Maxwelltown Free Church School 1847 – 1873May 28, 2014
During the ministry of the Reverend William Brown Clark, the first minister of Maxwelltown Free Church (1844-1853), and the stewardship of Mr. Philip Forsyth, Session Clerk (1844-1873) the church set up a school in Maxwelltown.
In 1847 a building on the corner of King Street and David Street in Maxwelltown was purchased by the church for conversion into a School and Schoolhouse. The cost of the building and its conversion into a school was £363 paid for jointly by the Free Church, the Government and the Congregation of Maxwelltown.
The outline of the school is shown on the 1850 Town Plan.
The buildings can be viewed on Google Street View. They are now 2 small houses. The school was managed by a committee appointed by the Deacons’ Court of the Church.
In 1847, the quarterly fees to be charged were approved by the Deacons’ Court as follows:-
Reading and Writing 2/6d
Reading, Writing and Arithmetic 3/-
For the above with Grammar and Geography 3/6d
For Latin with all of the above 5/-
For Latin and Greek with all of the above 7/6d
The costs are quoted in old British money.
Provision was also made for the children of poor families to be educated at a reduced cost, or free.
The first teacher was Mr. Thomas Smellie. He was paid £30 per annum – half paid by the Church and half by the Government.
In 1851 John Thompson Smith was appointed as a Teacher at the school. He remained there until his death in December 1855, aged 32, from a heart attack. He died in the school house.
In 1853 an educational bequest was left to the Church by a Mr. John Carrick. The annual interest was valued at £76 12s 9d – 2/3 to be paid to the teacher and 1/3 to pay for prizes for the pupils.
In 1869 mention was made in the deacon’s court minutes of cleaning and repairs to the school building.
In May 1873 the school and school master’s house was transferred to the School Board of Troqueer.
In 1878 the School Board sold the buildings and after a dispute and reference to an arbiter, the church received £230 as settlement of their interest.
Some of the detail for this article was obtained from ‘Maxwelltown West the Story of a Church’ by A. MacLean B.Sc. I.A.S. (ret.) and Rev. H.G.A. Simmons. M.A.