The Old School at Wilford

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Long hours for 9-year olds in the 18th century

There was a parish school at Wilford founded in 1736 by a rector who left £200 for the building fund, £30 per annum salary for the schoolmaster, and £5 to buy books and other necessaries.

In 1765 the schoolmaster was the Rev. Isaac Pickthall, and among his scholars was young Gilbert Wakefield,who has left on record his remembrance of his school hours.

" We came into the school," he says, " at 5 in summer, and with the deduction of less than two hours' intermission at breakfast and dinner continued there till 6 at night. A dreadful punishment, in truth, at that active and sprightly age, on which I never reflect but with disgust and horror."

Wakefield was then a little boy of nine ! Such was discipline in the middle of the eighteenth century.

Pickthall is described as " a man of almost unparalleled simplicity and innocence of manners," and the barbarous hours he imposed on his wretched boys were due to " pure excess of conscientiousness and a religious anxiety to do justice to his scholars."

The above is recorded by J.B. Firth in his Highways & Bywaysof Nottinghamshire (London: Macmillan, 1916).

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