Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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58                 Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
19th century England stood, educationally, very low; that the great mass of the people did not know how to read or write, and that, morally and religiously, the nation was rather going back than forward.
Mr. Gale outlived his old antagonist, John Kent. But a day of reckoning was to come at last, and on the 18th of October, 1771, it was unanimously resolved by the then Vicar and four parishioners " that he be removed from the school for neglecting the duties thereof," and, on the 10th April following, that he " be not paid his salary due till he has absolutely put the schoolhouse in such a condition as to the form of it as it was at the time of his entering upon such house."
From which it may be inferred that neither the school­master nor the schoolhouse of Mayfield was very efficient in the years 1771-72.
That Walter Gale was not an exceptional teacher of youth in the 18th century, the Editor of his diary (Mr. R. W. Blencowe) gives many evidences of; and he concludes with the following characteristic anecdote:—" Two or three years
ago a friend of the Editor visited the school of-----in no
distant part of England; and, observing some deep-coloured stains upon the oaken floor, inquired the cause. He was told that they were occasioned by the leakage of a butt of Madeira which the Master of the Grammar School, who had grown lusty, not having had for some time any scholars who might afford him the opportunity of taking exercise, employed himself upon a rainy day in rolling up and down the school­room for the purpose of ripening the wine and keeping himself in good condition."
Upon which we may remark, with some degree of satis­faction, " These things are ordered differently in England " in the present day.
It may be questioned whether "Timothy Burrell, Esq., Barrister-at-Law, of Ockenden House, Cuckfield," who kept a Journal and Account-Book from the year 1683 to 1714,
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