Public Schools

  > The Grammar School was originally held in a room over the abbey gate1, but was removed many years ago to Egglesfield Abbey2, where a new schoolhouse was erected in 1832, on a very confined and much too small a site. By the register of this school, preserved in the library of the dean and chapter, it appears to have been founded by St. Cuthbert, about the year 686. During the ravages of the Danes, the school, with other institutions in the city, was destroyed; but it was refounded by William Rufus, about the commencement of the twelfth century, when it was made an appendage to the priory of St. Mary, and the masters were successively appointed from the canons of that house. After the dissolution of the religious houses, &c. by Henry VIII, it was again re-established by that monarch, in 1542, as part of the cathedral establishment, and its endowment is now 120 per annum, of which the dean and chapter pay 20, and the remainder arises from the rent of the Farmanby estate, which consists of 150 acres of land in Addingham parish, purchased with 500 bequeathed by Dr. Smith, bishop of Carlisle, who was a great benefactor to this city and county.

Attached to the school are two exhibitions of 60 a year, for the sons of clergymen of the diocese, in Carlisle. The Rev. Henry Gough, M.A., Fellow of Queen's College, Oxford, is head master, with two assistants. The register contains a list of the scholars educated here from 1699 to 1798. Among the eminent men whom it furnished, were, Dr. Thomas, bishop of Rochester; Dr. Guy Carlton, bishop of Bristol, and afterwards of Colchester; Dr. Tullie; Rev. J. D. Carlyle, the famous professor of Arabic, at Cambridge; Dr. Anthony Hall, the learned editor of Leland and Trivet3; and Dr. Henry Robinson, formerly bishop of Carlisle.

The Central School is a large structure at the West Wall, near the Grammar School, and was built in 1812, on ground given by the corporation, for an acknowledgement of 1s. a year. It consists of two spacious rooms, in which 5989 children have enjoyed the benefits of this extensive and well conducted charity school, since 1812. The number of children in the schools, on the 25th of March, 1846, was 130 boys and 104 girls; the annual subscriptions, donations, collections, &c., in the same year, about 200, and the expences, 217 13s. 7d. The bishop is its patron, and its affairs are managed by a committee. Reverends W. Rees and J. Thwaytes are secretaries; Mr. W. Nanson, treasurer; and Mr. and Mrs. Irving, are the teachers,

The British, or Lancastrian, Schools, for which a convenient building was erected in Mary-street, in 1834, by subscription, aided by a grant from government, capable of accommodating 400 children, is accessible to children of all denominations, and is liberally supported by annual contributions. A Lancastrian school was first instituted here in 1811, and occupied a large room in Watergate, for which a yearly rent of 20 was paid. Its affairs are managed by a committee; G. H. Head, Esq., is treasurer; Mr. J. Waldie, secretary; and Mr. George Clubb, and Miss M. A. Hamilton, are the teachers. The average number of boys is about 100, and of girls, 70. It is divided into two apartments.

St. Patrick's Schools, in Spring Gardens, were founded in 1825, for the education of children of all denominations. The site for these schools was given by the duke of Devonshire, and the cost of the original building was 170. It was enlarged in 1844, at a cost of 130. The schools are supported chiefly by voluntary contributions, and the average number of children is about 80 boys and 120 girls. P. H. Howard, Esq. M.P., is patron of the boys' school, and Mrs. Howard is patroness of the girls' school, which is under the immediate superintendence of two ladies, pupils of the Presentation Convent, Doneraile, near Cork. Mr. Michael McGough is the master.

The School of Industry, in Botchergate, is a small edifice, built in 1806. Like the foregoing, it is supported by voluntary contributions, and the object of it, as its name imports, is to bring up children in habits of industry. The school is to consist of 45 girls, inhabitants of Carlisle and Stanwix, and its management is entrusted to a committee of seven ladies, with a treasurer chosen from the subscribers. The girls are admitted at nine years of age, and do not leave before fourteen, and they each pay one penny per week. Girls receive prizes for good conduct in their places, during some time after they leave the school. It is conducted by Mrs. Ann Fairlie.

Another School was opened in 1836, in a commodious room, adjoining the cotton factory, in Shadden-gate4, and is chiefly supported by Messrs. Peter Dixon and Sons, to whom great praise is due, for their laudable exertions in facilitating the education of the offspring of the operative classes. The children pay two-pence a week, and the system of teaching is that adopted in the Edinburgh Sessional School. There are at present 180 children of both sexes, in these schools, and Walter and Jane Palmer, are the teachers. Trinity Schools, in Caldewgate, were built in 1842, and are in connection with Trinity church, are conducted in the national system, and have accommodation for infant training; William and Emma Manley are the teachers. Christ's Church National Schools, were established about four years ago; and in 1846, a new and commodious school-house was erected in Crown-street, by subscription and a Parliamentary grant, at a cost of 1400, including a house for the master, and the purchase of the site. They are calculated to accommodate about 370 children. Mr. Thos. Johnson and Mrs. Johnson, are teachers of the national, and Catherine Hawes, teacher of the infant school.

Besides the day schools, there are no fewer than from three to four thousand children in regular attendance in the various Sunday schools, for which Carlisle is pre-eminent.


Mannix & Whellan, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Cumberland, 1847




1. The abbey gate which held the school room is presumably the one pictured here.
2. Egglesfield, or Eaglesfield, Abbey was a tiny extra-parochial district, later a Civil Parish, near the cathedral, which existed from 1858 till 1904. (Personal communication, Philip Bingham). Roughly, it appears to have consisted of the SE corner of the Abbey precinct, and the land between St. Cuthbert's Church and the West Walls of the city, including the Tithe Barn. On a large scale OS map of 1901, that corner of the Abbey grounds shows "Eaglesfield Abbey (site of)". Curiously, I have so far been unable to find references to this ancient Abbey.
3. John Leland was an antiquary in the first half of the 16th century; Nicholas Trivet was the author of several works of history in the early 14th century.
4. Shadden-gate is now Shaddongate

Other than the Abbey Gate, I'm not aware that any of the buildings described above still survive.

19 June 2015

Steve Bulman