Centenary Book of the First Presbyterian Church Portadown

Chapter X


Having endeavoured to trace the history of Portadown in regard to its material, and more particularly its religious progress, one feels that his task would be incomplete were he to overlook the increasing interest in the provision of educational facilities to meet the growing needs of the community. In these days when it is universally recognised that education is not only an asset but an essential to the youth who aspires to reach the goal of true success and happiness in life, one readily forgets that in earlier times the importance of education was realised only by the few of broader vision, and that of the many it might have been said:
          "But knowledge to their eyes, her ample page,
          Rich with the spoils of Time did ne'er unroll."

Portadown has been fortunate, however, in this respect as in many others, for from the dawn of the town's history down to the present day there has been no lack of opportunity so far as primary education is concerned to those who would wish to walk in the paths of knowledge, and to this wise provision for the education of its youth may doubtless be attributed a large share of the community's steadily increasing prosperity throughout the years.

The earlier history of Portadown in educational matters is hidden in the dim and misty past, and in seeking to pierce this barrier the veracious chronicler is once more confronted by the obstacles of paucity of information and lack of reliable records. The writer has been fortunate enough to overcome the first with the aid of Mr. Thomas Dawson, who possesses an unrivalled knowledge of the course of events in Portadown, and a most tenacious and accurate memory.

About the year 1840 a teacher named Pierson conducted a school in a three-storied house in Bridge Street, occupied by a man named Fox, and situated near the corner of Goban Street. This school was later transferred across the street to a room over the gateway in the house now occupied by Mr. J.A WIlson, and was approached by a stairway from his yard. Subsequently its location was changed to the building which now forms part of Mr. W.J. Green's hayloft, and finally the school found a resting place in a building behind the First Presbyterian Church. In "Slater's Almanack" for 1846 under the heading "AcademIes and Schools in Portadown " one finds noted -- a boarding school in Thomas Street conducted by Miss Amelia Cowan; the Duke of Manchester's School in Church Street, with Mr. Thos. Guy as Master, and Mary Guy as Mistress; and an Infant School under Miss Eliza Ann Brady, as well as the School in Bridge Street. The writer's present task, however, is to follow the fortunes of the Bridge Street School only.

Following Mr. Pierson, the school would seem to have had as Head Masters in succession a Mr. Cooper a Mr. Haire, and a Mr. M'Adam. Of these men very little more than their names can be recorded. Probably the first two taught in the room over Mr. Wilson's gateway, but Mr. M' Adam conducted the school while it was located in the building which is now Mr. Green's hay loft, and possibly afterwards in the room behind the First Presbyterian Church. Of the nature of the instruction given in this early seminary one cannot learn much, but it may be imagined that the road to learning was a painful and laborious one for both teacher and taught.

With the appointment of Mr. David Geddis about the year 1857 as successor to Mr. M'Adam, the history of the school emerges from the mists of legend and tradition into the clear lIght of recorded annals. In August, 1858, following upon the erection of the new church building the school was transferred to the old church and at the same time it was recognised as a National School by the Commissioners of National Education. In the Minutes of the congregational committee dated 8th October, 1858, it is recorded that the committee met that evening for the purpose of arranging as to the fitting up of the new schoolroom, and it was unanimously agreed that the proceeds of the sale of pews, etc., be applied to the purposes of the school. This minute is signed "D. Geddis," and it is the first time his name is found in the Minute Book. The school then occupied the ground which is now covered by the pulpit, choir, and transepts, while on the site of the present Lecture Hall stood one or two little rooms which had probably served for session room and cloakroom. These also were pressed into service as classrooms. About 1877 the attendance had considerably increased, and the accommodation was so terribly inadequate that extension became imperative. A minute dated 15th June, 1877, records that the committee considered the estimates submitted for the contemplated addition to the school building, and accepted Mr. Bright's tender of £210. The miserable little rooms outside were removed, and a building equal in size to the old church was erected on the site of the present Lecture Hall, and thrown into the existing schoolroom.

Mr. Geddis was, one learns, a man of considerable attainments, and enjoyed the reputation of a highly successful teacher. Like Goldsmith's village schoolmaster "a man severe he was, and stern to view." He lived and died a bachelor, so it may be that he had only a theoretical knowledge of children and their ways, and consequently made no effort to win their affection. One must not, however, judge him too severely in this respect, for he but exemplified the spirit of his generation; in his day the child was largely looked upon as a troublesome nuisance to be sternly repressed both at home and in school, and there was little danger of spoiling the child by sparing the rod, while the graver danger that for many it "froze the genial current of the soul" was overlooked. "Ould Davie," as his irreverent pupils termed him, was highly esteemed by parents as being able "to bate the larnin' intil the childer," and pupils came from all parts of the town to his school. He conducted classes in connection with the Kensington Science and Art Department, and presented many pupils for its examinations with success. Whatever his methods may have been he was a thorough educationist, and succeeded in turning out pupils who became successful men; of these, two, who specially distinguished themselves, may be mentioned -- the late Judge Overend and the Rev. Jas. Victor Logan, M.A.

In the work of the Church Mr. Geddis played a useful part. He acted as secretary of the congregational committee from 1868 till his death, a period of thirteen years; and he conducted a very helpful and well attended Bible Class for men on Sabbath mornings. In 1881 Mr. Geddis died rather suddenly at the age or 58, deeply regretted by those amongst whom he had spent the greater part of his life in unremitting labours for the welfare of the community. He was laid to rest in Seagoe graveyard, and his funeral was the largest that had up till then been seen in the town.

The important duty of choosing a successor to Mr. Geddis devolved upon the manager of the school, the Rev. W.J. Macaulay, B.A., who had himself been in Portadown only a short time. More will be said of Mr. Macaulay's managership later on, but it may be noted here that in no department of his work did he show greater ability than in his choice of Principals for Edenderry school, resolutely setting aside every consideration save that of the merits of the candidate. His wisdom who strikingly exemplified in his choice of Mr. John Bell, B.A. for the vacant appointment, for this inaugurated an era of brilliant success for the school, during which its reputation was built upon an enduring foundation. Mr. Bell was born near Bailieboro', Co. Cavan, in 1853, and was educated at the local National School, and later at the Model School, Bailieboro'. He enjoyed the benefit of tuition in classics from the Rev. Randal M'Collum, a Presbyterian clergyman, who resided in the neighbourhood of his home, and to this scholarly gentleman he owed much of the soundness both of his education and of his character. In 1875 he became assistant master in Limerick Model School, and entered upon his undergraduate course in Trinity College, where he obtained the degree of B.A. In 1879. He took up the principalship of Edenderry School in January, 1882, in which year he received the degree of M.A. from his university.

A man of fine physique, commanding personality, and great strength of character, Mr. Bell was preeminently endowed with the qualities necessary for his position. It was no easy task to which he was called, for he found himself at the head of a large school, composed to some extent of turbulent and unruly pupils; confined in cramped quarters, utterly lacking in equipment, and largely devoid of that felling of mutual respect and trust which must exIst between parent and pupils on the one hand, and teachers on the other, if effective educational work is to be done. In the performance of this task he employed all his energies, his great skill as a teacher, his unique understanding of boys and girls, his love and enthusiasm for learning, and his unswerving tenacity of purpose to such effect that the school was forced to find an outlet for its suppressed vitality, and once again building schemes were in the air. This time under the fostering care and wise counsel of Mr. Macaulay and Mr. Bell -- for throughout their long connection they worked in the utmost harmony, the dominant desire of each being the good of the school and of the community -- a really progressive step was taken.

On 3rd May, 1886, a sub-committee was appointed to wait on the Baroness Von Steiglitz, of Carrickblacker, and a splendid site was obtained at the top of Edenderry hill. On 8th November, 1886, an architect was appointed and plans were prepared; and on 21st May, 1888, the contract for the erection of the School was given to Messrs. Bright Bros. for the sum of £1280. On 10th September, 1888, the same firm also received the contract for building a teacher's residence at £468. A grant of about £850 towards the erection of the school buildings was received from the Board of Public Works, and the remainder was paid off chiefly with the proceeds of a Bazaar which was got up for that purpose. Messrs. Bright Bros. carried out their contract faithfully and well. The brick used was not the finer sort originally thought of, and though very durable presents a rough and unfinished appearance.

The new school, as may be expected, was an immense improvement upon the old. Its location could scarcely be surpassed. Upon the site of two roods in extent was erected a two-storied building consisting of two large rooms 40 feet long, 29 feet wide, and 13 feet 10 ins. hIgh, together with four classrooms, each 18ft. long, 14ft. wide, and 13ft. 10ins. high, and three cloak-rooms. On either side of the building are two large Playgrounds for the use of boys and girls respectively. The sanitary accommodation was excellent, whereas the conditions prevailing at the old school can be better imagined than described; modern and improved fittings have, however, since been introduced. Exceptionally well-lighted and thoroughly ventilated, the school has always had a clean bill of health. Unfortunately the front of the school is somewhat gloomy in appearance, and altogether belies the bright and cheerful aspect of the rooms behind, which face due south. It is a cherished project of the present Principal that the front may some day be stone finished, and so made to give a true index of the real appearance of the school rooms. The furniture and equipment are admirable, and have been from time to time renewed and improved. The view of the school shown on centre pages is taken from the side of the boys' yard, and gives a fair idea, of the size of the building. The accommodation provided under the requirements of the CommIssioners of National Educational of 10 square feet per pupil allows of an attendance of 336 pupils.

The teacher's residence lies behind the school, and is approached by a fire avenue on the left side of the school. The house is well and substantially built, though the accommodation is somewhat limited. There is a fine garden, and the grounds are well laid out. Beautifully situated, it has been described as one of the finest teachers' residences in Ireland. The Board of Public Works, of course, was only responsible for part of the cost, a sum of £300 in addition to their grant having been borrowed locally. As these sums and the methods of repayment of same have been already dealt with in the history of the financial undertakings of the congregation, they need not here be recapitulated. The Board of Public Works is responsible for the maintenance and repairs of the school buildings, but not of the residence. The congregation has every right to feel proud of the valuable property which it possesses in the schools and residence. Here the opportunity may be taken to pay tribute to the generous aid and counsel of the congregational committee and the congregation at large, at the time when the schools and residence were built. Dr. Bell bears testimony to the great interest and practical sympathy which the members of the church evinced in the enterprise, and the writer is very pleased to accord this note of appreciation to their labours, which have so largely benefitted those of a later day.

In connection with the Bazaar by which the funds for the school were raised, a talented member of the congregation, and a very warm friend of the school and its Principal, the late Mrs. Acheson, wrote the poem which is here appended:


Down in the town the old Oak grew,
     And the sap in its veins rang strong,
But it sighed for the hill where the breezes blew,
     It had pined in the street so long.

Then they glanced at its branches strong and wide,
     And they gazed at its stature high --
"'Twere a work for a giant's arm," they cried,
     "But the old Oak shall not die."

"We will dig it out from the trodden way,
     We will bear its lordly strength
To the free hillside where the fresh winds play,
     It shall flourish there at length."

There is need, they said, for the strong man's arm,
     There is need for the gentler stroke,
For no rough touch must the rootlets harm
     Of our good time-honoured Oak.

There is need for him of the prudent mind,
     And for him of the ardent hope,
There is need for every good spade ye can find,
     And for every, trusty rope.

So the men and the children gathered there,
     And the women's eager throng;
And there was not one but could help to bear
     The mighty Oak along.

And the old Oak grows on the free hillside
     'Mid the breezes fresh and sweet,
That gather from many a meadow wide
     The children's throng to greet.

Old Edenderry has earned the name
     That it won in the days gone by,
When the autumn hills were with gold aflame
     That glowed on their forests high.

Gone are the oaks of the olden day,
     But we cherish a grander tree,
And its acorns, gleaned in the children's play,
     Yet statelier oaks may be.

May it grow in its glory for many a year
     And laugh at Time's feeble stroke,
And the Tree of Knowledge we planted here
     Long crown the Hill of the Oak.

Now that he was installed in the new school, itself a standing monument to his energy and enterprise Mr. Bell continued to build securely upon the firm foundations of educatIonal success which he had already laid. He gathered around him a band of zealous and efficient assistants whom he imbued with his own love of teaching. Pupils came from near and far, and the fame of the school spread far beyond the confines of its immediate neighbourhood. Nor was this reputation built upon any illusory basis or fostered by extraneous and fanciful merits. The official records of the National Board's Inspectors supply irrefutable evidence of the solid worth of the work done by the Principal and his staff, as will be seen from the following extracts:

Report on Examination from 19th to 22nd April, 1886, by Mr. Jas. Browne, M.A., District Inspector --

"This school has been conducted with great efficiency during the past year, though the accommodation afforded is inadequate for the very large number of pupils who attend. Pupils were well prepared in the ordinary subjects, all in addition seven optional subjects were taught with much success. Theorganization of the school is superior, and the discipline and moral tone are satIsfactory." class="indent"


Examination on 20th-22nd April, 1891, conducted by Mr. Dugan, District Inspector --

"Teaching staff efficient and useful; general proficiency good; pupils well worked up to the requirements of the Programme; extra branches, especially vocal music, well taught; I notice a decided improvement in the drawing. Moral tone and school discipline good. School on the whole a very important one and doing good work for elementary education in the large manufacturing centre of Portadown."

A splendid organiser and good disciplinarian, Mr. Bell made his influence felt throughout the whole school. He was universally respected by his pupils; a kindly interest characterised all his school relationships, and even the worst pupils recognised that "the Boss," as he was usually called, stood for fair dealing and honest work. Overwhelming evidence can be adduced to prove how successful he was as a teacher, but the still more valuable side of his life work -- the setting of a good example of manly Christianity, and the inculcating in his pupils of a desire for those things that are pure, and lovely, and of good report -- only the great Final Examination will fully disclose.

In addition to teaching Latin and French in the regular school day, Mr. Bell for many years conducted most successful evening classes in which pupils were prepared for the examinations of the South Kensington Science and Art Department, and of the Universities, as well as for Civil Service, Bank, and other examinations. How many men and women have been thus enabled to place their feet on the first rung of the ladder of success it would be impossible to compute. He also prepared his pupils of the higher standards for the examinations of the Intermediate Board with great success. While thus giving freely of his great gifts for the education of others he always remained himself a student, as every great teacher does, and in 1898 he obtained the degrees of LL.B. and LL.D. from his University, Trinity. College, Dublin.

Like the Dominie in Ian Maclaren's "Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush," Dr. Bell possessed an unerring gift of discernment for a "lad o' pairts," and many a clever boy has been rescued by him from the thraldom of the counter or the plough to which an unimaginative father would have condemned him. To him the signs of genius or of intellectual ability in a boy were as welcome as the veins of gold in the quartz are to the eager prospector, and no exertion on his part was too great to foster these and bring them to fruition. In the selection and training of teachers he was unrivalled; he tracked them down early, prevailed upon parents to agree to their appointment as Monitors, and under his wise guidance turned them out able exponents of the pedagogic art.

As a citizen Dr. Bell was identified with every movement that made for the welfare of the community. In social life his unruffled philosophy and his keen sense of humour made him persona grata with all. But it was in the life of the church that he found his greatest happiness. A staunch Presbyterian, he loved the church of his fathers, and gave it unstinting service. He was secretary of the committee throughout his whole connection with Portadown; he conducted a weekly Bible class, a duty for which his unique knowledge of the Scriptures eminently fitted him; he played an important part in the activities of the Literary and Debating Society; and as a member of the choir he helped in the praise service of the sanctuary. He was many times invited, and, indeed, pressed to accept the office of elder but his dislike of being bound by creeds, and his inate modesty compelled him to refuse. It is not, however, as the brilliant educationist, gifted scholar, devoted church worker, or useful citizen -- though he was all of these, and more -- that the writer best likes to think of Dr. Bell, but as the ideal head of a large and happy family circle. He married in 1887 the elder daughter of Mr. Thomas Johnson, Portadown, and found in her an ideal helpmeet. Many old Edenderry scholars still cherish kindly memories of her who always found something good to say of even the worst.

It was scarcely to be expected that Portadown could continue to hold a man of the eminence of Dr. Bell. In 1901 he was appointed Professor of Science in Marlborough Street Training College, Dublin, where he has since laboured at the congenial task of training the teachers of the country. His love for his church has found an outlet in The Abbey Church, where he has proved himself the minister's right hand. That he may long be spared to crown a life of unceasing. service with the consciousness of duty nobly done will be the heartfelt wish of the many who have known and loved him.

The task of finding a; successor to Dr. Bell which now confronted Mr. Macaulay, as manager, was no sinecure. The acumen which he had displayed in the selection of Dr. Bell again stood him in good stead. The list or applicants was extremely large, for the fame of Edenderry had travelled far and wide, and to be chosen to succeed one or the most eminent teachers of his day was in itself an honour to be eagerly sought after. From these, endeavouring doubtless to follow the same principles which had guided him in the choice of Dr. Bell, Mr. Macaulay selected Mr. Edward Dale, B.A., a member of the staff of the Central Model Schools, Dublin, whose duty was to take charge of the example school maintained therein for the instruction or students in training. Mr. Dale was also a training assistant in the men's department of Marlboro' Street Training College, and as such, well and favourably known to a host or teachers whose lot it was to spend a part of their career in George's Street, the men's hostel.

A native of the neighbourhood of Magherafelt, Mr, Dale had spent a good many year's in Dublin, though he was still a young man when appointed to Edenderry, and our northern brusquerie had in his case been mollified by the easy charm of the south. He had a splendid record as a teacher, and is epitomised by those who knew him best as "a gentleman and a scholar." His agreeable and charming manner, his pleasant and amiable disposition, his utter lack of meanness or selfishness, his unfailing courtesy, and his utmost readiness to oblige or help others, all justified the first part of this description, while the second, was equally true. Mr. Dale loved learning for learning's sake, unlike many who merely follow knowledge for the sake of the rewards which she holds to view. His chief delight was to recite passages from the Latin authors, rolling the sonorous periods lovingly 'neath his tongue. The writer remembers how he at one period went to Belfast to study German, not for any bearing it might have on his career, but just because he loved to add to his knowledge. He believed, and rightly so, that to be a great teacher one must always remain a student.

But Mr. Dale Was no studious recluse looking out on his world through spectacles dimmed with lore. On the contrary he was the most sociable of men, a delightful companion, and a welcome guest at social functions. He possessed a keen sense of humour and a ready wit, and was at his best in telling a good story. There are many in Portadown who still recall pleasant memories of his good fellowship.

As the headmaster of Edenderry Mr. Dale was given an arduous task. To follow in the footsteps of a popular and successful man, such as Dr. Bell had been, is never easy. Especially is this so when a man's predecessor has been long and firmly established, for he is then unfairly regarded with suspicion as an interloper. It speaks volumes for Mr. Dale's abilities and for his tact that he successfully overcame these obstacles, and that the school under his wise care continued to flourish. The traditions of the past were ably sustained, though changing conditions made some departments of work no longer possible, for instance, Intermediate and Department of Science and Art examinations. Mr. Dale, however, prepared quite a number for University examinations, and it was under his fostering care that the present Principle of the school proceeded as far as Second Arts in his University course. It is noteworthy, too, that a pupil who has given the school perhaps its most striking success, being this year Senior Wrangler at Oxford University -- Mr. John Bryson, jun. -- belonged to Mr. Dale's term of office. Extracts from two Reports may be quoted here; the first, dated 12th and 13h May, 1904 is by Mr. Yates, M.A., Inspector:-- "General condition of school -- Very good. This is a well organised and most useful school. The work done is very creditable." The second, dated 18th June, 1906, is by Mr. C. Smith, M.A., District Inspector:-- "General condition of school -- Very good. Edenderry National School is conducted in a very satisfactory manner, and shows that each member of the staff is earnest, skilful, and efficient. Order and discipline are well maintained."

Mr. Dale acted as secretary of the congregational committee, a position which he filled with distinction, and he played a very prominent part in the Literary and Debating Society. Himself a most fluent, pleasing, and accomplished speaker, he did much to encourage and promote the art of public speaking among the younger members of the congregation, and there are those amongst us who owe much of their skill in this direction to his: precept and example.

In 1907, about the month of January, Mr. Dale was appointed Inspector of National Schools by the Commissioners, a position for which he was pre-eminently suited, and which he has filled with much success. He is at present Inspector of Irish under the Northern Ministry of Education, and is domiciled in Belfast.

Once again Mr. Macaulay was inundated with shoals of applications for the vacancy, and again he selected a young man from a large school, with his career still before him. The success which had attended his two previous efforts did not now desert him and in giving the appointment to Mr. Samuel Weatherup, B.A., he made no mistake. Mr. Weatherup was a native of Carrickfergus, and was educated in the Model School there under a very able Head Master, Mr. Barbour. After being trained he served as assistant in one of the largest and most efficient schools in Belfast, Duncairn Gardens N.S. His Principal, the late Mr. W. E. Robinson, B.A., was highly skilled organiser and disciplinarian, and the school earned the highest reports. Mr. Weatherup availed himself to the full of this fine opportunity for fitting hImself to take charge of a large school, and he was very highly commended by the Board's Inspectors. As a young man -- he was only 26 when appointed -- with his name to make Mr. Weatherup was not likely to lag in the race. Nor did he. The dominant characteristics of the man were untiring energy and ceaseless perseverance, and these were strikingly exemplified in his work. From the day he took up duty in Edenderry, the 27th of February, 1907, he threw himself completely into the performance of his duties, and devoted himself with singleness of purpose to the interests of his school, with which his own interests were so closely identified.

AddIson makes one of his characters say:--
         " 'Tis not in mortals to command success:
         But we'll do more, Sempronius -- we'll deserve it."

Mr. Weatherup certainly deserved success and it came to him in no small measure. At the second general inspection held, after his appointment, 25th June, 1908, the general mark of the school was raised to "Excellent," the highest possible mark, and at that high-water mark it remained for each successive year till 1915, when this system of marking was abandoned, though the excellence of the work done was no whit abated. This unbroken record is an achievement, the merits of which can only properly be appreciated by those in the profession, for it implies unflagging energy, zeal, and enthusiasm. In the year 1910 Mr. Weatherup was awarded the Carlisle and Blake Premium, the blue ribbon of the teaching profession. The report for that year reads: "General Condition of School -- Excellent. At this inspection the general character of the work was excellent. Special praise is due to the senior singing and drill. Order and discipline are much to be commended." One other report, nearer the close of Mr. Weatherup's tenure of office, that dated 9th and 10th May, 1916, by Mr. Hughes, M.A., the Senior inspector of the Circuit, must suffice:--

"The education given at this large and important town school is of an excellent kind. Not only are the ordinary school subjects taught in a highly efficient manner but habits of neatness, politeness, truthfulness good manners and obedience are also inculcated. All these go to form character, which is so important in after life. The teachers make ample preparation for work, and are ever on the look-out for new and improved methods. The schoolrooms are kept neat and tidy, and ventilation, so necessary in a rather overcrowded school, is carefully maintained."

The excellence of the work of the school speedily brought Mr. Weatherup well-earned promotion. He was promoted from Third Grade to Second of First within a few years, and after the lapse of the stipulated period he was placed in First of First Grade. Mr. Weatherup's strong point was organisation; no detail of the working of the school was too small for his attention, and he never spared himself as far as school work was concerned. Indeed, it may be said that work was his only recreation, and he practically lived for the school. It may be contended that it would have been better for himself as well as for his work had he permitted himself more leisure and relaxation, and that is a point of view which the writer, often urged upon him, but one cannot but admire and pay tribute to the whole-hearted energy which characterised his work. Many useful improvements were carried out during Mr. Weatherup's principalship; a partition dividing the lower room, a complete new system of automatic flush closets, new lavatories and drinking fountains, kindergarten desks, and a much needed bicycle shed were the most important of these. The attendance steadily increased, and in 1908 an additional assistant was appointed, bringing the members of the staff up to seven, while the appointment of pupil teachers from other parts of the circuit brought the number of junior members of the staff up to ten.

Mr. Weatherup was also an earnest worker in the church. He was secretary of the congregational committee, a Sabbath School teacher, and a useful member of the Debating Society; in 1915 he was elected an elder. To his work for the church he brought the same concentration and perseverance that characterised his school work, and his services were always freely at its disposal.

On 12th February, 1918, he was appointed Inspector of National Schools, having in the same year taken the Higher Diploma in Education of Queen's University. This set the seal upon his life-long ambition, though financially at any rate he would have been better off as he was. The work or the Inspectorate, however, both appeals to and suits him, and in its execution he displays the same devotion to duty which marked his Career in Edenderry. Like Mr. Dale he is now under the Northern Ministry or Education, being stationed at Enniskillen.


The history of the school has been largely the history of its headmasters, since it was they who shaped its destinies, but one must not fail to take into account the managers who put those headmasters into that position, and supported their labours. Passing reference has already been made to Dr. Macaulay's admirable qualities as a manager. The school occupied a very high place in his regard: indeed, he loved and was very proud of it. On three successive occasions he selected a Principal with great wisdom and discretion. This prerogative of managership he guarded jealousy, and no exterior influence was allowed by him to sway his choice; this is the more noteworthy in that clerical managers are prone to be rather susceptible to outside pressure. His attitude towards the school was that of a father towards his family. His watchful care, wise counsel, and ready help were always enlisted in its service. Never in any way did he seek to interfere with the Principal in his, work. It is only the small man who plays the autocrat. Dr. Macaulay was too great-hearted for that; he found his happiness in helping to foster the growing prosperity of the school, and no one was prouder than he of each fresh proof of it success. He visited the school, as a rule, only when he had business to transact or wished to see the Principal, but his genial smile and kindly presence were beloved by both teachers and pupils. On Prize Distribution days and other festIve occasions he never failed to preside with that urbanity and graciousness of demeanour which were so peculIarly his. His relations with all the teachers were of the happiest; he sympathised with their difficulties and appreciated their labours; he was always willing and eager to fight the battles of those whom the system treated harshly, or to support their just claims by every means in his power. In pursuance of this end no trouble was too great for him; it was no uncommon thing for him to go to Dublin specially to interview the Resident Commissioner on behalf of the school, or in the interests of one of its teachers. He was persona grata with the Commissioners, both because of the schools excellent records, and because in his official correspondence he was always courteous, practical and logical.

The high place which the school occupied in his esteem may be gauged from the fact that while prostrated by his last illness he made arrangements for the interim working of the managership, and by virtue of the powers conferred on him as Patron, appointed his successor in the pastorate as manager. This wise step obviated many difficulties which would otherwise have arisen during the period of his illness, and the months which elapsed before his successor took up duty. Mr. T.D. Gibson, D.L., who had always been a good friend and loyal supporter of the school, was appointed manager pro tem., and very concientously and efficiently he discharged his duties during this critical period of the school's history. The school and the congregation owe him a debt of gratitude for his services so generously given.

The Rev. John Heney, B.A., B.D., assumed the managershIp as soon as he was settled in his new charge, and in this capacity he still acts to the advancement of the best interests of the school, and to the complete satisfaction of the teachers. It is enough to say that he following closely in the footsteps of Dr. Macaulay, and that his one aim is to do what is best for the school and for the community. No school could have a better manager. Edenderry has been singularly fortunate in its managers, and here it may be said that if all managers had been like the three gentlemen who have filled that office here, that vexed problem known as the managerial question would never have existed. Now that Ulster stands on the threshold of a new era in education, and "the old order changeth, giving place to new," one wonders if the new will prove better than the old, but one feels safe in saying that the new authorities will have a difficult task to do any better than the managers of Edenderry have done.


The following list of distinguished pupils of the school dates only from Dr. Bells time, and has been compiled by the Doctor himself, and by the present Principal, neither of whom is prepared to guarantee that it is complete and exhaustive. No mention is made of those who have distinguished themselves in commercial pursuits, for of the making of that list there would be no end:--

(The late) Robert Allen, M.D.; (the late) Anthony Allen, author and poet; W.E. Fergus, M.D.; Wm. Greer, M.D.; Rev. John Gordon, M.A., Rev. Saml. Lewis, Jas. Bright, B.A., B.E.; J. Sydney Bright, B.A., solr.; Valentine Wilson, solr.; Robert Dickson, LL.B., solr.; Rev. Charles Gardiner, B.A.; David M'Carrison, Eastern C.S.; Robert M'Carrison, M.D.; Rev. Father O'Hagan, Jas. Wallace, M.D.; Rev. John Wightman, Averell Shillington, B.A.; Wm. Stevenson, L.P.S.l.; Rev. Fredk. Wightman, B.A.; Robert M'Keown, Lecturer in Economics, U.S.A.; James M'Dowell, Expert in Chemistry, U.S.A.; Rev. Jas. Smyth, LL.D., Principal Theological College, Canada; (the late) Samuel E. M'Clatchey, M.D.; (the late) Robert Mawhinney, Univ. Schol., Missionary to the Jungle Tribes: John Warnock, M.A.; Frazer M. Annesley, B.A.; Jas. Wightman, Vice-Prin., Municipal Tech. School; Alfred Lynas, B.A.; W. Norman Bright, M.B. ; Charles Bell, M.D. R.N.; Hugh Fleming, M.D.; Walter Chambers, M.D.; Miss Margaret Logan, M.A.; Miss Edith Wilson, Mus. Bac.; Rev. Henry Joyce, B.A.; Herbert Warnock, M.A., H.Dip. in Ed., Inspector of National Schools; Jas. Glasgow Acheson, B.A., Indian Judicature; Captain Joseph Bell, R.A.V.C.; Rev. Jas. S. Wilson, B.A., B,D.; Victor Bright, A.M.I.E.E.; William Walker, M.D.; Victor Walker, M.D.; T.D. GIbson, jun., B.A.; Victor Irwin, M.B.; (the late) Ernest Andrews, Indian Police; Victor Warnock, B.Sc., A.R.C.Sc.I., Lecturer Belfast Municipal Tech. Institute; (the late) Major Thos. E. Crosbie, M.C. with bar, M.B. Q.U.B.; Ernest Crosbie, M.B.; Miss Ida Clow, B.Sc. (Hons); Hugh P. Bryson, M.C., Indian Civil Service; Jack Bryson, Senior Wrangler, Oxford: University.

As is to be expected the ex-pupils of Edenderry played a noble part in the Great War. The Roll of Honour, which occupies a prominent position in the schoolroom, contains 134 names, and is far from complete. Only the names of those who made the supreme sacrifice for their King and country can be here recorded:--

Captain Ernest Andrews, D.S.O.; Pte. George Adamson, Pte. Robert H. Brown, Corpl. Crieff Clow, Lieut. Wm. Collen, Lieut. Jack Collen, R.F.C.; Sergt. Wm. Copeland, Major Thos. E. Crosbie, M.C. (with bar), Corpl. Saml. Dillon, Pte. Thos. Flannigan, Pte. Samuel Fox, Pte. Bertie Holland, Sergt. Ernest Hall, Major M'Clatchey, R.A.M.C.; Pte. John Malcomson, Corpl. David Orr, Pte. Wm. Ross M.M., Pte. George Whiteside.

They being dead yet speak to their successors of duty nobly done, and of unselfish heroism which counted no sacrifice too great that the right might live and the wrong be under foot.

Mr. Lynas' manuscript ends here. He has paid worthy and deserved tributes to the ability and work of his predecessors, at the same time recording the continued progress of a scholastic institution which is a credit to the town. The author feels constrained to carry the history a little further and make some reference the schools under the present Principal. Mr. Lynas' connectIon dates back to a period when as a small boy nine years old he first attended the school. Apt and diligent he soon became a favourite with Dr. Bell, which proved the beginning of a friendship which grew stronger all through the years. When the time came for Mr. Lynas to decide on his future life work it is not a matter of surprise that he chose teaching. He served the full time as monitor and proceeded to Marlborough Street for training. On his return he acted as an assistant teacher under Mr. Dale, at the same time prosecuting his studies at Queen's College, Belfast. He secured his B.A. degree from the Queen's University in 1911. In 1918 he became Principal of Antrim Road N. School, Belfast, where the quality of his labours may be illustrated by the fact that he was promoted at the end of his first year from Grade III. to Second of Grade I., and at the end of the second year placed First of Grade I. In May, 1918, he was appointed to Edenderry in succession to Mr. Weatherup, thus taking the posItion of Principal in the school where not so many years earlier he entered as a junior pupil. In everything pertaining to the work of the school, and in the esteem of hi staff Mr. Lynas holds rank equal to any of his predecessors, while as a high spirted citizen, a church member and worker, a friend and neighbour, he is equally prominent.

Following Mr. Lynas' example the writer may take the liberty of giving this extract from the general Report dated 26th January, 1922:-- "This important school continues to be very efficiently conducted, a feature of special merit being the controlling influence of the Principal -- which is quite evident in all aspects of the school work. The proficiency attained in the branches tested and the general tone of the school reflect considerable credit on the Principal and his capable staff of teachers."

The attendance, which had reached its high-water mark just prior to Mr. Weatherup's leaving, kept on steadily rising till the previous record of 350 became a regular occurrence, and on 1st December, 1920, an additional assistant was appointed. Record after record in attendance has been set up only to be broken, and at present it stands at 388. The floor space available does not allow of any further increase to the staff, and the average daily attendance is much in excess of the number allowed. Accordingly an application was made for a building grant to extend the school towards the rere, thus adding two large class rooms, but the changes in administration delayed the matter, and when finally it came before the Northern Ministry the application was reluctantly shelved owing to lack of funds. Some minor alterations were offered, but these the manager and the Principal refused as inadequate. It is probable that in the near future the accommodation will be increased, as the school is exceptionally situated with regard to extension, there being as much ground available as would double its present capacity. Pupils come to the school from districts within a radius of eight miles, the large bicycle shed being packed with bicycles, while others travel by train from Gilford, Tandragee, Scarva, Annaghmore, etc.

It is a very significant fact that six members or the teaching staff, including the Principal, are old pupils and monitors.of the school. This partly explains the splendid esprit de corps of the staff, and the maintenance of the best traditions or the school. It is the considered opinion not only of the Principal but of the Inspectors that no more loyal or efficient staff is to be found in any school, and to each and every member is due a very large share of the credit for the school's success. The present staff consists of Mr. Alfred Lynas, B.A., Principal; Mr. Wm. Maconachie (1st Vice-Principal); Miss Bailey (2nd Vice-Principal); Mrs. Lyske, Miss Sara Porter, A.L C.M.; Miss May Gardiner, Miss M. Irwin, and Mr. Alex. M'Roberts, together with eleven monitors, of whom 8 are girls and 3 are boys. The school is still a great training ground for embryo teachers, and in this direction is more successful than ever. This year of four ex-monitors who completed their training course, three passed the final exam in First Division (one securing the Silver Medal for Teaching), and one in Second Division, while of three taking the King's Scholarship examination on completion of their monitorial course, one passed in First Division, and the other two in Second Division. The entire instruction of the monitors is given by the Principal and his staff. One must not overlook an important factor in the success of the school, namely, the loyalty and cheerful obedience of its four hundred and thirty pupils, and the helpful co-operation of the parents.


The educational activities of the congregation were not exclusively confined to Edenderry N.S., but also embraced Balteagh N.S. This school, situated some three miles from Portadown, in the direction of Lurgan, would appear to have been the property of the Duke of Manchester in its earlier history, and was known locally as "The Duke's School." Captain O'Brien, the Duke's agent, acted as manager. In a Minute of the Congregational Committee dated 11th August, 1882, it is recorded that Captain O'Brien had offered to give the school and its management into the hands of the Rev. W.J. Macaulay, on condition that he paid a rent of £5 per annum for it, and that this offer was accepted. The lease of the school from the Duke of Manchester to Messrs. Hugh Wallace and John Malcomson is dated 30th December, 1882. The building was evidently not in very good order in 1891. when reference is made to the unsatisfactory state of the residence, and an estimate for repairs to school at cost of £40 is submitted. The matter was deferred. This is an epitome of the whole history of the school in the congregational records -- repairs urgently needed, but postponed or executed with the least possible expenditure. In 1907 the teacher's residence, which adjoined the school, had become extremely dilapidated, and it was decided to use part of the materials in repairing school wall, and to sell the remainder. This was done and the proceeds of sale were expended in repairs to the school.

From the scanty information at the writer's disposal he is only able to refer to the Principals of the school from the time or Mr. Thos. Vaughan, who taught in Balteagh for several years before going to Moyallon. He retired on pension about the year 1909, and came to reside near Portadown, resuming his former connection with the congregation, and proving himself a useful and devoted member till his death. Mr. Vaughan was succeeded by Miss M'Ormond, and the latter upon her marriage was succeeded by her sister. Both these ladies filled the position with honour to themselves and benefit to the community. They are both happily married, and still live within easy reach of the scene of their former labours. When the second Miss M'Ormond resigned her position in September, 1904, Mr. Macaulay appointed Miss Parks as her successor. The Commissioners, however, refused to recognise Miss Parks as Principal as she had not been trained, and it became necessary to appoint a new Principal, while Miss Parks remained as assistant.

In March, 1905, Mr. James Mawhinney was appointed Principal. Mr. Mawhinney had been a distinguished pupil of Edenderry N.S., and on completion of his pupil-teachership had been appointed assistant there. He was a brilliant scholar like his brother Robert, of whom mention has already been made, and his mathematical abilities were remarkable. In the matriculation examination of the Royal University he scored the maximum 1200 marks in mathematics, an unheard-of achievement. As a teacher he was no less gifted, and while holding the affection and esteem of his pupils succeeded in bringing them to a high state of efficiency. He worked through his undergraduate course in the University, and raised the school, despite all its difficulties, to a high plane of work. A brilliant career seemed assured to him, but in the mysterious working of Providence he was called hence after a sudden and brief illness. His memory will not soon be forgotten by those who knew and valued his work both in Edenderry and in Balteagh, where his seven years of self-denying work left an imperishable record.

Mr. John Reid, M.A., who had had considerable experience as Principal, was appointed in 1911. A man of scholarly attainments, he was most unassuming and modest. His kindly disposition and his upright Christian character won the esteem and affection of all who knew him. He was a valuable church worker, and just prior to his unexpected call to higher service had been elected a member of committee. He laboured zealously for the good of the school, and was very popular with both parents and pupils during the four years of his service in Balteagh.

Mr. S.G. M'Collum, Principal of Eskey N.S., was appointed to the position thus made vacant. Mr. M'Collum had been for many years connected with Hill Street School and congregation in Lurgan. A man of deep though unobtrusive piety, he was most regular in his attendance upon the services of the sanctuary, and at meetings of committee, of which he was a valued member. Zealous and painstaking in his school work, he devoted his energies to improving and raising the standard of his school, and in this he was highly successful. He made such a favourable impression on the members of committee that his moderate requests for financial aid at Balteagh were always cheerfully granted. To the great loss of Balteagh and of the congregation he was smitten down by a lingering illness to which he finally succumbed in December, 1918. The history of the school is rather tragic in that during a period or fourteen years three headmasters had been suddenly snatched away by the hand of death.

Mr. Heney appointed a young man, Mr. Thomas Sloan, who had a fine record, as Principal Teacher, and under his fostering care the school has continued to maintain its good record. Mr. Sloan is ably seconded in his work by his assistant, Miss Margaret Reid, and it is very gratifying to know that this outpost of our congregational activities still plays an important part in the uplift of the community.



Year ending 31st Mar. Families Communicants Paid Minister Sustentation Fund Weekly Collections Missionary and Charitable Objects Total
      £ s d £ s d £ s d £ s d £ s d
1860 157   59 0 0        
1866 180 150 63 0 0   24 11 2 24 4 3 111 5 5
1870 125 112 58 10 0  26 0 0 16 15 8 101 5 8
1875 110 96 93 12 0 30 4 8 35 8 6 65 2 4 224 7 6
1880 164 135 140 5 0 33 3 0 45 0 0 74 5 0 262 13 0
1890 210 200 211 16 0 65 18 2 89 13 0 135 2 0 502 2 0
1900 225 170 205 8 1 88 9 2 117 12 6 198 6 7 609 16 0
1910 223 215 197 12 4 102 0 0 131 7 1 234 0 0 664 19 5
1920 250 198 300 0 0 143 13 0 222 4 11 502 16 7 1264 14 6
1922 255 237 400 0 0 188 10 6 412 15 3 663 5 6 1664 11 3

NOTE -- Up to 1869 Ministers received in addition the Regium Donum of £69 4s 8d, and afterwards a Yearly Grant from the Sustentation Fund ranging between £75 4s 8d and £112.


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