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Court Case, 1828

"In the year 1797 (a Period of 31 years ago) the then Trustees (all original trustees being dead) elected C. Tennant Schoolmaster. In the first year his Conduct, appears by the Book gave Dissatisfaction to the Trustees & time was given him to retrieve his Conduct but afterwards & in the same year the Trustees resolved to continue him as Schoolmaster – and a Meeting was fixed for the 18th March 1798 but no one attended & from that time to the present time the School seems to have been abandoned by the Trustees.


Soon after Mr C. Tennant was appointed he procured a License, as he says from the Archdeaconry Court of Richmond to be a Licensed Schoolmaster to this school, which most probably is the fact, and about the same time he managed to get the possession of the Field called Reynold Ing so given by Mrs Withay as before mentioned and is in the Possession thereof.

His conduct has been so very unsatisfactory that no decent Persons will send their children to be taught by him particularly females and the School in general is deserted however he himself regularly attends and although he does no sleep there yet he is there the whole day and seems to live there – has his Victuals cooked there and occasionally makes Skeps (a sort of basket) the school is in ruin for the want of repair he sometimes has 2 children from a Person who rents a house of him and he keeps Possession of the School merely because he is in Possession of and receives the Rents of the Field by which means the Intent of the Gentlemen who built the School and of Mrs Whitay who gave the field is completely defeated. For some years back various application have been made to him to give up the School in order that it might be repaired, and a proper master appointed but he refuses so to do.

The Place where the School stands is a most eligible Place for a School being nearly at an equal distance from the Villages of Thoralby Newbiggin and Burton and in times when there was a proper Master was a School of considerable note and its being in its present situation is not a considerable grievance but a public loss to the Inhabitants of Thoralby Newbiggin and Burton."

Christopher Tennant and his wife and family lived initially at Littleburn, Thoralby. He was master of Cross Lanes School from 1797-1835, a period of over thirty years during which time the fabric of the building and the education of the scholars was greatly neglected.

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