Education in the presbytery of Jedburgh in the eighteenth century

Glaister, Robert T.D. (1984). Education in the presbytery of Jedburgh in the eighteenth century. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000f7e8

Abstract

This thesis is concerned with the history of educational provision in that part of Roxburghshire which comprised the Presbytery of Jedburgh, between the Education Acts of 1696 and 1803. The principal sources were manuscripts and documents from the area itself: church, parish and local government records, and the papers of families and estates. What was discovered about education was analysed in the context of society in Roxburghshire generally and also in the light of other local studies of education in Scotland.

Data was gathered on selection and appointment procedures, the provision and quality of schoolbuildings, and the schoolmasters’ income from salary, fees, mortifications and other emoluments. In addition an examination was made of the careers and qualifications of schoolmasters, of their role in the community at large, of the presbytery’s role in education, and of the extent and nature of private provision.

It is likely that all parishes were provided with a salaried schoolmaster at the beginning of the century offering a curriculum of the 3 Rs and possibly Latin. The developments during the century led to better salaries and conditions for the schoolmasters, but also to a two-tier system in which Latin was only taught in the burghs. There was little expansion of the public sector of education, but an increasing contribution was made by private teachers. Their contribution was, however, limited to elementary education; there was no evidence of a widening of the curriculum.

A blurring of roles and responsibilities led to the conclusion that the control and administration of education was much more pragmatic in the first part of the century than might have been expected. In the second half of the century an increasing secularisation of education was noticed which coincided with an expanding commitment by the parochial schoolmaster to non-educational activities.

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