With the kind permission of the Head Teacher of Kelvedon Hatch School, History House has been given access to the School Log Books.
The Head Teacher was required to report weekly in the Log Book on any events during the week which were unusual, attendance figures, equipment supplied, visits by the School Board, School Inspectors, yearly School Reports, admissions, re-admissions, and those who had left. Some of the pupils who attended the lived in the parishes of Doddinghurst and Navestock.
This is a selection of comments from the Log Books which may be of interest or reveal the names of pupils. It is not a complete record of their contents as much of it is mudane. The first teacher, Mr Henry Cawdron, whose entries appear below, was very descriptive in his Log Book and provides a glimpse into 19th century life in the village.
There followed briefly, an unnamed teacher, and then Mr Charles F. White whose entries for the period 1884-1897 appear here. There are also photographs of the teachers and pupils at about this time.
28.11.1879 "On Monday last the handsome and commodious school buildings lately erected in this parish of Kelvedon Hatch were opened for the reception of children. Previously the only means the parish had been able to furnish for their accommodation and instruction had been a cottage and an elderly dame to teach. As might be naturally expected, the children were found by the new teachers to be totally unacquainted with the forms of discipline now required in the management of schools; and, before the formation of constituted authority, had attended only as their parents thought fit to send them. One boy, who had been to school in the next parish could only do sums as far as multiplication, and two girls could only do long division imperfectly: the rest have to be taught arithmetic from the beginning. Those who can read at all are very faulty in their style, and other subjects are entirely new to them. It is hoped that in reasonable time method and management may raise the school to a level with other of longer standing. The number on the Reigisters is 35 and the average attendance 34.4"
05.12.1879 "The weather has been unusually severe this week; sharp frosts and frequent snowstorms have, no doubt, prevented many of the smaller children in the parish from attending"
23.01.1880 "Some of the children in the upper classes who have been both stupid and sullen over their sums may be reported to have made something like a start"
06.02.1880 "It is to be hoped that the children are to be found making progress generally, but they ate unaccountably dull at Arithmetic; some are wilfully so where stubbornness is a characteristic"
13.02.1880 "James Jarvis has only been present ten times out of fifty and William Jarvis 23 times out of the same number"
27.02.1880 "It is hoped that the children are making progress, though many are dull and some very wilful and stubborn"
09.04.1880 "S.Slocock, Miss Slocock and friends visited the school during the week. Occasion taken to rebuke some children for tale-bearing and false accusation of taking other children's property"
23.04.1880 "On Tuesday a boy named Enever was slightly punished for being obstinate. His father came to the teacher's at ½ past nine the same night, and in a very animated way informed him that he would pack up here, take his journey and never rest until he found a place where his boy would not be set hard sums, and 'knocked about' when he did not do them"
11.06.1880 "The Reverend S. Slocock visited the School to-day, took a class and afterwards admonished the children against spreading falsehoods about the parish detrimental to the School and teacher. One girl of 13 has been absent ever since she grossly insulted a young woman on the road immediately after leaving school, and defying the master's interference when threatened with his being made acquainted with the matter. An appeal to the mother would not be likely to avail much as she herself is now industriously propagating false reports calculated to injure the reputation of both the school and teacher"
18.06.1880 "Two or three boys slightly punished this week for indolence and obstinacy
02.07.1880 "In a lesson on the Tables, George Porter informed the class that a century was 'a captain over a hundred soldiers'"
16.07.1880 "Many of the cottagers here have good gardens stocked with fruit trees, and the picking of gooseberries and currants, now ripe, accounts for the non-attendance of so many children whose nimble fingers are doing their parents good service"
23.07.1880 "The exceeding dullness of most of the children in regard to numbers is sufficient to shew that no attempt is made at home to draw out the faculties; a boy, ten years of age will tell us that one taken from two will leave six. Haying and fruit-picking still keep down attendance"
13.08.1880 "Some of the farmers commenced harvest at the beginning of the week, the weather being unusually fine. Many of the children are absent; some pea-picking and others are sent to the harvest field with dinners. One-third of the littler children are kept away, the occasion for which it is hard to see"
08.10.1880 "Eliza Malyon, a girl, who has always given as much trouble as she dared give, was punished on Thursday for obstinacy and hindering the progress of a lesson"
15.10.1880 "William Enever was told to resume his writing lesson after dinner but was kept away by his mother. The practice of this is by no means uncommon, and sows the seed of insubordination"
29.10.1880 "Acorn picking is the cause of absence now"
03.12.1880 "A girl was to be kept away because her mother was going to bake, and her brother to go for milk. This boy plays truant the most of the time he is sent to school, and has not been punished here because the teacher has been informed that his father has done it. The name of this boy is Farrar"
21.01.1881 "On Tuesday last such a snow storm and hurricane of wind occurred as no one could remember the like of. The following morning roads were so blocked that traffik was entirely suspended. Fifty men were set to make a cartway through the parish before it could be resumed. Where the snow had drifted, it was, in places, eleven and twelve feet in depth, into which many wayfarers had fallen and some, who had not the fortune to be extricated, were found dead."
29.04.1881 "On Wednesday Evening an entertainment in the shape of a lecture on the life and travels of Dr. Livingstone which seemed to interest the children and others who came to it"
27.05.1881 "Alfred Sawkins, a boy who has given much trouble by obstinacy of temper and resistance to instruction has been truanting from school this week. This has nearly always been his practice when a lesson has been imposed for his conduct. He seems to have cut loose from all restraint at home"
08.07.1881 Attendance reduced "due to pea and fruit picking"
15 - 22.07.1881 Attendance "greatly reduced due to measles"
09.09.1881 "The harvest month has proved a thoroughly wet one. Very little opportunity afforded for gleaning. The weather, having this week improved the chance for picking up a few ears of corn has been seized, so an average attendance of 10.6 only obtains"
16.09.1881 "The weather has been fine, and the gleaning takes off the children; but little notice has been taken of this, for the poor people are glad to get all the help they can, the protracted wet weather having made the labourers harvest contract almost profitless.
23.09.1881 "Many cautions have been given to the grandparents of Alfred Sawkins, the boy mentioned in the report of 27th May last, but the only responses have been insolent replies from him, and broken promises from those who have care of him. The attendance office has, therefore, by an order of the School Board taken out a summons against the grandfather and also one against James Gosling, whose boy has been sent to work and kept from school"
21.10.1881 "On Thursday, the boy, James Gosling was slightly chastised for tying to corrupt the boys in his class by persuading them not to learn some lessons which had been set them"
11.11.1881 "Lousia Sitch, a troublesome child is nearly always kept at home by her aunt - who is her guardian - when a lesson has to be learned for rude behaviour or idleness. A message was sent yesterday to let the aunt know that she would be summoned if she persisted in doing so, and an insolent answer was returned to the effect that 'she should keep the girl at home when she thought proper' "
25.11.1881 "William Enever [...] has had to be corrected again. The instrument of punishment is a stick 12½ inches in length and weighs one-third of an ounce. No other is used. Mr. Enever tells the teacher that he is going to 'take the law in his own hands'. Thomas King struck a girl with his fists and when the teacher went to protect her, the 'Commoners' set upon him like a pack of wolves. The man Enever, mentioned in the last report is going to 'Take the law in his own hands'. Intimidation is the game they are playing at, which the teacher intends shall be a losing one to them. The poor girl was struck on the side of the head and has been unable - since the day it occurred - to come to school. Punishment has been reserved as she has been found to be so injured that the result of the blow cannot be anticipated"
13.01.1882 "Some few boys have been slightly punished for getting into mischief: one (Abraham Enever) for obstinacy"
20.01.1882 " A case of small pox has been introduced into the parish by a young woman coming from an infected house in London. This of itself is made sufficient excuse for keeping many out of school though it is at a greater distance from the danger than the houses they live in. These children are allowed, nevertheless, to scamper about and get as near the place of infection as they please [...] On Wednesday morning early a shocking event happened in the parish. About 3 or 4 o'clock a fire broke out on the stable building of the Rev. A. S. Fane, in the upper part of which the groom slept. The building was completely destroyed and the only part of the poor young man who was in it, which could at first be found, was the charred trunk of an almost dismembered
03.02.1882 "The smallpox has proved fatal in the case of a young man named Waller, who lodged in the house where the first case was brought"
10.02.1882 "No improvement in attendance of any account. The most influential masters in the Parish gave their men orders to keep the children out of the school on account of the infection being in its locality"
17.02.1882 "No fresh cases, so it is hoped that the disease is dying out here; but it has been carried to High Ongar by one of the undertaker's men who assisted at the funeral of the fatal case here"
24.02.1882 "The poor man above named is dead, and it is reported that four of his children have taken the disease"
31.03.1882 "The man named in the report for November 25th last has made himself so conspicuous as to require a caution from the police constable"
19.05.1882 "James Brown was obscene this week for passing up his slate with the most obscene drawing on it"
23.06.1882 "William Jarvis was punished for the same fault as mentioned in the report for May 19th. The boy has been kept out of school and allowed to play truant much of his time"
30.06.1882 "William King's name is left out this week. this boy is allowed to run about the road and only comes once or twice to keep away again for weeks. As soon as he crossed off the register however, he turns up again for a time or two"
01.12.1882 "William Jarvis flogged for insulting an old man, as soon as he left the school premises"
16.02.1883 "A mother named Enever, was recommended to admonish her daughter, who is troublesome and very idle, sent a message to the master to say that it was all his fault, and that he was worse than her girl"
09.03.1883 "In the Religious course, William Enever, the boy mentioned on page 27 [18.11.1881], answered that the country to which God called Abraham was "Herod" and that Abraham's son was named "Shem, Ham and Japhet." He was flogged for mocking"
20.11.1883 "[left, James Dorrington ] who was living here with his grandmother appears to have been got rid of on account of his discovering pilfering proclivities"
04.05.1883 "Henry Knight [s] wrote some very obscene words on a slate during the dinner hour and said that his mother told him to write them. He had the audacity to repeat this to her face, and afterwards said it was his sister. It was discovered at last that Hannah Sarling, who was about first to report the case, had been the prompter of it. This girl has made much mischief, is a notorious liar, and has been convicted of dishonesty more than once"
01.07.1883 "..a lad about nine years of age, who has been addicted to running away from home and playing truant from school sometimes, came nearly to the school gate with his hands behind him, fastened with a heavy chain secured by a large padlock. An appeal from the compassionate crowd to the postmaster resulted in the poor fellow's release, and the teacher- who was directed by the father in writing to send him home as he came - thought that the chain could be more conveniently carried under the child's arm in the form of a parcel with a friendly suggestion to his father that it would be as well not to use it again for such a purpose. The boy gave a promise before going home that he would not play truant again, and he has been very well since"
08.06.1883 "Another disgusting offence in the shape of filthy writing was found to have been done and amongst the children by William Jarvis, This being so recently following a previous case such a flogging was administered as will - it is hoped - check a propensity which many others here have a tendency to indulge in"
22.06.1883 "With some of the parents is becoming an exceptional thing to send the school fee with the children. In one case an intimation has been given that the children will be sent back home if the fee is not sent with them"
29.06.1883 "Much offence has been given to the mother of William Jarvis who came to the school in a state of excitement to give the teacher 'a bit of her mind' because the boy, coming on Monday - as usual - without his school fee was sent home. She could not see the justice, - because some others are getting careless about sending school money - of being called upon to pay any at all. She has been summonsed for not sending the boy to school, but seemed determined now to send him. The teacher put a stop to this on the third time of his coming by promising him a flogging if he made his appearance again without the fee"
06.07.1883 "The boy above named has come again and brought his weekly fee"
13.06.1883 "It is hay time and children are kept away to take dinners to fathers or stray in the fields or rods with impunity. In the large gardens too, many of the children are employed picking fruit to sell to the dealers"
10.08.1883 "Walter Malyon, a most audacious young scamp, who will let no one or anything be at peace, had a good flogging this afternoon for bullying and fighting in the playground during the dinner time"
21.09.1883 "Some fields remaining to be gleaned have kept a few children away, but others who ought to be present at school, and living only a few yards away from it, are spending their time in the road"
05.10.1883 "Walter Malyon, the boy above named have repeatedly gone off when left with a lesson at noon and kept away for a time afterwards was refused admission for doing the same again, until he had been taken before the manager"
26.10.1883 "William Jarvis, a ruffianly boy, though scarcely 10 years of age, and beyond home control, comes to school when it does not suit him to play truant. On Wednesday afternoon his mother came to say that he had gone off after almost smashing in his little sister's face as she sat at the dinner table. She though the poor little thing would lose most of her upper teeth. No provocation had been given. A sample of stone shown was about the size of an ordinary fist"
09.11.1883 [Editors comment: The School Inspectors made an adverse report on the school and Cawdron complained in the log book of lack of support from the School Board]
11.01.1884 "Many of the parents who had got into arrear with school fees, and who had been repeatedly informed that when the "Land's money" - an endowment belonging to the Parish - was distributed the amounts due would be detained until the debts were cancelled, were highly displeased, and have gone so far as to deny owing a part, or the whole of the amounts standing against them, and charging the Parish Officers and teachers with appropriating the money to their own use"
08.02.1884 "On Monday a poor man named Lagden, a haycarter was obliged to give up work. The next morning it was found that he had taken small pox. Having no place to go to, and having been refused admittance into the Workhouse, he was placed in the old bake house a few yards from the school wall. This being in dangerous proximity to the children in, and about the premises, only about a dozen attended. At the end of a fortnight these were not sent. In the meantime the man died, and the children were returning to school; but it being suddenly discovered that a number of people had taken the infection, the school was ordered to be closed. Out of nine cases, two proved fatal here, one in the next parish and from time to time news was imported of the progress the disease was making in other places to which it had been carried"
15.02.1884 "Very few children sent"
22.02. - 28.03.1884 School closed due to small pox
18.04.1884 "It being considered that all fear of contagion is at an end, and that some are taking the chance of employing their children, a list of non-attendants has, by order, been made, to be forwarded to the attendance officer"
25.04.1884 "Today the teachers of between four and five years standing resign their charges. A reference to the first entry in this book will show what they had to do, and though the result is not so satisfactory as it should be, a reference to the report entered on the teacher's certificate [see 09.11.1883 - editor] will explain something of its cause. As it is, the school is what the present teachers have made it against determined opposition on the part of the parents of those who would rather have kept their children out of the school. If the school authority will support the successors of those who relinquish now their charge under it, and enforce the regular attendance of the children, the work may prosper. It is pleasing to state that many of the parents are expressing the confidence they have placed in those who have had the care of their children and regret that they are leaving. It is earnestly hoped that the welfare of the school may interest all who may not have taken much, or any hitherto, and with this hope the teachers wish those who follow them an earnest God speed"