Letters to the Editor.
KIRKBYTHORE NATIONAL SCHOOL.
Dear Sir, - A letter having appeared in your last week's issue, emanating
from "A poor Householder," which was altogether so onesided and calculated
to give a wrong impression throughout the country where your valuable paper
is circulated, I thought it my duty to write and correct a few of the
mis-statements therein made. He says "he has a real, not imaginary
grievance." Does he imagine that the rector or inhabitants of Kirkbythore
are going to maintain a National School for the education of his chiildren,
if so, his grievance is very imaginary indeed. Your readers will best judge
for themselves when they hear both sides of the question. He complains that
since the decline of the National School, "he must either keep his children
at home, or send them to the proprietary establishment called the Bethel
Now, providing the British School was the only one he could send them to, it
is not a proprietary school, but a public elementary school, and entirely
undenominational; but there is also a dame's school in the village, taught
by a devoted follower of the Church of England, where he could have his
younger children instructed in the rudiments of Church Catechism and Creed,
and the older ones, as they grow up, draughted off to the Church of England
Schools at Casterton; also when there were three existing schools in the
village, he opened a fourth for the instruction of his own children and
others, and the same course is still open to him if he feels aggrieved by
the National School being shut up.
He complains that "the natives of Kirkbythore are not very well versed in
the amenities of social life," and " that his children would fare ill
amongst the ill-fated Turcos of the village, when they cannot protect
themselves from sticks and stones in their own grounds." I am sorry that
the writer should have made use of such an expression and compelled me to
state the fact, that his own children are the first aggressors, and that
there are children in the village afraid to pass his house for fear of being
assailed with sticks and stones. He complains that "the Rector has given up
the National School to spite the Church, on the same principle that a man
will sometimes acknowledge by cutting off his nose to spite his face," which
must have been the principle the writer acted upon when he penned his
remarkable letter and discharged his twenty-pounder upon the Rector.
I for one would be the last person to attribute such a reason to the Rector,
and firmly believe that if he could restore and carry on the National School
he would willingly contribute largely out of his own pocket, which I suppose
the writer will construe into, invoking the aid of the Rector, with all the
fervour of a devotee to his patron saint, knowing as I do that the Rector
has opposed as far as lay in his power every effort made by the dissenters
for the education of the children, or the advancement of the people. And
now we have "A poor Householder" coming forward to say that he has not done
enough, showing clearly that if he had the power his little finger would be
as thick as the Rector's thigh. He says "How is it that the Rector has
played and is playing into the hands of the dissenters." In order to prove
the negative to that I must go back to the time when the village parochial
school was converted into a National School.
Up to the latter end of the year 1864, the village school-house, which was
re-built by subscription in the year 1832, had been conducted as a parochial
school, by masters who were entirely dependant on the school pence for their
salary. About that time MR. PATTINSON, the master, tendered his
resignation. There was a school committee at that time, consisting of the
Rev. EDWARD COOKSON, JOHN NICHOLSON, JAMES CROSBY, WM. HORN, and THOS.
BIRD. There was a public meeting of the rate payers held, to take into
consideration the desirability of putting the school under Government
inspection, with a certificated master. Mr. JOHN NICHOLSON proposed, and
Mr. ALFRED COOKSON seconded, "that the school should be a National School,
as Longmarton and Templesowerby." An amendment was proposed by Mr. JABEZ
CROSBY, and seconded by Mr. BIRD, "That the school be constituted a British
School, under the regulations of the British and Foreign School Society."
On being put to the meeting the amendment was carried with but two
dissentients, viz., the mover and seconder of the original proposition. Mr.
ALFRED COOKSON demanded a poll, which was held in the Foresters' Hall, on
the 30th of January, 1865. The supporters of the British School system were
advised by counsel to enter a protest against numerical voting, which was
done by Mr. THOM, after which all the ratepayers left the vestry, believing
the meeting to be illegal, with the exception of Messrs. COOKSON and
NICHOLSON and their friends, who made an entry in the minute book to the
effect that "a large majority of ratepayers had recorded their votes in
favour of a National School."
After that a petition or document was signed by the majority of ratepayers,
comprising 36 parents of 81 children, against having the village school made
into a National School, or even they would have consented to it with the
conscience clause inserted. Then there was a majority of three against two
of the existing school managers against it, who held the key of the school.
Notwithstanding which the Church party forcibly entered the school by the
window, removed the lock, which they replaced by a new one, and thus
fraudulently took possession of the village parochial school, which they
converted into a National School, and now into a Church Sunday School.
I ask your readers to judge for themselves if "the Church people are slow to
claim any advantage which they can get" by foul or fair means ? Does this
show that the Rector has played or is playing into the hands of the
Lastly, the writer complains that "if Mr. FORSTER's Bill should come with
disastrous incidence on other places as it has done at Kirkbythore, it had
better have remained a possibility until men were fit to govern themselves."
Does he mean to say that the inhabitants of Kirkbythore are not fit to
govern themselves ? Allow me to say that they have got more sense than to
be governed by Church priests, and deny that Mr. FORSTER's Bill has fallen
with disastrous incidence upon Kirkbythore. The Church people were unable
to carry on the National School and the Dissenters have no wish to carry on
the British School, except for their own protection, and Mr. FORSTER's Bill
meets the difficulty by establishing a Board School, which shall be entirely
unsectarian, and include all denominations.
Then I hope a serener light will dawn upon the dark and troubled atmosphere
of Kirkbythore until again disturbed by the pen of a "poor Householder," or
the monopoly of the Church of England.
A LOVER OF TRUTH AND JUSTICE.
LORD LONSDALE'S KINDNESS TO POET CLOSE.
In the preface to Mr. CLOSE's Christmas Book, which he has just sent us, we
find a sketch of the LOWTHER Family, and how kind his Lordship and his son
were to the Poet when last at Kirkby Stephen. On their return to Lowther
Castle, VISCOUNT LOWTHER sent Mr. CLOSE a box of game, containing 2 large
hares and 2 fine pheasants. On Tuesday, Dec. 16th, a hamper came by rail,
with a large Stilton cheese inside, with a paper upon it, with these words,
"From the Hon. Hugh LOWTHER;" which kind present no little astonished and
pleased Mr. and Mrs. CLOSE.
A READER OF THE HERALD.
Letters to the Editor.