Pupils of Charity School in Cloyne, Co. Cork 1742-1864

Small Sources 72:  This record is the register of 237 pupils (almost all boys) enrolled in a charity school founded in Cloyne, Co. Cork in 1726.  The records available are for most of the period from 1742 until 1864 (excluding 1777-1808).  The original register book is in the Representative Church Body Library (Ms 870) in Dublin and these extracts and illustrations are provided with their permission.  The school was established by Dr. Charles Crow, Bishop of Cloyne, who died in 1726. In his will be bequeathed the rental income from his farm and properties around Cloyne town to found and maintain a school for ‘poor Protestant boys’. It sponsored 8-10 boys per year for a period of three years of education,  and then arranged an apprenticeship for each. The fund also paid the £5 fee due to each Master to accept an apprentice. The school also catered for boys in the cathedral choir, and  boys from the town (see Figure 1).  However, the register which is the subject of this article appears to only include the charity boys. A separate document (see below) covers all pupils in the period 1860-64.   The boys,  and almost all of the masters to whom the boys are apprenticed are from the diocese of Cloyne,  which covers all of North and East Cork (see map below). According to the register,  most boys entered at ages from 10 – 12 and stayed for 3 years.  Most were then ‘bound out’ to masters for a period of years. The early apprenticeships were very predominantly to shoemakers but include a wide variety of trades including tailors (or taylors),  printers, bakers, millers, grocers etc.

Figure 1: A reference to the school in Lewis’s ‘Topographical Dictionary of Ireland’ (1837)

The range of information contained is very extensive and includes names of 227 boys; 10 girls (all apparently sisters of boy pupils and all in the 1860s);  the parents of 165 of the boys; the trades of most of the named fathers;  dates of entry and exit from the school (for most);  names of the sponsors of most boys;  the names and locations of 108 tradesmen to whom they were apprenticed; and approx 70 others (sponsors, clergy, teachers etc).   In total,  there are over 700 named individuals from North and East Cork.  These are very predominantly Protestant families and tradesmen,  as this was the stated aim of the school.

The school was based in the town of Cloyne which dates back to the 11th century as a monastic centre,  and was the centre of the Roman Catholic diocese of Cloyne until the Reformation after which it was the centre of the Church of Ireland diocese  (see Fig 2).  When the school was founded in 1726, Cloyne was a relatively prosperous town. As the Church of Ireland was an arm of government until its disestablishment in 1857, the town was also a centre for  certain civil functions such as will probate and marriage licenses, in addition to ecclesiastical duties. This would have attracted visitors and commerce.  However, in 1835 the diocese was united with the Diocese of Cork and Ross and the diocesan and activity moved to Cork City.  By 1846, the town’s fortune had declined and Slater’s National Commercial Directory of Ireland  (see Fig 1)  of that year noted that “with the exception of large quantities of boots and shoes made here, the trade of the place is very inconsiderable”.   The reason for Cloyne being a major centre for shoe-making is not now clear.

Figure 2: Map of Cloyne Dioceses

The format of the register, and the details included,  varied over the years, presumably to suit the needs and energy of successive .  In the period 1742 – 1769  the  records only list the students who were successfully apprenticed (only 1 or 2 per year – see below); and  there are no records at all from 1770 t0 1808. The most detailed records exist from 1809 to 1860.   All records are listed in date order below.

Whereas the main register included only the Charity pupils,  the document for 1860-64 includes all students.  Four of the boys are classified as ‘Choir’ which means that they were educated in lieu of their singing in the choir of the Cathedral;  some are classified as ‘boarders’ which indicates that they are living in the school.  It would appear that they are paying for their education, as at least one left the school on the basis that it was cheaper to provide education at home.  In addition, there are 10 girls listed,  but all of these would appear to be sisters of boys in the school.  Presumably they were accepted for convenience of the families.

Figure 3:   Columns of information in register used in early 1800s, plus an ‘Observations’ column on the right

The details on each pupil vary significantly over the years.  The  most detailed records are in the period 1809-1860 (see Fig 3)   and these generally include:

  • Pupil’s Name and Age  (age is not consistently provided before 1815 and after 1861)
  • Parent’s names; residence (usually only the parish name);  Religion  (P = Protestant and RC = Catholic)  and whether alive or dead. The vast majority are Protestant families (as intended in the bequest), but one parent is occasionally a Catholic.   This information has been abbreviated in the abstracts below.
  • Father’s trade or occupation (this is sometimes included in above column).  Most are tradesmen (weavers, hosiers,  carpenters etc);  others are public or church officials  (police, soldiers, church clerks, scripture readers etc.).   A Hawker is a street-seller.  This information has been abbreviated in the abstracts below.
  • By whom recommended. These are the persons who proposed the pupil to the school. Most are clergy in parishes of the diocese.  These details have not been included in the abstracts below.
  • Date of entry and exit.  This is inconsistent: some entries have only date of entry or date of departure and some have no information.  Note that the usual schooling was 3 years,  which may be useful in calculating entry or exit dates.
  • Observations or remarks. This usually contains information on any unusual occurrences  (ran away,  expelled, died etc )  and notes on fees paid for apprenticeships.  In some years this is included in  a separate column. Other content  includes  fee details, and some entries note that the pupil was provided with a bible and/or prayer book or clothes on exit.   The latter details have been omitted and other information has been abbreviated in  the abstracts below.
  • ‘Bound out or dismissed’. In some years a separate column is included detailing the apprenticeship obtained by the student OR other fates such as ran away, dismissed etc. The tradesman to whom the pupil is apprenticed (and their trade) is almost always named.
  • ‘Reason for leaving’.  In the period 1861-64  some records provided on a separate list which includes this column,  and also classifies the pupils as Choir, Free,  Boarder, Foundation or Pay School.
Figure 4:  Typical entry in the register for 1830-1860. Format and level of detail varies in different periods

The content of these columns has been condensed into a smaller number of columns below.  Critical family information is included,   but note that the original entries may contain other information on fees,  and recommendations made on the pupils.   The different periods of records are described and abstracted below.   Note that Flyleaf Press (a division of Ancestor Network)  publish  ‘A Guide to Tracing your Cork Ancestors‘ by Tony McCarthy and Tim Cadogan as an e-book or in print. This provides comprehensive guidance in tracing ancestors in the City and County.

Ancestor Network will also offer readers 1 free hour of research by a professional family historian to conduct further study on these individuals, or on other tenants of the estate. We can also obtain images of the original documents. Click here and quote ‘CorkSS70’ in the subject line.


During this period there is no record of attendance.  However,  there is a single page headed “A list of the Charity Boys of the Charity School of Cloyne which were bound out apprentices since the year 1742″.  This gives the year of departure and the Master to whom each was apprenticed.   The trade is not indicated in most.

John Priest Left 1742. Apprenticed to Stephen Cats
Robert Nason Left 1745 Apprenticed to James Hannan
Wm. Cotterel Left 1745 Apprenticed to Henry Allyn
John Cats Left 17 Apprenticed to Stephen Catts
James Donovan Left 1746 Apprenticed to Revd. Mr Hayman
John Murphy Left 1747 Apprenticed to Mrs Murphy
Willm. Uniack Left 1747 Apprenticed to Mrs Murphy
Stephen Catts Left 1748 Apprenticed to Stephen Catts
Timothy Kelly Left 1750 Apprenticed to Wm. Cotterel
Walter Williams Left 1750 Apprenticed to Wm. Cotterel
Danl. Savige Left 1751 Apprenticed to Henry Ketchir
Wm. Harris Left 1752 Apprenticed to Ben Hoare
Jams. Clune Left 1753 Apprenticed to John Corbet
Wm. Mansfield Left 1754 Apprenticed to John Simmons
John Finn Left 1754 Apprenticed to Wm Tailor
George McGrath Left 1755 Apprenticed to Nichs. Patterson
Dens. Croneen Left 1758 Apprenticed to Bart. Nason
Harnon Catts Left 1758 Apprenticed to Benjamin Shepard
Richd. Thyrry Left 1759 Apprenticed to John Thyrry
Maurice Sullivan Left 1759
Charles Thyrry Left 1760 Apprenticed to Rt Hon Earl of Inchiquin
Richard Harris Left 1760 Apprenticed to Robt Kinna
Thos Cleyton Left 1761 Apprenticed to David Dakers
Francis Worrel Left 1762 Apprenticed to Rev Mr Sullevan
Edmd. Cleyton Left 1762 Apprenticed to Tim Kelly
Derby Mahony Left 1762 Apprenticed to Wm. White
Michl Catts Left 1763 Apprenticed to Michl. White
James Thyrry Left 1763 Apprenticed to Rt Hon Earl of Inchiquin
Ben Harris Left 1764 Apprenticed to John Cockran
Barw. White Left 1764 Apprenticed to John Baker
Thos. Bryan Left 1765 Apprenticed to Wm. Simpson – glover
Charles Dawly Left 1765 Apprenticed to Wm. Johnson – Tailor
James Robinson Left 1766 Apprenticed to Richd. Jones
Michl. Power Left 1766 Apprenticed to Isaac Tallant
Thos. Rawny Left 1767 Apprenticed to Henry Bellford
Wm. Murchie Left 1767 Apprenticed to Jas. Carrol
Richd. Hide? Left 1767 Apprenticed to Edmd. Hosell?
Thos. Mc..Athers ? Left approx 1768. No other information
Patrick Linehan Left 1769 Apprenticed to Richd. Tallant
John Askew Left 1770 Apprenticed to his father, supposed, as no names mentioned


There are no records for the period 1770 to 1808.

1809 – 1860

The register commencing in 1809 is  illustrated in Figure 3 above.  The details changed over the years to (presumably) suit the needs and styles of different school staff.   The columns of information are shown in Figs 3 and 4,  but not all were completed.   For the purposes of this article,  the most relevant family history content has been abstracted into the  tables below.  Some text has been abbreviated; and information has been omitted or abbreviated,  unless it is of direct family history relevance.  For example, the surname of the parents has been omitted from the parent’s name column unless it is different from the pupil’s surname in column 1;  and the name of the person who recommended the boy for entry to the school is omitted.  Some of the observations were clearly ‘notes to self’ by the registrar and are difficult to interpret;   ? indicates uncertainty in interpreting the writing.    In the religion column P = Protestant and RC is Roman Catholic.  Regarding place-names,   most are names of civil parishes.  The town of  Cobh is spelled Cove throughout.

Surnames in above tables:  Agnew; Allman; Ard; Atkins; Baily ; Baker ; Barrett; Barron; Best; Bible; Blake ; Bolster ; Browne; Browning ; Burke; Cameron; Carpenter; Carroll ; Casey; Chapman; Clerk; Collins; Corbett; Costello; Crean; Croker; Crowley; Dalton; Daly; Dawkins; Dawson; Day; Deane; Dear ; Delaney; Dibbs; Dore; Earles ; Edwards; Farrell; Fetherston; Garde; Good; Grant; Gray; Green; Hall; Hannan; Harris ; Hartnett; Hawkes ; Hawkesworth ; Hegarty ; Hickey; Hudson; Hurley; Hutchinson; Jesse; Johnson; Jones; Joyce; Kellehor / Kelliher; Kennedy; King; Kinnely; Lee; Mann; McCann; McDowell; McNamara ; Mills; Moffat; Mooney; Mulholland; Murphy; Nason; Newman; Nice; Nolan; O’Bryen / O’Brien; Patterson; Peace ; Perkins; Philpott; Pope; Roberts; Robinatt; Rogers ; Saunders ; Sheppard ; Singleton; Smyth ; Southwell ; Spring ; Sullivan; Swan; Tarrant; Tarrant; Thompson; Thornton; Tiner; Tout; Vanstan; Varian; Venn; Whelan ; Willes ; Williams; Willis; Winn; Wynn

1861- 64.

As noted above,  the main register only includes the charity boys.  Further loose records, i.e. not bound into the register are also included.  The documents consist of two sheets with columns for Name, Class, Dates of arrival and departure, and ‘Cause of leaving’.  Many of the entries are blank; some indicate only entry date, others only the departure date.  Below is an abstract of the content. Note that there are several girls included.  In some cases,  these girls have brothers at the school.   Pupils are also classified as ‘Foundation’, ‘Choir’ (which presumably means that they were singers in the Cathedral choir) and ‘Free’ (which possibly indicates that they are the ‘boys from the town’ described in Fig 1 above.).

Edward Delaney       Age 11, Glanworth Arrived 1st Jan 1861
Edward Mills               Arrived May 1864 ‘Foundation’ pupil.
Francis Harrison        Choir; left Jan 1864.
Thomas Bell               Choir
James Mills                Choir
William Bourke         Choir
Roger Robinett        (Foundation) July 1862. Bound to Grocer, Cork
Thomas Wilson        (Boarder) March 1862- Jan 1864. Teacher advised his removal.
John Beere             (Boarder) April 1862- April 1863. Cheaper education at home.
Richard Wright        (Free). Left Nov 1863. Went to America.
Charles Wright        (Free)
John White              (Free) Left October 1863. ‘Father’s work’.
Henry Baker          (Free)
John Baker             (Free)
Eliza Henderson        (Free) June 1862-Oct 1863. wanted at home, sickly mother
Margaret Henderson       (Free) Arrived June 1862
John Henderson       (Free) Arrived June 1862
Joseph Wilson        (Free) Aug 1862- Oct 1863. Family removed to Cork.
Richard Forde        (Free) Arrived April 1863.
Langford Baker        (Free) Arrived Nov 1863
Charles Garde        (Pay school). Situation in Wexford bank.
William Garde        (Pay school)
Thomas Garde        (Pay school) Left Sept 1863. Medical Profession, Dublin
Horace Garde        (Pay school)
William Smyth        (Pay school) Left Mar 1863 Farming at home
Richard Smyth        (Pay school)
William Forde        (Pay school) Feb 1862-Feb 1863, Farming at home
Samuel Forde       (Pay school) Feb 1862 -Jan 1864. Bound to Mr Bourke, Midleton
Henry Smyth        (Pay school). Feb 1862-Nov 1863 Attended at home by a tutor
Thomas Forde        Arrived Feb 1862
George Pope        (Pay school) Mar 1862- Jan 1863. Delicate, distance too far.
Eliza Chapman        (Pay school) Arrived Sept 1862 – March 31. Went to Australia
Isabella Smyth        (Pay school) Oct 1862- Jan 1863. Went to female school.
Harriet Smyth        (Pay school) Oct 1862- Jan 1863. Went to female school.
irish-family-historyMary Jane Forde        (Pay school) Arrived March 1862
Susan Forde          (Pay school) Arrived March 1863
Richard Garde        (Pay school) Arrived Aug 1863
Lucy Heyslip          (Pay school) Arrived Oct 1863
Thomas Smyth        (Pay school) Arrived Feb 1862
Charles Givens        (Pay school) Arrived Dec 1863
Margaret Peters        (Free). April 1864- June 1864. Family left for Fermoy
Anne Peters           (Free) April 1864-June 1864. Family left for Fermoy
Robert Peters           (Free). April 1864- June 1864. Family left for Fermoy
James Peters           (Free). April 1864- June 1864. Family left for Fermoy
M Jane Henderson        (Free). Arrived April 1864
Richard White        (Free). Arrived May 1864
William Ludgate        (Foundation) Arrived June 1864
William Baker        Arrived August 1864
Richard Forde       Arrived August 1864
Henry Forde          Arrived August 1864
Lizzie Forde          (Free) Arrived August 1864
Stephen Coffee        (Pay School) Arrived August 1864
Henry Garde          (Pay School) Arrived August 1864

This is a significant source of information on the Church of Ireland community of Cloyne in the 18th century.  The list includes many names which are very rare in Ireland.  Further information on some of the families listed may be included in our publication ‘Sources for Irish Family History 2021‘ which lists books and articles on over 2,500 Irish families.      Ancestor Network will offer 1 free hour of research by a professional researcher to conduct further research on these individuals, or on other tenants of the estate. We can also obtain images of the original documents. Click here and quote ‘CorkSS72’ in the subject line.   We also publish an e-book  ‘A Guide to Tracing your Cork Ancestors‘ by Tony McCarthy and Tim Cadogan.

Figure 5:  Examples of entries in some columns in the 1840s:   Name, age, Parents, Religion and status, and father’s occupation.

Ancestry Network conducts  research on all Irish family history sources and archives.   If you need help in following up on anything related to this source,  or any other Irish research, you can outline your requirements here and we will let you know what we might be able to do for you.

Further Cork and General articles in our series on Irish Family History sources include:

Cork Sources