Proposed School Board (1885 and 1889)

School boards were established by the 1870 Education Act and replaced by local education authorities in 1902. They were directly elected and could run local elementary education on a non-denominational basis, with the power to levy a rate, but a majority of ratepayers had to vote to establish one. In Winslow the Boys' and Girls' Schools were National Schools, under the "voluntary" auspices of the National Society (which was Anglican) although not at first the vicar. Anglicans therefore opposed the idea of a school board and non-Anglicans supported it; this division was (at least in Winslow) more or less the same as Conservative v Liberal. The proposal for a school board was apparently a reaction to the intervention of a new vicar, Rev. H.A. Douglas-Hamilton, who was regarded with suspicion by nonconformists, unlike his predecessor. Without him, the Board of Management consisted of 5 Anglicans and 4 non-Anglicans. The fact that Winslow didn't get a school board in 1885 or 1889 is the reason why it still has a Church of England school in 2020.

The controversy began at a subscribers' meeting on 2 Jan 1885:

Buckingham Advertiser, 10 Jan 1885

  SCHOOL MEETING.- On Friday morning, January 2nd, a meeting of the subscribers of the three schools was held in the Infant School.  Rumours of impending change in the management of the schools had been for some time floating about, and there was an unusually large attendance.- The proceedings commenced by Mr. S. Jones proposing and Mr. J. Elley seconding that Mr. Geo. R. Greaves take the chair.- Mr. A. S. Midgley, secretary, then read the financial statement, which showed a balance to the good of £41 5s 7d., and the Chairman remarked that one 4d rate had been sufficient for two years.- Mr. Parrett proposed, and Mr. Geo. Wigley seconded, that the accounts were highly satisfactory and should be passed.-

Mr. Neal, chairman of the old Committee, next proposed the election of a new Committee for the year.- Mr. H. Bullock proposed that the committee consist of nine members.- Mr. T. Saving enquired whether the committee would be chosen in a lump or singly.- Mr. Parrett stated that some years ago he made a proposition that the Committee should be elected singly.  Was that resolution still in effect ?- The Chairman replied that the resolution only bound the meeting for one year.-

The Rev. H. A. D. Hamilton next rose and made a somewhat lengthy statement, as to his claiming an ex-officio position on the committee, in the course of which he stated that when in 1841 the Boys’ School was built, an appeal was made to the National Society who granted £41, and in return for this grant the parish agreed to allow the Vicar for the time being, to be one of the managers of the School, and to carry on the religious teaching according to the Church of England.  When larger accommodation was required, the late Vicar gave the site to build the Girls’ School out of the Vicarage garden, thus saving the parish expense, and the terms were that the Vicar and Churchwardens should be on the Committee ex-officio.  The Diocesan Society also gave £200 coupled with the National Society’s rules, that the Vicar should be one of the managers and control the religious teaching.  Though the Vicar had for some time ceased to be a member of the Committee, and they might say the Education Act had swept away his rights, and that the three schools were now worked by one Committee, yet that did not do away with the general rights of the three deeds.  He had written to the National Society to obtain their opinions upon the Trust Deeds, and Sir F. Calvert, Q.C., had given it as his opinion that the control of religious teaching by the Church, and the teaching of the catechism were not in any way affected.  The Vicar concluded by saying he trusted that as men of honor and sense they would fulfil the contract that was entered into, and admit him as Vicar of the parish as an ex-officio member of the Committee. –

Mr. H. Bullock proposed “That the Schools be carried on by a Committee of nine members elected, and the Vicar a member ex-officio.”  With regard to the Girls’ School, the Committee who were formed in 1865, and of which the Vicar and churchwardens were members had an undoubted right to take away the Girls’ School from the present Committee.- Mr. T. P. Willis said the Girls’ School was handed over to the joint-committee under the Education Act, because the old Committee would not comply with the requirements of the Education Act.- Mr. Bullock said that arrangement had not destroyed the right.- Mr. Willis replied that all the schools were handed over to the Education Department, and the matter came into the Guardians of the Union’s hands, and notices were issued with respect to it in every parish in the Union.  He was not going to say whether the Vicar had or had not a right to be an ex-officio member of the committee; but this he would say, that the schools belonged to the parish.-

Mr. Neal said that the Vicar’s rights to the school could not be decided by that meeting, but would have to come before a higher power.  He wold propose that they proceed to business.- Mr. J. Hillyer seconded Mr. Bullock’s proposition.-

Mr. W. H. French proposed  “The election of a committee of management for the Winslow United Schools for the year 1885, consisting of nine members, neither of whom shall be a minister of any religious denomination”  Nine or ten years ago it was agreed that it was wisest and best to have an undenominational Committee and he was agreeably surprised how well it had worked.  The Committee had worked well, for it worked fairly, efficiently, and economically.  Was it worth while to upset this pleasant arrangement, and embark on a sea of troubles of which no man could see the end ?- Mr. Silvanus Jones seconded this resolution.-

Dr. Newham begged to correct Mr. French with regard to an arrangement being made that no minister should be on the Committee.  A deputation of the committee waited on the late Vicar to ask him to be on the Committee, and he believed Mr. French was one of the deputation, at anyrate Mr. R. Jones was.- Mr. W. H. French replied that he did not form one of the deputation.- Mr. Silvanus Jones said that he and Mr. Robert Jones were part of the deputation, and what was the answer the Committee gave them? “He won’t come if you ask him; and if he does, we won’t have him.”- Mr. Neal said that he was one of the deputation who waited on the late Mr. Preston, and he said he was willing, but when they returned the Committee rejected him.-

Mr. T. Saving said a resolution was moved that the Rev. F. J. Feltham (Baptist) should be a member of the Committee, but it was unanimously agreed that no minister should be on the Committee.- Mr. H. Monk said the present Committee of Non-conformists and Churchmen had worked well, and he certainly should not support the Vicar being on the Committee.-

Mr. T. P. Willis said the best way would be to hand over all the deeds to a solicitor to decide the matter of rights.  He would make a copy of the deeds without charge. (Applause.)  He believed Mr. Hamilton had written to the Education Department, but they said it was a matter they could not enter upon.-

The Rev. H. A. D. Hamilton said that he wrote to the Education Department at the suggestion of the Committee to ask if the Committee had any right to refuse him position as an ex-officio members or to decline to carry out the rules of the National Society, and My Lords replied that they had no power to give any answer to the legal points he had raised, and suggested he should consult a solicitor.- Mr. Hillyer said in his opinion the Vicar of any parish had the ex-officio right to be on the School Committee.- The Vicar said that if the meeting recognised his right to be an ex-officio he would be willing to stand off.-

Mr. French’s amendment "That neither of the Committee shall be a minister of any religious denomination” was then put to the meeting and received 31 votes, and Mr. Bullock’s proposition that the Vicar be an ex-officio member being put the chairman declared Mr. French’s amendment to be carried by a majority of 6.-

The meeting then proceeded to elect a Committee of 9 members by show of hands, when the voting was as follows:- Mr. Greaves, 60; Mr. Willis, 59; Mr. Wigley, 46; Mr. J. King, 39; Mr. W. George, 38; Mr. Monk, 36;  Mr. M. S. Lowndes; 32, Mr. G. George, 32; Mr. S. Jones, 31; Mr. J. East, 31; Mr. F. Loffler, 30; Mr. Bullock, 28; Mr. C. Colgrove, 27.  [Later corrected to: G. R. Greaves, 60; J. T. Willis, 59; H. Monk, 56; G. Wigley, 46; J. King, 39; W. George, 38; M. S. Lowndes, 32; G. George, 32; J. East, 31.] Mr. Saving was also nominated, but being a local preacher, was declared ineligible.  Mr. S. Jones and Mr. East receiving the same number of votes, Mr. Jones retired in his favor, and the Committee was composed as follows:- Messrs. Greaves, Willis, Wigley, Monk, King, Lowndes, W. George, East, and G. George.  A vote of thanks to the late Committee and to Mr. Neal, the chairman, and Dr. Newham the secretary of, it was passed, and the meeting concluded.


Bicester Herald, 27 Feb 1885

The Vicar did not accept the outcome of the meeting and continued to threaten legal action, leading to the renewal of the pro-School Board movement. Buckingham had a School Board, and so did several villages including Adstock and Tingewick.

A public meeting in support of a School Board for Winslow was held in the Centenary Hall, Winslow, on Friday evening, February 20th, and was largely attended, the room being filled.  A circular was sent out inviting the parents to attend the public meeting, having reference to elementary education, and it stated that the Chairman would be supported by numerous friends of the School Board policy, some of whom would be able to testify to the satisfactory working of their own School Boards in neighbouring parishes.  In opposition to this the parties in favour of voluntary schools issued two bills [see below] stating that there must be a serious increase in the rates, which would be met by the agriculturist reducing the wages of the working class, owners of cottage property raising their rents, and shopkeepers raising the price of provisions.  The struggle seems to be fought on the two broad lines of Church and Dissent, and if we may judge from the tone of the meeting, the majority of Winslow voters were in favour of the establishment of a Board School.

  Mr. W. H. FRENCH said that morning Mr. R. W. Jones told him he had met with an unfortunate accident that every man who wore false teeth was liable to.  Mr. Jones had sustained an accident which incapacitated him from speech, but he gave them his countenance and his support and everything but his voice.  After hoping that all present would give them their hearty countenance and support, he asked them to say if Mr. Jones should take the chair and depute the duties of the office to some one else?...

  A voice  Mr. Neal has continually interrupted (hissing and hooting) will the chairman invite Mr. Neal on to the platform ? (Cheers and further interruption).
  The CHAIRMAN said that Mr. Neal had conducted himself unmanly (hooting). (A voice: He is not a ratepayer at all.)  Fair argument was one thing; but shaking their fist in a man’s face was another.  If Mr. Neal insisted in his interruption he would insist on his ejectment; but if he conducted himself properly, he could come to the platform and speak as a man ...

[Speeches followed from various members of other School Boards.]   The Rev. J. S. POULTON said although he was a young man he believed there was nobody present who would despise his youth.  Although young he had had some insight into the subject under consideration, but he would refrain from saying anything dogmatical on the subject.  His chief reason for rising was to propose a very hearty vote of thanks to those friends from a distance who had so ably addressed them.
  Mr. S. JONES seconded the vote of thanks to those friends who had come for the purpose of giving information to the meeting, which was organised in support of, and not in opposition to, the School Board policy.
  Mr. PARROTT, from the body of the hall, was sorry to interrupt the chair, but Mr. W. Neal, jun.’s, behaviour was very bad there.
  The CHAIRMAN – Not only Mr. Neal, but another gentleman is behaving so badly that I may be under the necessity of naming him also.
  Dr. NEWHAM- Name the liars at your end...

  Mr. W. H. FRENCH next addressed the meeting.  He held in his hand a bill exhorting the Winslow people to “let well alone.”…
  For his own part he was rated for business purposes as highly as any tradesmen of the town, and he declined to join a dirty conspiracy to raise prices in revenge for a Board School vote...
  Another paper was in circulation, printed not in red but in a very dirty black ink.  The groundless aspersions therein slyly cast upon members of the committee would be duly replied to, but on other grounds, he objected to the entire tone of that precious document.  The fact that children had intellects or souls, that parents had rights, or even opinions, was steadily ignored, “Proputy, proputy, proputy” being the burden of the song.  It was perhaps in the interest of all parties except the children themselves and their parents who, at present, had no voice in the matter, “that a School Board be avoided.”  Furthermore that paper bore at its foot some names synonymous with honour, integrity, and uprightness.  But every name was not synonymous with common honesty.  If the litigious policy into which gentlemen had been tricked were persevered in, they would regret having permitted their names to appear in such company as they appeared in on that sheet.  He could conceive of no creditable motive to actuate the litigious resolution which drove four members from the committee.  (A voice: No.- Mr. Wigley: Decidedly yes) He could not but think the advice Mr. Willis gave the parish to be eminently wise. 

Another matter upon which he must speak was the regular meeting of their Schools’ Committee at a public house.  (Great interruptions on the part of Mr. Neal, jun., of the Bell Inn, ultimately allayed by a delicate reference to the functionary known as a “chucker out.”)  To his sorrow he admitted the time had been when he had joined public-house orgies- (Dr. Newham: Their what?)- but there was this difference between them and himself.  He was ashamed of it; they were not.  A great leader- (he was glad to observe the gentleman had made his presence known) when reference was made to the disgraceful state of things on the 2nd. ult. bawled out “They have always been held at the public-house.” Yes, and they had more than once seen the disgraceful result, but such a blot should no longer rest on their town.  (Passionate and noisy dissent from Mr. Hillyer, of the “George”)...

  Mr. Wigley- A friend said to him yesterday, “Cannot you go to this meeting to-morrow and pour oil on the troubled waters?”  Let him say let brotherly love continue.  The position of the four retiring committee men had been adverted to.  He would not go into the intricacies of the question as to why or how they retired; but thought it only right to read the proposition and the amendment which led to their withdrawal.  The committee received a letter from Messrs. Crawley and Arnold, the solicitors, who had conduct of the suit against the Buckingham School Board not an arbitration letter, but strongly threatening legal action against them immediately.  Now in such a case it was of little use to take a barrister’s opinion, for they might get as many and as divergent opinions, as they might be inclined to pay for.  And they thought it best in such a difficulty to consult the subscribers who elected them before taking any action.  However a resolution was proposed by Mr. James King- (A Voice: “Ah”)- and seconded by Mr. George George, “That an opinion be obtained at the joint expense of the committee and the Vicar, to be drawn up by a solicitor on each side, and that such an opinion be binding on the committee and the Vicar until the annual meeting in January next.”  The amendment proposed by Mr. G. D. Wigley, and seconded by Mr. W. George, was- “That the committee feel that they have no right to spend the money of the subscribers in submitting the Vicar’s difficulty to legal arbitration without first obtaining their sanction in a meeting assembled for that purpose, such meeting to be called as early as possible.”  Four voted for the resolution and an equal number for the amendment, the chairman (Mr. Greaves) giving his casting vote for Mr. Jas. King’s litigious resolution.  Mr. Willis at once advised their resignations from such an undesirable position.  Now my friends the case is this on Monday next, if the Vicar would withdraw from his hostile position and take into consideration such an amendment as would restore harmony to the parish, and unity once more to their counsels, he was willing and so were the other retiring members to return to work and let things be carried on as before.  He might say he had just seen his friend Mr. Willis, and he said he was willing to join them in that course.  (Great applause.)  He really thought that when the Vicar saw the result of his action to be the stirring up of strife and angry feeling, he would as an ambassador of the Gospel of Peace stay his legal action.  He was going to appeal to the meeting that night that they would all hold up their hands for the closing of this painful episode by a mutual concession and compromise.
  Mr. Wigley’s proposal met with almost universal approval...

  Mr. HILLYER said he had paid, in another town, a school rate of 1s. 9d. and would have none of them, but he advised them to put no clergyman on either board or committee.  They were not to be trusted with the education of children.

  Mr. STONHILL asked the meeting look matters in the face, and they must admit the school accommodation to be unsuitable and insufficient-
  Dr. NEWHAM- You are talking upon matters that you know nothing about.  (Being met with cries of platform, and being reproved for adopting a bullying tone to a possibly poorer man, Dr. Newham left his friends in the back of the hall, a marked diminution in the tumult being the result.)  He took the platform to say that he had been very much hurt in his mind by remarks that had been made about school committee meetings.  (Laughter, derisive cheers, and cries of “quite right” and “it was meant so.”)  At great personal cost he carried on the schools, and freely gave time and labour to the cause, the result being that they held the proud position of third in the county of Bucks, when he gave up control, and now they were second to none and a good specimen of what could be done without a Board.  It had been said that the accommodation was insufficient.  This was incorrect.  Infants had been sent to the upper school too rapidly for the space; but now, by keeping them back to finish their first standard under the infants’ school mistress, all was going on well. ...  


Buckingham Advertiser, 28 Feb 1885

The following report of the decisive meeting includes the text of some of the documents alluded to above.

W I N S L O W
SCHOOL BOARD VERSUS VOLUNTARYISM
EXCITED PROCEEDINGS – AMICABLE SETTLEMENT IN FAVOR OF VOLUNTARYISM.

For the past twelve years it has been a recognised rule in respect to the town schools that no minister of religion should take part in the management as a Committeeman, and to this rule the late Vicar [Mr Preston] quietly acquiesced.  The present Vicar [Mr Douglas-Hamilton], however, affirms that he has a right under the trust deeds to a seat, ex-officio, on the Committee.  This departure from the hitherto customary mode has caused considerable agitation amongst the Non-conformist section of the inhabitants, who have coupled this decision on the part of the Vicar with other items which have been noticed during his residency in the parish.  Accordingly this battle in the name of religion grew stronger and stronger, several retired from the Committee of Management of the Schools, and the quietude of Winslow was thrown into a state of turmoil and excitement.  During the week the following were amongst the placards issued to the inhabitants:-


WORKING MEN OF WINSLOW!
            An attempt is being made to force a School Board upon our parish.  Our present School system has worked well, and at a very small expense. The working men have received great benefit from it.  If a School Board is formed it will bring a heavy rate upon the parish.

            Now how would this rate be paid?
Agriculturalists would pay it by reducing your wages. 
Owners of cottage property would pay it by raising your rent.
Shopkeepers would pay it by raising the price of your provisions.
            Lastly:- How would the working men pay for it?
Look above, and you will see by lower wages! Higher rents!! And dearer food!!!
Working men, think of this, the power lies in your own hands.  Do not be gulled by soft speeches and School Board agitation.  You know what you now have to pay.
Let well alone.


[REPLY].
Do not be deceived by false posters, the object of which is by throwing dust in your eyes, to prevent you exercising your just rights;  but study the following facts:-
A School Board will not reduce your wages.
A School Board will not raise your rents.
A School Board will not increase the price of your provisions.
A School Board will not spend thousands of pounds.
A School Board will not increase the school fees.
But on the other hand –
A School Board will give your children a better education for less fees.
It will give them a better education, or their time will not be wasted by being marched off to Church, or in learning catechisms, Romish intonings, and bowings and scrapings.
It will be more efficient, for it will have more power than the voluntary system, which has but little legal standing.
It will have the power to remit the school fees in cases of poverty, without making the parent a pauper.
It will give you a voice in the management of the schools.
It will make all pay their fair share and no more, there will be no shuffling then.
It will before long be compulsory throughout the country, and will be found the cheapest in the long run; remember that the children in Ridgmont Board School earn 15s per head Government Grant, while the children in Winslow Voluntary Schools earn only 10s.


TO THE INHABITANTS OF WINSLOW.

Notice has been given that a meeting of ratepayers of the parish will be held to vote upon a proposition – “That it is expedient that a School Board be formed for this Parish.”  We desire to bring to your notice the facts which apparently have caused this action to be taken.   At the annual meeting of the subscribers to the Winslow National Schools, which was held on the 2nd January last, the Vicar claimed, by right of provisions in the trust deeds of the various schools, to have a voice in the management of the schools.  It was proposed that the Vicar should be admitted on the Committee of Management ex officio, but the proposal, upon being put to the meeting, was lost.  It was afterwards suggested by Mr. Willis that the question of the Vicar’s right should be determined, by its being referred for arbitration to an independent member of the legal profession, and he offered to provide copies of the deeds for this purpose.  This suggestion was applauded by persons of every opinion.  The Vicar afterwards wrote to the Committee of Management, enquiring whether they were willing to adopt Mr. Willis’ suggestion, and after further correspondence with the Vicar and his solicitors, the Committee of Management decided to agree that the matter should be referred for a legal opinion, as had been suggested.  Upon this decision being arrived at, four of the members of the Committee, viz., Mr. Willis, Mr. Wigley, Mr. W. George, and Mr. East, resigned their position on the Committee.


To those Inhabitants who pay rates, we wish to point out that if a School Board is formed, there must be a serious increase in the rates they pay.  It is impossible to say what amount would have to be spent upon school buildings, but it must be considerable, and has been estimated at thousands of pounds.  The annual expenses also will be larger, owing to salaries and such like expenses.  Also, at the present time, between £30 and £40 are subscribed by persons who do not pay rates, or whose rate is trifling in comparison with the subscriptions they pay.  These subscriptions would be lost if there is a School Board Rate.  Also a sum of forty guineas is annually paid to the schools by the trustees of a charity.  This sum would probably not be paid to a School Board.

To parents who send their children to the schools we say – Do not be deceived by the idea that Education and school fees will be less under a Board, should there be any change it would be in the direction of an increase of the weekly school pence, to meet the increased expenditure.

To cottagers who do not themselves pay rates, we point out that whether they have children to send to school or not, the matter concerns them, for most certainly in most or many cases the owners of the cottages will put up their rents to meet the new rates imposed by a School Board.

It is in the interest of all parties that a School Board should be avoided.
(Signed)
GEORGE R. GREAVES,    Chairman.                                                                
HENRY MONK, M. SELBY LOWNDES, JAMES KING, GEORGE GEORGE Committee of Management, Winslow National Schools.


TO THE INHABITANTS OF WINSLOW.

The following is a truthful statement of the facts which led four members of the schools committee to resign their seats.

A meeting was held on January 9, at which a letter was read from the Vicar asking what steps the Committee intended taking as to ascertaining his legal right to sit as an ex officio member.  By a majority of 4 to 2 the secretary was directed to reply that the Committee did not feel themselves called upon to prove the Vicar’s legal position in regard to the Schools.

A special meeting was afterwards called to hear a letter from the Vicar’s solicitors, addressed to the Chairman, and which read as follows:-

                                                20, Whitehall Place, London, S.W.,
                                                                        January 20th, 1885.

Dear Sir, - The Rev. H. A. Douglas-Hamilton has consulted us on the subject of the extraordinary mistake which the Committee of the Winslow Schools seem to have made in ignoring the express provision of the trust deeds, and excluding him from his position as one of the Committee of the school.   They appear by resolution to have thrown upon Mr. Douglas-Hamilton the assertion of his rights, but as those rights are by the express terms of legal instruments (which are open to the Committee) absolutely beyond doubt or question, we hesitate to put the Committee to the legal expences [sic] which must necessarily fall upon them if we take proceedings on behalf of Mr. Douglas-Hamilton against their express refusal of his rights under the trust deeds,  These expences [sic] would be considerable, and the conduct of the Committee is so inexplicable, that we feel bound to write this letter before taking action.  The trusts are so clear, that only one result is possible if they are wilfully violated by the Committee, and we can only suppose that it is by some misunderstanding that they at present decline to give to Mr. Hamilton the position which is so undeniably his.  We must ask you to lay this letter before the Committee, and to let us hear from you decisively if they still refuse to give Mr. Douglas-Hamilton the position accorded to him by the trust documents.
            We are, dear Sir,
                        Your obedient servants,
                                    CRAWLEY, ARNOLD, AND CO

Mr. James King proposed the following resolution – “That an opinion be obtained at the joint expense of the Committee and the Vicar, drawn up by a solicitor on each side, and that such an opinion be binding on the Committee and the Vicar until the annual meeting in January next.”   Mr. Geo. George seconded.

One of the Committee then pointed out that the Vicar’s solicitors in their letter made no reference to leaving the matter to arbitration but in unmistakable phraseology said – if you don’t allow the Vicar to take part in the meetings at the Schools, we have instructions to commence an action against you.  The Committee had no evidence even that the Vicar was willing to refer it to arbitration and even if they had they were conscious of the fact that they were returned to office by the majority of the subscribers who distinctly voted that no minister of any denomination should be allowed to sit on the Committee.  They could not therefore honestly, and in defiance of the opinion of those who returned them, support such a vague proposition, and thus unnecessarily dispose of the funds of the Schools.

Mr. Willis also asserted that he was not willing to stand the brunt of an action at law brought by the Vicar’s solicitors, and backed by the National Society.

Mr. Wigley then proposed the following amendment:- “That the Committee feel that they have no right to spend the money of the subscribers in submitting the Vicar’s difficulty to legal arbitration without first obtaining the subscribers’ sanction in meeting assembled for that purpose, such meeting to be called as early as possible.”  Mr. W. George seconded.

On being put to the meeting, 4 (Messrs. Willis, Wigley, W. George, and James East,) voted for the amendment, and 4 (Messrs. Greaves, M. S. Lowndes, Jas. King, and George George,) for the resolution; the Chairman then gave the casting vote in favour of the original resolution.

Messrs. Willis, Wigley, W. George, and East, then resigned, not being willing to defend an action brought against them in their capacity as members of the Committee:   

(Signed)            T. P. WILLIS, G. D. E. WIGLEY, WILLIAM GEORGE, JAMES EAST
Winslow, Feb. 21, 1885       


Bucks Herald, 28 Feb 1885

STORMY PARISH MEETING AT WINSLOW.

On Monday evening a meeting of the ratepayers of the parish of Winslow was held in the Schoolroom to consider the advisability of establishing a School Board.  The proceedings were announced to commence at seven o’clock, and at that time the room was crowded, whilst a number of people were gathered about the doorway.  The large majority of the assembly preferred standing to sitting down, although some located themselves upon the forms, and when our representative arrived upon the scene the ratepayers appeared to be wrangling in excited groups.

Among those present were the Vicar, the Rev. H. A. Douglas-Hamilton, the Rev. F. R B. Pinhorn, the Rev. J. Riordan, and Messrs. G. R. Greaves, T. P. Willis, W. Lowndes, jun., Lambton, E. W. S. Lowndes, W. H. French, H. Monk, Parrott, C. Colgrove, J. C. Hawley, A. G. Stevens, H. Bullock, E.. J. French, G. D. E. Wigley, S. Jones, W. George, J. Allen, T. Saving, Viccars (Little Horwood), Dr. Newham, &c.

Mr. Monk having proposed that Mr. Greaves take the chair, Mr. W. H. French urged that a Chairman should be, like Caesar’s wife, above suspicion, and that no gentleman should be Chairman whose action was likely to be called in question in course of any discussion which might arise.  As an amendment he begged to propose a gentleman who was a large ratepayer of the parish, and who had not been involved in the unhappy disagreements that had occupied the attention of their township; he proposed that Mr. Cornelius Colgrove be requested to take the chair.

Mr. Parrott seconded the motion, and a division on the question seemed imminent, but Mr. Colgrove’s voice was presently heard above the din announcing that he declined to act, whereupon Mr. Greaves – in a metaphorical sense – took the chair.  He stationed himself at a desk in a corner of the room, and a number of the “leading spirits” formed a broken half-circle in front of him.  Mr. Willis was on the right hand of the Chairman;  while Mr. Monk stood by the left corner of the desk;  and the Chairman was confronted by Mr. Sylvanus Jones, whose interjections were frequent and of a very hearty character.  It would be impossible to give the reader a full representation of the scene, and there were so many interruptions, and at times such a volley of cross questioning, that reporting the speeches became a difficult matter.

... Mr. Willis, as Clerk of the Union, then read the requisition, which set forth “That it is expedient that a School Board be formed for this parish.”  He also read the names attached, and said that out of about fifty only one or two were not ratepayers.  He had been through them carefully and found them to be all right.

Another wrangle ensued, in the course of which Mr. Willis said he should not have called the meeting if he had not received a proper requisition.

... The Chairman – If any gentleman wishes for a School Board, will he kindly propose a resolution, and then perhaps some one will second it.

Mr. Sylvanus Jones –I propose that we have a School Board for this parish.

Mr. French seconded.

The Chairman – Before any gentleman speaks I beg the meeting to confine itself to the subject, and the speakers not to take more time than they can help.  (Hear, hear.)  We have met here for business, and I hope not for animosity in any way.  (Hear, hear.)

Mr. Monk – I rise to propose this – I know every one of you.  You have always complained to me that poverty strikes you.  You can’t meet your payments;  trade is bad, farming is bad, and everything else is bad.  And what do you want to do this matter of – to increase our rates.  (To an interrupter: “You shut up!” – Laughter.)  Gentlemen, I will ask you as sensible men – every one of you – you know your own way about – do you want to pay a sovereign where less will do?  (Voices : “No, we don’t.”)

Mr. Monk (to Mr. Sylvanus Jones) – You shut up till I have done.  (Loud laughter.)  I know you all;  I have lived amongst you fifty years and ought to know you, and I know very well that you don’t want to pay more than you can help.  If you do pay, you will grunt.  (Laughter.)

... Mr. Neal - I second the proposition that there be no School Board.  I hold with what Mr. French said when we met to carry on the schools, and I rely on his words.  He gave us a great deal of praise, and said they were carried on with both economy and efficiency.  (Applause.)  That is all that we require.

... Mr. Neal – They have said that the children will be educated for nothing, and that we shall have no rates to pay; but if you look at the statistic of any of the School Boards you will find that they have generally quadrupled the rates.  (Hear, hear, and disturbance.)  A School Board would be a great expense to this parish; and when gentlemen come forward and subscribe so liberally – as they have done – it would look very bad to throw their subscriptions in their faces.

Someone here shouted – “To make up for other people’s deficiencies!” and the usual wrangle followed, in the course of which Mr. Neal declared that he would rather put himself under Clerical dictation than under Dissenting intolerance, and this produced some spirited ejaculations from Mr. Sylvanus Jones.

... Mr. Saving said that year after year he was more confirmed in opinions he had already expressed.  He contended that the committeemen should “stand every one on their own bottom, and not come in one on the back of the other.”  (Laughter.)

... Mr. Monk – You must remember we have got a vicar in Winslow, and you can’t get rid of him.  If you have a School Board he will be a member.

... The proceedings now bordered on the uproarious, and in the midst of the din Mr. Monk could be heard holding an animated argument with Mr. Sylvanus Jones, who stoutly maintained that he (Mr. Monk) was not present at the meeting referred to.  Mr. George George was also reminded that he had spoken for over five minutes.  Mr. George George (continuing) said the challenge had been thrown down for a School Board (“Be quick!” and laughter).  The great thing, they said, was clerical interference.  He contended that the Vicar had brought nothing new into the matter, but simply asked for a pure right.  Mr. George was again referring to Mr. Willis, when that gentleman said, amidst laughter, “You let Mr. Willis alone!”

Mr. Wm. George – Tell the truth, my boy!  (Laughter and “Hear, hear.”)

An interval in the oratory here occurred, the crowd closing around the Chairman’s desk, and a buzz of conversation being kept up.   At length the Chairman said he thought it would be the best plan if some one proposed an amendment.  Everybody in the room, he added, knew the whole of the circumstances.

... Mr. Wigley said no one regretted more than he did the tumultuous scenes which they were witnessing that night.  (Mr. Monk – “I don’t believe it!” and laughter.)  He wished to say also that no one regretted more than he did (Mr. Monk – “Don’t believe it, George!” and renewed laughter) the tumult and unpleasantness stirred in that parish  (Hear, hear.)   The Schools had been in their present condition and under the present management for ten years.  (Voices : “Eleven,” “Twelve,” and “Thirteen.”)   During all those year no Vicar had had a seat on the Committee (Hear.)  If he was not mistaken – and he believed his Church friends would bear him out – it was by their special request that the Vicar was excluded from the committee.   (A voice : “Whose request?”)  He (the speaker) was always willing to pay a high tribute to the efficiency of the schools and the manner in which they had been conducted;  and he could not but feel that if the Vicar had retained the position which the former Vicar held in respect to the schools they would have gone on as quietly.  No one regretted more than he did the unfortunate conflict which the Parish had been thrown into.  (Cries of “No” and “Yes.”) 

In response to cries for “the Vicar,” that gentleman mounted on a form, and said they would perhaps give him a patient and quiet hearing, though he appeared to be an obnoxious person so far.  He was told that he had forced them into this position. – After a sharp passage with Mr. Willis, the Vicar went on to say that there were trusts in connection with the schools, and as Vicar of the Parish he felt that he had no right to give up the rights which pertained to him in virtue of being an executor under those trusts.

... If they had a School Board, they must clearly understand that it was of their own seeking.  They would incur a heavy expense; and he should probably be returned as a member of that Board – (Mr. Monk : “I will take care you are at the head of the poll!”)  If he was returned what would they have gained?  The rate might be 1s. 4d., 1s. 6d., or 2s., and they must remember that once saddled with the Board they would not be able to get rid of it.  

... In conclusion, the Vicar said he did not mind personal insult and ribald remarks as he walked through the streets, but when his visitors, strangers in the place, were treated in the same manner, he thought it was time for Winslow to “shut up.”  (Hear, hear, and disturbance.)

... The Rev. J. Riordan [Congregationalist] said he had heard that it was stated that the movement in favour of the School Board had been “hounded on” by him.  (“No” no!”)  He wished to say that if any one thought so he was quite mistaken.  Personally he was in favour of a School Board in a district, because he thought that it was on the whole the best arrangement under the system of compulsory education.  At the same time he did not want to force a School Board on the parish, and he would call their attention to the offer of the vicar to revert to legal arbitration.

…Mr. Parrott then moved, - “That, being desirous of preserving peace in this parish, and living at peace with each other, an early meeting of the subscribers be called, and that the Rev. Douglas-Hamilton and the Rev. J. Riordan be elected, and the old committee go back.”

Mr. Wigley seconded, and the resolution in favour of a School Board having been withdrawn, Mr. Parrott’s amendment was agreed to.


Bicester Herald, 13 March 1885

The subscribers' meeting was duly held to bring into operation the compromise agreed to above.

  WINSLOW SCHOOLS MANAGEMENT QUESTION.- In compliance with a notice issues by the Secretary, a meeting of the subscribers to Winslow Elementary Schools was held on Thursday evening, March 5, at the Infant Schoolroom, Winslow, to elect the Rev. H. A. Douglas-Hamilton and J. Riordan on to the Committee of Management, according to the decision of the parish meeting.  Mr. Geo. R. Greaves was chairman. 

Mr. W. H. French proposed that the committee consist of eleven members, nine gentlemen, besides the two elected in deference to the meeting of ratepayers.  Dr. Newham said he did not see what the meeting had to do with the number on the committee as it was called for the special purpose of electing the two gentlemen named.  The chairman said he thought that matter might be left to the annual meeting.  Mr. Neal proposed that the resolution of the ratepayers, that Messrs. Hamilton and Riordan be members of the School Committee be carried into effect.- Mr. Parrett seconded this, and remarked that in proposing the arrangement at the ratepayers’ meeting he had acted entirely on his own responsibility, not having consulted anyone, and if the arrangement did not answer he should not go in for a compromise again.- Mr. Neal said he proposed the compromise at the annual meeting in January last, but had not sufficient eloquence to get it carried.-

Mr. Saving did not consider that the meeting could be confined to the election of Messrs. Hamilton and Riordan, because there were four members who had resigned.  How were they to be put on ?  The Chairman said the four members had been elected once.  All they had to do was go back.- Mr. Parrett hoped that no gentleman would refuse to go back to the committee; but in case either of them should refuse, the vacancies should be filled up by the unsuccessful candidates at the last annual meeting, those who had received the highest number of votes taking the seats.- Mr. Neal proposed that a new meeting of subscribers should be called to fill up vacancies if they should ensue.- The Rev. J. Riordan supported this, and though not formally put to the meeting, it seemed to be agreed upon.-

Mr. Parrett gave notice that at the next annual meeting he should propose a new way of electing the committee.- Mr. George George demurred to this.- Mr. Parrett said at the last meeting three or four voted who had no business and, if their votes were struck off, one or two of the present committee would not be on.-

A vote of thanks to the chairman was then carried closing the proceedings, which had been of an orderly and quiet character, the only exception being when Mr. Saving remarked that doctors and parsons who never subscribed to the schools were ready enough to come and interfere.  This was greeted with cries of name and was challenged by Dr. Newham, and on Mr. Wynter being named, Dr. Newham said Mr. Saving spoke in the plural.  A somewhat amusing passage of arms followed between Mr. Wynter and Mr. Saving.


Bicester Herald, 13 March 1885

W.H. French was not satisfied with the proceedings and got the Bicester Herald to publish this letter which he wrote to the Committee on 9 March. Part of the argument was whether there should be a compulsory rate (under the School Board system), a voluntary rate (assessed on the same basis but with payment being optional, as by this time was the case with the church rate) or subscriptions entirely at each subscriber's discretion.

GENTLEMEN,
            It will be within your recollection or knowledge, that at the meeting held on Thursday last I proposed a resolution in the following terms:
  That a meeting of subscribers to the Winslow United Schools, in deference to the expressed wish of the ratepayers in meeting assembled, rescinds the resolution passed on January 2nd last, constituting the committee of management, and resolves that the committee shall consist of eleven members, including the nine elected on January 2nd, and also the Revs. Hamilton and Riordan.

For the subscribers by special resolution to exclude clerics from their committee, and then at the next meeting, held in a very few weeks, to place two such gentlemen on the list without comment, or even rescinding their first resolution, is an act of self stultification to which I could be no party, and when my proposition was over-ruled I withheld support from the resolution which was actually passed.

  The meeting was convened presumably for the purpose of healing the differences of our parish, but the enemies of a fair system of education resorted to their old methods of bullying and rowdyism in order that the affairs of the schools should not be even briefly discussed, and it is unfortunate that the chairman lent a (possibly inadvertent) sanction to these tactics by finally vacating the chair, but not the room, during the progress of the meeting.  Two subscribers suggested different methods for the obviously necessary functions of filling vacancies that might occur in the committee, but they were insulted for their pains.  Another adverted in loud and earnest tones to the fact that many persons would not renew their subscriptions to the existing condition of things, but were bawled out of breath and countenance. 

Now, though the fact may be unpalatable to you, you must be made aware that a large majority of our ratepayers
WILL NOT SUBSCRIBE
to a jerry-mandered list such as your balance sheets have hitherto shown and the
UNFAIR IRREGULARITIES
of which were exposed in the course of recently past discussion, but they would pay a
VOLUNTARY RATE
If fairly levied and completely compiled by the secretary upon your precept...


Bicester Herald, 20 March 1885

Mr French also published this open letter to the ratepayers, dated 16 March, after which the controversy disappeared from the local press for the rest of the year. The "public property" to which he refers below was the land owned by the Rogers School Trust.

TO THE RATEPAYERS OF WINSLOW.
  DEAR FRIENDS,
Permit me to thank you for the evident kindly confidence placed in me by the majority of your number throughout the course of our recent struggle for a fair unsectarian system of public elementary education, a confidence which I trust is not lessened because it was thought best to suspend our action for a year in the (unfortunately somewhat remote) hope that wiser counsels might influence the amended committee.  We are willing to wait patiently a little longer for the ultimately certain triumph of our principles.  Indeed, the course of the meeting of the 23rd ult. left no other way open to us but to accept its decision as affording a respite from wearisome parish disputes; but the action of the managers pro tem. has shewn them incapable of turning it to better account than an unworthy party triumph.  Unless the four returning members are able to modify the position held by the committee, it will be quite powerless to raise the funds needed to carry on the Schools.

Speaking for myself, I should narrowly
SCAN THE SUBSCRIPTION LIST
and see that equitable payment had been made by ratepayers who have hitherto
EVADED CONTRIBUTION
before I gave anything at all.  The deficit for 1885, which must be met by subscriptions, with good management should not exceed £80.
A TWOPENNY RATE
will furnish more than the sum required to balance “outsiders” subscriptions, so that if any of you pay more than that rate, you will be making up for some of
YOUR NEIGHBOURS’ DEFICIENCIES.
  The following table shows how the money is raised for the support of your Schools. 

About £44 is contributed nominally by resident “anti-School Board ratepayers,” not out of any love to your Schools, but avowedly merely to
SAVE A RATE.  FOR THIS MEAN CONSIDERATION THEY CLAIM ABSOLUTE CONTROL of all the Schools; but remember that a great portion of their subscriptions they recover from their Dissenting tenants in the form of rates plus a profit, the latter derived from the practice of “compounding.”

£24 is contributed by the friends of undenominational education, to a system which they do not like, but will not upset if it can be made to work fairly all round.

£35 is contributed by outsiders, who on the best authority have no other “stake” in the parish than assisting to deprive parents and children of the blessing of a School Board.

£82 is furnished by the pence and earnings of Church children.

£145 (MUCH THE LARGEST ITEM OF INCOME) is derived from the pence and earnings of Chapel children, but their parents are denied any right to vote or even have any voice in the management of their own Schools.

£42 is derived from some public property which the WORKING MEN OF WINSLOW (To use the Tory catch phrase) will “want to know” all about as soon as they are freed from Tory pressure by future judicious application of the “Corrupt Practices Act.”

£380 is the total revenue in round figures for the year last past.  Thus the PENCE PAID BY PARENTS amounts to nearly £90, and the GRANT EARNED BY THEIR CHILDREN amounts to £137. 

Now if any man has a greater “stake” in this question than others it is the man who sends a large family to the Schools.  It is a mistake to say that the parent has the advantage of cheap education for his children.  Education is an advantage to the children themselves, and to the future of the State.  To the parents it is nothing but a GREAT PRESENT DISADVANTAGE. He pays to the taxes out of which grants are earned, and also to the School rate - Indirectly and as far as it has any fair incidence whatever.  He also loses all the money that his children might be earning while they are at School.  In addition to all this, under our constitution he is made to pay 2d. per week per child undergoing the instruction compelled by law, and then, seeing the case not sufficiently hard, the managers add to its hardship by asking his payment of another 1s. per annum for the privilege of a vote.  All this dissatisfaction may be ended by our adoption of a “ratepayer” instead of a “subscriber” franchise in electing a new committee.


Second school board proposal, 1889

The annual meeting of subscribers on 4 Jan 1889 chaired by G.R. Greaves was a fairly routine one (Buckingham Express, 12 Jan). There was a vacancy on the committee due to the departure of Rev. J. Riordan of the Congregational Church. W.S. Neal proposed Mr Chinnery of Winslow Hall, and James East proposed Rev. J.S. Poulton, the Baptist minister. Mr Monk "said that he had always believed in treating Dissenters well, and he was sure they had been better treated in Winslow than they deserved." The meeting voted to enlarge the committee by one and elect both men. It was also reported (Buckingham Advertiser 19 Jan) that William Starkings, head master of the Boys' School for sixteen years, had resigned; he was presented with a purse containing £10 by more than 75 of his old scholars.

On 15 March the Bicester Herald reported that the vicar (Mr Douglas-Hamilton) was claiming that the schools were church schools and insisting on giving religious instruction and teaching the Anglican catechism. This led to nonconformist parents exercising the "conscience clause" under the 1870 Education Act to withdraw their children from such instruction.

Bicester Herald, 12 July

WINSLOW SCHOOLS.
To the Editor of the Bicester Herald.
  DEAR SIR,- After 19 years of management by a committee, the Vicar claims to be the manager of our schools, and the committee has virtually ceased to exist; except in so far as they like to be his servants, which, of course, the Nonconformist members of it will not be.  Considerably over half the children attending are the children of Nonconformists, yet the Vicar openly avows his intention of making the schools “Church Schools.”  There are no classrooms for the withdrawal of children during sectarian instruction and everything seems to point to the schools being used as part of that proselyting system, of which we have seen as much during the last two or three years.  Under these circumstances a strong effort must be made by all friends of religious freedom and fairness in Winslow to ensure a School Board, which is admittedly fair to all and which need not be any more expensive than the present system.
                                                Yours truly,
                                                            A NONCONFORMIST.
  Winslow, July 8, 1889.

Buckingham Advertiser, 20 July

Does Winslow want a School Board?
A MEETING OF THE RATEPAYERS SAYS “NO!”    A POLL DEMANDED.
  For some time the Nonconformists of Winslow have considered that their claims in the conduct of the public elementary school of the parish have been curtailed, and the result has been the promulgation of the benefits and advantages to be derived by the establishment of a School Board elected by the ratepayers in lieu of the present management of the schools.  The first step in this direction was that of forwarding a memorial to the Clerk of the Poor Law Guardians requesting him to call a public meeting of the ratepayers of the parish to consider the question.  This meeting he called by the usual notice on Tuesday evening in the Boys’ Schoolroom at 7 o’clock.  There was a good attendance at this hour, but as the proceedings went on the company increased.  G. R. Greaves, Esq., was called to the chair, and there were present- T. P. Willis, Esq., Clerk to the Guardians; Dr. Newham, Rev. J. E. C. Collyer, Messrs. A. J. Clear, W. Neal, sen., H. Monk, H. Bullock, J. C. Hawley, C. Wilford, Jas. King, F. Dancer, A. Monk, T. F. Vaisey, - Warr, Arthur Warr, Jas. Sear, Thos. Higgens, Josiah Archard, Jas. Spooner, Geo. George, John Varney, F. Benbow, John Elley, G. Whichello, Jonas Hillyer, G. D. E. Wigley, Silvanus Jones, E. J. French, W. Warne, E. Abbot, G. W. Bird, L. Clarke, Geo. King, W. Jones, W. Stonhill, Josiah White, - Brown, J. Colgrove, R. Coxill, W. Collins, Thos. Lee, Geo. Ingram, W. Minter, W. H. Stevens, John Grace, John Gates, Edward Gowin, John Hill, W. Turnham, Thos. Walker, John Mayne, John Corkett, E. Fortnum, Chas. Osborn, Jesse Smith, T. Gardner, O. I. King, Thos. Sear, Jas. Yeulett, - Shakespeare, W. Lapper, W. Gaskin, H. Budd, John Varney, sen., J. Viccars, S. Walker, C. Colgrove, - Foskett, - Royce, Theo. King, Edwin J. Thompson, T. Adkins, Edward Parrett, A. G. Stevens, A. Woodbridge, W. Read, - Walker, sen., G. Robinson, Sergt-Major Collyer, &c.
  The Chairman remarked that he thought that before he opened the meeting he ought to ask all those gentlemen who intended to speak to rise, and to confine themselves to the subject, and especially not to get more excited- or at any rate more heated- (laughter)- than was necessary (cheers).  It was his desire to conduct the meeting in a good spirit- (cheers)- and to let everyone say what he had to say, and for all to have a fair hearing (cheers).  He thought it his first duty as Chairman was to ask Mr. Willis, who called the meeting, to state what the purpose was that it was called for (cheers).
  Mr. Willis- It is called on the receipt by me of a memorial signed by G3 ratepayers.  Due notice has been given.  I called the meeting as Clerk to the Board of Guardians…
  Mr. Wigley then rose and said- Through the deeply lamented death of my friend, Mr. Robert Jones, who I know would have been here this evening to introduce this resolution, the duty devolves upon me.  I have before sounded the note of warning and at our last committee meeting-
  Mr. Bullock rose to order.  Let them settle one question first (cheers).
  Mr. Wigley- I gave notice that if the Vicar persisted in taking over the management of the schools to himself, I saw no alternative but a School Board not Board Schools.  Mark the difference, we don’t want them.  My friend, Mr. Monk, seeing the difficulty, said to the Vicar, and the other members of the Committee “Let well alone.”-
 Mr. Bullock- Is Mr. Wigley in order, Mr. Chairman?
  Mr. Wigley- Now, gentlemen, if the Vicar had been willing to have remained on the School Committee, and work harmoniously as before, but he has thought otherwise, and I, therefore, now propose a School Board for the parish of Winslow, and if you ask me why I do it I reply I do it with the deepest convictions, and the most thorough conscientiousness (cheers).
  Several voices- Can we see this requisition?
  Mr. Silvanus Jones- I beg to second Mr. Wigley’s proposition.
  Mr. Hillyer- I will second Mr. Monk’s proposition that the requisition shall be read (loud cheers, and “No, No,”).
  Mr. Wigley- You, Mr. Chairman, have two propositions before the meeting.  I believe mine comes first (“No, No,”).
  Mr. Monk- No fear. Mine was first.  Let’s have the names of the party who wanted the meeting (cheers and laughter).
  Mr. Saving- I don’t think you have any right, Mr. Chairman, in putting Mr. Monk’s proposition to the meeting (cheers).  The Act of Parliament does not sanction such procedure (cheers).
  Mr. Monk- We are met here as men of business, and not as fools (“Oh! Oh!” and cheers).  We will have that requisition read (cheers).  Let’s take the sense of the meeting upon it.  We want to know who signed it (laughter and cheers).
  The Chairman- There seems to be a difference of opinion upon it, and I think the better plan will be to take the sense of the meeting upon it.
  Mr. Hillyer- I will propose that it to be read.
The Chairman- I will put it to the meeting.
  He then did so, when 28 hands were held up in favour of the requisition being read.
  Mr. Wigley thought one gentlemen present ought not to have voted.
  The Rev. J. E. C. Collyer here rose and replied that he was a ratepayer, and was entitled to vote (cheers).
  The Chairman then asked for a show of hands of those against its being read, when 21 voted.
  The Chairman then said it had been decided by a majority of those present that the requisition should be read.  This announcement was received with loud applause.
 The requisition and 63 signatures were then read out to the meeting…
  Mr. Saving- The rules are that no Church Catechism shall be taught in the schools (Mr. Monk: “Go, it, Bishop,” laughter).  But the Vicar declares that he will teach the Church Catechism in the schools.  He thus ignores and sets aside the rules.  He says he is determined to teach the catechism and can you then be surprised at our grievance? (cheers).
  Mr. George George then rose, and as a member of the School committee thought it was only right and fair that they should look at both sides of the question…  For himself he was only too pleased that Winslow now possessed a Vicar who took his proper place and did his duty in the parish (cheers).  The Vicar did that which he conscientiously believed to be his right and his duty.  The Committee had a strong discussion at the first meeting.  This was not the first time the subject of the establishment of a School Board had been broached in Winslow (cheers).  Certainly they were not surprised at it this time.  They had an intimation of it.  They knew that the Vicar took the line of his predecessor for some time, and did not exercise his right, indeed he was deprived of his rights (cheers). It was strongly discussed at the Committee meeting about the trust deeds of the school, and it was asked that they should be produced at the next meeting (cheers).  Why was that not done? (cheers).  All he could say was that they were not produced, though they had a copy.  He maintained that where a trust was left it should be properly administered, but how could they do this if they could not see the deeds? (cheers).  Mr. Wigley had told them that at the Committee meeting the Vicar had said that he was going to be “boss of the show.”
  Mr. Wigley- I never said anything of the kind (cheers).  Please don’t put words into my mouth (cheers).
  Mr. George said then he would take the words as his own (cheers).  Perhaps Mr. Wigley did say that the Vicar ignored them (cheers).  But he (Mr. George) would ask if it was possible for the Vicar to do this without the consent and the sanction of the majority of the Committee? (cheers, and “Cut it short.”)  But he had to repeat that the trust deeds were not produced, and also that it was well known that the Vicar had worked hard for his Sunday School, with the result that he had taken away about 70 children from other schools in the town (cheers)…
  Mr. George said he would cut it short.  To his mind the grievance was that the Church Sunday schools were progressing, and the other schools were going back (loud cheers, and “No, no”)…
  Mr. Silvanus Jones said that it was decided in that room that no clerical influence should be brought to bear upon the teachers in the schools, and this was the strongly-expressed opinion of the late Mr. Robert Jones.  But why was this requisition signed and sent in?  It was because clerical influence had been brought to bear upon the schools (cheers)… Let there be fair play, and in the end the men of Winslow would be glad, and rejoice in the day when they established their School Board (cheers).
  Dr. Newham said he was not going to take part in the discussion; but he believed Mr. Jones was labouring under a misapprehension when he said that they would not have the Vicar on the Committee.  If they referred to the minutes, they would see it recorded there that the Vicar at the onset said he was totally opposed to the Education Act of 1870.
  Mr. Monk rose and referred to the help given to the school funds by Mr. Chinnery and others.
  Several persons also rose, and there was a storm of words for a few minutes, Mr. Monk remarking that he did not care about “Sil,” and thereby causing a hearty laugh.
  Mr. Wigley asked that his proposition might be put to the meeting.
  The Chairman then asked for a show of hands in favour of the establishment of a School Board, when 38 voted for it…
  The Chairman then asked for a show of hands against the establishment of a School Board, when 39 voted for it, and he declared that carried, amidst the applause of the company.
  Mr. Wigley then walked up to the desk at which the Chairman stood, and handed him a document, amidst the silence of the company.
  Mr. Monk- Our noble auctioneer is licked (laughter).
  The Chairman- No, no, Mr. Monk, I hope you will not say that (cheers).
  The Chairman then said that he had received from Wigley a requisition demanding a poll of the parish.
  The requisition was read out, and also the signatures, and Mr. Willis assured the company that it should have his attention.
  Mr. Bullock then proposed a vote of thanks to Mr. Greaves for presiding, and the meeting terminated.  

Supporters of the School Board held a meeting at the Centenary Hall, chaired by Silvanus Jones (Buckingham Advertiser, 27 July). T.B. Saving made a speech criticising the vicar's influence and the "bad management" of the schools where 30% had not passed and 40 children had to stay on for another year. A visiting speaker, Rev. M.E. Parkins of Yelvertoft (from the Liberation Society) said that vicars ran the schools in many places and treated the teachers as their servants. Someone called out "That's how it is here". He pointed out that National Schools (such as the Boys' and Girls' Schools in Winslow) only accepted Anglicans as teachers.

The Conservative Buckingham Express gave the other side of the argument (27 July). Rev. Alfred Preston had been forced to allow dissenters on the committee although the school deeds said that all members should belong to the Church of England. The subscriptions of churchmen maintained the schools financially. The vicar obtained copies of the deeds from the Public Record Office and got counsel's opinion that he had a right of control over the schools. If the parish voted for a School Board, new schools would have to be built as the vicar would not hand over the existing buildings.

Bicester Herald, 2 Aug

  THE SCHOOL BOARD CONTEST AT WINSLOW, which took place on Monday last, July 29, at the Boy’s School, terminated unfavourably to the friends of un-denominational education by a majority of 45 votes.  No stone was left unturned by the vicar and his party against the proposition.  Some landlords, employers, and  others used, it is alleged, pressure on those connected with them.  Statements that the rates would if a School Board were formed, amount to 1s. in the £ were freely circulated.  The effect of this antagonistic influence was that some who signed the requisition in favour of a School Board did not vote for it.  Great activity was used in fetching up the voters, and the number polled was high, the votes being respectively 139 for and 184 against.  Mr. T. P. Willis was returning officer.  The Conservatives were represented in the polling booth by Mr. T. D. Curtis, the Rev. J. S. Poulton representing the Liberals.  A peal was rung from the church bells, immediately the result was known.

Buckingham Advertiser, 3 Aug

  There is much rejoicing at Winslow on the victory of the Church party over the School Board-ites.  Till now, it appears it was the prevalent opinion that the Non-cons. were by far in the majority.  But they can never forget that they are represented on the County Council by Mr. Fremantle, and in Parliament by the Hon. Egerton Hubbard.  Still they are an earnest ever-at-work minority.

Bicester Herald, 16 Aug

  AN ALLEGED INCIDENT OF THE SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION.- An old and respected inhabitant of Winslow has been displaying in his window a notice (signed by the Vicar) to leave his allotment land.  The receiver heads it “The Result of the School Board Election, after 40 years’ tenancy.”

This apparently refers to T.B. Saving. The usual school treat didn't happen because of the vote and the withdrawal of nonconformist support (T.B. Saving usually collected the money for it). The vicar and curate therefore made a point of providing their own treat (Buckingham Advertiser, 17 Aug). The Advertiser described it as "the best holiday the children of the parish have yet experienced" rather than the triumphal celebration it clearly was. The children paraded through the town behind the Union Jack to the Vicarage Fields "kindly lent by Mr. George George". There was maypole dancing, swing-boats and coconut throwing, followed by tea for 400 children and adults. Then there were athletic sports watched by over a thousand spectators, a procession to the Market Square and a dance on the Bowling Green.

Buckingham Advertiser, 14 Sep

Winslow Schools.
  The following is the report of the Government Inspector on these schools: 
  “The Boys’ School is improving rapidly, and is likely to do very well under Mr. George Pass.
  “The Girls’ Department is in rather a critical state. When Miss Knapton took charge of the school she was met by a spirit of insubordination that was more or less supported by local feeling, and which hampered her seriously in her work.  Then came an epidemic of measles, entailing the closing of the school, and still further weakening its chance of success.  The result is a disastrous examination.  I hope that with a clear year’s work and no unnecessary troubles thrown in her way, Miss Knapton may be able to show a very different state of affairs next year.
  “The Infants’ school is a good one, though its first standard is a weak one.  Several of its members appeared to be unfit for any standard, and would have been more properly classed with the older infants.  But the general condition of the school in other respects, and the special circumstances of the school year, enable me to classify the school as good.”
  The Government grant for this year is - Boys’ School, £52/5/10; Girls’ School, £27/10/4; Infants’ School, £65/5/-; total, £145/1/2, against £145/3/5 last year.  The average attendance for the year has been 71 boys, 52 girls, 90 infants.