Fàilte! (Welcome!)

Fàilte! (Welcome!)
This blog is the result of my ongoing research into the people, places and events that have shaped the Western Isles of Scotland and, in particular, the 'Siamese-twins' of Harris and Lewis.
My interest stems from the fact that my Grandfather was a Stornowegian and, until about four years ago, that was the sum total of my knowledge, both of him and of the land of his birth.
I cannot guarantee the accuracy of everything that I have written (not least because parts are, perhaps, pioneering) but I have done my best to check for any errors.
My family mainly lived along the shore of the Sound of Harris, from An-t-Ob and Srannda to Roghadal, but one family 'moved' to Direcleit in the Baighs...

©Copyright 2011 Peter Kerr All rights reserved

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Harris Parochial School 1836/7

I have happened upon a source relating to the school at Rodel:

'The Sessional Papers printed by Order of the House of Lords or presented by Royal Command in the Session 4 and 5 Victoriae, Volume III – Education Returns, Scotland Part II, page 173' pub 1841

These were answers given by Schoolmasters to a list of questions that had been submitted to them in 1836. The report even 'names & shames' those Schoolmasters who had failed to make a return!

From it we may glean that the school had been established at an uncertain date and was benefiting from no private endowment, which may go some way to explaining why there was no regular school-house for the teacher.

There were 25 boys and 5 girls attending the school in 1836 and 1837 and they started when aged between 4 and 8 and only finished school when they were 15.

The schoolmaster, A. Macdougall, who took-up the post in 1829, appears to have been educated in Perth and to have received a salary of £22. A price list of 1s 6d, 2s, 2s 6d & 3s for scholars is given but which additional subjects were attracting the higher three rates is not specified.

There was an annual report made to the Presbytery and a list of the texts used is provided:

English – Dr Thomson's books
Greek – Collectanea Minora and Xenophon, etc
Latin – Caesar, Sallust, Virgil, etc
Mathematics – Euclid
Arithmetic – Gray's and Morrison's
Geography – Stewart's
History – Simpson's Histories
Religious – Scriptures
Catechism – Assembly's Shorter Catechism, and Williason's

The school hours were from 9 to 12 and then from 2 to 6 with an annual break of generally about 4 weeks, presumably to allow the children to assist with harvest.

Note: Unfortunately I have not been able to discover the original questions and hence have restricted this account to those where a description is given in the answer.
(The only exception is where it is clear that the question asked if there was a private endowment)
The nature of the questions where no expansion is provided from Harris might be guessed-at from answers given elsewhere but I have elected to wait until the original questions are found.

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