THE ORIGINAL HISTORY OF AYTON SCHOOL 1841 - 1891

 

CHAPTER V.

THE FIRST GENERAL MEETING

Preface
Contents
Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Chapter XIII
Appendix

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THE day of the General Meeting being fixed, we bent all our energies to making preparation for it in every branch taught in the school.

The scholars seemed to be alive to the importance of being ready by studying thoroughly the books used in the school in which they expected to be examined. Mental arithmetic and grammar were favourite studies with them, in these they felt themselves ready to answer any reasonable question.

At the Committee before the general meeting, the following regulations were agreed to:- To commence with a meeting for worship at 10 o'clock, at its close the opening minute to be read, and the men and women then divide themselves each into subcommittees for the examination of the children. The examination to commence at 2 o'clock, and the general meeting to re-assemble at half-past 4 to receive a report of the examination, to re-appoint the committee chosen in 4th month, and enter upon any other business which may present. Conveyances to be provided at Stockton for such friends as may signify their desire for such accommodation by a written note to the secretary. Fare moderate, probably 2/6 including all travelling charges for going and returning. A boiled ham to be prepared and breakfast ready for a limited number of Friends in one of the lower rooms.

Table to be spread for 80, and the following provision made: round of beef boiled, hot; leg of mutton boiled, hot; leg of mutton roast, cold; fore quarter and hind quarter of lamb roast, cold; vegetables, fruit pies and puddings in abundance. One good cheese cut into four. Charges for meals, breakfast 1/-, dinner 1/6. tea 1/-. No charge for attendance or gratuity allowed. The children to dine on leaving the meeting for worship, the company at quarter to 1.

The day arrived, I well remember, it was a beautiful midsummer morning, the distant hills seemed all aglow to welcome the visitors, even the villagers had put on their best for the occasion. Carriages came driving in delivering the passengers at the front door of the school, and soon the village green was covered with empty vehicles. Breakfast over, at 10 o'clock Friends assembled in the Meeting House. It was a solemn time, and no doubt the desire of all hearts was that the institution might prove a blessing to present and future generations. It was the consecration of the establishment. After John Pease, Hannah Chapman Back-house, had addressed the young people and teachers, and supplication had been made for the divine blessing on the undertaking, the children withdrew and business began. The following friends appeared as representatives: from Newcastle Monthly Meeting, Thomas Robson, George Richardson, G. A. Brunnell, Henry Briggs and Edward Richardson of Sunderland; from Darlington Monthly Meeting, Joshua Ianson, Joseph Bowron, William Robson, and John Dodshon; from Richmond Monthly Meeting, Richard Blakey; from Guisbro' Monthly Meeting, Thomas Baker, Thomas Dixon, David Baker and William Coning.

The following is the report of the examination of the boys, signed by John Ford, of York school:-

“The writing gave satisfactory marks of improvement. The second or lower reading class consisted of 18 boys, four of these had been in the school less than 2 months. The reading of the first nine was correct and agreeable in an easy book, they replied correctly to many queries on the subjects about which they had read. The reading of the last four afforded evidence, by its inferiority, of the care and pains bestowed upon the others. The spelling of this class was satisfactory considering the short time. they had been in the school. The first or upper reading class consisted of ten boys. They read correctly and agreeably in The Daily Lesson Book No. 4; they answered very intelligently several questions on their reading; their spelling was very creditable, and they gave good definitions of words. The first grammar class, consisting of 12 boys, displayed a useful knowledge of English Grammar. The result of the whole school in geography was very satisfactory. Eighteen boys were examined in arithmetic, and answered readily a variety of questions. The boys repeated many passages of Scripture correctly and answered a variety of questions. The boys were uniformly orderly and attentive throughout the examination; their lively and cheerful deportment was very pleasing, and the committee feel bound to express their great satisfaction with the proof they have had to-day of the diligent care and pains bestowed by the master upon his interesting charge.

“Signed on behalf of the committee,
“JOHN FORD.”

The following is the report of the women Friends:-
“At the request of the general meeting, women Friends have met and entered into an examination of the girls in the different branches of their learning, and report that, considering the short time they have been in the school, their progress is very satisfactory; such as should afford much encouragement both to the children and their teacher, and their behaviour throughout was very agreeable, and their answers to Scripture questions were prompt, evincing that much attention had been paid to this important subject. The house-keeping department has been inspected, and all is reported to be kept in good order and apparently well managed.

“Signed on behalf of the women's committee,
“SOPHIA PEASE.”

“This meeting, whilst confirmed in the interest excited in this institution, and in the hope of benefit to the class for which it has been formed, has felt regret in having no representatives from several of the Meetings associated with it, and affectionately desires their increased assistance in a work of general utility, and one in which all who feel attached to the principles of our religious society cannot but feel a lively interest.

“G. A. BRUNNELL,
“Clerk this time.”

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