WILLIAM ALLEN RIDDLESWORTH - teacher at Ruyton XI Towns School 1911 - 1939
by Margaret Lycett

The Riddlesworths came from Lancashire.

Mr Riddlesworth (born 1879) started life as a Pattern maker (Engineering) in Warrington before qualifying as an Elementary School Teacher. 

In 1903 he married Clarissa Llewellyn and in 1911 they took up teaching posts at Ruyton XI Towns School.  He was headmaster and they lived at the School House with daughters Dorothy and Betty.

He joined the Welsh Regulars as a Private in 1914 (when he would have been 35) and then became a Sergeant in The Labour Corp.  He was awarded the Victory and British War Medals. 

On his return from the war to Ruyton, he became very active in village life.  He became Hon. Secretary of the Peace Committee, also fund raising for the War Memorial and helping to raise money for gifts for returnees.  He loved his music and was the church organist and choirmaster, conducting the village Choral Society and running the village Dramatic Society.  He is named on the recast bell in the church of St. John the Baptist.

He took a year off school to recover from a serious car accident when he broke both legs.

Life in school under Mr Riddlesworth, as recalled by the late Dorothy James, went something like this:

"The day started at 8.45am and finished at 3.30pm.

Children always had to be lining up and he was always inspecting their hands.

As soon as the children got to school they lined up for exercises to get their circulation going.

Then they lined up for assembly and, because of Mr Riddlesworth’s love of music, assembly went on for some time with lots of singing.

One girl frequently fainted from standing for so long!

Teaching was very strict and Mrs Riddlesworth was very strict.  In fact if the children needed chastisement, it was she who did the caning.

 Mrs Riddlesworth taught knitting and sewing.

By 1933 there were up to 150 children on roll."

In 1939 Mr Riddlesworth resigned as head of Ruyton XI Towns School at the age of 60, taking Holy Orders and becoming Rector at Knockin and Maesbrook, also Curate at Holy Trinity Parish Church, Oswestry, until his retirement in 1950 when he went to live near his daughter in Abergele.

He was shortly followed at school by Miss Turner (later Mrs Vagg) who was there until 1976.

Clarissa, his wife, died in 1968 and he died in 1981 at the age of 102 at Abergele.

old school 
 Teachers, date unknown:- Mrs. Clarissa Riddlesworth, Mr. Riddlesworth, Miss Parry, Miss Pickles (later Mrs. Glover) Miss Morgan
The Old School at Park Gate, School Road   Dorothy Riddlesworth at Oswestry Girls` High School in about 1921.

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