Thursday, 21 September 2017

The Fitzhenry Schoolmasters of Coolroe, Co. Wicklow: Part 2

The first post in this series featured Thomas Fitzhenry and his son Enoch, both teachers at the Coolroe, Tinahely school in Co. Wicklow.

I found an earlier version of the reference book which I had used for this previous post 

Report of the Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor of Ireland Reports 8-11 
[1820 - 1823]

and this had the same Thomas Fitzhenry at Coolroe school, along with his son Edward.

Eighth report 1820
No Fitzhenrys are mentioned in the report.
In the list of teachers awarded gratuities, a Thomas Paslow is named at the teacher for the "Tinnahely" school, and the school patron was the Rev. R. Symes. 

Ninth report 1821
Edward Fitzhenry was admitted for training at the Seminary of the Society in Dublin between 7th November and 30th December 1820. He had been recommended for training by the patron of the Tinahely school, Rev. R. H. Symes (the same patron who would recommend his younger brother Enoch for training in 1827. Edward was 18 years old, a Protestant, and had started teaching in 1820. There were 40 boys and 23 girls at the school.

His father Thomas was not listed amongst those teachers given gratuities during the year to reward their good work.

Tenth Report 1822
This report described the expansion of the training of school-teachers, including the setting up of model schools and the training of female teachers.

One Moses Walsh was recommended by a Mr W. E. Fitzhenry [pages 42 and 43] from the school at Newtown in Co. Carlow. He attended the training school from 13th November 1821 to 12th January 1822. Moses was 34 years old at the time (born c. 1788) and he had started teaching in 1804 when he was 16. He was a Catholic.
This W. E. Fitzhenry was William Evanswho had married Mary Fitzhenry the daughter of William Fitzhenry of Ballymackessy, Co Wexford. He had taken the Fitzhenry name at the behest of her father. This made William Evans Fitzhenry the brother in law of Jeremiah Fitzhenry, one of the leaders of the 1798 uprising.

Elizabeth Fitzhenry was awarded a gratuity at theTanderagee Female school, Armagh, where she was in charge of 100 pupils (as was her colleague John Cuthbert at the male school) 
Thomas Fitzhenry (141 pupils) was awarded a gratuity for his work at Coolroe, which was a separate school from that at Tinahely where Thomas Paslow (169 pupils) was still the master.

Eleventh Report 1823
Gratuities were awarded to:
Elizabeth Fitzhenry (110 pupils) and John Cuthbert (124 pupils) at the Tanderagee schools
Thomas Fitzhenry (Coolroe, 140 pupils) and Thomas Paslow (Tinahely, 147 pupils)

I also found the Coolroe Fitzhenrys in this most excellent book by Michael Seery, which online in Google books:
Education in Wicklow: From Parish Schools to National Schools

Seery gives a very thorough background to the history of education in Ireland, and it's a very good read. He explains that the Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in Ireland was also known as the Kildare Place Society, and that the more local Wicklow Education Society was set up with the aim of building the actual schools. The schools that are of interest to us were the new schools built at Tinahely, Coolroe and Kilpipe by Earl Fitzwilliam, the largest landowner in Co. Wicklow.

"There was a second school in [the Parish of] Cross Patrick, in Coolroe. This was built by the Earl Fitzwilliam as the parish school. According to the Wicklow Education Society, the school..."is conducted on the improved system of education, by Mr Fitzhenry and his son; it has been well attended this season , and is likely to be of great benefit to the neighbourhoodBefore this building was opened, an old one was taken down, and in the interim, the school was held in Mr Fitzhenry's cow shed. Fitzhenry's son Edward attended the Kildare Place Society training school in 1820...By the time of the 1825 report, Mr Thomas Fitzhenry was still master at Coolroe... Edward had a this stage moved onto another Fitzwilliam School in the parish of Kilpipe"[extract from the book, page 60]
Page 62 shows a plan for the Kilpipe school.

The next post will look at what happened to Enoch and Edward


Report of the Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor of Ireland

Report 8 - 1820

Report 9 - 1821

Report 10 - 1822

Report 11 - 1823

Education in Wicklow: From Parish Schools to National Schools
Michael Seery
Creathach Press, 2014

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