Note of transcriber – If you had an ancestor, even if born in Ulster Province, that may have been subjected to one of these old schools, they could very well have ended up anywhere in Ireland.
Charter Schools of Ireland
On the founding of the Incorporated Society Dublin for Promoting English Protestant Schools in Ireland (Charter Schools)
The slow advances in which the Protestant religion had made among the common people, being observed by some worthy persons, they formed themselves into a voluntary society, for setting up Parochial schools. These schools were to promote the English Protestant Schools in Ireland. Many schools were set up in Dublin and some chief cities and towns, with the encouragement and direction of several Bishops, Nobility, Gentry and Clergy. After some years, they perceived that the success did not meet their expectations, for the children taught as day scholars only, and afterwards, sent as apprentices and servants; their popish parents and Priests had too frequent access to them and found means to draw them back to Popery. But this scheme was insufficient to answer the end of a general Reformation and the number of young converts made in those schools was very small. They could not have turned the balance against Popery.
It was found necessary to find some other measure, that might operate more extensively and speedily to the general conversion and Reformation of the poor natives. The plan chosen was to apply to His Majesty George II, that he would, by Charter, incorporate a society with powers for erecting schools, wherein the children of poor Papists should be instructed in the English language and in the principles of true Religion and Loyalty. His Royal Charter for the purposes before mentioned was dated 24th October 1733. The charter was accepted at Dublin 6th February 1834 and the Officers, directed by the Charter, were immediately chosen and a subscription book opened. The Royal Charter was the sole method of establishing an incorporated body.
The charter could not be obtained in full, without keeping the children apart from their parents and maintaining them in food, clothing, erecting and providing accommodation; and furnishing the same with salaries to school masters; then providing tools and utensils for their labours. It became evident that the expenses would require greater funding, than this poor Country could supply. The Society found recourse to the charity and piety of England, which had been distinguished for Acts of Munificence, so they had not been disappointed. By these means, several persons were encouraged to become subscribers. King George subscribed 1000£ per annum and it was one of the many benefactions received. (*note)
In 1750, the society had under their care and direction, 34 schools already opened, 8 under construction, and 3 resolved for building, making in all 45 schools, besides a Charter Nursery, in a house for that use, in Dublin. The children, sent up from the Country in rags, are clothed, fed, taught and attended to by a master, mistress and a nurse.
In all the schools belonging to The Incorporated Society, besides the duties of religion, the boys are employed in improving the land in the work of the garden &c. and are instructed in reading, writing, and singing psalms. The girls in their several schools are employed in the business of the house and dairy, spinning knitting and sewing &c.
(*note) It appears that in the course of 22 years, from 1745 to 1767, the society received from Parliament and the Royal bounty, £112,200.
In my 2nd source, “An Inquiry into the Abuses of the Chartered Schools in Ireland”, author Robert STEVEN, states in his introduction;
“The professed object was to put down Popery and extend the Protestant religion, but its actual operation went to the kidnapping of children of Catholics above 6 years of age, and afterwards, at the age of 2 years, and removing them from their parents, to the distant provinces of the kingdom, the better to prevent all communications with their relations.”
For some years after the establishment of these schools, while buildings were new and while the bishops, clergy, visitors, and donors were active and interested, the intention of the founders may have been realised in a measure. But no great foresight was required to see what was likely to
happen, and what did happen. The schools were, of necessity, boarding schools ; and it was part of the Society’s policy to cut off all intercourse between the children and their friends. No substitute for the natural affection, of even bad, or improvident parents, was to be looked for in the oversight of masters and mistresses in receipt of from £5 per annum. Here and there, an exceptional master may have really cared for the children, but nothing short of miracle in management and supervision could have produced desirable results from the Charter Schools. Speedily they fell into disgrace.
Sir J. FITZPATRICK, Inspector of Prisons, visited 28 Charter Schools in the years 1756-7. According to his report the children were barbarously ill-treated “were puny, filthy, ill-clothed, without linen, indecent to look
upon, school-rooms dilapidated and dirty.”
Matters became even worse as years went on. About the beginning of the 19th century the schools were visited by 2 clergymen (one a Mr. LEE) of the Established Church, who reported;
“Children lived in hunger, nakedness, filth and ignorance. Learning and religion almost entirely neglected, pupils compelled almost to slave labour at farms, looms, etc. for the benefit of their masters. The sullen and dogged appearance of the children betrayed some dreadful violation of the laws of nature.”
“In the Charter Schools all social and family affections are dried up. The children have no vacations; they know not the feelings of home and so are frequently stunted in body, mind and heart; the system without soundness; everywhere corrupt.”
And the shame of the Charter School clung to the unfortunates, who were forced into them. Few chose to take them as apprentices, even when tempted by large fees. To their fellow servants they were known as “Charter School brats.” Yet the system endured for a century, the grants being entirely withdrawn only in 1832.
The 1st reports of abuse and cruel treatments in the Charter Schools was given in the Irish House of Commons by John HOWARD, a philanthropist, who had long experience of prisons, which must have been peculiarly available in detecting the defects in the Charter Schools, that so nearly resembled them. He speaks in his evidence of the dreadful situation of these schools and states that the children in general, were sickly, pale, and such miserable objects, that they were a disgrace to all society, and reading had been neglected for the purpose of making them work for the masters.
From a Commissioners report of 1808 –
It is generally felt and acknowledged by the members of the Incorporated Society that the schools under their care are not in as flourishing a condition, as could be wished. Though there are some that do credit to the establishment, it is to be lamented that others, in spite of all the endeavours of the committee of fifteen, reflect disgrace on the society. Abuses are continually discovered and sometimes in schools where everything was supposed to be perfectly well regulated. The evil is corrected in one quarter and in a few months, the same work is to be performed in another. Take the reports of the local committees of the several schools and you are told that everything is in the most prosperous state, the children well clothed, fed, and educated, the master, mistress, and usher conducting themselves in the most exemplary manner and nothing wanting, but more liberality on the part of the Society, to relieve the many grievances under which the master labours. Hear, on the other hand, the report of an unprejudiced stranger and you will too often find the picture reversed and the whole establishment of one of these applauded schools, in a state of universal neglect, abuse, and decay. It is alleged that many of the children relapse into popery and it is certain the Society are not able to give a satisfactory account of all the children they apprentice.
A few years ago, before the suppression of Newmarket, Castle Island, Ballinrobe, and Inniscarra schools, there were 13 of the Societies schools in Munster, 18 in Leinster, 6 in Connaught, and but 5, in Ulster. The object of this arrangement was to diffuse protestantism over the popish counties, but the effect has, by no means, corresponded with the expectation formed from it. The children formerly, (much more than at the present day) were of popish parents and apprenticed at a very early age, from 13-15, though they were apprenticed to Protestant masters, yet all their intercourse was with papists. They were sure to hear much of the religion of their parents and its superiority over the modern heresy of protestantism; when their apprenticeship was over, all tie, (but that of principle) to the established religion, was dissolved. Their interest, as well as their prejudices, led them to the adoption of another faith, and under these circumstances, it is not surprising that children sent into the world, before anything like steady principle could be considered as fixed, should embrace the popular profession of religion. The case would probably have been very different had the schools been placed generally in the more Protestant counties of Ulster. There, the children would have met with Protestant habits and formed Protestant connections, the current of popular opinion on the subject of religion, would have been quite in favour of the lessons they had received at school, instead of directly in opposition to them, and in a worldly point of view, they would have found it the thriving profession. If therefore, the charter schools have failed of attaining one principal object of their institution, namely conversion to the Protestant religion, the plan originally adopted with respect to their position, may be considered as having mainly contributed to their failure in this respect.
The difficulty of procuring masters, mistresses, and ushers properly qualified, has been a very great impediment in the way of education, and the general good conduct of these schools. It is a difficulty growing out of, and connected with, the general low state of education in the country, and will of itself diminish, with proper care in the persons, who from time to time may superintend this and similar establishments. It would excite indignation and disgust to see the description of men to whom the education of children in these schools has been sometimes (almost necessarily) committed. Men of vulgur habits, coarse manners, often ignorant in the extreme of everything but the common rudiments of reading, writing and arithmetic, exhibiting nothing in conduct or example that could raise the minds of the children above the level of that semi barbarian, which has been the character of the lower class of the people in this country. This has not been universally, but it has been certainly very frequently the case and it is in itself sufficient to account for a very general failure of success in the schools of this establishment.
In the year 1795 there were 37 schools under the care of the Society capable of accommodating 1,665 children.
1,013 Children were received into the Boarding Schools of the Incorporated Society from May 1821 to January 1825 and of these:
182 were destitute orphans having lost both parents
245 children both their parents were alive
586 children had only 1 parent
462 children both their parents were protestants
277 children both their parents were Roman Catholics
274 children one parent Protestant and one parent Roman Catholic
84 children died between 1818 – 1824
In the year 1803, Protestants were admitted as pupils to the charter schools, for the first time since 1775-6, when the society passed resolutions to confine the admission to Roman Catholics, a measure, indeed, which is stated to have been in accordance with the general practice of the society previously. The Commissioners of Education inquiry in 1808 reported that the system of separating children from their parents, or of transplanting them, as it was called, still prevailed; that the nurseries were still continued; that the number of children maintained in the schools had increased since 1791 when it was 1,798, to 2,187; and that the funds placed at the disposal of the society had increased from £20,105 to £30,157. The commissioners of 1808, from their inquiries, were led to the conclusion that the schools were in a very satisfactory state, forming a contrast to the condition, in which former inquiries had found them, and calculated to excite an expectation that a higher degree of improvement would be attained. The commissioners, however, made some suggestions very similar to those of the commissioners of 1791. They proposed that some of the schools should be suppressed and the nurseries converted into schools. In 1818, a letter was addressed by Mr. Charles GRANT, afterwards Lord Glenelg, the then Chief Secretary of Ireland, to the Incorporated Society, intimating that the amount of their grant would be diminished.
After 1825, it was very difficult to induce Roman Catholic children to attend, and from that time, the nature of the schools was changed. From being schools for the conversion of Roman Catholics, they became schools for the education of members of the United Church. The Commissioners of Education inquiry in their report for 1825, again disclosed the disastrous state of the charter schools and recommended the discontinuance of the parliamentary grants. These were accordingly diminished from £19,500 in 1826, to 5,750£ in 1832, when they were finally withdrawn.
In 1839, the society, at the suggestion of the Rev. Elias THACKERAY, one of its members, adopted a plan, by which children are elected on the foundation of the institution, by means of their superior answering at a competitive examination.
This election is restricted to children who come from some of the districts, in which the society possesses estates, who are educated for at least one year at a school, in which the scriptures are daily read, and who are recommended by their parish ministers. No child is eligible for election, who has been previously attending any school of public legal foundation, a rule which has the effect of excluding any child coming from the National Schools, and other mixed schools in Ireland, and also children educated in the workhouses.
The course of instruction has also undergone a change. The society was established by charter, among other things, for communicating industrial instruction, but we find from the evidence that this has almost entirely ceased, and that the system of apprenticeships has also been discontinued. Some less important alterations have also been made, such as discontinuing the practice of charging masters for the labour of children, of giving bounties to well conducted apprentices, and of giving marriage portions. The nurseries and the system of transplanting the children were abandoned. It appears by a return from the Incorporated Society, that they have at present under their care 8 boarding schools and 12 day schools, exclusive of the parochial schools at Ramoan and Innishannon, towards the support of which they contribute. We visited some of the day schools and visited, or received evidence, as to all the boarding schools. They were also inspected by our assistant Commissioners.
Charter Schools opened before 1750
Armagh Charter School, Co. Armagh discontinued in 1773 on a general plan of economy.
Ballycastle Charter School, Co. Antrim opened in 1737 and had 25 children in the school, with 3 students apprenticed. On Ballycastle from a report dated 27 Sept. 1787 – M. CUMBRIDGE, mistress;
This school is about a mile from the town and is separated from the road by a wall, which forms a yard of about 100 feet, within which, are several offices and turf-clamps and though paved, it is very dirty. The ascent to the hall is by 2 steps but for want of a porch, it is much exposed to the wind. The hall was formerly very spacious and well contrived, but by 3 closets being taken off it, each of which, has a window, it is rendered very incommodious; and although it is the children’s eating room, who all stand at meals, it is crowded with chests, tables, &c. The school room, in which both sexes were taught, though it measured but 20 feet by 18 feet, was encumbered with a large meal-bin, a bed for 2 servant boys, 2 tables, 11 wheels, 3 reels, 7 forms, large and small, and a shoemaker at work; yet this room was the only place of tuition, when I was there; the beds were kept clean, and matters above stairs as well appointed as the circumstances of the house would admit of. The upper lofts and the ceilings of the children’s sleeping rooms, were propped in several places. The new part of the house consists of 6 rooms, which are neatly kept, and occupied by the mistress’s family and the usher. Education is not well attended to. The health of the children seemed much impaired by the constancy of spinning, knitting, carding, &c. and would be much more so, were it not for the cleanliness and other regularities observed in the house. N.B. I recommended play in the open air every day.
Some of the children that were at Santry; who had been brought from Ballycastle School and had been there for 6 years, could not read. The dreadful situation of the schools prevents their being filled; their reading is neglected for the purpose of making the children work for the master. The children in general were sickly pale and such miserable objects that they were a disgrace to all society.
Does not appear to me to be well situated and the children remain there long, without being sought for as apprentices, such I found to be the case when I was there and many children of an age to be apprenticed were in the house. On my suggestion, 17 of them have been applied for. I should strongly recommend the suppression of that School and the transferring of the girls to some School better situated. In large establishments there are many advantages; boys may be properly classed; talents properly directed, and much money saved. It appears to me that a Master and Usher would under a proper system of education answer, perfectly well for a school of 150 boys, as many of the boys would be constantly employed in the School of industry, where their earnings would much more than defray any expense attending it, as may be seen by an inspection of the accounts of the Foundling Hospital. When the numbers are large, you may probably find among the boys, some well suited for Parish Clerks, Ushers, and Schoolmasters, all much wanted in the different parishes of the kingdom. It might perhaps be advisable to have a School for that purpose, to which the select boys of all the Charter Schools should be sent and returned to the Charter Schools for some time, to act as Ushers. In a political point of view, it appears to me to be a matter of the first consequence that great attention should be paid to the education of those who are likely to be employed, in the instruction of the lower ranks of the people, the necessity of which has been sufficiently shown by the mischief done by the lower order of schoolmasters, and by the exertions of the disaffected, both in England and Ireland, to get possession of them.
In my opinion, a greater benefit could not be conferred upon this country than such an establishment, as might afford annually, such a number of young men brought up in principles of loyalty and qualified to become teachers of the common people, that it is practicable, is proved by Frederick 2nd of Prussia, who in a very short time, established 3500 schools in Silesia, having in the first place procured a man capable of educating the youth of the country as schoolmasters. Such a man, I think we possess, in the person of the Reverend Mr. MURRAY of the Foundling Hospital and were there a selection made from the Charter Schools, the Founding Hospital and the Parish Schools of Dublin, and placed under his direction, this very desirable object would be soon be attained.
Signed Wm. DERRY
October 28 1808
1808 – to the Bishop of Derry’s report; for 60 Girls, founded in 1737. This school was endowed by Hugh BOYD Esq. with 20 Pl. (plantation) acres, rent free for ever, for which the mistress pays 15 shillings per acre. Seven children have been apprenticed from this school from the 5 Jan. 1807 – 5 Jan. 1808
1824 – Ballycastle Antrim a girls school with an establishment of 60 children, exceeding that to the present number of 79. The Master was W.B. NUGENT and the catechist, Rev. Stevenson HUNTER. Bridget GALLAGHER, age 16, of Ballycastle, had been a student who was admitted into the Teachers class on 9 July 1823 and served at the Kevin Street Institution until 24 Feb. 1824 when she returned to Ballycastle. In 1825, Anne KENNY, a student of Ballycastle, who was admitted teacher on 29 Aug. 1824, was still at the Kevin Street Institution.
By a minute of the committee of fifteen, dated 18 Feb. 1824, it appeared that Bridget GALLAGHER, who had been convicted of a theft, was directed to be transplanted to Ballycastle school, from which she was brought, and that a letter should be written to the master and mistress of that establishment, expressing surprise that a girl who, while in the school, had been addicted to that crime, should have been recommended to the teachers institution.
Frances COYLE aged 17½, put into the charter school at Ballycastle (was there about 6 years) by her mother, her father deceased. thinks mother, a lady’s maid, lived on Ormond Quay, brother Henry, lives in Stradbally. Transferred to Kevin Street Institution and there 7 years.
From the examinations at the Asylum Charlemont 8 Nov 1824
Catherine CARTHY was asked ‘How old are you?’ To which she replied “I do not know”. What charter school were you first admitted into? Charlemont street. How long did you stay there? I do not know. I was very small. I recollect then, that I went into Ballycastle. How long did you stay there? 5 or 6 years. I have no one alive belonging to me, but a sister school in Duncannon School. Was bound an apprentice from Ballycastle to Mr WILSON’s factory in Buncrana Co. Donegal; taught manufactory work, weaving, spinning and hackling; No, not in the least use to her, did not know how to make her own cap. 3 guinea premium paid when apprenticeship complete. paid her passage up to Dublin. How many hours were you worked in the factory in a day? Sometimes we began at 4 in the morning and sometimes 5, and worked till 12 or 1 at night in winter, and till 9 in summer. Were you better off at Ballycastle or this manufactory? At Ballycastle.
Mary ANN HAWKINS, bound out with Catherine CARTHY, in Ballycastle, 4 years, taught to read; mentions Mr. O’NEILL and Mr. WALLACE, now at boys school at Stradbally, who was very severe, and she was formerly at Charlemont street. The Ballycastle usher, Harriet WHITCROFT paid great attention to learning.
Ballynahinch Charter School in Co. Down – opened in 1735 and had 20 children in the school, with 40 students apprenticed. This school discontinued in 1774, the perpetuity refused by the landlord. From a report of 1740 – the produce of a barrel of flax seed sown on the lands of this school, the girls have spun, since the last abstract was published, as much yarn as made 184 yards for shirts and shifts, sufficient thread to make up their own clothing and as much yarn as being sold, paid the flax dressers. They have spun as much worsted as made 120 yards of drugget; five barrels of potatoes were planted and the flax seed sown by the boys, both which proved very good; 106 pair of stockings have been knit by the boys and girls from wool bought, by the sale of linen yarn, which the girls had spun.
Report of 1787- The School of Ballynahinch in the County of Down, consists of 20 children, boys and girls, who are all dieted, clothed, lodged at the Society’s expense. The boys are here employed in digging, fencing, and ditching, and a convenient piece of ground is laid out for raising potatoes, beans, peas, &c, by their labour. The girls are taught to spin and knit and are at this time wearing linen spun with their own hands, and the local committee assure us that the children are daily proceeding in their reading and manual improvements; 2 acres of land are conveyed in perpetuity for the use of the school by the Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of Dromore. Eight more are farmed from a tenant of Sir John RAWDON and when this worthy young Gentleman comes to age, the Society have good ground to hope that this expense, so necessary at present, will be made easier.
Castle Caulfield Charter School Co. Tyrone opened in 1736 and had 20 children in the school, with 37 students apprenticed; (discontinued 1773 as rent demanded considered too high) is endowed with 1 acre of land by the Rev. Mr. VINCENT, incumbent of the parish, who has also granted a lease of 21 Acres at 4.s 6d. per acre and subscribed 10£ per annum during his incumbency.
Castlecaulfield Charter School – This School being ruinous in 1776, is to be rebuilt on another site upon the lands settled on the Society, by lease from His Grace the Lord Primate, and the children for the present have been transplanted to other schools, there to abide, until the new school shall be erected. In the mean time the said lands, being set at a good rent, the profits are now set apart as a fund towards the said building, which will be farther encouraged by subscriptions.
The present incumbent, the Rev. Mr George EVANS has offered 2 acres of his Glebe, tythe free, contiguous to the lands of His Grace the Lord Primate, to be enjoyed by the Society, in lieu of the 1 acre given by the late incumbent and to subscribe 4£ per annum, towards the support of the school during his incumbency. And His Grace, by virtue of an enabling clause in an Act of Parliament, passed in this Kingdom in the 13th and 14th years of His present Majesty’s reign, has most generously granted to the Society a lease of 30 Irish acre, plantation measure, of His Graces See Lands for 99 years from the 1st of Nov. 1775 at the low rent of 4s. 6d. per acre, per annum, together with 6 acres and 26 perches English measure of bog as a further endowment, which the Society most thankfully have accepted.
Creggane Charter School in Co. Armagh opened in 1737 and had 20 children in the school and 41 students apprenticed; discontinued in 1812 Old and wanting necessary offices &c. From a report dated 18 Oct. 1787 – George JACKSON, master
The situation of this house is on a bleak, rugged, stony, piece of ground, half a mile from the high road and from Dundalk 7 miles; it is 2 stories high and in very bad order. All the offices are in a ruinous condition and the pavement, or rather, rocky surface of the ground, immediately about the building, renders the approaches to it difficult to walk on, particularly on the side of the offices and privy, to which last the boys cannot now go, in consequence of puddles and flashes of water settled all about it. The situation of the house is in every respect very disadvantageous and its condition so exceedingly bad, that most of the boys now labour under severe colds. The hall in which the children eat, as it wants a porch and that the fireplace is ill-contrived, is so unfit for the children during the winter season, that it is necessary to keep them in the school-room whilst the cold weather subsists; which measure I advised, and the master promised, to observe it. The boys sleeping room, 22 feet by 15 feet, contained 10 old bedsteads, the tickens of them newly stuffed, but several of them, and of the bolsters, some of the sheets, and many of the blankets, were abominably filthy. The house being stripped, the mistress assured me that the rain often overflowed the room, and ran down the stairs. A room, called the girls sleeping room, was then unoccupied, in which were 8 good bedsteads and some bed clothes, in good condition. I disposed of the 2 rooms in such a manner, as that neither the rain, nor the dampness of the walls, which was shocking, should be prejudicial. I proposed airing them with fire in metal pots, and sent for the slater. Some of the children can read tolerably well, though they had few books, they had no paper, and their clothes did not fit. Notwithstanding their being afflicted with a cold, they were all, except 3, picking potatoes at some distance from the house when I called.
Creggane Charter School
This school consists of 40 Children and is endowed with 5 Acres of land rent free in perpetuity viz: 2 by the late Rev. Doctor HILL, incumbent of the Parish, 2 more plantation measure by the late Francis HALL Esq. and one plantation measure, by the late Thomas BALL Esq.; the said Mr. BALL also granted a lease to the Society of 29 Acres of land, for 3 lives, or 31 years from the first of May 1 1736, at the yearly rent of 2s. 6d. per acre, which is not yet renewed and the said Mr. HALL renewed his former lease to the Society of 29 acres for 3 lives, or 31 years, from the 21 July 1752, at the old yearly rent of 2s. 6d. per acre, without fine. The master pays 4s. per acre to the Society for these lands, which are so far improved, that they are now worth 8s. per acre.
Killogh (Killough) Charter School in Co. Down opened in 1738 and had 20 children in the school with 37 students apprenticed. (discontinued in 1772 on a general plan of economy). In 1740, besides the usual employment in the house and lands, the boys are continued in making herring nets by which single article, 7£ 8s. 8d. have been saved to the Society. The girls have spun linen yarn for 60 shifts and shirts, 40 caps, 40 bands and stocks, besides 20 yards of linen for the master and mistress.
Killough is most pleasantly situated in a small bay, which is about a mile deep and not half a mile, over it consists of one street, but is in a declining way, no soldiers being sent to the barrack of late years, the linen manufactory, also, has failed and the boiling of rock salt from Liverpool and the fishery, likewise, is very small, though there is a good pier built to shelter the boats from the South East wind, but there is, notwithstanding, one of the best Inns here in the whole road. Just out of the town is a Charter School founded by Judge WARD, to whom the town belongs, it is for twenty boys and twenty girls and I went to see it. Near the town is a stream running from a rock, it is the lightest water in Ireland and comes out of the cliffs, which are a cement of pebbles; the rock below being of a slaty kind, at some distance beyond it there is a hole, or cave, where the tide comes in and when it retires makes a great noise and bubbles up in a very extraordinary manner. (extract from Pococke’s Tour in Ireland in 1752)
Newtown Corry Charter School in Co. Monaghan opened in 1740 and had 30 children in the school, with 8 students apprenticed. discontinued in 1773 on a general plan of economy. Within half a mile of Newton Corry in the County of Monaghan, the Reverend Mr. CORRY gives 1 acre, for ever and lets 20 acres of the best land in that Country, having plenty of meadow, turf and water belonging to it and commodiously situate for the church for 21 years, with a clause of renewal during his life at 5£ 16s. per annum, which is about 4£ less than the present rent and will, moreover, lay out 200£ in building a school-house, work house &c. all at his own expense, which he hopes to finish this year having the materials ready. The said Mr. CORRY has likewise subscribed 40s. per annum.
Ray Charter School in Co. Donegal opened in 1740 and had 30 children in the school, with 16 students apprenticed. At a meeting of 25 July 1786, three men are mentioned; Mr. REA, Mr. BOYD, and Mr. M’CASTAN.
Report dated July 17 1787
21 boys 13 girls;kitchen small and dirty; only 7 beds for boys and 7 for girls. The children here, as in many other places, without shoes and stockings; tolerably healthy; respecting the alteration in the dietary was received here the 1st of July. The advance of the rent of the Society’s land occasions a general discontent.
Report dated 23 Sept. 1787 – John BREW, Master
This house, which contains 21 boys and 13 girls, is situated in the interior, mountainous part of the country, 5 miles north of Raphoe, on the declivity of a glen and 12 miles North-west of Derry; the road to the house is through a valley, and the yard which forms the entrance to it, is confined and dirty, and was a receptacle for pigs, poultry, cattle &c. The ascent to the hall, which is rather promptly steep, the perpendicular height being 10 feet and the sloping passage, but 19 feet and a half, is the worst and most dangerous of the kind I ever saw; it would be difficult to ascend or descend the curve of the arch, on which is a pavement smooth and slippery, were it not for the battlements, which are 3 feet high. The under-part of the house was filthy beyond description; one of the apartments, which measured 17 feet, by 14 feet, served as a school-room and work-room for both sexes; in it were 22 wheels, 2 reels, a table, and 2 forms, and it was the only place for education and labour, except that some of the strongest children were daily employed in digging and picking potatoes, herding cattle, and other business in the farm. The room in which the boys slept was 18 feet by 14 feet, and shamefully dirty, several of the sheets but filthy rags, most of the tickens rotten, the bedsteads old and broken, and the beds in want of stuffing; many of the bolster cases were quite empty and the walls were shamefully filthy. The room in which the girls slept, of equal size with that of the boys, was in every respect as disgusting, with the additional circumstances of their sheets being rent to rags. The children were wretchedly clothed and this being Sunday, notwithstanding their tattered garbs, 19 of them were brought to church by the master, 15 remaining at home, 2 through indisposition, and 13 for want of shoes or stockings. Some of these wanted clothes sufficient to cover their nakedness, but the master told me he expected clothing for them in a few days. Some thin hung beef was boiling for dinner, the broth of which was to be thickened with bursted barley, and was to serve for Monday’s dinner. Education must be little attended to here, as few of the children can read. John HALPIN, aged 20 years (who is apprenticed to the master) can neither read, nor write, though he has been 5 years here, and had been brought from Farra, where the master’s father keeps the school. Anne WALKER, who is apprentice to the master, was reared in the house, and though 17 years old, can neither read, nor write. Anne OBERY, 14 years old, and 4 years in the school, can neither read, nor write. The masters wife, having died some months ago, a young female relation of his, attends the girls. This inspection was made in presence of the Reverend Mr. BALL, curate and catechist.
Ray school visited on the 6 Oct. 1808
The boys are generally healthy, there are some instances of itch, none of scald heads and but one (James BOLTON, who was transferred from Cragar School), of a scrofulous sore in the leg. The boys are divided into 4 classes, in the 1st class there are ten, from 8 to 14 year olds, who read and write in proportion to their age and standing in the school, but are very deficient in arithmetic. In the 2nd class there are ten also, from 8 to 11 year olds, who read well and write tolerably, but know nothing of accounts.
In the 3rd class, there are six boys, from 6 to 10 years of age, who spell in proportion to their standing in school and are instructed in the Church Catechism. All the elder boys have been taught Dr. Man’s the Protestant, Mrs Trimmer’s Catechism, and the Testament and Sellon’s Abridgement; they seem to have acquired religious knowledge in proportion to their standing in school, which in many instances, has been of short duration. The 8 younger boys, or rather children, have as yet, only learned their letters and to say their prayers, in which it appears that due pains have been taken to instruct them. A few of the boys are taught to knit and some of the largest assist occasionally in the farm. The building is in pretty good repair, but the rooms are much too small; the schoolroom is only 18 feet by 13 and is used as dining room and work room; the dormitories very small and only 6 feet 6 inches high; in some beds there are 3 boys; the rooms, however, though small, are well ventilated and kept very clean. No Infirmary. The out offices convenient and in good repair. There are 17 acres plantation measure, half of it is good and half bad. No gates, and the fences indifferent. There are 7 acres of oats, half an acre of clover and half an acre of flax. The master is obliged to buy some milk. No meadow. The children are fed on potatoes and milk and stirabout and milk, occasionally beef broth and sometimes mutton, breakfast on milk and potatoes.
As to the circumstances of the master, I had not a sufficient opportunity of inquiry. I, however, heard that he was a man of very good character and that he sometimes dealt for ready money, and sometimes on credit, which must sometimes be the case, where it is more advantageous to lay in a store of provisions. The Usher chiefly conducts the education of the children, but the master, though his time is much taken up in providing for them, pays considerable attention to their education. Is not so circumstanced; the house is very small and the land belonging to it not good; the expense great; a master, usher and a maid for 30 children. I should recommend its being suppressed and the boys turned over to Ballykelly.
Signed Wm. DERRY, October 28 1808
Ray Co. Donegal – Altered into a day school. (in 1825, Thomas FINUCANE was master) From January 1805, to January 1812, 18 apprentices were doing well, 4 dead, 2 enlisted, 6 eloped and 1 discharged (having been badly treated).
Strangford Charter School in Co. Down opened in 1748 and had 40 children in the school, with 4 students apprenticed. From a report dated July 23 1787- 20 boys. Children healthy. Here they have the advantage of frequently bathing in the sea. Salary to master and mistress £12; maid servant £5; soap and candles £5 coal £14. The infirmary is used as a stable.
From a report dated 4 Oct. 1787- John JACKSON, master
This house is near a mile from the town and although much exposed to the influence of the winds from the bay, or great river, the children, 5 excepted, appeared healthful and strong; the disorders they were troubled with, were very cutaneous, and some remains of the scald, from which they were recovering. The bolsters were old and filthy, as well as some of the tickens. I recommended a mode of conduct towards the children, who wetted their beds in this house, as in other schools. I also advised the changing of the school-room, as from the unparalleled bad structure of the chimney, fire would not burn, in consequence of which the children were generally permitted to go to the kitchen fire. Their education is tolerably attended to here.
Strangford Co. Down boys established for 200 students with presently 78 boys. Master Thomas FLEMMING, cathechist, Rev. Charles WOLSELY
From the examination of Patrick LEONARD on oath, Wed. 3rd Nov. 1824 who was now at Santry Charter School – he had been 6 years at Strangford and left 3 May 1819. Mr CLINTON was master, Mr. DUNN succeeded and was turned out for not complying with the rules of the society, Thomas FLEMMING (who had been at Ray co. Donegal) succeeded DUNN in 1819. Had not always been supplied with food. In answer to the punishments of the boys “They were very, very severe. The master would strip them to the skin and beat them with a horse whip. And sometimes with a jaunting car whip”. LEONARD states the manner of instrument and in which it was used, was too severe, remarking they would be struck sometimes 2 dozen, or 30 times. The usher of the school also punished the boys, though not so frequent, or rigidly. Thomas EUSTACE was usher in 1822, when he wrote a letter to the society.
Edward MONTGOMERY Chairman, Andrew NUGENT, M. FORDE, James BLACKWOOD, R.T. ANDERSON, James A. AUCHINLECK, Richd. MAUNSELL & Henry LESLIE were signators of a letter from the Local Committee of the Strangford Charter school to the Incorporated Society.
Students from the applications for admission to Strangford Charter School;
John HICKEY, age 8, father deceased, mother Sarah HICKEY applied, R.C., From Seagoe Parish
Barney HICKEY age 6½, father deceased, mother Sally HICKEY applied, R.C., From Seagoe Parish
Thomas CAMERSON, age 7½, father deceased, mother Mary CAMERON applied, Protestant, from Seagoe Parish
William ERSKINE, age 8, father deceased, mother Elizabeth ERSKINE applied, Father a Presbyterian, Mother a Protestant, from Seagoe Parish
David WARE, age 9½, parents protestants, and deceased – Jane JOYCE, aunt applied, from Tullylish Parish
James MANECE age 6½ , father deceased, mother Rose FARRELL, parents both R.C. from Seagoe Parish
James Henry SANDYS, 7½, father James SANDYS, a Presbyterian, mother Eliz. M. CORWILL applied, a R.C. from Tullylish Parish
William HAMILTON, age 8, father William HAMILTON, mother Mary HAMILTON applied, Protestants from Seagoe Parish
John CRENOR, age 6, father deceased, mother Margaret CRENOR applied, Protestants, from Seagoe Parish
William SHEERIN, age 8½, father Thomas SHEERIN applied, mother Sally SHEERIN, Protestants, from Seagoe Parish
Robert PATTON, age 7, parents protestants and deceased – Elizabeth PATTEN sister from Seagoe Parish
Wm. MANNABONY, age 7, father Wm. MANNABONY, mother Sarah MANNABONY applied, Protestants, from Seagoe Parish
John RAYNE, age 7, parents deceased, Father a Protestant, Mother R.C, grandmother M. LAPPIN applied, from Seagoe Parish
John PORTER, age 8, Father a Protestant deceased, Mother Jane PORTER applied, R.C, from Drumcree parish
George DICKSON, age 6, father G. DICKSON applied, mother deceased, protestants, from Seagoe Parish
Robert READ, age 9½, parents protestants and deceased – W. READ, brother applied, from Tullylish Parish
John MAGUIRE, age 6, father Hugh MAGUIRE, mother Mabb MAGUIRE applied, R.C, from Seagoe Parish
Hugh MAGUIRE, age 8, father Hugh MAGUIRE, mother Mabb MAGUIRE applied, R.C., from Seagoe Parish
William STEWART, age 9, father deceased, R.C., mother Ann STEWART applied, Protestant, from Seagoe Parish
all were recommended to the school, by either, or both, Lucinda BLACKER, and S. BLACKER, minister of Seagoe
Ballykelly Charter School Co. Londonderry founded 1752 for 50 children
The Earl of Tyrone, in order to have a school erected here, granted to the Society a lease of 64 English acres, and 4 plantation acres, at the yearly rent of 20 shillings, for 3 lives, with a covenant of renewal so often as he, his heirs, &c. should renew, with the Irish Society in London. The master pays the Society 29£ 10s. yearly for the lands. Three children have been apprenticed from the school from the 5 Jan. 1807 – 5 Jan. 1808. In 1819 the lease expired.
Ballykelly from a report dated July 16 1787
28 boys, 7 girls; bedding much wanted; No coverlids; The Committee of 15 now clothe the children of all the schools. Here I first saw the clothing for boys – brown cloth coat and waistcoat, with yellow trimming, 2 pair of linen breeches, 2 shirts, 3 pair of stockings, 3 pair of shoes; for girls – cloth jacket and petticoat, 2 shifts, 2 aprons, 2 caps, 2 pair of stockings, 2 pair of pumps, but no hats, nor handkerchiefs. Allowance for soap and candles £4 10s. Fuel £6. Here the rent of the land has been raised. On the 29th of June 1787*, the master received an account of the increased allowance and alteration mentioned in the dietary.
*Report at a meeting of the Local Committee June 29th 1787. The clothes that have been sent down are of a very bad quality and made quite too small, particularly the waistcoats for the large boys don’t cover half the children’s bellies, and of course, will not wear half the time they otherwise would.
Ballykelly, C.S. 26th Sept. 1787
Archbold CAMPBELL, Master
This house, in which, are 32 boys and 7 girls, is about 150 yards from the road; a wall of 42 feet in length and of 8 feet in height, encloses the sides of the yard; in front there is a small porch at the entrance into the house. By the master’s conveniencing himself with lumber closets, potatoe and fowl rooms below stairs, he has narrowed and darkened the passages to several parts of the house, which would otherwise be well lighted, this inconvenience appears the more strongly, as the entrance into the committee and school-rooms are but 2 feet 5 inches wide. The boys sleeping room contained 12 beds, and that of the girls 10 bedsteads, 8 only of them furnished; 5 of the small boys slept in the girls room, and there was a female child in the small pox in it also, the sheets were disgustingly dirty, some of them mere rags, several of the tickens were filthy, and some rotten. I sent a messenger to a Mr HANLEY, a member of the Local Committee, to whom I communicated my ideas of reformation, which he approved of. The school room was dirty, ill-flagged and must be damp in bad weather. The children’s sleeping rooms were neither lofted, nor ceiled; 7 of them only, wore shoes and stockings; several looked delicate; many had the itch; and some were lately recovered from the scald; a few of them could read tolerably, although in general, their education seemed to be much neglected. Susy GEOGHEGAN, who had been 4 years a scholar in the house and was now 5 years an apprentice to the master, could not read. (Extracts from Observations on the present State of the Charter Schools By William DISNEY Esq. Printed in Dublin 1806)
Ballykelly Charter School
Appears to me to be very well situated for a large establishment; the house might be easily added to and, I think, a thousand pounds would give full accommodation to 150 boys; the country is plentiful, the linen trade flourishing, a wealthy yeomanry, and many resident Clergymen very near it the Church is close to it and the situation of the school healthy.
Signed Wm. DERRY
October 28 1808
News Related to Charter Schools
The following are transcribed by Teena from the Derby Mercury, Dublin Evening Post, and Saunders Newsletter, unless otherwise noted.
9 Feb 1749
Orders are given by the Parishes to take away all children of Beggars and to put them into the Protestant Charter School, which will be of the utmost advantage to this Kingdom, as it will create industry, prevent idleness, beggary, thieving, robbery and murder and hinder these strolling wretches from being a burthen to the publick.
2 Dec 1749 Dublin November 30th, 1749.
The Royal Charter School on the Strand was lately opened; it is to consist of one hundred boys, transplanted from other parts of the Kingdom. About eighty are already admitted and employed in useful Labour and industry, some in the garden and helping to pave and gravel the out yards, others in spinning and knitting within doors.
Ten of them, destined for the sea, are to learn the art of navigation and to know how to make fishing nets after the example of the school of Killogh. All of them are taught to read the holy scriptures and carefully instructed in the church catechism, which they give an account of publickly in the church of Clontarf, and they join in singing psalms and making their responses much to the satisfaction of the whole congregation.
N. B. A boy educated in one of the charter schools, for his good behaviour has been lately appointed second master of this school. The Incorporated Society Dublin for promoting English Protestant Schools in Ireland, holds a monthly general meeting at the Lords Committee room in the Parliament house on Monday the 4th of this instance December, at 12 o’clock. John HANSARD, Secretary.
10 Feb. 1750 – Ireland
Orders are given by the parishes to take away all children of beggars and to put them into the Protestant charter School; which will be of the utmost advantage to this Kingdom, as it will create industry, prevent idleness, beggary, thieving, robbery and murder and hinder these strolling wretches from being a burthen to the public. We hear also, that the Bill to prevent the clandestine marriages of infants, or persons under the age of twenty-one, will be amended by making all marriages null and void of persons of property in Ireland, who shall be married out of the Kingdom, without the consent of parents or guardians. (Ipswich Journal)
13 Oct. 1752
Oct. 3. Sunday night last, several rioters armed with hangers, assembled about a house in Foredams Alley and searched the same for Mr. Laurence LEE, who follows the weaving trade, threatening his life, but he with his wife, son and daughter, made their escape, and took shelter in the guard house of Newmarket where they were obliged to stay all night to preserve their lives. The cause of this outrage was his having petitioned the Governors of the Charter School for an apprentice and the rioters now threaten the Church-wardens who signed the petition.
26 July 1781 – A Strayed Child
George BROWN, a boy between 11 and 12 years old, in company with 2 other Boys. viz. Arthur ATHENLOCK and John GRAHAM, ran away 2 May from the Charter School on the Strand and has not since been found. It is requested that whoever can give intelligence of the above George BROWN, so that he may be found, will inform the Printer hereof and he shall he paid a guinea for his trouble with Thanks and the boy may assured of being kindly treated. He is pock-marked, has dark brown hair and had on when he went away a brown Coat with a red Collar.
13 July 1782 – Apprentices
Persons desirous of taking grown up Boys and Girls as Apprentices either to Trades or Service, are hereby informed, that they can be supplied with such from the Charter School Nursery on Milltown Road. Application to be made to Mr. GIBBONS 6 Suffolk street, N.B, Persons applying must produce a Certificate of their being of the Church of Ireland, of good Moral Character and being in circumstances to maintain an Apprentice
18 May 1785
An honourable Member of the House of Commons, in order to promote the woolen manufacture of this kingdom, has introduced a clause into a bill lately brought in ” to apply a proportion of the bounties towards the establishment of markets for the sale of new drapery, in erecting and encouraging Spinning Schools in the several counties.” This gentleman’s plan will be productive of the most essential advantage to the improvement that fabric. It is humbly suggested to the Legislature on this important occasion, that the children of the Charter Schools might be employed in this mode of early industry, instead of the spinning of flax, which, from the constant expenditure of saliva, is extremely injurious to their tender frames. This could be easily effected and it would also occasion a very great saving in the intended plan
19 July 1786 Robbery and Reward
Whereas between the hours of 2 and 3 o’clock in the morning Saturday the 4th of June last, a large quantity of lead was stolen off the Dome and other parts of the Royal Charter school on the Strand; the Charter Schools Society do hereby offer a reward 5 Guineas to any or Persons who will apprehend and prosecute to conviction all or any of the Persons concerned in the aforesaid Robbery. Signed by Order, Thomas GIBBONS, Sec.
1786 Charter Schools – Wanted
Masters and Mistresses for some of the Schools. The necessary qualifications for such a trust, are; that they are Protestants of the established Church, middle aged, well known for their regular attendance on religious duties; pious, sober and regular in all their conducts; that they are good scholars, fit to instruct the children in Reading, Writing, Account, and in the Church and Protestant Catechisms; that they are diligent and industrious, prudent and active, gentle and humane and very cleanly in all things. Masters and Mistresses possessed of the above mentioned qualifications and able manage with skill gardens and small parcels of land and who can be recommended by persons whom the Society can rely, will meet with all due encouragement. N. B. No Person need apply who cannot procure two sufficient sureties, to be approved of by the Committee of Fifteen, to join the Man in a Bond and Warrant to the Society, of at least 100£. Penalty, for his and his wife’s faithfully discharging the trust be reposed in them. Application to be made to Mr. Thomas GIBBONS, the Society’s Secretary, No. 6, Suffolk street Dublin. 21 Dec. 1786
July 1787 – The Gentleman’s and London Magazine
At the Quarter sessions at Kilmainham, Patrick RAHELL was tried for seducing on the 2nd June last, William LOWDER, John PREIN and James NANGLE, three children in the Charter school on the Strand in the county of Dublin belonging to the Society for Protestant Schools in Ireland, to run from said school. The jury having him guilty sentence which is that he should be confined to hard labour in the House Correction for 6 months
17 Oct. 1789 Carrier Wanted
Carrier wanted by the Charter Schools Society for transplanting Children from one School to another, so as to remove them from their places of nativity, in order more effectually to carry into execution the design of the Society’s intention. Persons wanting to be employed, must produce to the Society or Committee of fifteen, very satisfactory certificates, that they are protestants, sober, discreet, humane and well behaved men; and that they will conscientiously discharge the great trust to be reposed in them.
1 Jul 1808 Ballynahinch school the following pupils obtained premiums for superior proficiency in their respective classes
Greek – Robert CARLILES
Latin class first- A. M’KLEWAIN, T. BLAIN second class- Barnett M’CLELLAND, A. DOAK
English spelling & explanation – R. GIBON, Miss E. M’CANN
Reading class first – J. DAVIDSON, Miss E. M’CANN, 2nd R. GARLAND, T. MORELAND
Writing – J. BROWN, R. GARLAND,
Arithmetic – R. GIBON, Miss E. EDGAR
Geography – John DAVIDSON, J. D. M’CREEDY
History – John D. M’CREEDY, J. DAVIDSON
Natural History- John D. M’CREEDY, R. GIHON
Parsing? English – T. BLAINA, M’KLEWAIN, S. LYONS, R. CARLILE
10 June 1825
At Ballycastle School, in 1818, Mr THACKERAY found ten girls “so ill taught and so ill qualified that not even the offer of a bounty would tempt the commonest farmer to receive them”. (Dublin Morning Register)
2 July 1825
Though we have already said much relative to these schools, and exposed sufficiently the infamous barbarities practised in them, we cannot avoid troubling our readers with the following facts, taken from the Report of the Education Commissioners. They afford a fine illustration of the system of plunder and robbery which the Protestant Ascendancy have carried on in this country. It appears that to each school Catechists were appointed. These Catechists were Parsons “by the rules of the Society, the Catechists are required to report their opinions in all matters respecting each school to the Society, at least once a month and the Committee of Fifteen are authorised to grant a gratuity of 2£ 10s per quarter in addition to the usual salary to every Catechist who shall have complied with the Society’s regulations. Since the office of Visitor has been discontinued, the only regular means of obtaining information of the condition of the schools is these monthly communications of the Catechists.”
These Catechists are allowed salaries of 20£ in addition to the gratuity of 2£ 10s. They, therefore, receive altogether 30£. per annum each. Now, for such a salary one would imagine they might at least regularly perform the very slight duty imposed on them. How does the case stand? From the evidence of the Secretary of the Society, it appears, that out 270 monthly reports, which ought to have been returned by these Catechists to him, did not receive ten -nay, from the 1st January – 30th of October 1824, he did not receive one! And yet he says that he is not aware of an instance in which a part of the salary of a catechist, has been withheld for the last 15 or 20, years. Mr. O’CONNELL lately alluded to a miracle which was recorded to have taken place by one of the returns from a Charter School, in which a boy was reported as younger, in 1824, than he was in 1822! Several instances of these Charter School miracles are given by the Commissioners. We select the following:
Daniel KENCIE admitted in June 1813; age, stated at time of admission, 7; ditto, reported 25 June 1822 age 15¾; ditto, as stated 25 Dec. 1822, age 16! ditto, as reported 25 June 1823 age 15¼; ditto, as stated Dec. 1823, age 14¾ ; age, as reported 25 June 1824 15!
This boy’s age seemed to ebb and flow, according to the whim the Charter School Necromancer. What was the Committee of Fifteen doing all this time? It is very evident they were not minding their duty when they allowed themselves to be made the dupes of such gross imposition. The following is a remarkable specimen of monopoly of patronage
It appears that in the course of one year, from May 1821 -May 1822, 19 boys were admitted into the Charter School at Strangford and 16 girls into that at Dundalk, from 2 contiguous parishes, all the recommendation of one family, being nearly a fifth of the total annual average number of admissions into the schools of the institution. To relieve the whole of Ireland on the same scale would require an expenditure of above 20 millions sterling per ann. and it may be doubted whether such relief, if practicable, would be either very sensibly felt or very gratefully acknowledged.
We suspect that the family alluded to by the Commissioners, is the JOCEYLIN family. Perhaps some correspondent would favour us with the facts of the case.
We have already alluded to the manner in which the contracts were made to supply clothing for the children. The following extract upon this subject, from the Commissionersreport, requires at our hands no commentary:
Mr. LEE in his general report, speaks in terms of decided disapprobation of contracts for the clothing of the children being made in Dublin. He mentions the stockings as being peculiarly bad; and in his report of particular schools, many circumstances are stated confirmatory of his opinion. It appears that Mrs. ADAMSON, the wife of the Secretary the Society, was in fact the contractor for a great part of the clothing, the name of TYRRELL and Co. being used in taking the contract. This circumstance was well known to different officers the establishment and to the masters and mistresses of the Schools. The evidence of Mr. MOFFITT will show how dangerous it was for any master to object to the quality of the clothing. (Dublin Morning Register)
27 Aug. 1828
Elizabeth CRAWLEY who gives evidence in the murder trial of Mr. Michael LARKIN by William KELLY, John ROARKE and Mary AYRES states this information of herself.
I cannot state if my mother is alive of not, as I’ve not seen her in 18 years. I expected to see her in May last and for that purpose went to Alderman Exshaw’s at Kimmage. I went there on Sunday. (returned next day without seeing Mother)
l married, but I parted from husband at the Church door, he gave in a fictitious name; never lived with him, though I had a child; I was a servant till a year and half ago; I was supported by the Incorporated Society; I was reared in a Charter School; I got clothes in the Penitentiary, where I had been for 9 weeks; never was in jail for anything but annoying the father of the child; I don’t say I am a well-behaved woman, for I would not call any one well-behaved that had a flaw in her character; I swore my informations in June; I was reared in a Charter School; I suppose, Counsel, you know something about it (laughter) l would sooner be transported and hung, than take a false oath; I had a great deal of trouble on my hands at the time of the murder; I had a dying child in my arms; (in explanation of why she did not give informations the evening of the murder)
On Re-examination – l was entitled to 5£ from the Charter School, for being married; was told by the man’s wife I was married to that he gave a false name.
for further information concerning this trial see the above mentioned newspaper note they were found not guilty. (Dublin Morning Register)
8 April 1830 Dublin Morning Register- Trial of a Convert
At the Donegal assizes, on Friday, the following curious trial took place
Margaret SOUTHGATE was presented by the grand jury, as an idle, loose, and disorderly vagabond, under the statute which subjects such persons to transportation for 7 years. She traversed the presentment.
The prisoner, a young woman, possesses very considerable personal attractions. She is tall and most symmetrically formed and the natural damask of her cheek seems to have suffered nothing from the noxious air of a prison; added to which, the nun-like sobriety and extreme cleanness her attire made her an object of very singular interest.
The Rev. Mr. CLARK, Curate of Lifford, sworn- Some time ago the prisoner came to his house and told him, that the Roman Catholic Bishop of Sligo had desired her to leave the charter school, to which she had been put from the Foundling Hospital, he having previously converted her to his faith and that she had been handed from priest to priest, till at length she resolved take refuge with a Protestant clergyman; witness gave her some money; but her stories were so extraordinary, that he consulted with his fellow Curate and then with his Rector, who is also a magistrate and he and Sir Robert FERGUSON committed her.
The witness proceeded to say, that prisoner had for five years lived a life of imposition, going to Protestant and Catholic Clergymen alternately, telling each that she had become convert to his religion; that her real name was LYNCH and she came from the county Cork; when he was interrupted by Mr. MAJOR, as counsel for the prisoner, who remarked he was surely speaking from hearsay.
The Rev. gentleman fired at the remark and said something tauntingly of Mr. MAJOR having volunteered his services for the prisoner, as if a spontaneous act of charity in behalf of an unbefriended female could not be too much condemned in this philanthropical age. In reply to a question by Mr. MAJOR, whether had ever seen the prisoner conducting herself loosely on the street, he testily replied that the question was a most ungentlemanly one and then descended from the table, after giving the court to understand that he had received a letter from the prisoner’s mother and that when in confinement she had broken through all the rules of prison discipline.
The Rev. William KNOX Rector, sworn – Knows what prisoner told him of the charter school to be false; he committed her as having escaped from the charter school and also as a vagabond.
Cross-examined by Mr. MAJOR – He committed prisoner on a Sunday; went to her that day on a visit of charity; believes she will not go home, nor would she be received there; saw her in the church.
The prisoner’s counsel having intimated that she would, if liberated, return to Cork, the jury asked him if she was provided with the means of doing so; on which a very liberal sum was collected for her among the gentlemen of the bar. The jury found for the traverse and in a moment, the prisoner, with the agility of the antelope, bounded out of the court-room; but was soon brought back, fluttering with alarm like the same graceful animal when caught in the snares of the hunter. The purpose of bringing her back was to hand over to her the money collected on her behalf.
1) ‘A Sermon Preached at Christ-Church Dublin on the 25 Mar. 1750’ Vol. 12 http://goo.gl/bdGJSF
2) “An Inquiry Into the Abuses of the Chartered Schools in Ireland’ published 1818 http://goo.gl/KCR1gB
3) Commissioners of Irish Education Inquiry 1825 http://goo.gl/XFJ3dk
4) Report, 1809-1912 By Great Britain. Commissioners of the Board of Education in Ireland http://goo.gl/ut3oH5
5) Rules for the Government of the Protestant Charter Schools of Ireland http://goo.gl/HTysj7
6) Two centuries of life in Down, 1600-1800 by John Stevenson 1920