Held at:

Private Collection




Newton Church Room Renovation Project


Memories of my School Days by Gladys May Watkins

Place name:





When did you go to Newton school?

I went to Newton from 1920 to May 1929.

Where did you live with and who with?

I lived with Granny at the Lower Rock until I was 7 then we moved to Chapel House.

Who was your teacher?

The headmaster was Mr. Ingram, Mrs. Ingram was infant teacher and their daughter taught the middle class. I don't remember them leaving, Mr. Lancaster and Miss Jordon came after them.

How did you go to school?

I walked with Louie Buffton, she was much older so she looked after me. There was a lot of children walking to school because there was about 60 children at Newton at this time, they all went until they were 14 years old.

What did you do through your school day?

When we went in we had a Hymn and a prayer, we were taught the three r’s
I did multiplication and long division, spellings, we learnt poems, also did drill out in the yard, standing in rows turning to the right then to the left, we did a lot of hymn singing because Mr. Lancaster liked a certain hymn called ‘Leave me all those enduring charms’. Miss Jordon took us for sewing. I made a dress, it was a green check one, also I made a petticoat, we did some knitting as well. My favorite subject was literature. When I started school I used to write on a slate but later I had a book to write in. We use to read a lot. The only time I got told off was for talking. Mr. Lancaster had a sense of humor, I had bought a bag of sweets from Windy Hall and I had got them in class, he took them off me and tipped them all out on his desk, sorted through them and picked one out and popped it in his mouth, he later gave me my sweets back when I was going home.

On the 1st of April Grace Rudd sat opposite the door, and she told Mr. Lancaster that there was someone at the door, so he said you had better go and answer it then.

What did you have for lunch?

I never had time for lunch, I was running about playing, we never sat down to eat our sandwiches. I used to like crusts so I would take that to school, we all drank out of the cast iron cup at the pump but it was never washed between anyone using it. We all played in the field at lunch time.

Did you have any jobs to do before or after school?

Granny did not make me do any jobs, but Uncle did, he made me learn how to skin and dress a rabbit one day and stood over me until I had finished it.

Can you remember any local event or any thing else about your school days?

Mr Lancaster had Cae-garw built to retire to.

I don't remember taking part in any concert or events, but I remember having reading books from the church room. We would take one on a Sunday after church and return it the next Sunday to pick up another one. There was book shelves on the both sides of the fire at that time. My granny went to Newton Church Room when it was a school, she was born the same year that the Church Room was built. She left school when she was 10 years old and went to pull Swedes at Wayne Herbert Farm, that was in 1865. I went to work in Abergavenny when I was sixteen but only stopped there for two months because the woman was very hard to work for. I then moved to Llanvihangel Court where I stopped until I came back to live with granny at the Villa.

I returned to Newton school to work in the canteen in the early 1950's and stopped there until the school closed in 1961.

Mrs M.A. Watkins - Gladys Watkins Grandmother

With Hetty aged 8 months

Photo taken in 1917 by R. Jenkins

Mrs M.A. Watkins as a girl went to the school

held in the Newton Church Room


Gladys Watkins was talking to Joan Davies and Mary Powell, January 2003

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Ref: gc_nwt_2016