SKELTON - IN - CLEVELAND
IN HISTORY

Page 36.

A SKELTON SCHOOLBOY 1820 - WILLIAM EMMERSON'S SUM BOOK.
Margaret Long of Maryland, USA emailed the information on the previous page.
Among other things it tells of her ancestor, William Emmerson.
He was born at Hollybush Farm, Skelton in 1808 and was married at old All Saints Church, Skelton in 1832.
Shortly after he emigrated to Indiana, USA, where he lived the hard life of the early pioneers, yet survived to pass the age of 90.
Amazingly Stephen Griffiths of Brentwood, Essex is in possession of an exercise book, which this same William Emmerson completed at the age of 12 while attending John Sharp's School in Skelton in 1820.
Steve has very kindly sent the following photographs of some of its pages.
Steve also has ancestors in the Skelton area with the surnames GILL, YOUNG, EMMERSON and WOOD and would like to contact anyone with related ancestry. [See his earlier email on page 13.]
Through the EMMERSON link Margaret and Steve are distantly related and this chance exchange of information has fortunately put them in contact with each other.

The front of the book is blank and this page shows the inside of the front:-
"William Emmerson Book, January 25, 1820."

There was no compulsory education until much later in the century and those parents who could afford it had to pay for instruction in the 3 Rs of Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.
Such teaching fees would be afforded by the Emmersons, who owned Hollybush Farm, [a photograph of the main building appears on the previous page.]
On the 1856 Ordnance Survey map the building appears as Faughfield House and on the 1871 census the farm is Holling Farm.

Nearby Hagg Farm, which is still a working farm is named here as what appears to be "Silsen Hagg"

Josie Bland of Robinson Street, Skelton, who is a descendant of the Emmersons, informs me that Alice Young of Hagg Farm on the above 1841 census was born Alice Emmerson, the daughter of Alice Emmerson of Hollingtree [Hollybush] Farm. And John Emmerson, aged 13, on the above extract was her illegitimate son, being brought up by his Grandparents.

According to the Will, dated 1747, of William Emmerson the family owned all the land named "Wandhills", where the present Industrial Estate lies and seemingly all the land to Layland Beck and possibly beyond.
How this family came into the wealth to acquire this land from the original owners, Skelton Castle estate and at what date is not known.

Even when compulsory education was first introduced by Act of Parliament much later in the century, parents had to pay a few pence.
In 1820, therefore, many children grew up illiterate and innumerate, if their parents were the same and poor.
Some philanthropic people in Skelton had left in their Wills certain charities for the education of a few children of those whose parents could not afford the basic fees.
How these pupils were selected and what proportion of village children never went to school is a subject worth exploring.
Just 9 miles away, 80 years before William Emmerson was educated in Skelton, the son of a farm labourer was taught arithmetic in Great Ayton at the expense of his father's employer.
His understanding of figures enabled him to become the greatest map-maker of the age - one Captain James Cook RN.

The following pages show the methods of teaching Arithmetic at that time, the weights and measures and items of importance to everyday living.









This is the last page of the book where the Schoolmaster, John Sharp confirmed in his beautiful Copperplate that William has completed his sums.
Above this William has copied his master's script pretty well.
Below he seems to make two attempts at "school"
John Sharp is recorded in this website as one of the Skelton Schoolmasters in the Baines Directory of 1823 and Pigots Directory of 1834.
Probably he ran the School at 4 Green Rd.
The Account book of the Skelton Overseers of the Poor, shown earlier in this section has many references to him.
Besides being one of the village Schoolmasters, he was also the Sunday School Teacher and the Vestry Clerk,
Paid John Sharpe his quarter year's salary and teaching Sunday school  3 6s 3d
Paid John Sharpe for writing paper for half a year Parish business          3s 0d
Paid John Sharpe for going round Parish concerning Public Meeting    0s 2d
He probably wrote and did the accounting for the whole of this Account book.

Next Page - Skelton Parish Census 1821, Register of Baptisms.
Previous Page - The Skelton Pioneers, Our American Cousins.
Index of E Mails Page.
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