Jane Austen's Regency World.
Robert Raikes is often considered the ‘founder’ of Sunday schools for working class children, but there are several candidates for the title. Almost a century earlier, the Revd. Joseph Alleine held classes at Taunton, and there are more instances recorded elsewhere: in Pennsylvania (USA) during the 1740s, at Catterick (Yorkshire) in the 1760s, and at Macclesfield in Cheshire in 1778.
In July 1780, Raikes and the Rev. Thomas Stock, headmaster of Gloucester Cathedral school, set up Sunday schools for the children. This initiative was immensely popular, and spread like wildfire in Britain.
You can find out more about the lives of working children, and their schools, in The Children History Forgot.
Images: Robert Raikes’ house at Gloucester, now a pub.
Memorial statue of Rev. Thomas Charles (1755–1814) at Bala. Charles founded day schools for Welsh children, promoted Sunday Schools in Wales, and was one of the founders of the British and Foreign Bible Society. © Sue Wilkes.