The Education Act 1902 gave church schools financial support from local taxation. But the majority of church schools were Church of England and non-conformists church members objected to having to pay taxes to support an education they believed was false. On a refusal to pay the tax, the legal authorities would seize personal goods to the value of the unpaid tax. Refusal to comply resulted in imprisonment. By November 1904, throughout the country, there had been 1392 auctions of seized goods and 53 resisters had been imprisoned.
This gave rise to the Passive Resistance movement. In St Harmon the Passive Resisters had their own way of responding to the seizure of their goods. Friends of the Resisters bid for and bought the goods and then returned them back to their owners. Honour was satisfied: the taxes got paid, but not by the Resisters. And the auctioneer waived his fee. The following article appeared in ‘The Crusader’ a journal founded to publicise the campaign, in June1904.
The seventeen Passive Resisters, of whom fourteen were Baptists who were summoned at the Rhayader Court on April 6 for the non-payment of the priestly portion of the Poor Rate, had their goods sold by public auction on Saturday, May 21 , in the yard of Mr John Ingram, carpenter, Pantydwr, in the presence of a large multitude. The following were sold: Marble Clock of the Rev. T. D. Jones, Baptist Minister; a modern farrier’s book, the property of Mr Price, Alltlwyd Farm; a yearling pony, the property of Mr Lewis, Rhosgoch; a sheep, the property of Mr Bywater, Caecethin Farm; a pony, the property of Mr Hughes, Venddu Farm; a silver watch of Mr Ingram’s of Eisteddle; also a silver watch of Mr Price,Cenarth Mill; a pony, the property of Mr Powell, Henriw Farm; also a silver watch of Mr Hughes’, Maesderin; silver watch of Mr R Price, Nantgwyn; yearling bullock, the property of Mr Woosnam, Rhosforgan; gold watch, the property of Mr Price, the Park Farm; also a calf, the property of Mr Jones, Pant Cottage; a pencil with gold case, the property of Mr Davies, Greenwood; a wheelbarrow of Mr Ingram, Fairview; a pony of Mr Hamer, the Green Farm; and a silver watch of Mr Ingram, Rose Cottage. The friends of the Resisters bought in the goods for them. Mr Jarman, auctioneer, Rhayader, officiated free. Hearty votes of thanks were given to auctioneer and the Overseers for their kindness and sympathy.
© PB 2017
The Crusader ,16 June 1904
Providence and Empire (Religion, Politics and Society in Britain)1815-1914 , Stewart J Brown 2008.
The photograph, courtesy of the Mid Wales Inn, shows the Resisters assembled in the Sheep Field behind John Ingram’s house at Fairview.