Sunday School Usher in 1789

In our transcription of the Sunday School records of 1789, one boy is given the job of “Usher” and receives more money than the other attendees. We have not been able to find out what the role of usher at Sunday School was this soon after their foundation. We would be grateful if any of our readers would care to research this. It is no use typing “usher” into Google as it brings up thousands of results for modern day America!

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4 Responses to Sunday School Usher in 1789

  1. I found this on Wikipedia. The past paragraph seems especially relevant:

    The word comes from the Latin ostiarius (“porter”, “doorman”) through Norman French, and is a cognate of the French huissier.

    Ushers were servants or courtiers who showed or ushered visitors in and out of meetings in large houses or palaces.[citation needed]

    In the United Kingdom, a variety of titles for courtiers in the Royal Household include the word usher. In England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, from the early sixteenth century until at least the end of the nineteenth century, the term denoted an assistant to a schoolmaster or head-teacher; an under-master, assistant-master.[1] In such use, however, the term is now rare

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    • jimella says:

      Sorry about the bits in square brackets, only relevant on the Wikipedia page. Also apologies for the mixed up name WordPress chose to name me:

      Jim Fisher

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    • Thanks for looking it up. But what were the duties of an usher in an 18th century Sunday School? I have looked for Sunday School instruction books, but they mention the lessons but not the usher.

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      • jimella says:

        The quote seems to indicate that an usher would be an assistant to whoever was running a particular class in the Sunday school, so presumably they would take on some appropriate part of the duties of that person.

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