Why 1764? This was the year when the Archbishop of York, Robert
Hay Drummond, undertook a Visitation of all the parishes for
which he was responsible. The Visitation required clergy to
submit returns to 12 sets of questions about their parishes. One
of the sets of questions was about the provision of schools and
so there is a fair amount of information about schools, or lack
of them, in 1764.
The responses from the Revd John Elam, Vicar of Tickhill, reveal
Tickhill had a 'publick school' endowed with £4 10s annually,
but it was not known by whom it was founded.
The school was repaired by the town.
and writing there.
The pupils were not clothed, maintained or lodged by the school.
Care was taken to instruct the children in the principles of
Christianity and bring them to Church.
Other benefactions to assist Tickhill children included Jane
Farmery's bequest of £1 for school learning for 3 poor Tickhill
boys and Robert Damm left 3s 4d in his will to buy books for
How typical was Tickhill in 1764 in having a school with these
features? The Visitation returns show that the majority of
parishes in this area including Armthorpe, Cantley, Conisbrough,
Edlington, Sprotbrough, Stainton and Warmsworth had no schools.
Some parishes had ad hoc arrangements. In Wadworth, for example,
the Vicar taught some children in part of the vicarage. Where
schools existed they depended on donations and endowments,
sometimes from royalty (George I founded a free grammar school
in Sheffield) or from aristocrats such as the Earl of Scarbrough
who gave money to a school for about 20 children in Maltby and
Lord Rockingham who paid for 13 boys to be clothed and taught in
the school house at Swinton. More endowments came from parishes
and local people. At Whiston a charity school was built at the
parish's expense some 30 years earlier. A further bequest
generated £6 a year, charged upon land in Tickhill, to teach 12
children of the poorest people in Whiston parish to read, write
and 'accompt' and to provide the children with books including
Bibles. In Doncaster the corporation gave the public school £50
Apart from grammar schools where Latin and Greek were taught by
men who were not necessarily ordained, the teachers were usually
vicars, curates or parish clerks teaching reading, writing and
the principles of Christianity, with accounts or arithmetic in
some cases. Women were employed either to teach girls to spin,
sew and knit, or to teach girls and boys the rudiments of
reading in 'petty'
Most schools did not clothe their pupils, but at Wakefield's
charity school, founded in 1700, each boy received a cap, coat,
breeches, stockings, shirt and 2 pairs of shoes while each girl
received a cap, collar, gown, stockings, shift and 2 pairs of
shoes. The 70 children were taught English and writing with the
girls also taught sewing and knitting. In York two charity
schools for boys and girls were founded in 1705; they were known
by the pupils' outfits: the Blue Coat School for boys and the
Grey Coat School for girls.
Children in Tickhill were more fortunate, then, than children in
many parishes in having the possibility to become literate,
although arithmetic was not on offer in 1764 nor were
handicrafts. It is likely that more boys than girls benefitted
from the local school: of 125 couples of this parish who married
at St Mary's Church between 1770 and 1789, 81 bridegrooms signed
their names but only 48 brides were able to do so, the others
making a X mark in the Parish Marriage Register.
Information about 1764 comes from
Annesley, C. and Hoskin, P. eds
Visitation Returns 1764, Vol 1
Yorkshire A-G (1997),
Yorkshire H-R (1998), Vol 3
Yorkshire S-Y (2001), Borthwick Institute of Historical
Research. The only other
18th Century Visitation returns to survive come from 1743. In
these returns (which have fewer details than those of 1764) the
Revd Elam described Tickhill's school as a 'publick grammar
school' and noted that he kept a master under him to teach
English. For a transcript of Tickhill's 1743 return see
Yorkshire Archaeological Society Record Series, Vol 75, 1929,