Galway Grammar School

So successful were the Catholic schools at the end of the seventeenth century that they threaten the school, endowed by Erasmus Smith, a Cromwellian Adventurer, at Galway with a total loss of its pupils and by their presence elsewhere undermined the health of Protestant schools "as succours do starve the tree". Erasmus Smith had set aside part of the estates with which he had been rewarded for his services to the Commonwealth to support schools for the children of his tenantry and of the country at large. In the Charter of Charles II, 1669, the King gave power to Erasmus Smith to erect three grammar schools at Drogheda, Galway and Tipperary respectively. He commanded that these schools should be free schools "for so many, not exceeding twenty poor children as should seem convenient besides the children of his tenants, who were to be instructed in writing and accounts, the Latin, Greek and Hebrew tongues, and to be fitted for the University if desired". By his Indenture of 1657 he directed that five grammar schools be built one in the town of Sligo, one on his lands in Galway, one on his lands in the Barony of Clonwilliam, County Tipperary, one on his lands in the Barony of Dunluce, County Antrim, and one on the lands to be given to him for 2,700 called his "deficiency". The Trustees appointed by the Indenture presented before the Court of Claims their petition and schedule on the 29th January 1665, that they had the right and on behalf of Erasmus Smith to, inter alia, build three Grammar Schools and residences for schoolmasters.

The lands and other property granted Smith in the liberties of Galway were described as, "One parcel called Barraghallagh, with a mill; some houses; an old abbey, ruined, and several cabins and gardens; a small parcel of land by Ballybridge; and the houses of Booremore and Boorebeg, with cabins and gardens; the town and lands of Ballibane and Glegnale; a parcel of land called Milebush; a parcel of land called Ranmore; a parcel of land called Westmurragh; a parcel of land called Murragh, being one quarter of Dohiesky; a parcel of land called Murraghbegg; a parcel of land called Ballybritt, and a parcel of land of Roscam, all situate in the liberties of Galway", with several other lands in the county at large. Dutton claimed that the estate in the county of the town of Galway may amount to about 1,400 acres, and may at a very moderate calculation, including, mills, houses and plots in Newtownsmith and Bohermore, be valued at five guineas an acre, or $7,900 per annum. He added that the tenants interest may be well worth three times that sum. He gives details: "Mr. Babazon has about 400 per annum profit rent; Mr. Cummin 350 per annum profit rent (most of the old tenants have been turned out, and few of the occupying tenants have been left). Roscam, 232 acres, lately set, pays to the charity two guineas an acre, and was immediately let at four guineas to some of the former tenants". These he describes as middlemen.

"The seaweed alone attached to Roscam is worth about 300 per annum , which brings down the rent to about a guinea an acre. The eastern and western parts of Roscam, 264 acres, pay to the charity about twenty five shillings per acre, and have been relent to poor people at about four or five shillings per acre ... Ballybanemore (west) divided into five parts of twenty acres each, was let at the same time for 3 5s. to 3 15s. per acre... and without the advantage of the kelp shore. Ballybanemore (north), formerly occupied by resident villagers who paid their rent immediately to the governors agent, were turned out, to give compensation to the tenants who occupied the western part, who pay the charity twenty five shillings per acre, and relent to three of the former resident tenants at about two guineas per acre. Mr. Burke of Murrough, for 140 acres, pays about twenty four shillings per acre with a kelp shore, worth about 100 per annum ... Mr. Blake (of Merlin Park) offered to lay out 1,000 in improvements and in building comfortable houses for the former resident tenants ..."


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