Cariden Parochial School

(Muirhouses School)

The original parochial school for Carriden would appear to have been kept within the parish church itself, which at that time stood adjacent to Carriden House surrounded by the village.  Entry to the church for that purpose was by a doorway in the centre of the north wall, as attested by Arthur Morrison in 1707:

As also the door or entrie by qch the schoolemaster of the sd parish & schollars dureing the time the Schoole was keept in the kirk went out & in, qch was for the Spare of svll years entrie, and yt the sd Schoole master & Schollars had now oyr entrie, save the sd north entrie, qch was long ere the Isle of Grange was built.

(Kirk Session Records)

During the 17th century the settlement was moved to Little Carriden and Muirhouses and with it went the school.  The school building was provided by Sir John Hamilton of Grange in 1636, probably so that he could erect an aisle for himself and his tenants on the north side of the church.  It was recorded by the Kirk Session:

“A just double of the mortification given by the Lairds of Grang, of a house or houses in Muirhouse for a schoole to the parish of Carriden, 1636.

Be it kend to all men be thir present letters: We Sir John Hamilton of Grange knight liferenter and James Hamilton my eldest larful sone, ffiar of the lands of Muirhouse underwritten, upon the whilks lands the house after mentioned is builded, fforesameikle as the persones in dwellers within the parish of Carriden, hes with our special advice and consent, built one house, to be a schoole for the bairns withn the said parish and for one schoolemaster to them, upon our said lands of Muirhouse on the east sode of our town thereof by and within the said parish, therefore wit ye us both with due advice and consent to have given, mortified and dated, and by thir presents gives mortifies and dates the forsaid house builded upon the foresaids lands for the saids pious use of the said parish, and be thir presents resources quytes and overgives all and hail the forsaides house and ground whereupon the samen is builded to the effect foresaid, and all right, title and interest quhilk we or either of us out heirs or assigneyes and ways had, has or may claim or pretend thereto in time comeing in faboures of the saids parishonars of the said parish, to the use and behove above mentioned, and for more securitie we are content and consents that these presents be inscribed and registrat in the books of Council and Session, therein to remain as futuram rei memoriam, and to that affect constitutes…”

(Records of the Kirk Session of Carriden quoted in Bain, 30).

The teacher’s salary was paid by the Heritors of the parish.  In 1727 this was based upon the valuation of the lands (Bain, 63):

Blackness£ 6. 9. 6
Bonhard£ 5. 5. 4
Northbank£ 6. 9. 6
Grougfoot£ 5.14. 6
Carriden£11.16. 4
Walton£ 3.10. 8
Stacks£ 2. 8. 8
Caldcoats£ 4. 4. 8
Kinglass£ 5. 3. 4
TOTAL: £66.12. 8

The earliest recorded schoolmaster was John Fogo who also acted as Session Clerk and who demitted office in 1707 (Kirk Session Records).  This was a common duty of schoolmasters and when Mr Hart died in 1757 his widow took over his duties as Session Clerk and furnished the church with a Precentor in return for the dues arising from marriages and baptisms.

Year ArrivedHeadteacherYear LeftNo. Pupils
John Fogo1707
1707Robert Scott
1718James Stephen
Mr Hart1757
(1772)William Mungle
(1804)Alexander Bisset
(1816)Samuel Dalrymple
1840sJames Blair
Adam B Dorward1873

The Kirk Session paid the teacher to instruct

such children as are sent to school by the Session upon publik charity at the rate of fifteen pence Sterling by quarter for each”  

(Kirk Session Records 1707).

A meeting was held at Carriden on 7 May 1829 for the purpose of fixing the schoolmaster’s salary for the next twenty five years. It was then resolved that the salary should be the maximum one (£34 4s. 4d.), with the allowance of two bolls of meal in lieu of a garden until such should be provided for him. At the same time it was agreed that the school fees be as follows:

For Reading English2s 6d per quarter
For English and Writing3s per quarter
For English, Writing, and Arithmetic    3s 6d per quarter
For Reading English, Writing, Arithmetic, and English Grammar4s per quarter
For Latin, along with the other branches above mentioned         5s per quarter

And for any higher branches of education the fees were to be according to agreement between the teacher and pupils.

According to the parish minister in 1845 the parochial teacher’s salary was still the maximum. 

He possesses the legal accommodation as to school and dwelling-house, and in lieu of a garden, two bolls of oatmeal are allowed him” ).

(New Statistical account
Illus 1: 1854/55 Ordnance Survey Map (National Library of Scotland). It shows an external stair on the north side of the school to provide access to the schoolmaster’s flat.

The garden was evidently subsequently provided for in 1854 the Ordnance Surveyors described the school as

A house at the east end of the village of Muirhouses occupied as a school, where children of both sexes are taught the usual branches of and English education.  The average attendance of pupils is about 90.  The master receives the maximum salary together with a free house and garden, as also school fees from the scholars.

Illus 2: 1895/6 Ordnance Survey Map (National Library of Scotland).

The 1854 map shows the school building as part of a terrace of houses that fronted Acre Road to the south.  In the 17th century this road extended eastward to Carriden House and the parish church.  It then followed the coast to Blackness.  An external staircase on the north side of the building presumably gave access to the schoolmaster’s dwelling.

After the Pekin Treaty, in 1862, Admiral Hope of Carriden was engaged as an adviser at the Admiralty.  He later retired and for some time lived in London and afterwards settled at Carriden.  In conjunction with Lady Hope he associated himself in his later years with many religious and philanthropic movements in the district.  He bought up some of the old properties in the Muirhouses, and remodelled and rebuilt the village, including the old school and schoolhouse which was located on the north corner of Acre Road at its junction with Carriden Brae.  The venerable old building was demolished and the east end of the site was incorporated into a village square.  A new school building was erected perpendicular to the old one in English Tudor style as part of the model village in 1866 at the sole cost of Miss Helen Hope of Carriden. 

No details have come to light to show how the school property was transferred from the Heritors to the Carriden Estate, but a deal was evidently done and the money contributed to the construction of a new parochial school in 1863 at Cuffabouts almost opposite to the parish church.  For the final decade of the history of Carriden Parochial School see Carriden Public School.

Sites and Monuments Record

MuirhousesSMR 350NT 0186 8054

G.B. Bailey, 2022