THE HISTORY OF EAST GRINSTEAD - Online Book

The rise and progress of the town and the history of its institutions & people.

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88                        HISTORY OF EAST GRINSTEAD.
old register he is described as " a dog in the manger who will not either teach the children or let them be taught."
But later Vicars of East Grinstead wiped away this reflection, the first Sunday School in connection with the Parish Church being established in 1848, the necessary funds having been raised by means of a series of dramatic readings given by Mr. R. Crawfurd in Thompson's corn store, and commenced as long before as May 2nd, 1845. As showing to what free use wine was then put, it is interesting to note that at a treat given to the scholars of this school on Nov. 20th, 1849, every child present was given a glass of wine, though the few who professed temperance sought to induce the Vicar and teachers to abandon the idea. The late Lord Colchester soon after opened a school at Forest Row, and, others also springing up, the attendance at Zion naturally began to dwindle, though for nearly 40 years the number on the register exceeded 300. In the early days the anniversaries were of such a nature as to attract the children. An old record states that in 1812, after service, 341 children, 50 teachers and visitors, and 15 of his own family, "400 souls in all," were entertained at Stone House to a dinner of " cold rounds of beef and plumb puddings." This was repeated a year later.
The registers contain some very quaint records. The worst boys in the school were named Ellis and this shows a sad decadence, as they, possibly, were descendants of Anne Tree, one of the three martyrs burnt in East Grinstead. One girl, named Gorringe, drowned her mistress's baby in a copper of water and her parents believed it was religion drove her to commit this awful act, so they at once withdrew the other members of the family from the school. To these particulars the recorder adds a note: " Dreadful idea." In another case two girls named Chapman were taken away because they found that if they went to church instead of chapel they could do a better trade with the milk they sold in the town. Self-preservation 80 years ago was evidently as keenly thought of as it is to-day.
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