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The Gwent Local History Council was set up in 1954 to encourage public interest in local history, to bring together societies and persons interested in the study of local history, to arrange lectures and publish the results of historical research. Their twice yearly magazine "Gwent Local History" has made a valuable contribution to the store of historical knowledge. Here Caerleon Net, with the full agreement of the Gwent Local History Council, is making available many of the articles from this magazine relating to Caerleon.
Please note: copyright exists on all texts.
Enquiries relating copyright should be addressed to the Gwent Local History Council.

Gwent Local History No. 39, Spring 1975

The First two Masters
Of Caerleon School

In St. Cadoc's churchyard, Caerleon, on the right-hand side of the porch, lies a flat stone. It is dull and uninteresting until one reads the inscription, and then one wonders why two people were buried in the same grave with twenty years between their burials. These two were the first Headmasters to be appointed to the Williams Charity Schools. They were buried in the same grave - no one knows why. The Schools were built in the latter part of the summer of 1724. In the Report on the Charles Williams Charity given in the "Reports of the Commissioners appointed in pursuance of various Acts of Parliament to enquire concerning Charities in England, Wales and Monmouthshire 1819-1837", we read:

"on 21st August 1724 - John Hanbury paid Major Price for the ground to build the Charity School upon … the sum of £40.
John Hanbury paid Mr. Ingley for building the School £500.
John Hanbury paid more for the building of walls around the Courts thereof … £16 8s. 5d.

The building continued into the following year, for we find:

"2nd August 1725 …
Paid the Plumber for lead for the School … £3 6s. 3d.
For making the new pump at the School House … £5".

Nathaniel Powell and Daniel Job, whose gravestone we have commented upon, were both elected by the Trustees of the Charity and their salaries were not to exceed £25 per annum. According to the Rules then laid down, "the Master had to be a man of Orthodox Principles (i.e. belonging to the Church of England), of sober life and conversation. He must also have a genius for teaching, write a good hand and understand arithmetic. He must teach in the English tongue, must teach the principles of Christian Religion, and for teaching such other things as should be most suitable to their condition". We wonder how many teachers of today would pass this test.

Nathaniel Powell was possibly a local lad. The Parish Registers record the fact that one Thomas Powell, a day labourer, was buried on March 14th 1698. He could, of course, have come from elsewhere to work temporarily in Caerleon, but there were so many of the name of Powell in the 17th century, that it would be dangerous to draw conclusions from a single entry in the Parish Registers. As Powell died on June 2nd 1728, he could only have taught in the Schools for three and a half years.

Powell was followed by Daniel Job, who continued teaching until his death on June 17th 1761. Nothing at all is known about him, but the fact remains that there was sufficient respect for both men amongst the Governors and people of Caerleon, that they were buried in the same grave, and a stone placed above them to record this fact. The whole of their lives had been devoted to the teaching of thirty poor boys and, in death, unlike many other teachers, they were not forgotten.


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