 4. The former shield introduced a fortnight ago and won by Standard 1 each week, and the latter introduced last week won by Standard 5-7.

6 April 1894 Yesterday the school children of both Departments had tea together. In the evening the Rev G Bosanquet exhibited a magic lantern much to the amusement of the children.

What they were taught

The following is a typical example of the Diocesan Inspector's Report on his examination of Religious Instniction in the School. The inspector was the Rev Augustus Stokes and this inspection took place on 28 October 1879.

Written Work
lst Class11Scripture Events, Parables, Duty
33 paperstowards God & Nunc Dimittis920
viz:22Duty towards Neighbour1561
2nd Class27Papers Creed & 3rd Commandmt.1692
3rd Class36slates Lord`s Pr. & Short3051
Viva Voce
1st Class (Stds IV-VI)33Holy Scripture: generally good, a few
only moderate. Catechism: 31 good.
2nd Class (Std III)22Holy Scripture: good. Catechism; good,
with 3 or 4 exceptions.
3rd Class (Std II)36Holy Scripture: Generally good; a few
only moderate. Catechism; good
collectively. but some of the children
cannot say it individually.
4th Class (Std I)21Holy Scripture: most good; a few fair.
Catechism: good, with 3 or 4 exceptions.
Hymns and texts good.

Remarks Singing good. Tone good. Considering the unusual length and lateness of the Harvest holidays the exam. was extremely creditable. The written work especially is good. and there is everywhere evidence of care and hard work.
School reported 'Very good'.

School Pence

For most elementary school children fees were effectively abolished with the introduction of the Fee Grant in 1891. Before then the weekly pence were a temptation to children, who sometimes stole them, an unwelcome expense to parents, who often claimed that they could not afford them, and a constant trouble to teachers, who had to try to collect them.

6 June l873 School fee reduced to 1/2d for this week only.
[There were only three school days in that week.]

7 April 1877 Settled by Managers, Maulden children pay 2d a week instead of ld.

4 January 1886 Sent E Grummitt home for his school money but he did not return. Therefore I cancelled his attendance.

1 June On Monday returned Ida Sheppard for not bringing sufficient money.

Libraries, Visual Aids and Gifts

23 July 1891 Received books from the Prize Literature Society to start a Library for the scholars.