Muiravonside Parochial School

The parish of Muiravonside had a parochial school as early as 1677.  In that year the Kirk Session was concerned that a rival school had been established nearby to the detriment of their school’s attendance. 

The sessione considering that the publick schoole in Koxlaw [Harelaw or Coxhill?] is much decayed by there being privat schools in some place of the parish and partly by the negligence of parents who have children in not sending them to the school, therefor the Minr does desire the Elders in their several divisions in the parish to Tack up ane List of the names of such children as are kept from the publick school& give in the samyne to the sess: the next dyett that their parents may be spoken with thereanent and further appoints the Beddell to go the toune of Walkmilltone to discharge and inhibit Joan Kirk who healdane school there as we are informed that she teaches children after this & that she appear befor the sess: the next dyett to produce her Testamoniall she being stranger.”

(dated 29 April 1677).
Illus: 1859/63 Ordnance Survey Plan (National Library of Scotland).

This suggests that the early school stood in the eastern part of the parish near Easter Manuel.  In 1694 it was decided to erect a new one, together with a schoolmaster’s house, though no details were given regarding their location.  The population was dispersed, with no urban centres, and so we might expect a more central location to be chosen.  By the mid 19th century the school was situated on the north side of Thorney Loan – the road from Crownerland to Almond – where there was a small hamlet.  It appears to have been well endowed and in 1841 the parish minister in his entry for the New Statistical Account noted that “The parish school has the maximum salary, a glebe of 6 acres, and 100 well taught scholars, several in Latin, and the greater part learning reading, writing, arithmetic, grammar, and geography.”  The gift of six acres of land between the school and the church hints that this may have come from the Livingston family some time before they forfeited the Almond Estate in 1715.  The new site was more central, but it was probably picked due to the availability of the land.  A stone inscribed “1817” is now built into the north boundary wall of the property and may have come from a rebuild of the school.

For much of the 18th century Thomas Greenhill, whose gravestone is to be found at Muiravonside Church, was the schoolmaster.  Matthew Henderson was perhaps the best known of the later teachers, though he was apt to be too quick to resort to corporal punishment.  He was also the clerk of the Kirk Session and the Inspector of the Poor.

In accordance with the 1872 Education Act the school was handed over to the Muiravonside School Board upon its establishment the following year.

Mid 18th centuryThomas Greenhill1793
c1800Patrick Calder1830
1830Matthew M Henderson1875100

Sites and Monuments Record

Muiravonside Parochial SchoolSMR 2156NS 9575 7639

G.B. Bailey, 2023