Writing in Sand

The Methodists were major contributors to increasing literacy in the 18th and 19th centuries, but they were commonly working in straitened circumstances.  Paper was expensive; slates and chalk perhaps less so, but still a cost.  A cheaper solution for the teaching of writing in many Methodist Sunday Schools was a simple smoothed surface sand-box in which children could copy letters with a stick or wire rod.  Hand-eye co-ordination was easier on a large scale, and some educational movements recommend such an approach even today.  It is not yet known whether Tolpuddle Old Chapel had a Sunday School, although this is very likely, and the light sandy soil of the Piddle valley would have been ideal for this purpose.

PM. January, 2024