by  • July 24, 2013 • Modern, Pembrokeshire, Period, Post-Medieval, School, Site Type, St. Dogmaels • 4 Comments


    Poster seeking builders for St. Dogmaels' School, 22/05/1868 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    Poster seeking builders for St. Dogmaels’ School, 22/05/1868 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    On 7th January 1868 a meeting was held at which it was decided to establish a British School for St. Dogmaels. A small field was purchased for £100 for the building of a school and two dwelling houses. On 22nd May 1868 work was about to begin on the new school site. The builder was Lewis Davies of Penralltydre. In August 1868 Sir T. D. Lloyd of Bronwydd, Llandygwydd, laid the foundation stone. On 11th August 1868 a “time capsule” was laid in the lower courses of the wall of Saint Dogmaels British School, which was built “…for the poorer classes of this populous and impoverished village to attend…” The St. Dogmaels National School was for Anglicans only. The School Board met at Capel Seion and marched from there to the school site, where Sir T. D. Lloyd of Bronwydd sealed in the stone watched by a crowd of nearly two thousand. Work was completed the following year at a cost of £920. 17s.

    St. Dogmaels Boys' School, 1880 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    St. Dogmaels Boys’ School, 1880 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    The school opened on Whit Monday 1869, the opening ceremony was conducted by Asa Johnes Evans of Penralltcadwgan, Cilgerran. A tea party was given for the children present. In June 1869 Daniel M. Evans became the first Headmaster of the new school until 1888. The Infants’ department opened in January 1870 under the tuition of Miss Mary Williams. Miss Bradley was the Girls’ Mistress. Ca1872 Ruth Evans was born at the School House as were Kate Evans ca1874 and Mabel Evans ca1875. On 25th January 1879 Lottie Mary Evans, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Daniel M. Evans, was born. In 1880 Daniel M. Evans of British School House owned shares in ‘The Cardigan Mercantile Company’. In

    Drum & Fife Band, St. Dogmaels Board School, 1880 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    Drum & Fife Band, St. Dogmaels Board School, 1880 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    1880 Blanche Evans was born at the School House. In 1881 the following persons lived here: Daniel M. Evans, 34, schoolmaster; Mary Evans, 31, his wife, schoolmistress; Ruth E. Evans, 8, their daughter; Kate Evans, 6, daughter; Mabel Evans, 5, daughter; Charlotte M. Evans, 2, daughter; Blanche Evans, 6 months, daughter; and Rachel Jones, 28, domestic servant. A new St. Dogmaels School Board was formed on 10th February 1882. On 15th December 1884 Celia Gwladys Evans was born, the daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Daniel M. Evans. On 23rd August 1885 Celia Gladys Evans died aged 8 months. On 5th December 1885 a son, John Gomer Hywel Evans, was born to Mary and Daniel M. Evans of the School House. On 27th April 1887 Lottie Mary Evans died aged 8. In 1887 Miss E. N. Gwynne of Brynmawr succeeded Miss Bradley as Girls’ Mistress. Daniel M. Evans; E. Evans and Miss Gwynne were the teachers here in 1887. In 1887 Miss Margaret Prichard became the Infants’ Mistress. On 1st October 1887 the following appeared in the ‘Cardigan Observer‘:

    “…ST. DOGMELLS. Last Monday evening, on the Netpool, a mass meeting of the inhabitants of this village, was held to protest against the precipitancy of the School Board in requesting Mr. D. M. Evans, the highly respected teacher of the Boy’s department, to resign his post after eighteen years’ continuous service. Never has such a spontaneous rising taken place in this village. Old and young men and women, overflowing with sympathy for Mr. Evans, hurried to the meeting, their enthusiasm having risen to an unprecedented pitch. At every meeting held at the different chapels last Sunday, the countenances of all betrayed the deepest emotion, and the men, in their conversation on the streets, loudly demanded a public meeting to consider the case. The crier having been sent to summon a meeting, an immense crowd assembled on the Netpool. Capt. John Griffiths, High-street, was unanimously elected to the chair, and Mr. J. R. Thomas, High-street, was chosen as secretary. The chairman, after a brief introductory speech, proposed the following resolutions That this meeting of the supporters of the Board School most emphatically condemns the hasty action of the Board in requesting Mr. and Mrs. Evans to send in their resignation, and also in dispensing with the services of the two assistants, and wholly disapproves of the unceremonious way they laid aside Mrs. Evans’ reasonable request of being allowed to stay till the next examination, and strongly urges the Board to rescind the resolutions passed to that effect. That in case the Board should refuse to comply, we bind ourselves to support at the election, which will take place next March, those candidates only who will pledge themselves to reinstate Mr. Evans; and that copies of the foregoing resolutions be sent to the School Board, to the local press, and to the papers in which the advertisement for a successor will be published.” These resolutions were briefly seconded by Mr. H. O. Davies, and were carried with acclamation-. Mr. John Thomas then spoke most forcibly of the high position attained by Mr. Evans by his unremitting exertions on behalf of every good cause, giving prominence to the inconsistency of a member of the Board in declaring that his children refused to return to the Board School, while one of them voluntarily joined Mr. Evans’ class in the Sunday School. The six references made by Mr. Evans, Cippin, excited most ecstatic applause from the crowd. Hereupon Mr. J. R. Griffith, of Cardigan, dwelt upon the excellence of Mr. Evans as a most successful teacher, and declared that if the St. Dogmellites would stick to the resolutions just passed, no successor to Mr. Evans would ever cross the bridge, and referred to the hints that had reached him of the possible candidates for his post. His name was amongst the number, but he declared before all that he would rather beg bread for himself, wife, and boy, than stoop to such meanness. Mr. John Richards, of Cwm, brought to prominence the noble and untiring efforts of Mr. Evans on behalf of the fishermen, while Mr. W. Morgans, High-street, related to the meeting a discourse in which a friend asked him on the street what was being held at the Mill, for he saw farmers, butchers, shipwrights, &c., drawing thither. His reply was that the Pharisees and Saducees had assembled together, &c. Mr. Joshua Morris, fisherman, praised Mr. Evans for the sound instruction he imparted to him both at the day and Sunday Schools. Mr. John Evans, mason, testified to the readiness of Mr. Evans to assist all classes of the community, his house being the ready resort of every poor man. Having given three hearty cheers for Mr. Evans, the meeting dispersed. The following is a copy of the letter sent by Mrs. Evans to the Board, which speaks for itself Board Schools, St. Dogmells, Sept. 24th 1887. To the Members of the St. Dogmells School Board. GENTLEMEN,—At the request of the Board, I herewith hand in my resignation. At the same time I beg to draw your kind attention to the following facts (1) That there has been for the last two years a great amount of sickness prevailing among infants of school age in the form of whooping cough, mumps, and diphtheria. To this your attendance-officer and the parents can well testify. (2) That the winters of the two last years have been unusually severe, so much so that the Infant’s Department was obliged to be closed for several days and you will admit that severe weather naturally affects the Infant’s Department more than the higher departments. (3) That I am not aware that any child has left the Infant’s Department, or that any parent has been desirous of removing his children to another school on account of my conduct. On the contrary, I am often congratulated by parents for my kindness and consideration to their children. This fact the Board may easily verify. (4) That leaving out the First Standard while it was in the Infant’s Department, I have transferred more children to the higher departments in the last two years, the numbers being 33 and 31 in 1883-4-5, and 41 and 42 in 1885-6-7, which of course must tell against the attendance in the Infant’s Department by 10 or 11 children. Now if the Board will kindly consider the foregoing facts, I think they will see that the school has suffered through causes wholly beyond my reach, and has not suffered at all through any negligence of mine. Further, I beg to ask the Board to allow me, as a favour, to carry on the school until the next Examination. For having reason to hope that the attendance will be more regular in the present year than in the two previous years, I believe I will be able to gain the “Excellent” Merit Grant; and, although I do not at present find it necessary to apply for another situation, it is quite possible that I may be called upon to maintain the family single-handed, and so to seek an engagement elsewhere, and you know that it will be easier to succeed in this if my last Report (which is always a test) be marked Excellent. I may also be allowed to plead that, at your request, I favoured the Board when, it was in my power to do so, in the Spring of 1885. May I now, after I8 years’ continuous, and I trust, satisfactory service, ask you, in return, to grant my present request of being allowed to retain my post until the next Examination. I have the honour to be, Gentlemen Yours faithfully, M. EVANS, Mistress...”

    On 8th October 1887 the following appeared in the ‘Cardigan Observer’:

    “…ST. DOGMELLS. To the Editor of the CARDIGAN OBSERVER. SIR,-As your contemporary alleges that the St. Dogmells Board School has declined for the past five years, kindly publish the following statistics respecting the Boys’ Department Average

    Year. Grant.          Merit. Attendance. £ s. d.

    1883 67 16 3 Good        75

    1884 70 5 10          Excellent      70

    1885    81 6 8         Excellent       80

    1886    73 14 8         Good.           79

    1887 73 0 0           Good.      80

    The grant of 1885 is the highest ever gained by my department, and shows an increase on the previous years while those of 1886 and 1887 are above the average. Has the grant then declined for the last five years? The public will bear in mind that, as to merit, schools, since 1883, are divided into four classes, viz., First and best-” Excellent,” 2nd-” Good,” 3rd-” Fair,” 4th—” No merit.” From the above has the merit declined for the past 5 years? I maintain that the above list is no discredit to anyone. Let it be compared with other schools. How many can surpass it? Neither has the average attendance declined, but it is at its highest pitch for the average of the boys has never been above 80. The week I was asked to resign there were one morning 105 present in school. The above statistics when viewed in the light of the staff show still more to my advantage. For, with a staff of two (myself and a pupil teacher in his first year), we taught an annual average of 80, i.e. 1 teacher for every 40 children, while other schools in the neighbourhood have one teacher for about 20 children, which means that in order to gain the same merit grant we had to work twice as hard as they. Let us again take another position. I have now to teach, unassisted, about 66 children daily, and those in five classes while my pupil teacher has to manage about 38 in two classes. Let Sunday School teachers imagine how comfortable they would be with half or even the third of this number, and then say that I gain my daily bread at my case. I have repeatedly begged and implored the board to grant me a staff of teachers something similar to other schools with which we have, a; it were to compete but it has, as often, been refused. In 18S4 the grant was reduced by 92 5s., because the staff was not sufficient. In 1885 it was reduced by 96 13s. 4d. for the same reason. Let the ratepayers ask the board whether they will in future expel every teacher when any family thinks proper to remove their children to another school; and whether they will ask the teachers to resign if they fail with the minimum staff to gain the excellent merit at every examination. It is true that we did not, the last year, get the highest grant that could be earned but if the whole school had gained the same amount per head as the Boys’ Department, it would be the highest that the Government would pay. So that really the ratepayers have suffered no loss in the grant on account of my department. The grand object of the ratepayers should be to secure the best education without waste of time or money. Life is a battle all must wage.” An illiberal education will prove in the end very expensive education, for it places the children at a disadvantage. By reducing the staff the Board will necessarily reduce the grant, injure the character of the school, and leave our children in- capable of competing with their neighbours. To every unbiased mind these considerations will, I hope, sufficiently refute the dishonourable allegations of your contemporary. D. M. EVANS…”

    St. Dogmaels Boys' School, 1890's (Glen Johnson Collection)

    St. Dogmaels Boys’ School, 1890′s (Glen Johnson Collection)

    In 1888 Mr. Daniel Evans ceased to be the Headmaster. In 1888 Enoch Evans became the new Headmaster (until 1927) and later married Miss E. N. Gwynne, the Girls’ Mistress. In 1889 Miss Margaret Prichard was succeeded as Infants’ Mistress by Miss Mary Bensn. In 1891 Miss E. N. Gwynne was succeeded as Girls’ Mistress by Mrs. E. Martin. In 1891 the following persons lived here: 1) Mary Jane Benson, 25, school mistress; and Elizbaeth Martin, 21, boarder; 2): Eleanor Richards, 26; Mary Jane Richards, 15, daughter; Benjamin Richards, 14, son; Nellie Richards, 11, daughter; and John Ellis Richards, 4, son. On 3rd September 1892 the following appeared in the ‘Cardigan Observer‘:

    “…ST. DOGMELLS BOARD SCHOOL.-The following is a summary of the Inspector’s Report for the year ended June 30th, 1892 Boys’ School The elementary work was in all respects very good. English and Geography were on the whole good. The Singing by note was very good. The order was very good.” Girls’ School—” The girls were in excellent order and passed on the whole a very good examination in the elementary work. English was good. The prepared needlework was good, but the exercises were only fair. The Singing by note was very good.” Infants’ School The work was on the whole very good. The Reading had improved, but more reading matter is required in the first two classes.” Grant per head Boys’ 22s Girls’ 19s 6d Infants’ 179. Total grant received exclusive of the Fee Grant fl90 9s 6d. In addition to this £ 23 10s 6d Special was received during the year. John G. Williams also obtained Second Grade Certificates for Freehand and Geometry C. Davies a Certificate for Geometry, and E. Martin a Certificate for Freehand…”

    School class circa 1900 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    School class circa 1900 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    On 4th October 1893 a daughter, Florence Eleanor Evans, was born here to the wife of Enoch Evans. Enoch Evans and Mary Jane Benson worked and lived here in 1894. On 3rd October 1894 Rev. David C. Jenkins of Llanbadarn Fawr married Miss Elizabeth Ann Martin of Board School House. On 16th January 1895 a daughter, Lydia Mary Gwynne Evans, was born here to Mr. & Mrs. Enoch Evans. On 5th February 1897 there were calls for the resignation of the Master and Mistress of the school on the grounds that they were married! In 1900 school fees were abolished. In 1901 the following persons lived at the school houses: 1): Enoch Evans, 37, certificated schoolmaster (born at Clydey); Edith Helena Evans, 35, his wife, certificated schoolmistress (born in Glamorgan); Florence Eleanor Evans, 7, their daughter (born in St. Dogmaels); Lydia Mary Gwynne Evans, 6, daughter (born at St. Dogmaels); and Mary Hannah Gwynne, 18, domestic servant (born at St. Dogmaels). All were bilingual. 2): Mary Jane Benson, 35, schoolmistress (born in Newquay, bilingual); and Margaret Benson, 65, her widowed aunt (born at Newquay, Welsh-speaking). In 1902 Mrs. E. Martin was succeeded as Girls’ Mistress by Miss M. Reid. In July 1905 tenders were sought for alterations and additions.

    St. Dogmaels Board School group circa 1905 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    St. Dogmaels Board School group circa 1905 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    In 1906 the school was extended and re-modelled and the boys’ and girls’ departments were amalgamated into a mixed school. On 17th September 1906 a new wing of the school, designed by Mr. D. Thomas, architect, and built by Henry Owen Davies of St. Dogmaels, was formally opened. On 20th September 1906 the following appeared in the ‘Aberystwyth Observer‘:

    “…INTERESTING SCHOOL FUNCTION AT ST DOGMAELS. Since last November the council school of St Dogmaels has been in the hands of con- tractors to carry out certain alterations ordered by the Pembrokeshire County Education Authority at a cost of nearly £ 1,400. To celebrate the re-opening of the school on Monday afternoon a public meeting and tea was held, presided over by Mr B Rees, chair- man of the local managers. Amongst the speakers were the Revs J D Hughes, D Morgan- E J Lloyd, and-Richards, Derlwyn; Mr R Cole, Mr H E James, director of education, and also the chairman. During the proceedings the occasion was taken advantage of to present Mary Hannah Johnson, a pupil of the Moylegrove Council School, with a testimonial for not being absent from school for nine years…”

    St. Dogmaels Council School pupils, 1920 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    St. Dogmaels Council School pupils, 1920 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    In 1906 there were 77 boys, 74 girls and 70 infants in attendance. Enoch Evans was the Master, Mrs. Edith Helena Evans was the Mistress and Miss Mary Jane Benson was the Infants’ Mistress. Miss M. Reid, former Girls’ Headmistress, left. In 1906 Miss Leah Davies of Pantywylan, Moylegrove, succeeded Miss Mary Benson as Infants’ Mistress. In 1911 the following persons lived at School House: Enoch Evans, 48, schoolmaster; Edith Helena Evans, 45, his wife; Florence Eleanor Evans, 17, their daughter; Lydia Mary Evans, 16, daughter; and Eric Gwynne Evans, 8, son. On September 28th 1916 Oliver Jones, son of Thomas & Mary Jones of School House, died aged 24. In 1927 Enoch Evans ceased to be the Headmaster.

    Headmaster G D Gwynne and Board School staff, circa 1930 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    Headmaster G D Gwynne and Board School staff, circa 1930 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    In November 1927 Griffith David Gwynne of School House, St Dogmaels, became the Headmaster until 1934. In 1930 Miss Hannah Mary Davies of Velindre House, St. Dogmaels, became the Infants’ Mistress after Miss Leah Davies retired. On 30th September 1934 Griffith David Gwynne, headmaster here since 1928, died aged 44. He was a son of the late Mr. & Mrs. William Gwynne of Y Felin.

    T H Evans, Headmaster, and staff at St. Dogmaels Board School, circa 1943 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    T H Evans, Headmaster, and staff at St. Dogmaels Board School, circa 1943 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    In January 1935 Mr. Thomas Henry Evans of Mount Pleasant, High Street, became the Headmaster. In July 1950 Mr. T. H. Evans retired as Headmaster. He was highly regarded for his acting and performed in the first radio production of Dylan Thomas’ ‘Under Milk Wood.’

    In April 1952 Mr. Ivor W. Jones of Nantypele, formerly the Headmaster of the St. Dogmaels  V. P. Shool, became the Headmaster. In June 1957 Miss Hannah Mary Davies, Infants’ Headmistress here for 27 years, announced her retirement. She was succeeded as Infants’ Mistress by Miss Mair Evans, Arosfa, St. Dogmaels. Mr. E. Ivor W. Jones was then still the Headmaster. In 1968 Miss Mair Evans, Arosfa, became the Headmistress, succeeding Mr. Ivor W. Jones.

    St. Dogmaels School Prize-Winning Dancers, 18/06/1948 (Cardigan & Tivy-Side Advertiser)

    St. Dogmaels School Prize-Winning Dancers, 18/06/1948 (Cardigan & Tivy-Side Advertiser)

    In 1968 Miss Mair Evans, Arosfa, St. Dogmaels, became the Headmistress until the 1980′s. On 19th March 1970 the school celebrated its’ centenary – in the wrong year! In the late 1980’s Mr. Jones was the Headmaster.

    In May 1994 under the direction of Headmaster, Terwyn Tomos, the time capsule was removed from the school wall. In 1998 Terwyn Tomos ceased to be the Headmaster. On 25th March 1998 Aled Davies was named as the new Headmaster to succeeded Terwyn Tomos. In late 2001 plans were announced to demolish the former Master and Mistress’ houses here to extend the school. The pair of houses here were demolished in September 2002. The school was greatly extended in the summer of 2003, concealing and dwarfing the original building. In April 2009 Aled Davies, Headmaster, left. Later in the year Miss E. Thomas became the new Head Teacher. Miss E. Thomas was the Headmistress in 2009-13.


    St. Dogmaels Council School in October 2001 (c) Glen K Johnson

    St. Dogmaels Council School in October 2001 (c) Glen K Johnson

    1868 rubble-built Board School with slate gabled roofs and dressed Cilgerran stone heads.


    Cardigan & Tivy-Side Advertiser 1868-69; 1882; 1893-95; 1897; 1905-06; 1909; 1927; 1929-30; 1932; 1934; 1937; 1941-42; 1948; 1950; 1952; 1957; 1970; 1994; 1996-98; 2001; 2006-09

    Cardigan Observer 1882; 1892

    Kelly’s Directory of South Wales 1875; 1906; 1914; 1926

    Accounts – Rebuilding Blaenywaun Chapel, St. Dogmaels 1891

    Census Returns 1881; 1891; 1901; 1911

    Occupiers List of Voters – St. Dogmaels 30/07/1894

    Raffle Ticket – Ysgol Llandudoch 12/12/1997

    Memorial Inscriptions, St. Dogmaels Cemetery.

    Memorial Inscriptions, Blaenwaun Chapel cemetery

    © Glen K Johnson 23/07/2013.



    1. December 8, 2014 at 9:04 pm

      My name is Magdalena and I am an independent fashion designer / artist
      I have a question! I used to read your articles and enjoy a lot your collection, and I’m creating a dress inspired by old classrooms. I would like to know if the photo “School class circa 1900 ” is free to use for my design. I really appreciate your answer because I’m inlove of this. It can be considered commercial use because I sell the dresses, even I’m not a big company, so I really don’t win money for now.

      Where did you get it the photo? As far as I know the photos with 100 years more or less loose their copyrights, but I’m not sure and I want to make it all well.

      Thank you so much, I’ll wait for your answer.


      • glen
        December 10, 2014 at 2:43 pm

        Hi Magdalena. I have more than one copy of this image, and they seem to have been circulating in the village here for the last ten or fifteen years. The copyright has expired, and I see no reason why you shouldn’t use it. I would be grateful, if you reproduce the image from the site for advertising or other commercial purposes, if you could use a small caption: (Casgliad Glen Johnson Collection), I would be very grateful. Good luck with your venture. Regards, Glen.

        • December 10, 2014 at 8:24 pm

          Oh Glen, thank you so much for your fast response :) I’m very happy to be able to make a dress inspired by this image and when it’s ready I will credit you and show it to you!

          Thanks again and continue doing this great job. I enjoy reading history from everywhere in the world :)

          • glen
            December 11, 2014 at 2:52 pm

            Thank-you Magdalena – I look forward to hearing from you when the dress is made – I hope it all goes well for you. Kind Regards, Glen

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *