Friends group helps archives look into the past

Published Thursday, 17th April 2014
Archives and local studies
Archives searchroom

Rotherham Archives and Local Studies Service have acquired a new record that reveals fascinating details of early 19th century education and charity in the Wath area.

The Trustees' minute book for Wath Charity School, covering the years 1803-1896, has been purchased for the Service by the Friends of Rotherham Archives from a bookseller in East Yorkshire.

The minutes provide a real insight into the working of the school by describing the findings of school inspectors, the costs of improvements to the building, and the examination of children in writing and scripture.

The book also contains a copy of an agreement for the school to be put into proper repair in 1803, paid for by the townships of Wath, Swinton and Brampton Bierlow.

It lists the names and dates of enrolment of children from these townships, and the attendance of the free scholars whose education was paid for by either Sawdrie's, Skyer's and Twittey's charity or the Right Honourable Earl Fitzwiliam's charity during 1810-1859.

Wath Charity School evolved from the first school that was founded on the site by Thomas Wombwell (vicar of Wath upon Dearne 1652-1662) in 1660.  He later received a monetary gift towards the school from Thomas Sawdrie.

The original school was situated on the site of the cemetery at Newhill and in 1855, the children transferred to a new school house, then known as Wath National School.  This is now Wath C. of E. Junior and Infant School, and Sawdrie’s Trust still continues to fund school projects.

The Trustees' minute book will be on display in the search room at Rotherham Archives and Local Studies, Clifton Park Museum, from April onwards, alongside some of Wath C. of E. School’s early log books, the admission register and punishment book.

The Friends of Rotherham Archives said they were delighted to have been able to assist the Archives and Local Studies Service with the purchase of the Wath School Trustees Minute Book.

This is just the sort of assistance that the Friends group included in their mission when they were founded in 1997.

We are sure that this fascinating acquisition will enhance the service that the Archives gives to the people of Rotherham and South Yorkshire.