Care of the Inmates - Religion - Education

(a) Religion

Both Catholic and Protestant inmates were looked after. In the early years the local Catholic priest celebrated Mass every Sunday in the House but the Board were soon writing to the Poor Law Commission regarding the need for a chaplain because "of a very great detriment to the morals of the class usually admitted into the Workhouse". In October 1841 a Catholic chaplain was appointed at a salary of 60 (76) a year.

About the same time a Protestant chaplain was employed at 20 (25) per annum but within six months the Board was considering the appointment "as there are but two persons in this Workhouse professing the Protestant religion." But the Commission instructed them to continue to employ the chaplain until there was no Protestant inmate left.

(b) Education

In August 1841 a schoolmistress was appointed at a salary of 10 (13) per annum and the following February a schoolmaster at 15 (19). A list of school requisites for 1841 includes slates, pencils, books, alphabet books and tablets, quills and paper.

In 1847 there is a record of the schoolmistress asking for an increase in salary; the reaction of the Board was quite ruthless - the Assistant Commissioner recommended that "on the first opportunity a competent teacher be got for the girls".

The schools were visited occasionally by inspectors from the National Board of Education. The following are short excerpts from their reports: "the schoolmaster is of average qualification and the schoolmistress is but imperfectly qualified. . .the children speak well and answer with intelligence (November 1847).

"The teachers are tolerably well qualified . .and conduct the business of the school in a satisfactory manner" (April 1849).

"Both schools are well taught and the pupils appear clean and orderly" (December 1849).


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