A glossary of terms

Adventure schools Schools run by private individuals for profit. The School Inspection Form No. VI for England Wales gives as the definition ‘conducted by the Teacher at his (or her) own risk, and on his (or her) responsibility.
Antinomianism The opposite of legalism in religious thought: the belief that saving grace does not depend on rigid adherence to a set of laws.
Argyll Commission A Royal Commission which enquired into the state of education in Scotland
Assembly school Schools provided by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (1824) and supervised by the Church of Scotland’s Education Committee. By 1839 there were 118 Assembly schools and by 1843, 146 with an enrolment of 13,000.
British and Foreign School Society Founded in 1808 the British and Foreign School Society co-ordinated the efforts of the Nonconformist churches in providing voluntary schools for their children.
Burgh Schools Burgh Schools usually had church origins and by the Reformation served as Grammar Schools for the large towns. In some of them the number of pupils of secondary age had declined by the mid-nineteenth century.
Certificated teacher A teacher who had attained the certificate of the Committee of Education of the Privy Council.
Chapel of Ease A chapel of ease was a church built within the bounds of a parish for the attendance of those who could not reach the parish church conveniently. The links with the presbytery were less formal and many congregations regarded themselves as independent of the parish church.
Church of Scotland Education Committee Established in 1824, the Church of Scotland Committee co-ordinated the work of the national church in providing and supervising education.
Circulating schools Intensive literacy campaigns involving adults as well as children which moved round the country. They were organised by the ‘Society for the support of Gaelic schools’ established in Edinburgh (1811), Glasgow (1812), and Inverness (1818). The Edinburgh Society concentrated on Gaelic reading, while the Glasgow and Inverness Societies included English, writing and arithmetic.
Disruption In 1843 a large group of ministers and congregations of the Church of Scotland left the church on the grounds that individual churches and congregations had the right to choose their own ministers and not the heritors. The group formed the Free Church of Scotland.
Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) The EIS was founded in 1847 and remains the largest organisation in Scotland representing the views and needs of teachers.
English school A school which taught English – reading and writing.
Evangelicals Evangelicals are often contrasted with the Moderate Party in the Church of Scotland but there was considerable overlap, particularly at personal level, until the Disruption. Evangelicals emphsised personal belief in Jesus Christ, particularly his death and resurrection. They took part in Christian socialist action, beliving that faith without action was meaningless. They placed particular stress on the teachings of the Bible.
GES The Glasgow Education Society, (1836 – c. 1843) of which Stow was the secretary.
GISS The Glasgow Infant School Society, (1826 – c. 1836) of which Stow was joint secretary with David Welsh.
Heritors In Scotland the term ‘Heritor’ was used to denote the major “landowners” of a Parish until the early 20th century. Historically – land-holding in Scotland is feudal in nature, meaning that all land is technically “owned” by the Crown, which, centuries ago, gave it out – or feued it – to various Tenants-in-chief in return for certain services or obligations. These obligations became largely financial in time, or ceremonial or at least notional. Similarly, these Tenants-in-chief gave it out to lesser “owners”, and the resulting reciprocal obligations too became financial -feudal dues – or notional. Often, though, conditions were imposed by the feudal superior at the time of the transaction – used in the 19th century as a form of planning control. (Most financial obligations were abolished in Scotland in 1974).

The upshot was that “landowners” had differing rights to the land they “owned”. However, those who held their land without limit of time – that is, only had a ceremonial or ancient financial obligation towards their notional “superiors” – were distinguished from others and were called Heritors. In effect, they were the gentry of the Scots countryside, with legal privileges and obligations. Most ordinary farmers, etc rented their land for a specific space of time – from the Heritors. Like the gentry in other countries, the Heritors ruled the countryside. They were responsible for justice, law and order in their district and for keeping the roads in good repair. They were responsible for appointing – and paying – the Minister and the Schoolmaster, and for maintaining the church, manse and schoolhouse. They had also to provide for the poor of their Parish. For all this they levied a rate on all the Heritors in the Parish – and often included non-Heritor Tenant Farmers in the rate too.

Sinclair, Prof. J.M (1991), Collins English Dictionary, HarperCollins, Glasgow (Wikipaedia)

Intellectual system A system of question and answer designed to foster knowledge and understanding developed by John Wood in the Sessional (and model) school in Edinburgh. Although often seen a rival to Stow’s system, the difference was mainly in emphasis.
Lancastrian A monitorial system developed by Joseph Lancaster, favoured in dissenting and utilitarian circles (see also below).
Latitudinarianism Initially a pejorative term applied to a group of 17th-century English theologians who believed in conforming to official Church of England practices but who felt that matters of doctrine, liturgical practice, and ecclesiastical organization were of relatively little importance. In this, they built on Richard Hooker’s position, in Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, that God cares about the moral state of the individual soul and that such things as church leadership are “things indifferent”. However, they took the position far beyond Hooker’s own and extended it to doctrinal matters. As a positive position, their stance was that human reason is a sufficient guide when combined with the Holy Spirit for the determination of truth in doctrinal contests, and therefore that legal and doctrinal rulings that constrain reason and the freedom of the believer were neither necessary nor salutary. At the time, their position was referred to as low church (in contrast to the High church position). Later, the latitudinarian position was called Broad church.
Madras System A monitorial system, favoured by the Church of England since Bell was an Anglican clergyman) developed by a Scotsman, Andrew Bell, at Egmore, near Madras  (see below).
Merchants’ House of Glasgow The Merchants House of Glasgow was founded in 1605 to represent the interests of the city’s merchants and to provide charitable assistance for members and their relatives in hard times. The House had an important role in local government and until 1833 it was strongly represented on the town council. (www.universitystory.gla.ac.uk/biography/?id=CB0019&type=C)
Minutes of the Committee of Council on Education From 1839 when the first Committee of Council on Education, for the whole of Britain, was established, until 1939, the minutes of the Committee’s proceedings, provided they were not challenged and overruled by Parliament, had statutory force, and therefore many important changes were introduced not by legislation, but simply by the publication of a minute.
Moderate Party Ministers (and laymen) in the Church of Scotland who distrusted both enthusiasm and dogmatism, preferring structure and organisation as a bulwark against heresy. They supported the ideas emanating from the Scottish enlightenment, emphasised Christian conduct rather than creed, rationalism and scholarship. They were dominant in the Church of Scotland during the late 18th century until the 1830’s when the Evangelicals  (see above) became more powerful.
Monitorial System Publicised by Andrew Bell (National Society) and Joseph Lancaster (British and Foreign School Society), this was a system whereby clever pupils were taught particular pieces of knowledge or skill, and then, as ‘monitors’, given the task of passing this on to their fellows in the class. It enabled one teacher to achieve limited results with very large numbers, and for a time seemed a solution to the problems of popular education. The system was not popular in Scotland.
National Society Founded in 1811, this society co-ordinated the efforts of the Anglican church in providing schools.
Normal Schools Institutions in which intending teachers were trained in the best practice of the time, the name coming from the Latin ‘norma’, a rule. Probably the first was founded by the Glasgow Educational Society under the direction of David Stow at Dundas Vale in 1837.
Parish Schools From 1696 onwards the heritors of each parish of Scotland were legally required to provide a school for the children of the parish, and these schools formed the basis of the Scottish educational system from then until 1872.
Pupil-teachers Senior pupils who entered into an apprenticeship, assisting with the teaching of the school, and being given further education outside school hours. On satisfactory completion of their apprenticeship, they might go to a Training College to become certificated teachers.
Quoad sacra A quoad sacra parish is one created and functioning for ecclesiastical purposes only. Originally a parish was “a township or cluster of townships having its own church, and ministered to by its own priest, parson, or parish clergyman, to whom its tithes or teinds [a proportion of the inhabitants produce or income] and ecclesiastical dues were paid” (Oxford Dictionary). The ecclesiastical parish, as a unit, was distinguished from the civil parishes after 1597 with the passing of the first Poor Relief Act. This division of the medieval parish created a parish that dealt solely with ecclesiastical functions and had its own church and clergyman.
Revised Code Instituted in England in 1862, this revised the codification of all the existing regulations about grants for education, and operated a system of payment by results in individual examinations of pupils by the inspectors. By the time it was applied to Scotland in 1873, some of its original rigour had been lost, though the principles remained the same.
Sessional schools Schools established and controlled by the kirk sessions of prosperous churches in the large towns, usually giving only elementary instruction but, in the conditions of the industrial revolution, playing a very important part in the educational provision of the time.
Subscription schools Schools organised by parents, or the local community, who collected money to provide a salary for a teacher for their children particularly when the Parish school ran out of space owing to an influx of workers, for example miners and iron workers A Subscription List would be sent round all members of the community, from highest to lowest and from the smallest to the largest businesses. Often this was indicative of the broad-based support for a school within the community. Not all contributions were made in cash: masons, joiners etc could contribute in kind and/or labour.
Voluntary schools Schools which were controlled by the religious denominations. They might receive government grants for the work they were doing, but could obtain no support from the rates.