An historic look back at a Wray school
Historian David Kenyon looks back on the history of Wray School.
The following article is taken from the January 1888 edition of the Wray Parochial Magazine.
This story was written by the Rev C L Reynolds, fourth vicar of Wray 1877-1920.
The story was told to the vicar by an old lady who lived in the village called Mrs Knowles.
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The vicar stated that the story as related by Mrs Knowles may or may not be true, but that it is an interesting story all the same.
History of Wray School – Mrs Knowles’ story:
One day, about 250 years ago, a rich lady was travelling in the neighbourhood of the city of Coventry.
In the course of her journey she noticed two little boys on the road who appeared to be in great grief.
Being a kind as well as a rich lady, she ordered her carriage to be stopped and the sobbing children to be brought to her in order that she might ascertain, if possible, the cause of their distress.
By questioning them she learned they lived at a village a very long way off called Wray, and that they had been brought from home by their father, who was a cattle dealer, and had come to Coventry to dispose of some cattle.
During the previous night the boys said their father had deserted them, and hence the grief.
Having heard their story the lady, pitying the friendless lads, took them to her home where for many years they faithfully served their benefactress.
In course of time the civil war between King Charles and his Parliament broke out and one of the brothers, who by this time had grown to manhood, joined the army of the latter.
He proved a good soldier, and his bravery on one of the battlefields brought him under the notice of Cromwell, who promoted him. And thus Richard Pooley, for it was none other than he, became Captain Richard Pooley.
Some time after the conclusion of the war an interesting event happened at Wray.
A well dressed military looking stranger had newly arrived in the village and, to their astonishment, all the matrons of the village were invited by him to a feast.
Among the matrons thus invited was the mother of the two little boys who, years before, had left the village with their inhuman father, Pooley, the cattle dealer.
After having hospitably entertained his guests, the stranger asked which of them would take him in for the night.
No one responded, each deeming her humble cottage home quite unfit as a lodging place for so fine a gentleman.
Their host thereupon declared his intention of making a selection for himself.
He accordingly approached Mrs Pooley and said: “Mother, won’t you take in your own son?”
“Why it’s Richard”, said the old woman, and immediately the two were in each other’s arms.
Where Captain Richard Pooley lodged that night it is unnecessary to relate.
I cannot help wishing that the story ended here, for the sequel, in my opinion, rather spoils it.
Readiness to forgive injuries and return good for evil is one of the marks of a true Christian.
It is a little disappointing, therefore, to learn that our hero, when he had it in his power to act a Christian’s part by recompensing evil with good declined to do so.
His father, who many years ago had heartlessly deserted him on the road near Coventry, was now undergoing imprisonment for debt in Lancaster Castle.
Richard, so the story goes, visited his unfortunate parent in his cell and undertook to provide for his wants as long as he lived, but he refused to procure his release from prison.
Let us conclude that for this seemingly unfilial conduct there was some good reason.
Let us charitably hope that the founder of Wray School was too good a Christian to act vindictively.