Neath Port Talbot Mayor Cllr Dennis Keogh has helped a Neath school celebrate 160 years of free education by marching through the town – re-enacting a ceremony which happened in 1858 when the school first opened.
Alderman Davies Church in Wales Primary School can trace its origins back to 1719, when Alderman John Davies, a baker and former Portreeve (mayor) of the town, made an altruistic provision in his will of £200.
The money and any interest was to be used for “Ye Erecting of a School for ye learning and Instruction of Twenty Children of ye poorer sort of ye Inhabitants of ye said Town and Parish of Neath”.
The school Alderman Davies had wished for finally opened (after a fire) in the centre of Neath on Monday, 8th July, 1858, and has since educated many thousands of children – including the young mezzo soprano singing star Katherine Jenkins.
Until 1981, the school was in fact two schools - infant and junior. But the schools were merged to form one primary under a single headship.
On Thursday (July 5th), the Mayor Neath Port Talbot Cllr Dennis Keogh (pictured in his mayoral robes on the left) and other civic dignitaries - including the mayor of Neath Town Council Cllr Mark Protheroe (far right of picture) - marched around Neath with pupils to re-enact the original opening ceremony when children who would be educated at the school staged a procession through Neath.
Many of those on Thursday’s march wore Victorian dress in commemoration of the school’s long past.
Cabinet member for Education, Skills and Culture, Cllr Peter Rees said: “This is a school which clearly has a long history – a long history of providing top class education to the children and young people of this area which is something we as a Council are totally committed to.”
Gorymdaith i ddathlu ysgol hynaf Castell-nedd
Mae’r Cynghorydd Dennis Keogh, Maer Castell-nedd Port Talbot, wedi helpu ysgol yng Nghastell-nedd i ddathlu 160 o flynyddoedd o addysg am ddim drwy orymdeithio drwy'r dref – ac ail-greu seremoni a ddigwyddodd ym 1858 pan agorodd yr ysgol am y tro cyntaf.
Gall Ysgol Gynradd yr Eglwys yng Nghymru Henadur Davies - ysgol gynradd hynaf Castell-nedd - olrhain ei hanes yn ôl i 1719 pan wnaeth yr Henadur John Davies, pobydd a chyn-borthfaer (maer) y dref, ddarpariaeth anhunanol o £200 yn ei ewyllys.
Roedd yr arian ac unrhyw log a ddeillia ohono, i'w ddefnyddio yn unol â’r cyfarwyddyd “Ye Erecting of a School for ye learning and Instruction of Twenty Children of ye poorer sort of ye Inhabitants of ye said Town and Parish of Neath”.
Agorodd yr ysgol (ar ôl tân) o’r diwedd yng nghanol Castell-nedd ddydd Llun 8 Gorffennaf 1858 gan wireddu ewyllys yr Henadur Davies. Ers hynny, mae miloedd o blant wedi'u haddysgu yno gan gynnwys Katherine Jenkins, y gantores mezzo soprano enwog.
Hyd at 1981, roedd yr ysgol yn ddwy ysgol benodol - ysgol fabanod ac ysgol iau. Serch hynny, unwyd yr ysgolion i greu un ysgol gynradd dan un pennaeth.
Ddydd Iau (5 Gorffennaf), ymdeithiodd Maer Castell-nedd Port Talbot, y Cyng. Dennis Keogh ac arweinwyr dinesig eraill drwy Gastell-nedd er mwyn ail-greu'r seremoni agoriadol wreiddiol, lle gorymdeithiodd y plant, a oedd ar fin cael eu haddysgu yn yr ysgol, drwy Gastell-nedd.
Gwnaeth rhai o'r plant a fu'n gorymdeithio ar ddydd Iau wisgo mewn dillad Fictoraidd i ddathlu hen hanes yr ysgol.
Meddai Aelod y Cabinet dros Addysg, Sgiliau a Diwylliant, y Cynghorydd Peter Rees, "Mae hon yn ysgol sydd â hanes hir - hanes hir o ddarparu addysg benigamp i blant a phobl ifanc yr ardal hon."