On Saturday April 26, 1884. The Weston-Super-Mare Mercury and Somerset Herald published the following paragraph:-
SCHOOL BOARD - Two correspondents have kindly favoured us with particulars with regard to the School Board that have been elected for the 'united' parishes of Loxton and Christon, but inasmuch as such particulars are given from extremely opposite points of view, to be released from the invidious position of deciding which is the most accurate, we publish both communications. No. 1 correspondent writes:-
The whole of the Loxton members - of the Loxton and Christon United School Board- wish to have recorded their thanks to Mr. Francis John Young for having withdrawn his name, as a candidate, on the morning of the ballot. Mr. Young has been a member of the last School board for nineteen months, during which period he attended every meeting, and no doubt, had he not withdrawn his name, he would have had many supporters. Mr. Young took a seat on the board owing to a vacancy caused by the retirement of one of the Christon members. But as that gentleman wished again to become a member of the board, Mr. Young's seat was consequently claimed by Christon parish.
The second communication is as follows:-
The first meeting of the Loxton and Christon School Board was held at the Board-schoolroom on Saturday last. The election had given very considerable majorities to the Christon candidates thus shewing in a very marked manner, the disapprobation of the ratepayers at the attempt made again to exclude Christon altogether from any voice in the management of an institution to which she pays so much more than her fair proportion. An irregular meeting had, it appears, been held by the Loxton members during the time the election was proceeding, and therefore, probably of no legal validity, when funds of a considerable amount were disposed of. It would, at any rate, have looked better if the Loxton members had waited until Christon had been permitted to express an opinion upon the subject. The cost of the contested election, due to the nomination of Loxton, of five candidates was £21 10s.(1) The result shewed that had Christon wished, she could easily have carried three members, and thus, for the first time since her enforced union with Loxton have had something like 'fair play' accorded her. It is surely monstrous that, with a school practically inaccessible, she should be compelled to pay at the rate of £30 per annum for her children as well as being shut out from all representation on the board.
The following week on May 3, 1884, in the same newspaper, Mr. J.H. Padfield replied to the second letter denying that any funds were disposed of and challenging the anonymous correspondent to explain where the funds went. He goes on to explain why a high number of votes was given to the Christon members:-
Nearly 50 votes were lost to Loxton, through the irregular registration on the rate book and also by other voters who did not bother to vote, as they knew that only five of the six candidates wished to be elected.
He goes on to say:-
The assertion that Christon parish pays £30 per annum per child requires explanation. There are at least four children in that parish who should be sent regularly to school, instead of only one, and the Board have often complained of their absence. We are heartily sorry that the Christon parish cannot muster more children, and in this we think they are to be pitied rather than blamed: the situation is healthy, the soil tolerably good, and with one or two notable exceptions the people appear to be fairly sound: and who knows what Christon may even yet be in the future. Even if they could provide twenty scholars instead of one, there is ample accommodation for them and the charge would be but a trifle more.
On week ending October 3 1884 Miss Emma Robinson the Schoolmistress wrote in the School Log Book.
Attendance 'poor'. Lessons as usual. No visitors. Christon children withdrawn from the school.
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(1) 1s (1 shilling) is equivalent to five new pence. There were 20 shillings to the £1. The slang word for shilling was 'bob'.