Alnham : The 19th Century Village
Alnham in the 19th century was thus a settlement comprising three farms, a church, a vicarage and a string of half a dozen cottages. A Church of England elementary school complete with a master’s house, paid for by the Duke of Northumberland and Ralph Carr-Ellison, was built beside the road to Scrainwood in 1870, at the same time as the church was restored.
The school could accommodate 60 children of both sexes, but in 1886 it was reportedly attended by about 40 children (Bulmer’s Directory) and in 1910 by only 27 (Kelly’s Directory). A fascinating glimpse into the working life of the school is provided by the weekly logbooks maintained by the schoolmaster with their references to smallpox scares, the impact of snowstorms on attendance in this remote upland area, the maintenance of discipline and the range and progress of teaching. The school attendance rolls quoted above hint at a population that was already beginning to decline. The census figures support this.
In the first quarter of the 19th century the total inhabitants in both the township of Alnham and in the wider parish were gradually climbing upward reaching 143 for the township and 269 in the parish in 1821 (up from 124 and 233 respectively at the beginning of the century), but by 1881 the parish contained only 226 inhabitants and by 1901 there were only 177 in the parish and 110 in the township.