Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
         
Brecon and district
Victorian school days
 
  Up to the 'Big House' for tea and games  
 

Most Victorian country schools could expect to have family members from the local "Big House" dropping in during lessons at any time. The children would be expected to bow and behave respectfully, Map showing Maesderwen and often had to sing or recite for the visitors.
Few teachers were keen on such interruptions but the local gentry were powerful, so they could not object.
But such families were often generous to their local village school, and most provided 'treats' for the children in the summer and at Christmas.
The Llanfrynach School diary describes a typical 'treat' provided by the de Winton family at Maesderwen in 1867...

"We broke up yesterday, mid-day, for a month, and commenced our holidays by attending the annual treat, very kindly given by H.P.Powell Esq and Mrs Powell, Castle Madog".
Castell Madog School
26th July, 1894
26th September
1867
School diary entry "A very fair attendance in the morning. No school in the afternoon. Tea drinking at Maesderwen. Several prizes given to the most regular attendants at school. There were 4 prizes given to each class, 2 to boys and 2 to girls. Two prizes were also given to the girls most attentive to needlework".
 

"Boys and girls amused themselves after tea by running races, jumping etc for money given by the ladies and Mr W.de Winton".

These 'treats' were obviously very popular with the children, and seem to have done wonders for improving the numbers coming to school. In July 1894 the same school diary reported -
"The attendance since the examination has been much better than usual. This is no doubt owing to the fact that the school treat is fixed for tomorrow".
Unfortunately the improved attendance didn't usually last for long after the treat was over !

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