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Schools in Donagheady Parish, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland 1835

With Special Reference to Old Kildorragh School, Gortmellan
Enhanced British Parliamentary Papers on Ireland
Transcribed and Submitted by
Rene Donaghy, Donagheady Parish, Co. Tyrone


The State of religious and other instruction now existing in Ireland: second report 1835 shows the Sunday Schools in Donagheady with average daily attendance as:

12. Tyboe - 70
13. Castlewarren - 80
14. Upper Castlemellan - 60
15. Lower Castlemellan - 40
16. Bready - 99
17. Sandville - 100
18. Kildorragh - 54 [see below]
19. Donemana - 68
20. Killyclooney( ?) - 80
21. Grange - 80
22. Magheramason - 80
23. Gortileck - 40

All these children were given free religious education with basic reading.

The Masters of these schools are shown as: George Bond, William Taylor, Joseph Hamilton, John Kavenagh, John Young, Samuel Young, James Murray, Mr. Lynch.

The Sources of Support are shown as: Marquis of Abercorn, London Hibernian School Society, Captain Kennedy, Leslie Ogilby.

The Report of the Hibernian Sunday School Society for 1810 ( - 1837) published as a Google Book shows a slightly different list of Sunday Schools in Donagheady, 19th report, to whom 'gratuitas grants of money and books have been made from November 1809 to 1st January 1829.' These included Bibles, Testaments, spelling books and alphabets.

  1. Ballyheather
  2. Castlemellan
  3. Coolmaghery
  4. Gortmessan, No1
  5. Gortileck
  6. Glencush
  7. Killany
  8. Kildorough [Kildorragh]
  9. Loughasche, No2
  10. Moneykennon
  11. Sandville
  12. Tyboe

Further on in the Report, among the lists of donations is one from Kildorough [Kildorragh] Sunday School of 10 shillings by Mr D Bates who may have been one of the Bates family who farmed at Glencush. The earliest Stipend Book for 2nd. Donagheady Presbyterian Church includes William Bates and Joseph Bates which would suggest that Kildorragh was supported by that Church yet by the time of Rev Francis J Porter just before the famine, the list of Sunday Schools does not include Kildorragh. By then with their superintendants were: 

1. Sandville - R Alexander
2. Grange - R Gamble
3. Tamnabready - S McClements
4. Cullion - J Love
5. Killyclooney - Wm. Bates
6. Castlemellon - Wm. Smyth

As all these Sunday Schools were dependent on volunteers to teach it seems likely that their ability to remain functioning would have been influenced by emigration of the more educated population. There, certainly, was no shortage of children.

Very few traces now remain of the physical buildings which held the voluntary schools. In the case of Kildorragh Sunday School, located near 22 Gortmellan Road in Gortmellan Townland, the little building became a farm shed which held calves, and then fell into disrepair but the folk memory of the older generation and the date stone for 1746 marked it out as the old Sunday School.

Kildorragh Sunday School wall showing date stone. Photo 2006 Faye Logue
1746 Date stone. Photo by Faye Logue
Approx. 22 Gortmellan Road, Gortmellan Townland. Source: Google Maps