Thursday 13 December 2012

Dublin Road School, Lisburn


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 Edited by JAMES CARSON. 
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By Joseph Allen.

Towards the close of the 18th and early in the 19th century a wave of philanthropy spread over England, and we find Robert Raikes in 1781 founding the first Sunday School, where the children of the poor were instructed in religious and secular subjects. In 1802 a great step forward was made by Joseph Lancaster, a Quaker, and Dr. Andrew Bell, a member of the Church of England, who were really the pioneers of the schools for the proper instruction of the children of the poor. We owe to them a debt which should never be forgotten, and their names will always be enshrined as the real founders of the schools for the poor. It is impossible or us at present time to imagine even faintly the state and and condition of the then poor in matters of education, and it is pleasant to think that we had in our midst in the early part of the nineteenth century a young man in the person of Mr. John Crossley, jun., of Lisburn, who determined to give the benefits of a sound religious and secular education to the poor children in our midst. He it was who in the year 1805 (his epitaph states 1810) commenced the first school in Lisburn under the system of Bell and Lancaster, doubtless on the site of the present Dublin Road School or near thereto. John Crossley passed to his rest at the early age of 31 years, but his good work cannot be measured by his length of years. His remains were buried in the Cathedral Churchyard beside those of his father, John Crossley, sen. A pilgrimage to the south-east corner will find the gravestone, whereon is inscribed the following:
To the memory of John Crossley, jun., of Lisburn, who, in the year 1810, established the first free school on the system of Bell and Lancaster in this province, and although struggling with a feeble constitution continued until his last illness to exhert himself with great zeal and judgment in communicating the blessings of religious and moral knowledge to many poor children.
A pious and practical Christian, humble in himself, charitable to others, affectionate to his friends and devout towards his God.
He did much good with limited means, and was called to his everlasting reward on the 10th March, 1816, aged 31 years.
Here also are interred the remains of his excellent father, John Crossley, sen., who departed this life on the 11th March, 1830, aged 84 years.

Lisburn people were and ever are mindful of generous hearts and loving dispositions, and as a memorial to his memory they erected the present building in the year 1821, and a tablet placed above the entrance door reads thus:--
This Free School commenced A.D. MDCCCV. under the direction of the late Mr. John Crossley, junior. The inhabitants of Lisburn to perpetuate its benefits have erected this Schoolhouse A.D. MDCCCXXI. on a site allowed for it by the Most Honourable the Marquis of Hertford.

Since the erection of the school till the present year, 1918, the principles of his teaching have been faithfully carried out, and doubtless hundreds of children enjoyed the blessings of a generous education, which fitted them for the duties of citizenship and for the work of active life. It is evident that a committee was appointed to carry on the roll was 190 and the entire expenditure was a sum of only £55 16s 11d.

In a poem of six cantos on Lisburn written by Mr. Henry Bayly (the historian of Lisburn), published in the year 1834 and printed by Mr. Thomas Mairs, of Joy's Entry, Belfast, the following verses written on this School and its founder, Mr. John Crossley, junior, appear:--
Lisburn's Free School! thy seeds of virtuous love,
Have shed their influence on a foreign shore;
As long as virtue is on earth endeared,
Thy founder's memory shall be revered.
Their patriotic acts shall win renown,
Long as philanthropy shall rule the town.
Crossley, thy worth is yet remembered well.
And coming ages more thy praise shall tell;
In many a heart thy memory is enshrined.
Few like thyself on earth thou'st left behind.
When here below 'twas thine to wipe the tear
Of sorrow's cheek -- the poor man's home to cheer --
Where lank-fac'd poverty took her abode
To raise despair and point to Zion's God
Peace to thy shade -- the children then hast nurst
In Learning's lap, ere thy bright spirit burst
Its bonds of clay. bless'd Crossley's honor'd name,
And live the trophies of thy glorious fame!

In Mr. Bayly's history of Lisburn it is stated that the Schoolhouse yard front gates of wrought-iron and other appendages cost the sum of £387 7s 7d. and that the Master's house adjoining cost the sum of £95.

The name of Rowly F. Hall must be associated with the founder of this school. He was an attorney by profession, and was the legal agent of the Marquis of Hertford. Like Crossley he was much esteemed by the people of Lisburn. Mr. Hall presented in 1822 a bell for cupola of the school which weighed 43 pounds. Alas, the bell and its cupola are no longer existent.

A fine monument to the memory of Rowly F. Hall adorns the north side of the gallery of the Cathedral. It represents at top the Good Samaritan, and the wording thereunder is as follows:-- "Go Thou and Do Likewise."

Erected to the memory of Rowley F. Hall, Esquire, Attorney-at-Law, by personal friends in Lisburn, in testimony of their affection and of his worth in the discharge of the laborious duties of his profession. He was more studious to prevent litigation than to desire emolument.

He exemplified the conduct of the Good Samaritan in visiting and relieving the sick and afflicted in seasons of epidemic and infectious diseases. He was indefatigable in promoting the education of the poor and the charitable institutions of this parish.

Of the practice of religion and virtue the uniform tenor of his life afforded a bright example.

Died September 22nd, 1826, in the 39th year of his age.

According to the printed report of 1866, the then committee consisted of the following:--

The Dean of Ross, Rev. Robert Lindsay, Mr. Redmond Jefferson, Dr. Campbell, Rev. W. D. Pounden, treasurer; David Beatty, secretary.

It will thus be seen two members were of the Cathedral Parish and four of Christ Church. Moreover, the School Building since the year 1863, is in Christ Church Parish, and it is said (but it is difficult after such a lapse of time to confirm it) that prior to the building of the church the members of the congregation were wont to worship there. Some Lisburn gentlemen, namely, Mr. Hall, Mr. J. Coulson, and Mr. G. Whitla, mindful either of the founder or of the good work done, bequeathed certain moneys towards the School, the interest of which has been regularly paid.

The first schoolmaster was Mr. Wm. M'Cann -- well known to the older inhabitants as an excellent teacher. He held the position for the long space of 57 years. The school was familiarly known as "M'Cann's School. He retired in 1873. His successor was Mr. G. Ruddock. Other teachers were Mr. Dalton and Mr. M'Donagh, the latter holding the position for a number of years. The present teachers are Mr. Mulligan and Miss Gowan.

By deed, dated 16th February, 1901, Sir John Murray Scott vested the School Building in the Diocesan Board of Education in fee-simple, and the teachers' residence is held by trustees in fee-simple.

Sir John Murray Scott also transferred to the Diocesan Board a sum of £117 6s towards the endowment of this School.

Canon Pounden during his incumbency of Christ Church (1863-1884), and subsequently as Rector of Lisburn, until his death, superintended the School and carried on faithfully the work there, and it was felt that Christ Church should continue same; and the Diocesan Board of Education, at their meeting held on the 5th day of June, 1918, passed the following resolution:--
That the Dublin Road School, Lisburn, be affiliated with Christ Church, Lisburn, and so much of the endowments as are appropriated to the Dublin Road School, Lisburn, by the grant of the 16th February, 1901, from Sir John Murray Scott and others to the Down and Connor and Dromore Diocesan Board of Education, be paid to the Rector of Christ Church, Lisburn, for the benefit of the said School.
That this meeting desires to place on record their thanks to the Rector and Select Vestry of Christ Church, Lisburn for taking over this School, which they have so kindly volunteered to do, and to continue the good work so long carried on by the late Canon Pounden.

At a recent meeting of the Select Vestry that body accepted the terms of the resolution, and appointed a small committee consisting of Rev. R. H. S. Cooper, M.A., Miss Pounden, Mr. G. H. Clarke, Mr. F. W. Ewart, and Mr. Joseph Allen to take charge of the School.


(from the "Northern Whig.")

There seldom happens a more curious juxtaposition of names than occurs on one of the pages of a book just published by Mr. John Murray. "Guildhall Memories," by Mr. A. E. Temple. Mr. Temple for many years has been director of the London Guildhall Art Gallery, and the organiser of the annual exhibitions. At the exhibition of the work of French artists one of the pictures on loan was Meissonier's "Friedland." "The late Sir John Murray Scott," writes Mr. Temple, "to whom the British nation owes the possession of the Wallace collection at Hertford House, and who came frequently to the exhibition, was a great lover of French art in any form and when standing before this picture with me one day he told me that Meissonier once asked Sir Richard Wallace to commission him to paint a large picture in oil, as he wanted to provide a dowry for his daughter. The commission was at once given. The subject was to be '1807, Napoleon at Friedland,' and the price &8,000. Of this sum £4,000 was at once paid on account by Sir Richard.

Meissonier's progress with the work (which was 52 by 95 inches) was so slow that at last, after many letters of a docile character irate ones began to pass from one to the other, and eventually it came about that Meissonier returned the £4,000 to Sir Richard, and placed himself in the position to finish the painting how and when he liked. He finished it in 1875, and disposed of it to Mr. A. T. Stewart, of New York, for £16,000. This same Mr. Stewart early in life was a journeyman dealer in Ireland at wages of 16s a week, but rose by industry and good fortune to the possession of great wealth. At his death in 1887 the picture was sold by auction in New York, with his other possessions, and purchased by Judge Henry Hilton for £13,200, and presented by him to the American nation. It is now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York."

All three men -- Sir John Murray Scott, Sir Richard Wallace, and Mr. A .T. Stewart -- as everybody locally knows -- were intimately associated with Lisburn, and it would be difficult to imagine two more romantic, yet utterly dissimilar, careers than those of Wallace and Stewart. The mystery of Sir Richard's birth began the generation before. According to some authorities he was the natural son of Maria Fagniani, the wife of the third Marquis of Hertford (Thackeray's Lord Steyne of "Vanity Fair"), and she again was the daughter of either George Selwyn, the famous eighteenth century dilettante and wit, or of the Marquis of Queensbury -- the "Old Q." who as the Earl of March enters into "The Virginians." Both claimed to be her father, both adored her, and both at their death left her an enormous amount of money. It is also said that Wallace was a son of the Fourth Marquis of Hertford, and therefore a grandson of Maria Fagniana. MOst of his life Wallace spent in Paris, and in 1870 the fourth Marquis died, leaving to him all his property, including Hertford House and his estate around Lisburn. The Seymour family contested the will, but one of them, it is said, meeting the judge, asked him what were his prospects, and got for answer, and got for answer, "Agree with thine adversary quickly whiles thou art in the way with him," etc., and abandoned the case.

From 1873 till 1885 Wallace sat in Parliament as member for Lisburn, but lived mostly in Paris, where his bounty during the siege had made him a much-loved personality. He died in Paris in 1890, his widow in 1897, and most of his art treasures in Hertford House are now the property of the nation.

To-day, curiously enough, is the anniversary of the birth in Lisburn of Alexander Turney Stewart in 1803. He cannot have been so poor as Temple makes out, for he spent a couple of years at Trinity. About 1823 he emigrated to the States, and two years later, opened a small dry goods store, whose business grew to mammoth proportions with branches in Belfast, Manchester, Glasgow, Paris, and Lyons. During the famine of 1856 he sent a shipload of provisions to Ireland, a similar gift to the French sufferers in the Franco-Prussian war, and 50,000 dollars to the victims of the great fire of Chicago. During the American Civil War he set an example both to his own generation and the modern profiteers, for he manufactured and sold to the Government at less than cost price great quantities of cotton cloth, for the use of the army. He also bought some 7,000 acres in Long Island and established a garden city for working men, and his widow here erected the Cathedral of the Incarnation in his memory. Like Wallace he was much beloved, and yet this did not prevent a band of infernal ghouls from stealing his body and holding it to ransom.

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Sir John Murray Scott was secretary to Sir Richard Wallace, and inherited his wealth and estate on the decease of Lady Wallace.

It was largely due to his influence that Lady Wallace bequeathed the Hertford collection to the nation.

Sir Richard Wallace, according to the best authority, was the natural son of Richard, fourth Marquis of Hertford. The Seymour-Wallace will case after three trials was finally appealed to the House of Lords. An arrangement, however, was arrived at between the parties whereby Sir Richard Wallace paid the Seymour's £400,000, and entered into possession of the Irish Hertford Estate.

A. T. Stewart was born at Lissue, near Lisburn, and originally intended for the church. He came of a good old farming stock, and was possessed of some small means when he went to America.

Next week -- "The making of the Ulsterman."

(This article was originally published in the Lisburn Standard on 13 December 1918 as part of a series which ran in that paper each week for several years. The text along with other extracts can be found on my website Eddies Extracts.)

1 comment:

  1. I took a photo of an old corrugated shed earlier this evening just up the road from where i live ... it intrigued me a bit 'errected by R Jefferson Ltd Lisburn' it read so ive googled the name and it threw up this article .... perhaps you would like the image to investigate further .... it is an oldish plaque attached to the end of the same shed.