9. 19th Century Shotton (Part 2)
In 1873, a Church School was opened in Shotton on the corner of Plymouth Street. It was built on about a quarter of an acre of land purchased from Rt. Hon. John Poyntz, Earl Spencer K.G., for £20 by the Rector of Hawarden, the Rev. Stephen Gladstone.
It was decided to open the school on the 12th February of that year, but there was no saint in the Church calendar on that date, after whom the building could be named.. An obscure observance of a Saint Ethelwold of Lindisfarne on the 12th February was eventually located and therefore the school was named Saint Ethelwolds National School. The School opened for pupils on Monday 15th February and the first pupil admitted was Joseph Williams. James H. Adkins was the first Headmaster. Until the church was built in Shotton, the school also served as a place of worship. A portable altar would be set up in the main classroom every Sunday.
Sketch of St. Ethelwold's School
The school originally consisted of four classrooms, and children of all ages were educated there. In 1892 Thomas Henry Haswell became Headmaster. Mr. Haswell's father, John, at the age of 13, had served as a powder monkey at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Mr. Haswell was very proud of this, and he began a tradition at the school which was continued until its closure. On Trafalgar Day, 21st October, flags would be strung across the playground, spelling out Nelson's famous signal, "England expects that every man will do his duty." In about 1900, a section of adjoining land was purchased from the Freme family of Wepre Hall, and the school extended to six classrooms. This was due to the rapid increase in the population of Shotton.
Mr. Haswell was also the Recruiting Officer for the area at the start of the Great War. A table was set up in the main classroom in front of the fireplace, and the first volunteers for the Royal Welsh Fusiliers enlisted here.
In 1922 Tom Roberts of Buckley took over as Headmaster. Mr. Roberts had received a Military Cross for outstanding bravery in the Great War.
Headmaster Tom Roberts with the St. Ethelwold's class of 1929
In 1929 St. Ethelwolds School became an infant and junior school. In September 1952 Mr. Roberts died suddenly and W. J. Crossley, who had been a member of staff since 1934, took over as Headmaster. By 1954 the school had become very overcrowded with 362 pupils sharing six classrooms. When the Aston Block of Deeside High School opened in 1958, the old secondary school at Queensferry became a junior school and took all the pupils who lived east of Shotton lane. The number of pupils then dropped to 128, and remained around that level until its closure in 1981. The staff and children were then transferred to a new building in Melrose Avenue.
During the school's history, a number of curates have served there. These were, successively, Mr. Ottley, Mr. Trotter, Mr. Hockley, Mr. Roberts, and Mr. Parkes who was assisted by J. H. Adkins as a Lay Preacher.
Honour Certificate from St. Ethelwold's School, 1915
Once the land had ceased to be used for church purposes, it reverted back to the Spencer family, at this time the father of Diana Spencer, who was later to become Princess of Wales. The Spencers had to purchase the extra parcel of land which had been purchased from the Fremes before it could be resold for development. After many years standing boarded up, the school was demolished in 1989 and a row of modern shops now occupy the site.
Another schoolhouse existed in Shotton in the 1890's and was situated in Killins Lane. It is now a private house known as "Well House." It was named after the public well on the opposite side of the lane.
It has been said that the ghost of a former headmistress haunts the property. Cynthia and Rob Furnivall, who lived in the house in the 197O's, saw her as a tall, middle aged woman wearing a long, black "Welsh Lady" type dress, with a small hat on the back of her dark curly hair and a ribbon with a cameo around her neck. The description was said, by their neighbour, to exactly fit the description of Mrs. Henning who had lived there when it was a schoolhouse. The Furnivalls said that they did not see her often, but often felt her friendly presence in one of the bedrooms.
Following the building of Eleanor Terrace in 1877 along the main road, other houses were soon being built at this end of town, from Rowleys Drive to Ketland Close. In 1876, "Dee Banks View," "Fairfield" and "Rose Cottage" were built, in 1883 "Grape Villas" and in 1884 "Hawthorn Villas."
Killins farm is the only remaining working farm in Shotton, but in the 19th century there were five farms; Killins, Shotton Cottage and Shotton Hall farms have already been described. The other two were located in Higher Shotton, at the top of Shotton Lane. "Shotton Farm" was owned by Mr. Jellico and comprised of the land now covered by Aston Park Estate. The farm was sold to Cyril Wright, and now it forms the Hollybank Residential Home. "Higher Shotton Farm" was farmed by John Massey under the Hawarden Castle Estate and included land alongside Ewloe Lane. In 1916 the Carver family bought the farm. It is now Grosvenor Joinery.
Copyright © Keith Atkinson 1998 - 2006
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