MAYNOOTH CHARTER SCHOOL

by ehistoryadmin on August 7, 2020

MAYNOOTH CHARTER SCHOOL

Rita Edwards

The Incorporated Society for Promoting English Protestant Schools in Ireland was set up with State funding in 1733. While no doubt its establishment was partly motivated by a genuine desire to help poor children in   Charter Schools, its primary purpose was to educate them in the Protestant faith and to prepare them for work in apprenticeships, farming, and domestic service. Pupils, as young as six years of age, were foundlings or orphans, but most were from destitute Catholic families who were unable to feed or clothe their children. Initially, the schools were co-educational, but later they became single-sex schools, designed to take up to approximately forty children.

Maynooth Charter School was founded in 1749 with a legacy from the nineteenth Earl of Kildare and a contribution from the twentieth Earl. The following is an abstract from Appendix 7 to the 3rd Report from the Commissioners of the Board of Education in Ireland in the Autumn of 1808 – Maynooth School for Girls. Archaic language used in the original report has been changed by the author to make it more accessible to today’s readers. The following chapters are from Reverend Dr Beaufort’s report:

The school is situated near to the town of Maynooth on the road to Dunboyne, adjoining the Duke of Leinster’s Demesne. The house is well built and in general good repair. It contains a dining-hall, which is also the entrance hall. There is no fireplace. It has a school room, a committee room, a kitchen, apartments for the family, and two well ventilated dormitories in which there are twenty-eight beds, all remarkably clean and neat. Regarding furniture, there are only two tables in the hall, and tablecloths are allowed on meat days. There is one table in the school room. In the sleeping area, some of the bedding appears to be old.

The outhouses are in bad repair. They consist of a barn, a potato house, a stable and a cow house over which is the infirmary. The cow house is propped up. Access to the infirmary is by stone steps on the outside. There is a large court in front of the house, a yard, and a spacious garden, all surrounded by a high wall. The garden is in particularly good order with an abundance of vegetables.

There are at present fifty-seven girls in this school, although the maximum capacity is fifty. They appeared perfectly clean, and all seemed to be in good health, except for one child who has been ill for a long time. She sleeps in the miserable infirmary. Two others who had been infected with scald heads are nearly recovered. (An infection in the roots of the hair causing ulcers that form a hard crust which left untreated gradually spreads over the whole scalp.) There are no symptoms of any cutaneous eruption (skin disease in the form of a rash) among them. Four children were vaccinated last year. Mr Ferguson of Leixlip is the Apothecary to the school, at a salary, as I was told, of 20 guineas a year.

The girls’ instruction appears to have been carefully attended to, for the first class the standard of reading is high. Forty-five are learning how to write and thirty-three to count, and they seem to have made a reasonable progress in both. They all answered extremely well in the Catechism and the older girls understood the content. They take it in turns to say grace before meals and they all join in a hymn before breakfast and dinner.

They are taught to make and mend their own clothes and considering that they have worn the same clothes for almost a year, their dress is neat and in good order. They have no other employment as there is no demand in the neighbourhood for this type of needle work. They also knit their own stockings and occasionally some are for sale, but sales are slow. Because of the unpredictability of the work the Mistress has applied for and expects to soon receive six wheels for spinning wool.

The girls’ diet conforms to the Diet Plan, except that they are sometimes given potatoes a month or six weeks before the appointed period of Michaelmas. (Michaelmas – the Christian Feast of Michael and All Angels occurs annually on 29 September. It is associated with the completion of the harvest and the beginning of Autumn.) The stirabout and buttermilk which they had at breakfast, when I visited the house, were of the best quality and the bread was equally good. The farm supplies the house with milk and other commodities, but the Master buys the greater part of the provisions for ready money at the market in Kilcock. The annual allowance for the maintenance of the children in this school is 4d. (four pennies) a day for each, but on account of the high price of provisions, an additional one half-penny has been added since last Christmas.

The whole extent of the land annexed to the school is fourteen acres at the annual rent of £11 (eleven pounds), four of these, two of which are occupied by the house, garden, and outhouses, are walled in. The other ten acres are fenced off and divided into two fields, one under tillage and the other in pasture, on which there are five cows in winter, and six in summer, along with two horses. The Society allows £30 (thirty pounds) a year to this house for fuel, which consists mostly of coal, but some turf is also used.

Mrs Jones and her husband have overseen this school for about twelve months. They both appear to be diligent. The great cleanliness of the house and children, the neatness of her own person, and her attendance in the school-room, at a very early hour when I visited it, as well as the progress of the children are very much to her credit. The Usher (Assistant) is Anne Clancy, a young woman of nineteen, who was educated in the school in Santry. She also, appears to be both diligent and capable in the discharge of her duties. The Reverend Mr Crane, Curate of Leixlip, is the Catechist (person in charge of religious education and formation), and regularly attends every week. The members of the Local Committee, who pay the most attention to the school are the Reverend Mr Ashe, Mr Coyne, Mr C Hamilton, and Mr Ferguson.

Dr Beaufort ended his report by making the following recommendations: The principal improvements that appear necessary are a new and well-constructed infirmary, a new working room, and the instillation of a fireplace in the dining hall. The outhouses require immediate repair and some work also needs to be done on the staircase. An additional number of tables in the dining hall and in the school room would be an improvement. Finally, the tablecloths and some of the bedding need to be replaced.

It should be noted that not all charter schools were as well-run as Maynooth School for Girls appeared to be in 1808. As early as the mid to late 1700s disturbing reports emerged as to the treatment of pupils in several schools, and at one point, questions were raised in the Irish House of Commons, but no action was taken. As the nineteenth century progressed opposition to charter schools became more organised. In 1825, with Daniel O’Connell’s help a committee of inquiry into education in Ireland, which included charter schools was commissioned. School Inspector Reverend William Lee noted that while physical conditions had improved, he wrote: ‘In the charter school all social and family affection are dried up, children once received into them are as it were the brothers, the sisters, the relations of nobody! They have no vacation, they know not the feeling of home; and hence it is primarily, whatever the concomitant causes there may be, that they are so frequently stunted in body, mind and heart.’ By comparison, he declared, that even the poorest day school children were ‘vastly superior in health, appearance and intelligence’. (www.historyireland.com18th-19th-century-history/).

As a result, the Committee of the Incorporated Society was censured for lack of appropriate oversight and State funding was withdrawn. The result was that the 2,000 children remaining in charter schools were sent home or to other institutions. Maynooth Charter School had already closed in 1819 and the house and lands handed back to the then Duke of Leinster.

Four years later in 1823, at the request of Dr Francis Anglade professor of Moral Theology and a refugee from the French Revolution at Maynooth College, four Presentation sisters came to Maynooth from their convent in Dublin. They lived for a year in a small hut on the Dublin Road and in December 1824 they moved into the old charter school. Two years later in 1826 the foundation stone of the new convent school was laid by the Marquis of Kildare.

 

Rita Edwards

Maynooth Local History Group

Heritage Week 2020

 

TANS AND AUXIES, A SUMMER OF MAYHEM 1920

by ehistoryadmin on July 30, 2020

Tans and Auxies, a summer of mayhem 1920

James Durney

On 27 July 1920 the first British recruits arrived in Ireland to join the Royal Irish Constabulary’s newly formed Auxiliary Division. Their role, along with the Black and Tans, was to help the RIC maintain control of the countryside and conduct counter-insurgency operations against the Irish Republican Army. The two paramilitary groups are often confused with each other, as both the Black and Tans and the Auxiliaries shared similar types of uniforms, a mix of RIC dark bottle green and British Army khaki. However, the Auxiliaries were distinguished by their distinctive tam-o’-shanter caps.

At a pay rate of £1 a day (twice what a constable received), plus cost-of-living expenses, the Auxiliary Cadets were the highest paid policemen in the world. (Black and Tans were paid £3 10 shillings a week, with allowances.) About 2,100 were recruited, all of them ex-officers with war experience. At least 182 Auxiliary Cadets were Irishmen with the majority coming from Ulster, 73, and Leinster, 71. They were barracked first at the Curragh Camp – where they received a six-week training course – and later at Beggars Bush Barracks, Dublin. In military terms they were regarded as an elite force and were much more feared than the Black and Tans. The Auxies, as they became known, were divided into Companies stationed in Dublin and mainly in southern Ireland where the IRA was most active.

The arrival of the Black and Tans and Auxiliaries escalated the violence and the year 1920 was marked by further repressive measures and by killings and atrocities which caused widespread public outrage and revulsion against the British government. On 11 July 1920 the first ‘Black and Tan’ to be killed in the War of Independence, Alexander Will, from Forfar, Scotland, died from wounds inflicted from a grenade blast during an IRA attack on Rathmore Barracks in Kerry. Earlier on 19 June Lieutenant-Colonel Gerard Bryce Ferguson Smyth, Divisional Commander for Munster, a one-armed veteran of the Great War, had delivered a controversial speech to fourteen constables who lined up in front of him in the day-room of Listowel police barracks:

Sinn Féin has had all the sport up to the present and we are going to have the sport now … I am promised as many troops from England as I require, thousands are coming daily. I am getting 7,000 police from England … Police and military will patrol the country at least five nights a week. They are not to confine themselves to the main roads but take across the country, lie in ambush, and when civilians are seen approaching shout ‘Hands up.’ Should the order not be immediately obeyed, shoot, and shoot with effect. If persons approaching carry their hands in their pockets and are in any way suspicious looking, shoot them down … We want your assistance in carrying out this scheme and wiping out Sinn Féin.

Constable Jeremiah Mee spoke for the men and replied: ‘By your accent, I take it you are an Englishman and in your ignorance you forget you are addressing Irishman.’ In a gesture of contempt, Mee took off his cap, belt and sidearm, and laying them on a table said: ‘These too, are English. Take them!’ The men stormed out and Smyth and his entourage left. One of the Listowel ‘mutineers’ was a Kildare native, Constable Joseph Downey. A little later, there was a similar scene in Killarney RIC barracks. Commissioner Smyth informed the constables there of a new freedom. Hitherto, facilities had been given for an inquiry when the RIC killed a man, he said.

Henceforward no such facilities would be provided and no such policemen would be held up to public odium by being pilloried before a Coroner’s jury. Further, when a police patrol saw coming along a road a Sinn Féiner whom they suspected of intent to attack them they were to get in the first shot and there would be no further questions asked.

Smyth’s words caused great controversy and there were awkward questions for the Chief Secretary, Sir Hamar Greenwood, in the House of Commons. Greenwood denied that Commissioner Smyth had ever used such words. What he had said had been twisted entirely out of its true meaning. The Munster IRA were sure of what Smyth had said and made plans to assassinate him.

On the night of Saturday, 17 July 1920, at least six IRA volunteers entered Cork city’s exclusive County Club, where on the first-floor smoke room Commissioner Smyth was drinking with County Inspector George Craig, a Naas man. Three volunteers guarded the entrance, while three others went upstairs. The volunteers were not masked and one walking over to Smyth, asked: ‘Were not your orders to shoot at sight? Well, you are in sight now, so prepare.’ As Smyth jumped up and reached for his gun two bullets struck him in the head killing him instantly. He was also hit in the body. Several more bullets missed, one hitting Inspector Craig in the leg, though not seriously. The police and military were quickly on the scene, but the volunteers had escaped. George Craig survived, was pensioned off in 1922 and died in 1956.

Later that night soldiers and Black and Tans raced through the streets of Cork, firing in all directions as they went. An IRA volunteer, James Bourke, who was an ex-British soldier, was shot dead, and over twenty other local citizens were injured. Eighteen jurors were called to Smyth’s inquest the next day, but only nine appeared. After several hours delay and unable to swear in a jury the inquest was abandoned by the Coroner.

Smyth’s remains were brought by train to Dublin and then on to Belfast and conveyed to the residence of a relative at Banbridge, Co. Down. His funeral on 21 July 1920 was of a most impressive character, with the Union Jack draped coffin conveyed on a gun carriage, preceded by a military firing party. A detachment of 100 men of the Norfolk Regiment, with their band, and over 100 police, with their band, took part. Later that evening loyalists attacked a nationalist owned premise and proceeded to the local linen factories where they demanded the expulsion of Catholic workers, stating that they would not work with them. Rioting also erupted in Belfast which resulted in the deaths of seven civilians with nearly 100 wounded. In retaliation the Dáil introduced a boycott on Belfast businesses and manufacturers. A subsequent meeting of Naas traders called for in connection with the Belfast Boycott fell through because only two traders attended.

KILDARE DECADE OF CENTENARIES PLAN 2020

July 30, 2020

KILDARE DECADE OF CENTENARIES PLAN 2020

KILDARE DECADE OF CENTENARIES PLAN 2020 (as of 30th July 2020) The County Kildare Decade of Commemorations Committee plan for 2020 is available to view online here: Kildare County Council Decade of Centenaries Plan July 2020 This is the re-designed plan for the 2020 Programme of activities. Other events planned including the weekend programme of talks for the 4th Irish Military Seminar, an event to mark the contribution of nurses over the past 100 years and other public gatherings have […]
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RATHANGAN : ITS CHURCHES AND SCHOOLS [Pamphlet]

July 28, 2020

RATHANGAN : ITS CHURCHES AND SCHOOLS [Pamphlet]

RATHANGAN : Its Churches and Schools [Pamphlet] In 1955, a new girls primary national school was constructed in New Street, Rathangan. This is Bun Scoil Bhríde today. Buchan, Kane and Foley were the Architects with Moran Brothers of Tallaght, Dublin the building contractors. Under the guidance of An t-Athair P. MacSuibhne P.P. (well known historian also), the new build replaced previous schools in the Rathangan area. A pamphlet was published to mark the occasion which is digitised here: RATHANGAN Its […]
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MR. ALBERT COX, DROICHEAD NUA

July 24, 2020

MR. ALBERT COX, DROICHEAD NUA

Leinster Leader 30 April 1960 Mr. Albert Cox, Droichead Nua Mr. Albert Cox, Droichead Nua, whose unexpected death occurred on Good Friday, was native of Leicester, but had resided in Droichead Nua for most of his life. An exceedingly popular figure, he was in his late sixties and had been chief officer of Droichead Nua fire brigade since its foundation some years ago. He is survived by his wife, Mrs. E. Cox, sons Albert and Andrew Cox, daughters-in-law, Mrs. A. […]
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‘A DEPLORABLE STATE’ – KILDARE JULY 1920

July 15, 2020

‘A DEPLORABLE STATE’ – KILDARE JULY 1920

‘A deplorable state’ – Kildare July 1920 James Durney By the early summer of 1920 the IRA had achieved a measure of success in clearing the RIC from smaller Irish villages and towns. As soon as a barracks was abandoned the local IRA burned it or rendered it uninhabitable, so that by the beginning of July 1920, 351 evacuated barracks had been destroyed, with a further 105 damaged. From the twenty-four RIC barracks in Co. Kildare at the beginning of […]
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A GUIDE TO ST JAMES’ CHURCH & SURROUNDING CHURCHYARD CASTLEDERMOT (1968)

July 14, 2020

A GUIDE TO ST JAMES’ CHURCH & SURROUNDING CHURCHYARD CASTLEDERMOT (1968)

A GUIDE TO ST JAMES’ CHURCH & SURROUNDING CHURCHYARD CASTLEDERMOT (1968 Booklet) In 1968, Rector Rev. W. H. H. Warburton, published a small booklet A Guide to St James’ Church and Surrounding Churchyard Castledermot. This interesting publication by the Rector includes detailed descriptions of the various items of ecclesiastical and historic interest in St James’ Church and the surrounding grounds including the South Cross, the North Cross, the Swearing Stone and the then newly discovered hogstone. It is now available […]
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ALLENWOOD GENERATING STATION (1966 Booklet)

July 9, 2020

ALLENWOOD GENERATING STATION (1966 Booklet)

ALLENWOOD GENERATING STATION (1966 Booklet & Demolition In 1997) Construction began on Allenwood power station in 1949, with the first power set becoming operational in 1952. It was designed to use peat fuel produced on the adjoining bogs at Timahoe. This booklet produced by the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) and reprinted in 1966; includes designs, photographs and technical information on the station. An original copy is part of the Local Studies Collections of Kildare Library Service in Newbridge. Allenwood Generating […]
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TRIBUTES PAID ON DEPARTURE OF FREDERICK DEVERE (DEVERS), EDITOR OF KILDARE OBSERVER

July 6, 2020

TRIBUTES PAID ON DEPARTURE OF FREDERICK DEVERE (DEVERS), EDITOR OF KILDARE OBSERVER

In November 1923, the long-serving editor of The Kildare Observer and Secretary of the Kildare Farmers’ Union Frederick Devere (sometimes Devers) announced his departure from County Kildare to take up the role of editor of The Western People newspaper in his native Mayo. His departure from Kildare saw many tributes paid by local organisations across the county. Frederick Devere started out his career as a journalist as a junior reporter in The Western People at the age of sixteen, before subsequently working […]
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NAAS WORKHOUSE. DEPORTATION OF ‘PAUPERS’

June 26, 2020

NAAS WORKHOUSE. DEPORTATION OF ‘PAUPERS’

Naas Workhouse. Deportation of ‘Paupers’ James Durney In a recent search of the Naas Workhouse Minute Books I came across a letter from an untitled newspaper. The letter was inserted into the Minute Book for Saturday 6 February 1869 on a day in which there were 334 inmates in Naas Workhouse. (The number of inmates at the corresponding period a year previous was 388.) Forty-two inmates had been discharged or died during the previous week but another forty-seven, of which […]
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