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Headmaster of Terrington St Clement Boys' School tackled farmers on encouraging pupils to skip school, Lynn News letters


By Lynn News Reporter


Interestingly he was not a Norfolk man but was born and bred in Cornwall on the Rame peninsular of a seafaring family.

Richard trained as a teacher at Trinity College Carmarthen and his first and only position was as headmaster of Terrington St Clement Boys’ School. He was passionate about education.

When the school was inspected he was given an excellent report for being an innovative teacher with lessons well prepared but progress was hampered by absenteeism. The culprits were the farmers, many of whom were governors, for encouraging boys to skip school when they needed extra help on the land. However, Richard took them on and attendance improved. Far from alienating his governors they respected him more.

Tulips. Picture by Patricia Pleasants (11315772)
Tulips. Picture by Patricia Pleasants (11315772)

He believed education was not just for the young but should be ongoing and, in order to have adult classes in Terrington, he became secretary of the local Technical Education Committee, the forerunner of Further Education, organising classes in poultry keeping, drawing, carpentry and horticulture.

A good looking and energetic young man, he had quickly entered into village life marrying Charlotte the only daughter of William Jarvis, the baker. He was active in the church conducting the choir, having a good baritone voice himself. He also conducted the Archangel Band of the Ancient Order of Oddfellows. He also started football and cricket teams.

He was one busy man and it eventually affected his health.

He developed nephritis and died aged 46 in 1909 before he could build up his bulb business and leave teaching as he had planned.

His family would be amazed and delighted to know he was still remembered 110 years after his death as he was also a much-loved husband and father. I am the daughter of Florence Bryant and James Offley, son of another Terrington farmer.

Patricia Atkins



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