The Bishop Burton school log is a primary contemporaneous account of the weekly activities in the school from two years after its opening in 1861 through to its compulsory closure in 1986. The school replaced an endowed school that had been funded by initially by the Gee family. The log was maintained by the school head to comply with statutory requirements.

The schoolmaster for the first 46 years of its life was Benjamin Swann and his accounts in particular go beyond the minimum required. They provide fascinating account of life and behaviour in the village. Issues that figure strongly in the log include the curriculum, the role of religion, childhood illness and death including major epidemics that caused the temporary closure of the school, attitudes to schooling, the behaviour of the children, school funding, the development of pupil teachers, the battle to keep children at school, the pressure for children to enter employment or take part in casual activities such as shooting parties, the relationship with the village gentry, local events such as the rose show, the impact of the two world wars, the activities of school inspectors, severe weather. If you're interested in understanding more about Victoran school life then read this article provided by the Chiltern Open Air Museum.

The original log is held in the archives of the East Riding of Yorkshire Council and may be inspected there.The log was photocopied when it was lodged in the archives and the photocopies are in the possession of Mr John Dunning of Cold Harbour Farm, Bishop Burton. We have now taken digital photographs of the pages of the log.

The log provides fascinating insights into village life, the education of our children, and the impact of external events on the village. It's also a valuable source for family history. However, in its present form the log is not easy to use. I have photographed each page of the log and I am looking for help in transcribing it, with a view also to annotating the entries.   I've prepared an example of how the log might appear after transcription for a four-week period in 1914.   If you would like to help in this project please contact Bryn Jones on 01964 550255 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . All you need is the ability to decipher handwriting, and a computer to view the original and store your transcription of the pages allocated to you.  



Week starts

Log entry

Editorial notes



Re-opened school with seventy children present out of seventy six. During the holidays, the school and the class-rooms have been thoroughly cleaned, distempered and painted. Half the girls' yard and a wide strip in the boys' have been cemented.


Outbreak of the Great European War England declared against Germany Aug 4th.

Distemper is a kind of paint having a base of glue or size, used on walls.




Average for the week 71.4 Percentage 92. Two children have met with accidents during the holiday. Olive Robinson has broken her arm and has been in Hull Infirmary for some weeks - is not yet able to attend school. Wilfred Sharp fell off a stack - a fork fell after him and injured his head and he is still in the Cottage Hospital though making good progress.

The Cottage Hospital was in Beverley at the corner of Mill Lane and Morton Lane.



Average for the week 75.5 Percentage 96. Usual work proceeded with except that a little time is spent each morning talking over War News.




Medical Inspection by Dr Reedman. 35 children examined. The children sent about two stones of apples to the soldiers on Westwood this morning.

The Westwood was a military encampment during and before the war much used for training exercises.



Average for the week 74.7 Percentage 96.8 Usual work proceeded with and work and conduct fairly good. Miss O Cayley and her niece visited the school this afternoon.

This is probably Miss Octavia Cayley a younger sister of Mrs Eyre, the lady of the manor. Not sure who the niece is.










An example of a page of the log is included as an attachment for you to view.

Download this file (BB School Log Jan 1909.jpg)BB School Log Jan 1909.jpg[ ]326 kB

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