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Agricultural Schools Tyrone

Agricultural Schools in County Tyrone

There are two grades of the Agricultural Schools; the Model Agricultural Schools and the ordinary Agricultural Schools. The pupils in the latter, usually quite young, if distinguished, pass into the former and are fitted to become teachers. In all these schools of every grade, literary instruction is combined with agricultural and indeed, the ordinary schools are only elementary schools, in which agriculture is taught.

County Tyrone had 3 Ordinary Agricultural Schools which were located at Dressog, (Dressoge), Drumnafern and Five-Mile-Town, all were established in 1845. Loughash in Donagheady Parish was a Model Agricultural School.

The Ordinary Agricultural Schools are the elementary national schools, to which land to the amount of 2 or 3 acres is attached and instruction in agriculture is given by the schools, to those pupils who desire it. The only aid which they receive from the public funds is an addition to the master’s salary of £22. “He pays the manager a moderate rent for the farm”, say the commissioners in their report for 1849-50 and receives the amount of the produce sold. These schools are in general working successfully and have furnished satisfactory proof that literary and agricultural instruction can be practically united, without counteracting or encroaching upon each other. One inspector of Agricultural Schools, Dr KIRKPATRICK, has been active in the discharge of his important duties. All the existing Agricultural Schools have been visited by him once during the year, the majority of them twice, and several more frequently. In his report he observes, “I feel gratified in expressing my strong conviction that it is perfectly practicable, and eminently useful, to combine, with the ordinary branches of a sound English education, as taught in our national schools such an elementary course of agricultural instruction as shall prepare youths for the higher branches of agricultural science, should the opportunity of acquiring such knowledge be presented to them and what is of still greater moment, shall teach them to avoid those grossly defective methods of farming, hitherto practised and still in too general use throughout the greater part of Ireland”.

The boy taught in one of those schools will be enabled, in after life, to contribute his full share to the agricultural prosperity of the country, whether his vocation be that of a farm laborer, a small farmer, or a large farmer. He will, from his childhood, be taught to labor on the land and to labor skilfully, to see displayed the rotation of crops, the application of manures, the management of cattle, the art of trenching and draining land. Every habit thus acquired by him, every kind of agricultural knowledge thus conveyed to him, upon the limited farm of the teacher, will be equally serviceable to him should he, in after life, become a large farmer, or if he never rise above the condition of a cottier.

Dressoge – rent per statute acre £1; extent 10a. 2r.
Drumnafern – rent per statute acre 11s; extent 5a 1r. 16p.;
Fivemiletown – rent per statute acre £1 7s. 9d; extent 4a. 0r. 13p.

Dressog (Dressoge) Ordinary Agricultural School, Parish Longfield East

The rent per statute acre in 1851 was 11s.; the extent of it was 10a. 2p.

In 1852 William HEALY, of the 3rd class and roll number 3387, received £1 10s. for his position as Monitor.

From he 3rd Annual Report of 1853:

Agricultural Instruction

The “ Agricultural Class” has been at various times during the past year so high as 20, being an increase of 10 over previous years, and I am happy to say, that the boys constituting it, have made a very fair degree of progress during that period. This progress would have been more satisfactory, were it not for counteracting disadvantages.

1st – the irregular attendance of the boys forming the “Agricultural Class” renders it impossible for a teacher to give that progressive character to his lectures and instructions so essential to all sound teaching, but if posssible, more essential to this; hence, the instructions received are necessarily crude and imperfect.

2nd – but by far the most serious disadvantage, is the absence of Industrial and Agricultural Boarders, in consequence of which, practical and industrial training must be dispensed with, as no boys can be found or expected to work ‘gratis’ and thus, the object of most vital importance, the object, if I mistake not, on which the Commissioners set the greatest value- is almost completely neglected.

Being therefore convinced from experience of the almost utter impossibility of making an agricultural school thoroughly efficient, without having one or other of the classes referred to, I would most respectfully urge on the Board, through you, the propriety of making the endowment of, at least, an “ Industrial Class” by local funds be an essential condition for obtaining aid for an agricultural department.

Model Farm

The table of cropping exhibits the crops grown, with the profit or loss attending the culture of each and as no novelty has characterized in management, I think it unnecessary to enter into

any details. I am happy to have to state that the farm is beginning to present a striking contrast to what it was a few years since and I expect the profits, amounting in the present year to £11, will in a short time be much greater. In accordance with the suggestion given by

Mr. BROGAN at his last visit, I intend to adopt, during the coming year, both a “three” and “four” course shift” and to establish, for the first time, a small cottage garden, to be cultivated in a systematic manner.

Live Stock

My cattle have been principally house fed; vetches, clover, grass and cabbages being given them in the summer months, and at present, cabbages, turnips, oat-straw and hay, with meal dust, seeds, Indian meal and bran, these last being always cooked, which I find to be the most wholesome and nutritive method of using them. On the whole, the profits of the dairy have been equal to my expectations.


As too much attention cannot be paid to the collection of manure by every person who aims at good farming, I am particularly careful to let nothing go to waste, especially the liquid manure, which is still unaccountably neglected, after all that has been said and written of its value. Having no tank, I fill the channel behind the cattle with peat earth or other rubbish, to absorb the urine; this saturated matter and the solid excrement, with peat earth &c. are formed into a heap about 4 feet high, around which I place mould, to soak up anything that may ooze out of the compost. I use only a small portion of guano, say 1 cwt. to the statute acre, mixed with fine mould, or more generally ashes, as a covering for the turnip seeds, which are dibbled in at the distance at which the bulbs are intended afterwards to stand. This covering, coupled with the large quantity of seed used, being at the rate of from 6 lbs. to 8 lbs. per statute acre, causes the young seedlings to escape the effects of the turnip fly and birds better than anything with which I am acquainted.

Agricultural Improvement

Though to the mere casual observer the agriculture of the neighbourhood must still appear in a backward state, yet, to a person acquainted with it for some years, very marked signs of improvement are apparent. Improvement in every branch of industry is a work of time and in no other department of business is this more true than in farming. The people of Ireland especially are jealous conservatives of every thing relating to the opinions and practices of their fathers and in consequence of this national trait of character we must expect that any system which goes to uproot old practices and prejudices will be received slowly and cautiously by the bulk of the people. A few only of the most enlightened will be found at first to follow in the wake of improvement; the most ignorant being always the most tenacious of their own opinions, hence, I find that the instructions given to those children who have the most enlightened parents, are only attended to and acted upon and the parents themselves do not now think it useless, as they did at the commencement of my labours, to ask my opinion on different matters pertaining to the business of their farms.

At first many of my neighbours came, when they saw the mode of deep tillage and frequent stirrings of the land I was practising and very good-naturedly warned me of what they considered the folly of my proceedings and assured me that from their knowledge of the exhausted state of the farm I had entered on, if I did not cease my “book farming” and “let the soil rest” I would “break the heart of the land” meaning that I would destroy its fertility. As the result of my labours proved the falsity of their opinions, many of whose judgments I had formed a more favourable opinion, have been forced to change the grounds of attack and “now assert that the system I advocate and pursue has been established by landlords for the purpose of keeping up high rents!”. This is the most unfortunate impression of any to get abroad and I am sorry to say, groundless though it be, it is one that is very general.

I do not believe it to be my province to enter further upon a question of this nature, nor attempt to point out how such a feeling is to be removed; still I think it right to state that such an impression exists and seriously tends to impede agricultural improvement.

Concluding Observations and Suggestions

I have deemed it right thus candidly to state the result of my experience, of combined literary and agricultural instruction, pointing to its defects in ordinary agricultural schools, as well as its advantages, with the view of drawing your attention to matters, which, I believe, must be remedied, if we hope to make agricultural training in ordinary schools really and permanently beneficial in its results. I would further beg to suggest the necessity of supplying a small chemical apparatus to each Agricultural School, so that the children may be made familiar with a few of the more simple elements and their more immediate combinations. Until this is done, scientific agriculture cannot be said to be effectively taught. I remain, sir, your obedient servant W. HEALY.

Patron of the school in 1852 was James ANDERSON Esq. And Jane MORRICE, roll number 5677, received 13s. 4d. in her position of monitor in the first year.

Drumnafern, Parish Donaghmore Ordinary Agricultural School

Reaskmore Road in the Townland of Drumnafern

The Religious denominations of the students of the school in 1852 were 60 Established Religion (Church of Ireland), 14 Roman Catholics and 18 Presbyterians, 26 students of other persuasions and 2 of whom did not report. The patron and correspondent was the Rev. J. ACHESON. The Statue acres in 1872 were 5a .2r. 7p. from the 3rd Annual Report 1853

Agricultural Instruction

The number of pupils who received agricultural instruction in this institution, during the past year, averaged fourteen students. (1 Boarder, 8 Industrial Class, and 7 day school pupils)

One Agricultural Boarder has been received and that an “Industrial Class” consisting of 8 pupils, has been formed during the past year. This class I am happy to state, affords full satisfaction, both by the regularity of their attendance, attention to study and proficiency acquired by its members, as well as the facility, neatness and accuracy with which they perform the various operations in which they are required to take part on the farm. One of the members of this class was received into the Glasnevin Establishment during the past year, to finish his course of agricultural training and an application was forwarded to the Secretaries, a few days ago, for the admission of 2 others.

Model Farm

As stated in my last Report, consists of 5a. 1r. 16p., statute. It is divided into 5 nearly equal portions, upon which a five course shift is pursued. The portion intended for green crops each year is always thorough drained and deeply dug in the previous Autumn, by which means 1/5 of the farm is brought into a proper state of cultivation every year. The crops cultivated and the extent of ground occupied by each, together with the expense of cultivation and amount of produce realized, are given in annexed returns.

Live Stock

The live stock at present consists of 3 black cattle, 1 pig, and 18 poultry. During the summer the cattle are partly pastured upon the division under grass the 2nd year and partly house-fed upon clover, grass and cabbages. During the winter they are entirely house-fed upon turnips, hay, straw &c. The turnips, previously to being given, are sliced into tubs and mixed with gruel.


The procuring of a sufficient quantity of manure being the foundation of all good husbandry, is regularly attended to, but as the mode of collecting, preserving, and applying it, does not differ from that usually practised by skillful farmers, I need not detail it here.

Permanent Improvements

During the past year I thorough drained one division of the farm. The parallel drains, which are 21 feet apart, are 3 feet deep and filled to the depth of 7 or 8 inches, with small stones, collected off the farm. The sub main drain is 6 inches deeper than the parallel drains and filled with the same materials to the depth of 10 inches. In both cases the stones are securely covered with a scraw.

Progress of Agricultural Improvement in this Locality

I feel pleasure in stating that the farmers in this district exhibit a marked improvement in all their farming operations. Fields of turnips, clover, and rye-grass, with occasional plots of mangel-wurzel, carrots, and cabbages, are by no means uncommon in this locality.

In conclusion, I beg to state, that the farm is now coming into good condition and that an increase, both in the quantity and quality of the produce, is every year apparent. This was effected simply by draining the land and adhering to the golden rule, that no two grain crops should succeed each other, without the intervention of a green crop. Trusting this report may be found satisfactory, I am, sir, your very obedient servant. Mathew FORBES

In 1855, it was reported of Drumnafern, Donoughmore Parish, to the House of lords on the inquiry into the working of the national system of education, that:

It was simply like any one of the very small low classed national schools.

It was held in a miserably small cabin, something about 12 feet by 20.

The teacher was rather a good teacher and was rather above the average of the teachers.

It was a little thatched cabin at the corner of a road, where 2 country lanes met.

The teacher was neither more, nor less, than a cottier farmer, except that he was a tolerably good schoolmaster and that he grafted his own farm upon the National Board and was paid for cultivating it. The Board gave him £5 a year as an agricultural teacher, independently of his salary as an ordinary schoolmaster and the Board allowed him to employ 8 of the most advanced of his boys, in the labour of his farm. Those boys were to get 6d a week each, of which the Board paid 3d. He paid the Earl of Charlemont £3 1s 3d per annum for 5 acres of land and he got £5 from the Board for teaching the boys to labour it for him.

By 22nd September 1873 it was reported:

11 boys and 6 girls in attendance, of whom 2 boys and a girl belonged to the agricultural class.

The children examined ‘absolutely of the most elementary principles of modern farming.’

The teacher holds 2 farms the ‘old farm’ of 10 acres and ‘the new farm’ 9½ statute acres.

Aided as an agricultural school for many years; does not deserve the name of agricultural school.

None of the features of a model farm

If a decided improvement be not made in its management this year Commissioners will I trust withdraw the agricultural grant.

The following are newspaper transcriptions of people associated with Drumnafern sources noted

20 Feb. 1862 – Tenant-Right on the Charlemont Estate

Mr. P. FLANAGAN auctioneer, Dungannon, put up for sale on Friday last, a farm of land in the townland of Drumnafern near Dungannon, held by Catherine COLLINS under the Earl of Charlemont, consisting of 17 acres, at the yearly rent of £14. After a spirited bidding, Daniel DUFFY of Garey, was declared the purchaser, at £170. If anything were wanting to crown the declining years of Lord Charlemont with honour and respect, this one act would suffice. Mrs. COLLINS was in a considerable amount of arrears out of 12 acres of this land and had forfeited the remainder by non-payment of rent. Notwithstanding this fact, the landlord allowed her to put her farm to the hammer and the confidence in Lord Charlemont is such, that she has realized for it, the sum mentioned above, although there is not a house on it that anyone can live in. (Dublin Evening Mail)

14 Nov. 1863 Sudden Death

On Thursday evening, Mr. Matthew FORBES of Drumnafern, near Dungannon, dropped dead while in the act of winding up his watch. Deceased, who was only 37, was a first class national teacher. Death was caused by disease of the heart. (Londonderry Standard)

9 Aug. 1867
Death- MARTIN – August 2, at Drumnafern Castlecaulfield, near Dungannon after five years illness Mr. David MARTIN. (aged either 32 or 82- difficult to read) (Belfast Newsletter)

4 Dec. 1871
Drumnafern Annual Soiree – The Education Question
On Wednesday evening last the annual soiree in connection with Drumnafern National School came off with wanted ‘eclat’. The attendance was large, including representatives of all creeds and classes.

Thomas BOWEN
Benjamin MARTIN
– acted as managers and discharged their duty with credit to themselves and satisfaction to all present.

The following presided at the tea tables with much grace and efficiency. The Misses –

and Mrs. MAHONEY

After tea, Mr. WHITE was called to the chair and on taking it, received an ovation. He thanked the company for it, briefly reviewed the leading questions of the present time and called on Mr. FORBES, the teacher, to read the following resolutions and expatiate on them

1st – That we claim and maintain a continuance of that National system of united education which is destined to instruct the youth of all creeds and classes and train together in mutual forbearance those, who in after years, are bound to hold social intercourse with each other.

2nd – That this meeting express approval of the existing system in its present form and deprecate the proposed narrow minded changes.

3rd – That the teachers should be first trained at the Model Schools and finished at the Queen’s Colleges, according to their individual capacities.

4th – That those of Great Britain and Ireland whose qualifications and duties are equal, should receive equal salary from the Government.

5th – That all lucrative appointments in the Education Office, with that of inspector &c. should be confined to deserving and properly qualified teachers

6th – That their onerous services as such merit their being pensioned and treated as other civil servants of the State.

7th – That the management of the schools should be confined to men of learning, honesty and uprightness, living in the locality.

8th – That the withdrawal of the triennial free stock grant has acted injuriously on the progress of education in many schools and we believe that grant should be restored as soon possible.

Mr. FORBES contrasted the rival systems showing the relative merits of both and at the close of a telling speech moved the adoption of the series. The motion was seconded and passed by acclamation. The following ladies and gentlemen gave a choice selection of suitable recitations and appropriate songs;

Mr. J. P. QUIN

30 Jul. 1877 – married
M’ELEAVEY – MARTIN – July 27 in the 1st Presbyterian Church Dungannon by the Rev. Robert M’CLEAN Castlecaulfleld, William M’ELEAVEY of Tynan, Co. Armagh to Anne, daughter of the late David MARTIN Drumnafern Co. Tyrone. (Belfast Newsletter)

25 Sept. 1882 passed examinations

student Joseph BLACK, of the Junior Grade, Drumnafern Castlecaulfield was successful at passing his examinations in June. (Belfast Newsletter)

28 Feb. 1885 Marriage
On Feb. 13th in Eglish Presbyterian Church by Rev. W. T. Latimer B.A. Mr. Thomas John FORBES Drumnafern N. S. (National School) to Miss Maggie MILLAR Stilloga, near Eglish.

21 Apr. 1888 Dungannon petty sessions – fined
Constable McGOVERN charged Henry CAMPBELL of Drumnafern with being drunk in charge of a horse and cart in Dungannon, this being the 2nd offense within the preceding 12 months he was fined 10s.and costs

2 Jan. 1908 – Annual Social

Drumnafern National School which was in session last year 206 days, and awarded prizes for attendance;

1st prize
Anna LUCAS did not miss a single day. (also won a special prize)
N. STROTHERS 203 days
S. LUCAS & Nellie FORBES 201 days each
Theo. & S PINKERTON 200 days each

2nd prize
E. J. STROTHERS 187 days
S. WATT 186 days
Isabella BURROWES 180 days
C. LUCAS 179 days
T. G. WATT 178 days
Essie M’CAUGHAN 176 days
Elizabeth LUCAS 176 days
R.J. LUCAS 175 days

performances for the program of the annual social included

Miss M’ATEER a recitation
Misses PINKERTON a duet
Miss Nellie FORBES a solo
Mr. G. BLOOMER a recitation
Mr. James BLOOMER a recitation
Mr. BASCETT sang
Master Tommy BLOOMER sang
Mr. Harry BENNETT a reading
Miss BENNETT sang
Mr. Joseph REID sang

9 Apr. 1908 – Death

BOWEN – April 6, at his father’s residence, Drumnafern, Dungannon, Joseph, youngest son of Thomas BOWEN. (aged 21 yrs)

above 4 entries from the Tyrone Courier

Five-Mile-Town Ordinary Agricultural Model Farm was in the townland of Crieve or Creeve, and contained 4a. 0r. 14p. statute acres, with the per annum rent in 1853 was 1£ 7s. 9d. (Topographical Dictionary of Ireland S. Lewis 1849)

Extracts from a report in March 1851 note

The land attached to this school is a shallow light clay, resting on lime-stone gravel. The 4 course rotation is adopted, quarter being green crops, quarter grass cut for soiling and a small part hay, the remaining half grain crop last year winter and spring wheat.

The potatoes (clusters) were dug and either sold, or used in the house during July. They were raised thus early for two reasons, 1st that they might not taint or spoil, 2nd to get the ground prepared for the transplanting of Swede turnips, which was done then at the same time, adding a little manure.These Swedes were almost as good as the general crop; at 8d a cwt; the present price they were worth much more. In the preceding year a few were transplanted in ground from which vetches had been taken up. Many farmers came to see them, the crop they said was a good one. but still they were afraid it would not do on a large scale.

Carrots were sowed in drills 14 inches apart; the crop was a better one than when in lines 8 inches apart on ridges 4 feet wide. Carrots mangel wurzel, a little Swede turnips, and some oatmeal, fattened 2 pigs faster and better, than when potatoes were abundant. The stock at present consists of 1 cow 1 heifer and 1 pig.

Some work is done by the pupils, more by those who have been pupils and the rest by persons employed by the day. If a small fund was set apart to pay, in proportion to the quantity of work, a few deserving and willing boys, or were there a few boarders, the results would be more favorable and the benefit more lasting. As it is, the agricultural class, and often their parents, watch our plans, crops, rotation, and practice, and either adopt, or reject them, as they consider them profitable or otherwise, from our success or failure.

The number of pupils attending school is on the increase, a fact showing that the literary department loses nothing by the agricultural, strictly speaking, the one stimulates and enlivens the other.

The teacher, in 1852 was Hugh LYNCH and on the roll in April 1852 the religious denomination of 171 students was, 71 Established religion, 65 Roman Catholics and 35 Presbyterians. An observation made at the time was the Established Church was much opposed to the school. John CRAWFORD, roll number 394, received a payment of 13s. 4D, and Wm. FLOYD, roll number 1377, received payment of 1£, for their position as monitor. The Patron and correspondent were the Rev. J. M’CONNELL and N. PATTERSON Esq.

At a show in 1872 of School Farm Produce, held at Kildare street, Dublin, in connexion with the Winter Show of the Royal Dublin Society, 1st prize for the year was awarded to the school, W. HERGATON, master.

Loughash Agricultural School Donaghedy Parish

Lough Ash
located in the foothills of the Sperrin Mountains, to the south of Donemana, Co. Tyrone.
 On a hillside overlooking the lough is the impressive Loughash Wedge Tomb, which is between 4,000 and 4,500 years old.
Photograph & Comments courtesy of Martin M’Alinden

The contract for the creation of the school in 1837, is found in a memorandum of the agreement between John Pitt KENNEDY and James MOORE, relative to the Loughash Institution, established with a view to promote the Instruction and Employment of the Irish Poor

The object of the Loughash Institution is to prepare teachers of district schools, who shall be qualified to instruct the population in letters and in the trade by which they live, upon the exact scale suited to the particular circumstances of the labouring classes and who shall be qualified to direct the people and to assist the government and land proprietors in all matters connected with the moral, the social and the physical improvement of their respective districts,

1. The residence of Loughash and the farm attached to it will be given up to James MOORE, in addition to the present school house and school farm, for the proposed object to be farmed upon his own account by the said James MOORE, as director of the institution.

2. The said land and premises are to be held and occupied by the said James MOORE as tenant at will, commencing from the 1st day of Nov. 1837 and subject to the yearly rent of 20£ pounds payable half yearly on every 1st May and 1st day of Nov. and the 1st payment thereof to be made on the 1st day of May next ensuing and it is agreed by and between the said parties that the said James MOORE shall, and will, if required, give up possession of the said land and premises on any 1st day of Nov. that he shall be called upon so to do, upon 3 months notice in writing, having been previously given to him to surrender same, and it is further agreed by the said James MOORE that in case any inspector, or officer, of the National Board of Education establishment shall concur with the said John Pitt KENNEDY in requiring the possession of the said land and premises, or the removal of the said James MOORE from the management and occupation thereof at any other time of the year than November, that he, the said James MOORE shall, and will, at any time whatever of the year, upon receiving 1 month’s notice surrender said land and premises, he being allowed the valuation of such crop, if any, as shall be then growing upon said farm, such valuation to be ascertained by any 2 individuals, whom the said John Pitt Kennedy and James MOORE may mutually appoint to ascertain the same.

3. John Pitt KENNEDY agrees to pay to James MOORE the sum of 50£ per annum, as long as the said John Pitt KENNEDY shall think fit to employ the said James MOORE as director and teacher of the said institution.

4. James MOORE agrees to receive, to lodge, to feed, and to educate, 7 men or boys in consideration of receiving their labour, during the regular working hours of the district, with the exception of those hours, which shall be from time to time, appointed by John Pitt KENNEDY for in-door school instruction, which all boarders are scrupulously to attend and if at any time, John Pitt KENNEDY shall think fit to increase the size of the farm, by giving more land at a fair rent, James MOORE obliges himself to board and educate a proportional additional number of men or boys, free of charge, the principle being that the number of free boarders should be fully capable to do the labour required in tilling the whole farm &c. and that the cost of their food is not more than a just value for the said James MOORE to pay, for the labour, which they employ for his profit, his regular salary being a full remuneration for the instruction, superintendence, &c given by him.

5. In addition to the pupils who are to receive instruction, lodging, and boarding, in return for their labour, as many additional pupils shall be lodged boarded and instructed as John Pitt KENNEDY shall from time to time think fit, such additional boarders paying a yearly sum to be fixed on the 1st Nov. for the ensuing year and calculated as the actual cost of their food, supposing them to be provided with the most ordinary fare, consumed by the poorest class of Irish farmers.

(note- The rent of the school farm has been reduced to 10£, which the teacher is permitted to re-invest in specified permanent improvements on the farm.)

The cost of supernumerary, or paying boarders, to be fixed for the present at the rate of 4£ per annum and to continue at that rate until a new rate be made. The objects had in view in keeping the quality of food, on the scale here set forth, are to bring the advantages of a superior education within the means of the greatest possible number of persons and to prevent the pupils from acquiring habits which would unfit them for living with their families on leaving the school.

6. All stock to be house-fed, unless by the concurrence of John Pitt KENNEDY, a grazing course should be permitted in any part of the farm to be employed in rearing young cattle

7. No animals to be permitted to trespass amongst the plantations

8. The pupils are to be divided into classes; each class under a responsible permanent head, and the whole farm is to be divided into a corresponding number of separate rotation lots, each lot to be laboured by one class. There should be 1 lot about 8 acres in extent and others 4 acres in extent each.

9. All pupils, boarders, as well as day pupils, are to be employed during the mid-day working hour upon the farm, or in the garden, and immediately after the mid-day hour of labour, the pupils will be regularly examined and lectured every day, upon some of the various subjects connected with their course of training.

10. One boarder will be daily employed in the care of the animals the farm &c. during school hours and each boarder will have his regular, and equal turn, of this duty.

11. All persons received as boarders must be subject to the approval of John Pitt KENNEDY, they should be above 16 years of age, they should write a good hand, read well, and understand the 4, 1st rules of arithmetic, reduction, the rule of 3, and vulgar fractions, Idleness either at labour or books will subject them to immediate dismissal, and they must bind themselves, if required, to remain a certain time at the institution, this period to be decided in each particular case, according to the qualifications of the individual. Signed; J.P. KENNEDY & James MOORE, Witness; Charles STYLE jun. Dated 4 Nov. 1837

For the rules & regulations governing the institution

25 Dec. 1838
Statement of Captain KENNEDY’S Improvements
Loughash, Sep. 15 1838
Being fully convinced of the interest you take in my plan proposed for the bettering of the condition of the poor farmers, permit me to give you a statement of the system introduced on the lands of Loughash, by J. Pitt KENNEDY Esq. whose exertions have been unremitting in spreading those practices of agriculture which ultimately cannot fail to produce the results which an improved system of tillage is capable of doing. In the spring of 1834, I was employed by him to superintend a school for the instruction of the children in farming and to instruct the tenants to sow turnips, clover, and grass, who were so much opposed to it that they firmly believed that nothing of the kind could be raised in such a mountainous district. There is a model-farm of 4 acres attached to the school, where the children are instructed in the proper methods of cultivating the different kinds of crops and the results, compared with the management pursued at home, which the children do not fail to communicate to their parents, are very important. By a single explanation they make an impression upon their parents minds, which perhaps, could not be effected by persons of maturer age. It was a general principle that I followed, never to let them sow any crop where I was not certain of success and to let them see, from the previous year upon the model-farm, the profit obtained of the crops raised upon it, compared with the produce of a similar portion of their own land, and now, after three years trial, there are only three tenants on the property who have not adopted the rotation suited to their land; and where the one half of their farms were occupied in grazing may now be seen only the proper portion in clover and grass. The improvement in cropping is not alone confined to Loughash, for on inquiry at the children who attended the school I find that out of 58 families who send children from the neighbouring properties, 6 only have neglected sowing turnips, and the children themselves are generally the sowers and managers of these crops, and many of their fathers have told me that they would not have sown turnips, or clover, had it not been for the advice of their children.

It is inconvenient for the people get these seeds from their living so far from the market town. I purchased most of the turnip seed for them, and sold it at the same price for which I bought it. It is a general principle that to whatever system a person is bred in his youth, he will not be likely to depart from it when he grows up; we may reasonably conclude from this that none of the children who have been bred to the proper system of farming will depart from it afterwards. Loughash townland consists of 1150 acres, about three-fourths of which, four years since, was under heath and only giving support to a few miserable cattle, striving to gather a scanty subsistence. It has now been divided into farms and let to tenants seven years free and after the seventh year, at a yearly increasing rent. It is generally the poorer description of cottiers from the neighbouring properties that take such farms and such has been their progress, that 90 acres of it have now been reclaimed, and give food and employment to thirty families, who have hitherto been depending for three-fourths of the year for their support upon the country. The first thing these people do when they take a farm, is to build a sod hut, which they live in whilst a stone one is building, for which suitable assistance is given. They reclaim the land in the following manner;

It is formed into ridges of six feet wide and trenches between, from two and a half, to three feet, out of which the bog is dug and laid upon the sward to rot it; it then receives from 40 to 50 barrels of lime to the acre and over the lime a covering clay is laid, if it can be got out of the trenches, or if not, it is carried on it from the most convenient places. The first operation is generally performed in the summer; it remains in that state till November, when it receives the liming and claying; in the following spring the sward is completely rotted, when it is fit for planting with potatoes, which, with a little manure, generally produces a good crop. They generally keep an acre trenched a year before they put a crop in it, when the sward is well decomposed and much easier wrought with the spade, and consequently produces a much better crop of potatoes than if planted immediately after the first operation.

In conclusion, I can inform you, that there is no one idle on the property, and no beggar, nor has there been a single lawsuit or law proceeding against any one on the property for the last four years. Hoping that the same may yet be said of the greater part of Ireland, I remain, Sir, your obedient servant, James MOORE (Derry Journal)

10 Nov. 1840 To the Editor of the Derry Journal

Sir- having a seen a letter an article in your Journal of the 27th Oct., alluding to Sir Charles STYLE’S estate, and signed James SYMPATHY, among no doubt, a number of gross representations we find the following; “The estates having been cut up in new lots at Loughash, Boylagh and different parts of the country became possers of farms, the original tenants purchased in a few days after at an average of from five to fifty pounds.”
We on the part of the inhabitants of Loughash declare the above to be a gross calumny, as to men of Loughash became posser’s of farms on that estate and consequently could not have an opportunity of disposing of them as falsely represented by Sympathy. we aalso beg to remind him that we as inhabitants of Loughash, through industry and the encouragement of a kind landlord, enjoy a humble independence, in the possession of our present holdings, without seeking to thrust ourselves among a hitherto miserable people.Should Sympathy take the trouble to visit Loughash, we would soon convince him that our moral qualities are better directed than to the circulation of falsehoods – a practise which we would recommend him to avoid in future. We are Sir yours truly
 (Derry Journal)

29 Oct. 1844 Self supporting Agricultural schools

To the Editor of the Dublin Farmers’ Gazette. Oct. 1st, 1844.

Observing with much pleasure the interest you evince in the rising generation of farmers and your desire to be instrumental in suggesting means for bettering the condition of your countrymen, I am tempted to offer an extract from a pamphlet by General Sir Charles Napier, entitled ‘An essay on the present state of Ireland showing the chief cause and remedy for the existing distresses of that country.” Published by Ridgway, London, 1839. In Ireland one rides through a country surrounded by wastes and squalid misery but this state of things, Captain KENNEDY, in consequence of what he saw abroad, endeavoured to remedy in Loughash and Tyrone, which was a barren spot overgrown with heath, the resort of illicit distillers, with all the crimes their occupation leads to. He began the good work of improvement without capital – at the least so little it scarcely admits of being termed capital and as I took journey from England on purpose to see Loughash, I can assert, from personal inspection, his plans have proved completely successful.

I can prove that 30 poor Irish families, bordering upon a waste, and are now thriving small farmers by implicitly adhering to Captain KENNEDY’S plan. And these families were thus established in comfort for precisely the same sum of money which was paid to transport 4 families from the same neighbourhood to Canada.

Captain KENNEDY has suited his plan for reclaiming land to 2 classes of proprietors – those who can afford to lay out a little money to assist their settlers on the waste territory and those who cannot. To the first he gives the land rent free for the first 7 years, and a lease for 21 years – the tenant paying rent for the last 14 years of the lease that is, the 8th year the tenant pays one shilling per acre, the 9th year, two shillings, and so increasing one shilling per acre a year until the end of the lease or what is equal to the value of the reclaimed land. The tenant being bound to build a house on a given plan, that is, first one room below and one above; then two below and two above finally, six rooms in all, with stalls for cattle. The plans and cost are detailed in a book entitled ‘Regulations for promoting agricultural instruction and employment and improving the condition of the people in Loughash and the adjoining district, in the north of Ireland. Rules for the management of an agricultural loan fund. Rules for an agricultural day school. Regulations for building cottages by reclaiming tenants on the land and agreements with those reclaiming tenants.’ By J, P. Kennedy. Published by W. and T. Boone, New Bond street and T. Ridgway, Picadilly 1836.

As General Napier’s account was printed in 1839, it appeared desirable to ascertain the present state of the colony and a gentlemen has been this autumn to see it, who was surprised at the great improvement of the land and of the people in the last 4 years and says the following account of the agricultural master is not at all exaggerated, but that he might have fairly said more in commendation.

One of the first steps taken by Captain KENNEDY and Miss Mary KENNEDY, was to establish schools but dairy and house-hold work to girls, and how to spin, weave, dye, and make their own clothing of which I have a sample in a linsey-woolsey blue cloak. Young women may, at the Loughash school, be taught, boarded, and lodged, at 16 shillings and 4 pence per month and lads, for masters, for only 4 pounds a year, in addition to their work on the land and in the garden and raising food and tending stall-fed cattle and mapping land and constructing bridges, such as may be requiste for other reclaiming tenants. Already 14 school-mistresses have been sent out, who are giving satisfaction to their employers and 8 more are training.

The following letter, received in reply to some inquiries on the subject of Captain KENNEDY’S improvements will be read with interest Loughash, County Tyrone, Sept. 14, 1844.

In answer to your queries respecting the new settlers on the lands of Loughash, I am happy to inform you that their progress in reclaiming is astonishing. Their crops this year are quite luxuriant and it surprised some gentlemen who visited us lately to find such crops growing where before heath had been the only occupant. The surface of our waste land is covered with bog, varying in depth from 1 to 10 feet, with course heath growing on the surface. The process which the waste undergoes is ridging it up during the summer, after the laxy-bed system of planting potatoes, by which means clay can be obtained from the bottom of the trenches, which is dug up and laid on the ridges above a good top dressing of lime and remains in this state, during the winter. It is levelled down in the spring and the ridges reversed by filling up the trenches that were made, taking care to keep the clay and lime on the surface opening new trenches in the centre of the first formed ridges and planting potatoes with lime and compost manure when a tolerably good crop is usually raised, after which, by occasionally mixing the bog with clay and lime and by the application of animal manure, excellent crops of oats and potatoes are obtained. We have 30 new tenants occupying from to 10 to 20 acres, who have been placed on the farm within the last 10 years and have reclaimed from 5 to 15 acres each in proportion to his means and length of time in possession. All of these are now deriving support for themselves and families on land which previously could only afford a scanty subsistence to a few miserable cattle and who would in all probability now be depending on the poor-house for their support, if such means of subsistence had not been placed within their reach. All the land most favourable for reclamation has been taken up and numerous applications are daily making for more farms, if we had them to dispose of. You can scarcely conceive the change that this system has produced in the district where idleness was usually the order of the day; for nothing is now perceived but hard labour. Land has been reclaimed which before was thought impracticable. A spirit of industry is rising, and that, together with the literary and agricultural education received at our school, has totally banished crime from our district. No outrage is ever heard of and prosecutions of any kind are rendered uncalled for. Each is busily engaged in his own pursuits of industry -never interfering with his neighbour; land the consequence is, that, instead of importing provisions on the scarce season of the year for their support, as was the case 10 years since, provisions are largely carried to the neighbouring markets, after leaving plenty for the support of themselves and families.

If such a system as established by Captain KENNEDY was extended through the wastes of Ireland, plenty of employment would be afforded to its abundant population and, giving them agricultural education, in every district a spirit of industry would be excited, peace and prosperity would take the place of outrage and crime, and ultimately render our country happy and contented Yours, &c., James MOORE Agricultural Teacher, Loughash School, Tyrone. (Derry Journal)

1851 Longhash rent per statute acre 13s. 10d.; extent 40a 0r. 13p and there were 6 teachers; 2 horses; 28 cattles; 5 sheep; 2 pigs; 40 poultry; 18 boarders and 24 day pupils. (Farmer’s Gazette and Journal of Practical Horticulture)

Names of Pupils who have left, or are yet in training, at the Loughash Agricultural School 1852

Michael HEALY – entered Dec. 1849, Destination – Clerk in a shirt manufactory leaving Dec. 1852

James TRACEY – entered Dec. 1849, Destination – Emigrated to America leaving June 52

John M’PHILEMY -entered Jan. ’49, Destination – Engineer’s Assistant Coleraine Railway

James DONOVAN – entered Jun. ’49, Destination to Glasnevin Model Farm

John DONOVAN – entered Jun. ’49 Still at School

Patrick CLARKE –entered Jul. ’49, Employed as Literary Teacher Loughash School Aug. 1852

John THOMPSON – Mar. ’50, Employed as Land Steward to Wm.JEFFERSON leaving Sept. 1852

John M’FARLAND – entered Dec. 1850 Still at School

John O’NEILL – entered Dec. 1850 Still at School

Henry WILSON – entered Dec. 1850 Still at School

Peter KELLY – entered April 1851, Employed as Clerk in Drogheda, leaving Dec. 1852

Robert CAMPBELL – entered Sept. 1851, Still at School

William SMYTH – entered Sept. 1851, Still at School

Edward M’ANENA – entered Oct. 1851, Still at School

John SMYTH – entered Oct. 1851, Still at School

Thos. THOMPSON – entered Oct. 1851, Still at School

George ANSEL – entered Oct. 1851, Still at School

Wm M’GLINCHY – entered Jan. 1852, Still at School

James BREESON – entered Jan. 1852, Still at School

Mich’l M’MAHON -entered April 1852, Still at School

Edmund MALONE – entered April 1852, Still at School

George GALLEN – entered April 1852, Still at School

James MOORE Teacher

Bernard M’KENNA, Manager

The principal operations connected with the farm during the year consisted in repairing the fences, in draining, sub-soiling and the necessary preparation of the land for the different green and white crops. The chief success in green crop cultivation depends on deepening the soil, keeping it dry and free of weeds. If these operations are neglected, or not carefully attended to, the chances of raising a remunerating green crop are very little. I have sub-soiled since November last, a field of 6 statute acres, intended for next year’s green crop, to the depth of 18 inches with the spade, digging up the bottom of the furrow, after the plough, as detailed in my former report and raising all stones met with, either by the spade or plough. I have sub-soiled in this way about 30 acres of the farm since it came into my possession and I have experienced the most beneficial results from it. In general light land when subjected to a severe course of cropping for some time, begins to throw up a quantity of straw, with but little yield in grain. When a portion of the subsoil is mixed with the surface soil after due exposure to the air, it renews the surface soil and causes it to produce more grain and of better quality, than if such a mixture had not been effected.

In executing all my improvements I try to keep the expenditure, if possible, within the return to be expected from such improvement, as the profits from farming depend on producing the greatest return, at the least cost, and in converting even the smallest portion of the produce to profitable account. I rely chiefly on the produce of the stock for the profits, which we derive from the land. It will be seen from the Balance Sheet that I have sold upwards of £70 worth of stock, within the year besides £58 worth of dairy produce. It would have taken a large portion of the crop of the farm to draw as much as these two items alone, while the benefit does not stop here; the quantity of manure thus accumulated enables me to apply a large quantity to the land, without which, it could not be expected to continue to yield anything like a remunerating crop.

I think it unnecessary to detail specifically each operation gone through during the year as I have already stated, in my former Reports, the system pursued here which chiefly consists in bestowing judiciously upon every perch of the farm, such an amount of labour as is capable of giving the greatest return, our sole aim being to have the greatest breadth of the farm under crop and to turn that to the best possible account.

It is also gratifying to know that the people in this locality still continue prosperous, gradually becoming better acquainted with the management and care of stock and of producing food necessary for their support, thereby increasing the quantity of manure and the consequent fertility of their farms – the stock and its produce in milk and butter meeting their monetary outlay and leaving the grain and other produce of the farm for their own support. They are thus, through their industry and economical management able to support themselves on small farms, which otherwise would be impossible if a defective system of tillage was pursued.

The Agricultural Boarding Class continues to merit a share of public attention. It will be seen from the list of pupils furnished that 5 have got into places during the year. The fact of such a number being employed in situations out of this school is the best proof that could be offered of their qualifications. I have endeavoured, so far as the limited time for instruction affords, to impart such an amount of literary, as well as agricultural information, as enables the pupils to fill with success various employments, which a more limited education would have rendered them incapable of occupying. Though employed only half the day at school and the other half at manual labour, they make as much progress in literary acquirements, as if the whole of their time had been employed at school.

They receive each summer, a course of instruction in surveying, mapping, levelling, and taking vertical sections of roads and various other useful applications of science, to practical purposes, which is of great service to them. We have likewise, a small laboratory, which enables us to give an outline of the elementary principles of chemistry, as applied to agriculture and geological specimens, illustrating the various rocks composing the crust of the globe. They have thus, a field of investigation opened up to them which serves to expand the mind and give them enlightened views upon subjects, which are of essential service to them through life.

I remain your obedient servant; James MOORE

8 Dec. 1858
Queen’s College, Cork.
At the examinations, held in this college, in October last, Mr. John MOORE of Loughash, obtained the first place in the science scholarships of the second year. This entitles him to £24 in cash and half the class fees remitted for the year. In June last, at the sessional examinations, he obtained first prize in the English language, 1st in Latin, 2nd in Greek, and 1st in mathematics. This is highly satisfactory, when it is recollected that he received the whole of his mathematical education at the National Agricultural School of Loughash. (Derry Journal)

Page compiled and transcribed by Teena from the many Government Reports, by the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland, which are available on and the Farmer’s Gazette and Journal of Practical Horticulture 1910 at