Wrockwardine Wood Sunday School

From the Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1838

An account of the Primitive Methodist Sunday School at Wrockwardine Wood, in Shropshire.

In the year 1823, a Sunday school was established in the P. M. chapel at Wrockwardine Wood.  And, from that period to the present, a considerable number of children have been under religious instruction, from sabbath to sabbath; and the good effects produced on the minds and conduct of many of them, have been witnessed and acknowledged by both rich and poor.  Some of the children have been truly converted to God, and others have been able to read that book which is able to make them wise unto salvation.  And no one knows how far this instruction may influence their future conduct.  God grant it may be like bread cast upon the waters, to be seen after many days.  Meanwhile our duty is plain: “In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.”

After a time it was thought the management of the school might be improved.  Its affairs were carefully investigated, when it appeared to be very deficient in books, &c., and it was many pounds in debt.  The case was laid before the circuit quarter-day meeting.  And that meeting determined to take the school under its more immediate care; and formed a committee to manage it, consisting of the superintendant preacher, with the superintendant, secretary, and treasurer of the school, and three or four others, to meet monthly, and gratuitously transact the business of the institution; subject nevertheless to the quarter-day board.

The committee entered on their work in May 1833; and by their diligent labours, and the liberality of friends, the school was soon freed from it debts, and emancipated from its gloomy position; and it has ever since been gradually increasing in its members and its usefulness.

Its last anniversary was held January 22, 1837, when three sermons were preached in its behalf.  And, notwithstanding the unfavourableness of the weather, twelve guineas were collected.

Having a considerable sum of money in hand, it was thought proper to attempt the further comfort of the children, by flueing the chapel, it being very cold in the winter season.  This work was commenced in April 1837, and completed in June; in order that it might be properly seasoned before winter.

The whole expense of the flueing, including a chimney forty feet high, and a coal house, and a long and deep drain to carry off the water, amounted to about twenty pounds; which is to be equally borne by the school committee and the trustees.  In four weeks (from October 30, 1837,) we shall commence warming the chapel by means of the flues, from which the children, the teachers, and the congregation, are expecting considerable comfort.

At present we have twenty teachers, and two hundred and forty children in the school, and a noble prospect of a further increase.  What a plantation of souls for the church!  Oh! that the Lord may pour out of his Spirit more and more, and cause it to blossom and bring forth fruit abundantly.

There are two matters connected with this school, which are of considerable service to it, and to the parents and teachers also.  And although it may not be practicable to adopt them at other schools, yet it may not be amiss to mention them here.

One is a library consisting of bibles and testaments, and of all books published at our book room.  The children, when their names are called over, subscribe what they choose; and receive a printed ticket, marked, one farthing, one penny, three pence, six pence, &c.  And each child has a ticket exactly according to what he subscribes, and no more.  And at any future time they are at liberty to bring the tickets they have so obtained, and have any book out of the library they may prefer, to the amount of the money on the tickets so returned.

Now as the colliers and others in this neighbourhood, receive their wages every other Saturday, every Sunday fortnight is the subscribing Sunday, on which the children bring some a half-penny, others a penny or more; and each receives a ticket or tickets, to half the value of what he subscribes; and each must attend the school on the following Sunday, for the other half, or otherwise forfeit it, extraordinary cases excepted.  By this means we secure their attendance on both the Sundays, and circulate a considerable number of bibles, testaments, hymn books, &c. &c.; all of which are purchased as cheap as possible, and sold at the regular retail prices.  Hence the funds of the school are also assisted.

The other matter is, TheChildren’s Funeral Fund.

Its rules are as follows:-

I. — This fund shall be managed bythe committee of the school.

II. — Every officer, and every child in the school (above four years of age), shall be at liberty to enter into this fund.

III. — Every new member of this fund shall pay four-pence as entrance money, and the last levy, in order to be entitled to payment in case of death.

IV. — On the death of a member, two pounds shall be paid towards the funeral expenses out of this fund by the treasurer.

V. — When a member dies, notice thereof shall be given in the school, and a levy made on the surviving members sufficient to refund the two pounds.

VI. — All levies to be paid within one month after notice given, or forfeit all right to payment in case of death.

VII. — If a child or officer leave the school, he or she .shall cease to he a member of this fund, and forfeit all claims.

VIII. — Should a member leave the neighbourhood, he or she shall cease to be a member of this fund, but shall have the last levy returned, if required.

IX. — If a member be put out of the school for improper conduct, his or her membership shall cease, but the last payment may be withdrawn.

X. — If a member be absent from the school three successive Sundays, without assigning a sufficient reason to the superintendant, he or she shall cease to be a member of this fund, and forfeit all claims.

XI. — If any dispute arise between the parties connected with the fund, it shall be referred to the Committee.

XII. — No salary shall be allowed to any officer of this fund.

N. B. -There are no regular payments to this fund, as four pounds only will be kept in hand; and this much because it may happen that two of the members may die nearly at the same time, but a levy is made on the death of a member, and not oftener.  If it be asked how the four pounds are to be raised; the answer is, By begging.

These rules are printed, signed by the treasurer, secretary, and superintendant of the school; and one is given to each member of the fund.

richard davies


(Approved by the Circuit Committee, October 30, 1837.)


Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1838.  Pages 51-53.

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