A HISTORY OF FRIENDS' SCHOOL LISBURN

By
Neville H. Newhouse

 

 

 

CHAPTER TWO
The School and
The Quaker Separation of 1800

Towards the end of John Gough's life it must have been clear to observant Friends that he was failing rapidly. At least it was clear to his son Johnny, as he was called, and there is evidence that he tried to win the support of some local Quakers for the idea that he should follow his father as Headmaster of the school on Prospect Hill. There was nothing unusual in this ; sons often followed Headmaster fathers, as did the Shackletons at Ballitore. It was easier there because the school was not directly under Quaker control. Edenderry School for girls is a more typical example, and there in 1773, when Ebenezer Mellor's wife died, he wrote : `I cannot at present see my way what to do but gratitude to Friends in Ireland obliges me to keep on the school till the Half Year's Meeting and if afterwards you think my daughter and I qualified to continue it and there be a prospect of a sufficient number of girls to make it answer for us, I hope we shall be willing to do our best'. He was suggesting that the school be kept in the family.

John Gough junior

So it was not surprising that young John Gough sent this letter, dated 1st December 1791, to the trustees of John Hancock's school:

A few days after my father's removal, I delivered a paper into the hands of John Hancock [Junior], addressed to you, purporting that there was a vacancy in the place of a master of said school, and that I was willing to continue the care thereof on the same terms on which my father held it, during the life of my mother, with liberty to quit said care before her death, upon giving you six months' notice. I request your taking my proposals under consideration, so as to be prepared to give me a final answer, at next province meeting to be held in Lisburn on the 7/1/1792.
I remain your friend John Gough.

There is a great difference between the tone of this and of Ebenezer Mellor's letter. How is this to be explained ? Had the passage of twenty years changed Quakerism so much or was John Gough junior simply an awkward customer ? It is a difficult question to answer because Johnny's `paper' has not come down to us. But we do have some comments on it by one of the trustees, Robert Bradshaw, formerly of Newtownards but now retired and living in Dublin. He was moved to write very plainly to `Brother' Thomas Greer in the following uncompromising terms

Thine of 2nd instant duly received giving account of thy having received a letter (otherwise a pamphlet) from J. G. containing seven folio pages, a duplicate of which I had the pleasure of receiving. I say the pleasure for thereby he lets the cat, or rather the fox, out of the bag with respect to his subtle proposals for enhancing the school to his mother on him on the terms his father held it. Nothing could have been more opportune than the receipt of that impertinent scribble for the exoneration of the trustees from his unfair imputations which I find he has been very busy in decimating [disseminating ? ] through the kingdom.

Though there are difficulties in these old-fashioned words, one thing is clear : young John Gough had been sending letters to a number of Friends in Ireland complaining about the trustees. Samuel Neale of Cork, an Elder greatly respected throughout Ireland, had received such a letter and `was to have given the trustees a severe admonition'. John Gough, states Robert Bradshaw in the later part of his letter, has `endeavoured to instill as much as possible into the minds of Friends' the idea that Thomas Greer has taken a dislike to him (i.e. to young John Gough), and has also `conducted matters relating to the school' without consulting the other trustees. Robert Bradshaw has therefore been busy in Dublin disabusing Friends. Placing in `battle array' (his own splendid phrase, full of that belligerency that Quakers can show when roused) John Hancock's will, John Gough's letter, the trustees' proposals and then John Gough's formal pamphlet, he has read them over to several Friends `with full effect'. Always vigorous and organised, Robert Bradshaw then wrote letters to those Friends not in Dublin who had been approached by young Johnny, saying `in plain terms ... that it is an absolute falsehood and a meer forgery of J.G.' He concludes

I therefore give it as my opinion that John Gough is really deficient in the following particulars, viz., a natural good temper, common sense, want of competent knowledge in literature, arithmetical, mathematical, and classical, for which reasons I conclude that he is not a suitable person to commit the care of the school to, and agree with thee not to answer his silly pamphlet and let the school be clear of him at fifth month next.

Yet not everyone saw young John Gough in this way. There was, for example, John Hancock junior, the son of the school's founder. He was then thirty, three years younger than, and friendly with the late Headmaster's son. He had married the daughter of Thomas Greer, the trustee about whom John Gough was most strongly complaining. Alarmed at the rift between his friend and the trustees, John Hancock discussed it with his father-in-law, Thomas Greer, in the hope of helping to heal it. But something happened which caused John Hancock to withdraw his support (if that is the word) from John Gough, because on 22nd February 1792 he wrote to his wife's father in a somewhat embarrassed and apologetic vein, assuring him that he had not been discussing the school with John Gough and that he intended in future to support the trustees. By June John Gough `had fixed to take up school in Limerick', and announced that he (and presumably his mother) would `quit' the Lisburn school in September. Once he did so, he and his family had nothing more to do with Prospect Hill, though it should be recorded that he ultimately settled in Dublin where he became a well-known publisher of Quaker and other books. His `Tour of Ireland', published in 1817 a year before his death and now difficult to obtain, is a slight but interesting description of the Ireland he knew.

The Closing of the School

For much of the time during which young John Gough and his widowed mother occupied the school there were no pupils in it. We know this because when cousin Jacob Hancock visited Thomas Greer in June 1792, the two Elders had a `conference' about the school. Thomas gave this report of it to his son

Jacob is of opinion that we must [think] upon a small scale at first and mostly if not wholly for Friends children, boarders. It seems positive that it was giving a latitude to others at the beginning that overset the school or was the chief means thereof. I do suppose that 5th month next will be the soonest we can propose to open the new school, but that can be settled hereafter. What we would wish John [Hancock] to do is to enquire through the north part of England (and from Northern Friends in London) after a suitable Master that correspondence may be opened with him. I suppose that Quarterly Meeting will give us no more trouble. (20th June 1792)

These words leave us in no doubt that the school had been closed. In Thomas Greer's view this was the result of a `latitude' in admitting non-Quaker day scholars, which took place, he says, `in the beginning'. Does he mean as long ago as 1774 ? It seems probable that he does. And if he does, then there must have been those who disapproved of the school from the first. This, in its turn, would explain some of Headmaster John Gough's frustration. And, in view of what we know for a certainty about the serious Quaker disagreements towards the end of the eighteenth century, it is all too likely that the school's difficulties following the death of John Gough Senior were the climax of tensions dating back many years.

John Hancock's will stated that the master of the school must be a Quaker, must teach ten Quaker children free, and must board and teach free a further Quaker child whom he was to train if possible to be a schoolmaster. The school was `to be under the inspection of the Quarterly Meeting for the Province of Ulster ; the said Quarterly Meeting being empowered to appoint Trustees for ever on the death of those living'. But, argued those who were discontented, the school had never been inspected by the Quarterly Meeting, and, worse still, its fortunes had from the first been solely the concern of the Trustees who had in no way involved the Quarterly Meeting. John Hancock's manifest intention, many claimed, however his will may have been legally worded, was to establish a school conducted by the whole Society ; what had happened was that a cabal of four had administered its affairs through a Headmaster who had never been truly answerable to Quarterly Meeting. And dissatisfaction at this state of affairs had rumbled on, it seems, since the early days of the first John Gough. So it is not difficult to imagine the discussion which went on in Quaker circles after John Gough's death : who would appoint the new Master ? would the school now be fully in the care of the Quarterly Meeting ? would it be periodically visited and inspected ? had there ever been such a visit ? had the trustees faithfully carried out the terms of the will ?

The questionings soon found a focal point in the business meetings of Friends, and Ulster Quarterly Meeting held on 7th January 1792 `took into consideration what share of the Trust [set up in John Hancock's will] was committed to the Quarterly Meeting'. As often happens, the Meeting appointed a committee. It went to work immediately and before Quarterly Meeting ended had `a conference' with those Trustees who were present at the time. However, it recognised the need to consult all Trustees as a body and therefore recommended that `further consideration be postponed till next Provincial Meeting'.

A missing Trustee was certainly Robert Bradshaw, who was meticulously keeping the Notebook which turned up in a shop on the Dublin Quays to be bought by the alert Jonathan H. Barcroft and presented to Ulster Provincial School of whose records it now forms part. This invaluable diary-notebook records Robert Bradshaw's indignation when he received a letter telling him of the discussion then taking place in Ulster. With typically prompt thoroughness he consulted the Acts of Parliament dealing with the powers invested in Trustees, studied John Hancock's will in the light of his findings, and on 19th March 1792 despatched a letter to Thomas Greer in Dungannon. He was, Robert Bradshaw roundly affirmed, `at a loss to account for the cause that induced the Meeting' to appoint a Committee to look into the School's affairs. The will had, he admitted, conferred a privilege on the Quarterly Meeting, but had at no point invested Friends as a body with the rights of the Trustees ; and the rights of the Trustees were clearly set out by Act of Parliament (3rd of George III chapter 18), which Act no lesser authority within the country could set aside. As for the news that meetings other than the full Ulster Quarterly Meeting intended to discuss the matter, Robert Bradshaw was outraged at such `intermeddling `-Are Friends going to extend the authority of [the less important] Six Weeks Meeting beyond its limit, and grasp at a power not conferred on it ?' His conclusion was clear. Friends should not discuss the matter until the next full Quarterly Meeting, and at that meeting his, Robert Bradshaw's, opinions should be read out by Thomas Greer.

The School Re-opens

We do not know whether or not his opinions were read out as he desired ; even if they were, their limited, legalistic approach is unlikely to have recommended them. But we do know that the Quarterly Meeting moved slowly. As late as 3rd December 1792, at its fourth and last meeting of the year, it recorded this minute.

The meeting being informed that the school at Lisburn is being discontinued on account of the want of a master, whereby the institution is likely to suffer, on consideration thereof the meeting appoints the following friends to confer with the Trustees in endeavouring to revive said school, and also what part this meeting ought to assume in the affairs thereof viz
William Pike, Joseph Nicholson, Thomas Phelps, James Clibborn, James Christy Junior, John Conran, John Rodgers, Thomas Bradshaw, Jonathan Richardson and Gervais Johnson to meet on 6th day evening at 10 o'clock before next meeting and make report thereto.

This very interesting, if clumsily written minute shows that the peacemakers have been at work. In terms of solving the problem under discussion at the start of 1792, no progress has been made, for the matter being considered is still `what part the meeting ought to assume in the affairs of the school'. But the Committee's composition is most conciliatory, its members including the sons of two trustees (James Christy Junior and Thomas Bradshaw) who would be unlikely, even though representing a protesting Quarterly Meeting, to be unreasonable in dealing with their own fathers. There are other interesting names - John Conran, one of the old traditionalist Friends who was to be for ten years the only Elder in Ulster, the others having resigned en bloc ; John Rodgers who by 1799 was first removed from the station of Elder and then disowned following his bankruptcy and his daughter's marriage to a non-Quaker ; and James Clibborn, shortly to remonstrate with the redoubtable Thomas Greer in the matter of one of his many legal wrangles. In fact, by 1800 it would have been impossible to ask more than half this committee to work together, so that the school might well have foundered completely if it had not been re-established now by the quietly purposeful action of Ulster Friends at a time when there were growing tensions between them.

By the next Quarterly Meeting in March 1793 the Committee brought in its findings as follows

We . . . are of the judgement that the Quarterly Meeting has a right to appoint a committee to assist the trustees in engaging a schoolmaster and finally to settle all matters thereto.

This time Friends appointed a committee of five to act for them. At the same time two new Trustees were appointed : James Christy Junior-'in the place of Jacob Hancock'-and John Hancock junior, the son of the school's founder. The original trustees, perhaps because they were now old men whose sons and daughters looked on the world very differently from their parents, had ceased to oppose and were instead co-operating with the Quarterly Meeting.

The June Meeting decided firmly to re-open the Boarding School `at a low rate' and, in acknowledging the generosity of Friends in other part of Ireland `who had stept forward to offer their Assistance in subscribing' to the school, `earnestly recommended Friends here who are more immediately interested to act with liberality'. The committee responsible for this work was : Thomas Greer Junior, James Nicholson, William Nicholson, James Clibborn, Thomas Haughton, Thomas Phelps, James Christy Junior, Jacob Hancock, Jonathan Richardson, Thomas Bradshaw' Gervase Johnson, William Pike, John Morrison, James Hunter and Thomas Boardman. By September they had formed a `plan and rules for establishing Friends Schools in this Province', and presented it to Quarterly Meeting which in turn desired that the plan be laid before the Committee of the


George R. Chapman has established the following facts about the other members of this Committee

WILLIAM PIKE was probably from Beechgrove, Coalisland, and a member of Grange Meeting.
JOSEPH NICHOLSON (1758-1817) was the son of James Nicholson of Dublin and Ruth (Morton) of Grange. He was in the linen business in Bessbrook which was later acquired by the Richardsons. He married Abigail Hogg in 1782.
THOMAS PHELPS was originally from Dublin, though by this time he was living in the Lurgan-Moyallon district. He was a grandson of Thomas Christy of Moyallon.
JAMES CLIBBORN was originally from the South, though now probably living in the Lurgan-Moyallon area.
JONATHAN RicHARDSON was the son of John Richardson and Ruth (Hogg) of Lisburn. He married Sarah Nicholson and their son, James Nicholson Richardson of Glenmore, Lisburn, was the father of John Grubb Richardson.
GERVAIS JOHNSON (1733-1801) was originally from Ballyhagan Meeting. After his marriage to Mary Wilson in 1760 he lived at Toberhead, County Antrim, and carried on the Meeting there until the family removed to Antrim Town. He went on a religious visit to Friends in America from 1797 to 1800 and went to all but six Meetings there. His family in Antrim were `preserved' during the '98 Rebellion. He was a recognised Minister of the Society and there is a testimony to the grace of God in his life in the minutes of Dublin Yearly Meeting for 1804.

National Meeting and that each Monthly Meeting in Ulster `propose the Names of Friends in the following proportions to form a provincial committee for the management of said school

viz : Cootehill 1  Charlemont 4 Ballyhagan 4
  Lurgan 4  Lisburn 4 Antrim 2 '

The numbers indicate the strength of Friends in these districts.

There followed several months during which the school buildings were improved and some financial details were attended to. The Committee decided that 8,000 ought to be raised, as the interest of 400 a year would be enough to re-establish and continue the school. We do not know how much was raised. But we know from the Committee's minutes that they found difficulty in obtaining a suitable master. By 27th October 1794 we are told that the school had been open about two months in the care of a teacher who is acting temporarily until someone more suitable can be found. So just twenty years after John Gough received the first scholars on Prospect Hill, the school was officially placed in the care of Ulster Friends ; whatever its status between 1774 and 1794, whether run privately by trustees or run by trustees on behalf of the Quakers, from 1794 on there has been no doubt : it has been, and remains, the responsibility of Ulster Quarterly Meeting. Four years later, in 1798, at the opposite end of Ireland, Friends bought a fine Georgian house on the outskirts of Waterford and founded Newtown School, which is still Munster's counterpart of the Provincial School of the North.

School Life

There seems no reason to suppose that the school ran very differently from the original one in the care of John Gough. Mary Waterfall, using her father's notes, has pieced together the following information

The children were provided with double wooden bedsteads, at the foot of each being a simply arranged wardrobe, a few specimens of which were still in existence at the time of the school centenary. The beds were of straw, for the making of which we find such entries as `Eight theaves or sheaves of straw 8/8'.

Probably the same pewter platters were used as had been in the old school, though one wonders how many of them were left, seeing that they used to be taken a dozen at a time as distraints for church dues in John Gough's time. There were plain trenchers also, several of which were still in use for bread at the end of the nineteenth century. I remember we children were always allowed to have one of `the old trenchers' to play spin the trencher with, because it did not matter if they got broken ! I suppose if any exist now they will be in a museum.

It was during these years that the '98 Rebellion was brewing, a fact which must have brought some tensions to the school on Prospect Hill. The minutes of Lisburn Monthly Meeting record the disownment of some Friends at this time for joining the Volunteers. The American Friend, William Savery, travelled in the North in 1797 and left a clear account of his findings, also quoted by Mary Waterfall since it refers to the school

Eleventh month 11th 1797. Took a post chaise for Lisburn, from Antrim, accompanied by several Friends, and passed through a fertile country, but the huts of the poor peasants were miserable.

The town we passed through today had been much injured a few days before by some rioters, and the windows and some doors were broken ; the sufferers were such as are called United Irishmen. This part of Ireland has long been famous for rioting. With the help of lanterns we walked out to the Boarding School for Friends of the Province of Ulster, which consisted of about fifty scholars, boys and girls ; their supper was potatoes and milk, they looked healthy, and were decently dressed.

Eleventh month 13th. Visited the boarding school again ; the situation is fine and commands a beautiful prospect.
Large additions have been made to it since the death of John Gough, who formerly kept it ; it has forty acres of land on a long lease.

The Province of Ulster raises annually about 300 for its support, this with some little income besides, enables the institution to board, educate and clothe fifty six children from eight to fifteen years of age at 3 per annum ; they bringing with them one good suit, and also a common one, the whole expense of each scholar is about 13 per annum Irish. An Irish pound being about 18s. 6d.

Went to Hillsborough and had a meeting in the evening, which was quiet and satisfactory ; then accompanied Louisa Conran, wife of John Conran, a minister, to their house, about two miles. The poor people in this part of the country are busily engaged in sowing wheat, digging potatoes, etc., the women and children everywhere without stockings.
Potatoes, with a little oatmeal, sometimes milk, and now and then a bit of meat, make up the principal food. I visited a number of the poor in their cottages ; the women spin and the men weave linen, muslin, etc., but are very poorly clad, indeed almost naked ; their houses very cold, with little light but what comes in at the doors ; the walls of mud and straw, roofs thatched, floors of earth, and small fires of turf, for which they pay dear to the land-holders ; a straw bed or two, with some stoves, a table, a few bowls etc., make up their furniture. How 20
would a sight of these poor oppressed people make many, even of the poor of Pennsylvania, thankful for their blessings. We distributed a little money among them, and they returned many blessings.

These people so poor as to be almost destitute were the same that John Hancock Senior left money to in his will. Some of them may have been Quakers, though it is unlikely that many Friends were so wretchedly housed and clad. But the school was in the first place meant to ensure the education of Friends in low circumstances, even though, as with most educational foundations, it tended as the years passed, to cater for those who could afford to pay the fees. The trouble was that costs rose continually and the bursaries did not cover them.

It is difficult to establish who was in charge of the school during these years before 1800. Mary Waterfall says

... [after the temporary teacher], John Morrison was appointed superintendent, George Thompson, master, Elizabeth Doyle of Dublin, governess, and Rosina Webb, also of Dublin, housekeeper. This appointment did not last for long as we find that Thomas and Hannah Barrington of Ballitore were appointed heads of the school in 1796 or '97.

But the records for these years for the Society as a whole are vague. This is because the turn of the century was a very difficult time, the time still referred to as the Quaker Separation. Such a complicated and little researched subject could occupy a book itself, but some brief mention of it must be made here because the school became involved in these unhappy events.

The Quaker Separation

By 1750 it was with Quakerism as with other religious renewals, and its first missionary vigour which had redoubled in the face of harsh persecution, had given way to a quieter conformity which George Fox might have had difficulty in recognising. Even though the 1715 Toleration Act had left Friends with a number of legal disadvantages, of which the payment of tythes was by far the most pressing, they were largely left alone, recognised (according to Prof. J. C. Beckett) as `by far the most important sect apart from the Presbyterians . . . . . In fact, those magistrates who tried to take a strong line against the Quakers generally found themselves in an uncomfortable position for fear of the powerful supporters whom Quakers seemed to find everywhere in the kingdom'. The `powerful supporters' resulted from Friends' involvement in trade, in which they were excellent exemplars of R. H. Tawney's belief that Protestantism and Capitalism helped each other. Friends' first entry into trade, like their later involvement in politics, was for some time a cause of uneasiness in the Society. Some, like Thomas Shillitoe, felt strongly that Friends should keep clear of it. He thought it `a reproach when members left behind them large sums of money of their own accumulation', and even gave away his own property, including his cottage at Highbury, much as he loved it. Such an attitude would have been quite foreign to John Hancock's executors. Led by Thomas Greer, himself an aggressively successful business man, they experienced no difficulty in following equally their commercial and religious concerns. A number of Irish Quakers were so successful in their business operations that to the devout and simple William Savery whose comments on the poverty of the North we have just quoted, it seemed that some Tipperary Friends `lived like the princes of the earth'. Unfortunately, elsewhere in Ireland Friends' trading interest caused them to have frequent recourse to law, even against each other. This, again, was out of character with early Quakerism. Early Friends had not much use for lawyers whom Fox considered `out of the equity, out of the true justice and out of the law of God'. Fox came, it is true, to welcome the service of Thomas Rudyard, the `oracle of Law', but only for legal advice in the face of persecution : it can hardly have been intended for Friends who went to law against each other. Yet this had become so common in Ireland that in 1677 and 1807 the Yearly Meeting in Dublin issued a minute pointing out that Friends should not go to law. And here again, John Hancock's executors and Thomas Greer in particular were among those who failed to heed this advice - and earlier quotations from Robert Bradshaw showed how legalistic his approach to things could be. Yet in their own way and in spite of their legal wranglings, they took their Quakerism very seriously. They scrupulously avoided races and gaming tables, addressed each other in the second person singular to avoid the obsequious plural, referred to First and Second Day so that they would not have to pronounce the names of heathen gods, and were regular in their attendance at meetings all over the Province, unflinchingly travelling many miles on horseback whatever the weather. Educated though not learned, they had a simple faith in Jesus and his saving power.

But their wealth and self-sufficiency, which seemed to bind them into a kind of exclusive club, made them objects of envy to others who were less successful and less influential. For it is certain that there were poor Friends, even if not quite so poor as those visited by William Savery ; William Forster noted in 1813 that many Richhill Friends lived `in poor cabins, strangers to the comforts of civilised life'.

Unhappily, the school had not long taken on official Quarterly Meeting status and settled again into its routine life, than it ran into greater difficulties than ever. These resulted from Quaker disagreements about their fundamental religious beliefs. The kind of passionate conviction that animated George Fox was quite out of fashion by 1750 -enthusiasm' it was derisively called. In its place was something much more rational, which allowed little room for mystery or even emotion. It would greatly have surprised William Edmundson, the Englishman who had brought Quakerism to Ireland, that in 1776, 22
William Paley, the parish priest of his birthplace Great Musgrave in Westmorland, was propounding views eventually to appear in a celebrated book Some Evidences which claimed that Christianity was for reasonable, moderate men who could think clearly. To speak in this way, in fact, seemed the best, perhaps the only way, to appeal to Deists, that increasing body of believers in God who did not believe in Jesus and thought of the New Testament as a fairy story. And it would have surprised Edmundson still more to learn that many Irish Quakers were in a fair way to becoming Deists themselves. `New Lights', they were popularly called.

By a strange irony of fate one of their leaders in Ulster was the son of the school's founder, John Hancock Junior (1762-1823), an intensely serious and good man who became convinced that the Society of Friends ought to accommodate its faith and practice to the changing times. Just how he came to hold this view is not known, but we do know from three pamphlets he wrote just after 1800 why he was dissatisfied with Quakerism. Too many Friends, he thought, believed in the Bible (which to him was no more than a historical record embroidered with fantasy) as the literal and only source of truth ; and similarly, too many Friends clung onto outmoded practices (like 'thee' and 'Thou', First Day etc.) at the expense of that radical reappraisal of their way of life which would, in Hancock's opinion, quickly have shown that they were in danger of separating their devotional lives from their ordinary living into which greed, pride and worldly concerns had made deep inroads.

The Irregular Marriage Ceremony

At first, John Hancock tried to bring about changes by advocating them in Quaker business meetings where he and his friends drew attention to what they considered the out-of-date Quaker marriage regulations. These required the couple to appear a number of times before Meetings which would then sanction the holding of the marriage service. But as the eighteenth century wore on, the appearances sometimes became miniature fashion shows, greatly to the annoyance of Friends like John Hancock. The reforming Friends therefore decided to confront the Society with a test case arising from their belief that it was time for Quakerism to modify some of its customs which had persisted unaltered since 1660. At that time there had been a reason for the strict marriage regulations which were meant to prevent the weakening of the persecuted society by clandestine or unapproved unions. But by 1800 Friends were no longer persecuted and, as John Hancock well knew, English Quakers had simplified their marriage procedure in 1790. Although by 1800 Ireland Yearly Meeting had adopted a similar modification, it did not go far enough for the reformers.

As it happened, a teacher on Prospect Hill, Elizabeth Doyle, wished to marry a local Friend. John Rogers, and as they were both among those who wished Friends to modernise their customs, they were quite willing, perhaps eager, to allow themselves to be the test case which John Hancock's parry was seeking. So they sent a letter to Lurgan Monthly Meeting, stating that they wished to marry without `going through a round of formal ceremonies'.

It was, they boldly claimed, in the interests of simplicity and truth that they made their suggestion. The Meeting, however, refused their request and sent two of their members to visit the couple and discuss matters with them. Neither side being willing to give way, the visit achieved nothing. Lurgan Meeting insisted that there must be the formal appearance, while the parties concerned refused to make them. Neither would they marry in a church with a priest, even though, as religiously inclined people, they wanted some kind of simple service. They solved their dilemma by marrying in a room in the school on Prospect Hill.

From the Quaker point of view this is the most dramatic single happening in the school's long history. Elizabeth Doyle and John Rogers had never made any secret of their intention to have a simplified form of marriage, and with many Quakers arguing the case long and vehemently (for the couple had strong support), the decision to use the school must have been common knowledge. The Headmaster, George Thompson, was agreeable, as was John Hancock of the School Committee. `Is your father going ?'pupils must have asked each other, and then, `are you going ?' as the time drew nearer. Which room would be used ? What would the rest of the school do ? What, if anything, would happen to the couple ? Do you think it is right ? Perhaps some Friends will rush in and stop it. Will they be married really ? . . . . . What excitement, what complications !

The first public intimation of the more modern marriage had been made in Lurgan in December 1800. It duly took place in March 1801, witnessed by at least sixteen well-known local Friends and a few of the school's older pupils. Within a decade there were two such irregular marriages, the disbandment of all Elders in Ulster and Leinster, and great numbers of resignations and disownments from the Society. Although, understandably, the records of the Separation are incomplete, there is no doubt about one thing : it was a disaster for Irish Quakerism.

George Thompson did not attend the simple ceremony, though he allowed the schoolroom to be used for it. Possibly he had not yet altogether decided to support the New Light Party. But it was soon plain that he was one of their number. The traditionalists continued to operate the old Quaker discipline (what else could they do, if the Society was to function at all ?), discussed the master's beliefs and handling of pupils and paid him several visits. They told him that he believed, and no doubt taught, that `important parts of the Scriptures were erroneous'. This, they considered, unfitted him to hold the office of schoolmaster. He was sent a `paper of denial' and dismissed from his position in the school.

The paper stated that `his conduct in the school was not so orderly of late as it had formerly been'; in particular, he had doubted the truth of parts of the Bible and doubted the doctrine of the Atonement.

The master was unrepentant : `for my part', he wrote, `I cannot believe that a God of infinite goodness would appoint such an uncertain rule to lead mankind as the book called the Bible is'- a book, `many parts of which contradict each other'. In any case, stated George Thompson writing from Belfast on 16.9.1801, Friends had no right to complain of him. The local Quakers, he claimed, were dominated by a leader - did he mean John Conran ? - who combined an unyieldingly severe approach to Bible truth with `winebibbers and libertines'. And had not one of his visitors argued that he was foolish to have adopted these modern opinions because he was thereby likely to lose `a comfortable livelihood' ? Here, George Thompson waxed eloquent

What is this but blaming me for not acting the Hypocrite0 base unworthy motive ! O the depravity of the mind that could advance it. Surely it must be dead to every sensation of religion - God forbid that I should ever act on such an unsound principle.

His conclusion was less emotionally self-righteous. He was, he said, `perfectly unanxious' in mind over his recent conduct ; and he desired that his Quaker accusers `might see their true state so as to profit thereby. I am your wellwisher, George Thompson'.

John Hancock Junior was also disowned by the Society after his attendance at the wedding. This was sad not only because it was his father who had made possible the founding of the school, but also because he himself became a much admired and loved Lisburn citizen who, in spite of his official break with Friends, always retained clear marks of his Quaker upbringing. In retrospect it does seem that, like many reformers, he was in too great a hurry to change things, and indeed the whole story of the Separation indicates a lack of sympathy and patience on both sides. But the man who in the famine year of 1800 sold meal and flour at cost price to distressed Lisburn families, who stood fearlessly at the bedside of typhus victims, and who refused to prosecute a thief who broke into his bleach green because he thought he would be too harshly punished, such a man was a serious loss to both the school and the Quaker movement in Ireland. (There is an account of his life in the "Journal of the Royal Society of the Antiquaries of Ireland", Volume 101, Part I, 1971.) When he died in 1823 a great number of the poor people he had befriended followed his funeral procession to `the Quaker Burying Ground in Lisburn', surely the most fitting resting place for him. `May God in his bounty', said Dr. Tanner at his graveside, `grant many such men to rise like him'.

Mary Tolerton's Memories

With the school's fortunes closely linked with those of a Society now in such confusion, it is not difficult to imagine how unsatisfactory things were on Prospect Hill. However steadying the influence of the superintendent and his wife may have been, they did not have as much influence as the master and governess. Mary Tolerton, who was a pupil just after these teachers had been dismissed, recalls the problems they left behind them

There were about eighteen girls then at school, and their teacher was Sarah Dickenson [Elizabeth Doyle's successor]. The boys were more numerous. Sarah Dickenson was a very superior young woman. When she entered on her duties at Lisburn she had many difficulties to encounter. The girls, some of them almost grown-up, had united to oppose her, for the school was in a disorganised state from the effect of the `New Light' opinions having penetrated within its walls. The preceding mistress, Elizabeth Doyle, held these opinions, which she displayed more especially in the crowning act of her marriage in 1801 with John Rogers, a Friend who lived in the town. Except a publishing of their intentions in Lisburn market, the only ceremony on the occasion was a promise made before witnesses in the girls' schoolroom. Two of the girls in particular, Alice and Mary Sedgwick, had been much influenced by Elizabeth Doyle ; they were afterwards dealt with by the Monthly Meeting and I think narrowly escaped disownment.

Two interesting records have been preserved which give some idea of how the teachers quietly asked for discipline during this very difficult time. The first is a sheet of instructions left behind her by Sarah Dickenson when she had to be away for some weeks. It was issued to all the girl pupils and read

A committee to sit once a week to inspect and keep an honest and impartial account of their own conduct and that of the other girls, during my absence, which is to consist of the following girls : Mary Creeth, Mary Bulla, Ann Bell, Abigail Wardle, Sarah Williamson, Sarah Macky, Alice Macky, Elizabeth Towil, Hannah Wicklow, Ruth Dawson, Mary Nicholson and Elizabeth Sinton.

The said girls are requested on their meeting together to return accounts whether they believe themselves to have acted consistently with that which they know is required of them, since their last meeting, and whether they know any other person guilty of a breach of good order, and Mary Creeth to take account thereof as they and she may think right and consistent with truth.

It might seem unnecessary to mention these things alluded to as they have been so repeatedly recommended to you to get into the practice of, but that none of you may have an excuse by saying you don't know what they are, I shall again revive some of them in your remembrance : one day properly spent might be a useful lesson for the next and so to continue -

in the morning to attend regularly to the first sound of the bell but before it is rung to be quiet and still, not making any unnecessary noise or disturbing any person,
to go to the boys schoolroom in an orderly becoming manner, endeavouring to be diligent and attentive while there,
to go to and from the dining room in good order,
to collect on all occasions necessary regularly and in your proper places,
to collect in your own school room in due time and while there to be attentive to your business not spending your time idly or to no good purpose,
also to observe the other various little matters or directions I wish you to attend to therein and which I have so often told you of that repetition here should be unnecessary,
to collect quietly every night at eight o'clock and from thence retire soberly to bed -
Your attention to these directions and any other which may from time to time have been recommended you, is the surest way of convincing me you have any real esteem for your sincere friend.                              Sarah Dickenson.

Here is the routine life that is the backbone of all boarding schools.

 The steady round of rising bell, breakfast, collect and the rest of it right through the day until bedtime, operated in 1800 as it has always done and still does in 1970. And in times of crisis in schools, and perhaps in homes too, it is one of the first things to fall back on in an effort to make things more normal. It is not a popular doctrine today, but it is none the worse for that ; there is much evidence to suggest that indisciplined children are usually unhappy children. Not that one would wish to impose a strait jacket of regimentation on the young either. But the tone of Sarah Dickenson's Instructions is not of this kind. It is moderate, that of an equal talking to equals. If we make some allowance for the long passage of time with its whirligig fashions in manners and education, we may well hear in this voice from 1800 the quiet suggestions of Norah Douglas or Kathleen Young as they asked the girls `not to be silly' or to `think about others as well as themselves'. The best boarding schools teach pupils to live together and they do the teaching unobtrusively.

The second record comes from the boys' side and relates to a group who were playing at soldiers, a most unQuakerly activity. The signatures date it to about 1805

We unanimously agree on what follows : -
that we have thought since our sitting together that it is not consistent with the rules of the society to do as we were doing and at the same time we thought there was no wrong in so doing, or we would not have done so. Thomas Morrison, John Towil, Sampson Clark, Isaac Haycock, John Douglas, Joseph Chambers, Jacob Boyd, Samuel Murphy, George Dawson, and Joshua Lynass.

It looks as though it was with the boys as with the girls. They had sensible treatment. We may trust they were not further punished. Mary Tolerton praises Sarah Dickenson's kindness and firmness - 'the elder girls left, and at the time I was placed [at school] good order had been restored'. This was partly the result of the work of Hannah Barrington who had come from Ballitore in 1796 to act as superintendent and housekeeper. Hannah, reports Mary Tolerton, `took a motherly care of poor little me. She was kind to all, and petted the little ones'. Her husband looked after the farm, leaving the teaching and disciplining of the pupils to the master and governess. And the master who now came was Samuel Douglas, about whom Mary Tolerton writes vividly and at length:

. . . after a while Samuel Douglas and Sarah Dickenson were married. Well I remember seeing them ride off on horseback, the bride behind the bridegroom, on a pillion to Belfast, where they were to be married. We were seated at breakfast, and we all rose to have a peep as they went up the hill opposite the windows. That day we had no lessons, but Hannah Barrington employed some of us in the granary in filling mattresses with fresh straw. This we thought fine amusement, and afterwards we were all treated to bread and cheese, and, probably, a drink of beer.

Vacations were not in vogue then, but we had a 'play-day', or an evening allowed us. On Seventh Day afternoons we had no lessons, but we had to see that clothes were in order and to tack in our tuckers for First Day.

In the fruit season we were frequently allowed into the gardens to pick fruit for ourselves. When blackberries were ripe we had many a grand ramble, and we carried home cans full of fruit to be made into dumplings. On these occasions the mistress always had a bell to call the ramblers together. Once a girl was missing, which caused great consternation. After a search, she was found, caught so fast in a thicket of brambles that she could not free herself. Colin Glen, then, as now, famous for blackberries, was a favourite resort. Talking of fruit recalls Tommy C-. Someone had broken through the infirmary window and stolen apples stored there. Tommy was suspected, but his denials of the deed were emphatic. The circumstance was laid before the Committee, and we were all collected before them and solemnly admonished on the wickedness of stealing and untruthfulness. We were much moved and many wept. At last Tommy confessed and was condemned by the Committee to be beaten. Then, again, when the punishment was administered, we wept for the suffering of the naughty boy.

A very important event took place, our mistress's eldest child was born. We girls were all taken to see the baby, whose grandmother, as we passed from room to room, handed each 28
of us a large slice of cheese with bread and butter. Whenever afterwards such occasions occurred, the grandmother, Mary Douglas, always brought a cheese. She was noted for good cheese-making. Winter and summer we wore the dress of dark coloured stuff, made with short sleeves and low neck. Our tuckers of muslin were very neat and ornamental, being set on full and drawn in at the upper edge by a `gathering string'. Over this, in summer, when we went to Meeting, we wore white `vandykes' of thick muslin or kerchiefs of the same folded across. In winter, we had little cloaks. We had gloves of slate-coloured glazed muslin, which reached above our elbows. These we made in sewing school, also our little bonnets of the same material. Our pinafores were of linen check, they came warmly up about our necks, but we might not wear them in school hours. Then we had to take them off, fold neatly, and sit on them till school was over.

There was great care taken of our carriage and deportment, lest we should contract any bad habit of stooping or other awkwardness. Those were the days of back boards and seats without backs. Our shoulders were sometimes bandaged in a manner to expand our chests.

We were taught to sew with great neatness, for Sarah Dickenson was an adept in the art. The Committee Friends often sent work to be done, for which the school was paid. John Conran sent his stockings to be mended, and this work I liked better than any other. I thought him the best of men, and that if I could only live with him I should be one of the best of children. He did not often come to school except when he accompanied stranger ministers. Of these, I remember one, William Jackson, who gave us a sketch of his school days, comparing our more favoured lot with his. He gave us, boys and girls, each a penny. I think I see this Friend as he sat on the steps of the platform on which the master's desk stood, and which we called the ,throne' in the boys' schoolroom, where we were all assembled, and where he talked and preached to us. We were taught reading, writing, arithmetic, etc., by the master in the same room with the boys but not in classes with them, and we sat at opposite sides of the room, a pathway being left between the two sets of forms. In this pathway, the first boy or girl found idling was made to stand holding the `tawse' (`tawed' or white-tanned leather) until another idler was found, to whom the first was only too glad to pass it on and give up the place of scorn and disgrace.

The `black hole', a narrow garden cellar under the house, entered from the garden, was used as a place of punishment for very naughty children and for no other purpose that I remember. We dreaded to be shut in there, but I think the dread was more of the disgrace than of the dark loneliness of the `hole'.

We were well fed in my time at Lisburn. We had meat for dinner three times a week and soup one day with meat. Sometimes we had eggs and butter and beer, sometimes potatoes and butter with milk or beer. There was always variety according to the season. The bread was all home-made and of the best quality. Each baking was of two bags of flour.

One of our amusements in play-hours was the making of samplers. We also worked pieces of poetry or texts on fine bolton, of which we often made presents. For the same purpose we knit pin-cushions, and for one girl, Jane Bell, I made nineteen. Sarah Douglas favoured me much by allowing me to knit one for Sarah Grubb, mother of the present Jonathan Grubb. Soon after I went to school some of the boys got into trouble by having whisky in their possession, and I think some of the girls were implicated in the procuring of it for them, through Sally Magee, the wife of the lodge keeper. Sarah Dickenson, having discovered the facts, had the boys collected, reprimanded them, and threatened them with the Committee. Terrified at the idea, they soon sent Sarah Dickenson the following letter

'We collected this morning under a sense of our past misconduct, and having sat a considerable time concerning this breach of misconduct which occurred of late among some of us, which we are sorry for, and hopes, through the aid of Divine Assistance, to be enabled to resist such a temptation in the future, and we may add we did not know anything concerning Sally Magee buying the liquor, nor had any thought that she was concerned about it, and as we have caused a good deal of trouble and anxiety about it, hopes that thee will be pleased to restore us to our former condition, and expects we will be more watchful for the future.
  John Towil
   John Morton
3rd month 12th 1805  Joshua Lynass
  Thomas Morison'

In the year 1811, I remember standing on the lawn with the girls, looking at the great comet, and wondering at its long tail. I was then assistant teacher.

The memorable winter of 1814 is clearly in my mind. There was a great path made on the frozen snow, from the house door all down the hill to the gate. I remember walking on this to Meeting with some of the girls, all of us wearing boys' shoes over our own. The drifts were said to be three yards deep.

Jemmy and Natty Bohannan took care of the meeting-house, and jemmy was also employed at the school farm. He had come from Ballinderry, and from his acquaintance with Friends there and his connection with them in Lisburn, he considered himself a kind of Friend. He always attended Meeting and said 'thee'. Natty never made any `Friendly' Professions.

In the year 1815 there was a deep impression made on us all by the death of little Anna Douglas, one of the children of our master and mistress, at the age of five years and three months. She was a beautiful and engaging child, having wisdom beyond her years, most watchful over her actions and words. At the time of her death I drew up a little account of her last days, which, when I read, brings the dear lamb so vividly before me that I cannot realise that more than sixty years have passed since she entered her heavenly home.


In spite of the straw mattresses for the pupils' beds, the old fashioned dress, and the sense that Ballinderry is miles and miles from Lisburn, there is the feeling behind these words that handling the young is in many ways much the same today as it was a hundred and fifty years ago. If there are no back boards, there is still misbehaviour, still the threat of higher powers, and still the vivid memories of school that accompany one throughout life - the food, the `black hole', the outstandingly awful trouble. And to parallel the 1914 winter there have been (among many others) those of 1947 and 1963, when the drive was impassable and boarders went out clearing snow for local people who were housebound. And there are still, it may be supposed, those who like to think of themselves as Friends, even though they have never joined the Society or taken any active part in it beyond attending Sunday Meeting for Worship.

The School Committee

There is another story told by Mary Tolerton which does not appear in Mary Waterfall's little book-whether because she did not have it or because she chose not to give it, we do not know. Here it is

I served an apprenticeship of seven years to the school, teaching and occasionally assisting in the work of the house. When this period had expired I remained in full charge of the school for a year or two after Sarah Douglas had left, the Committee meanwhile being on the look-out for a more fully qualified and experienced teacher than myself. At last believing they had secured such a person they summarily dismissed me. I considered this very hard usage, for I had in no way given cause for displeasure or dissatisfaction. I wept bitterly not knowing where to turn for the best. Then without taking counsel of anyone I wrote a letter to the Committee showing what I considered was the unfairness of their action. Then I left the school and my never failing friend, Sarah Douglas, invited me to stay with her until the committee should meet and I should have their reply to my letter. Mary McDonnell from Cork, the new teacher, had no sooner arrived than she was taken ill, and was unable to enter on her duties. The Committee met, considered their difficulty, and I suppose my letter, and requested Lucia Richardson, one of their number, to ask me to return and resume my post. Deeply mortified as I had been I thought I could never have done this, but Thomas Lamb, my kind old friend (also on the committee) prevailed on me to yield. Fearing I should change my resolution he would not leave me until he saw me received again within the school walls. I was only to stay until another teacher could be found. Shortly after my return Anna Richardson, the member of the committee who had been the chief mover in this affair, interested herself for me, and procured for me the post of housekeeper at Waterford School. Thither I went in 1817.

This simple account, without rancour, says much for its writer and much too of the insensitivity of the Committee. Committees, of course, are often insensitive in this way, and in the case of Friends School it is clear that right up to 1900 and perhaps beyond some Committee members had little understanding of teaching or teachers. Bulmer Hobson recalled of his days that there were `a few Friends who were always purse proud and walked over everybody'. One such he recalled both from his own vivid memory of her frequent visits to school and from his mother's story of her. After her marriage Bulmer's mother attended Frederick Street Meeting in Belfast. 'Thou art a stranger', said this forbidding member of the Committee, `what is thy name ?' This happened on three consecutive Sundays, and on the third occasion evoked the pointed reply, `If I came here in a carriage and pair thou wouldest remember my name'. It is an incident which tells us something too about the source of the lively and at times tart vigour of Bulmer Hobson and his sister Florence Patterson.

But even at their most harassing times, there have always been members of the Committee with sufficient faith in the school to see it through. It was so at the turn of the century, the years of the Separation ; it was to be so again on a number of occasions. The first committee of nineteen men had been appointed in December 1793 and were charged to be `diligent in attending sundry meetings' for the purpose of promoting the school and collecting subscriptions for it. In June 1794 women Friends joined this committee. Then in 1796 the Quarterly Meeting appointed a committee of thirty-nine Friends to be in charge of the school, eighteen of them women. By August 1797 three were dropped from it for non-attendance at its meetings. There was a general air of purposeful activity about the Society's efforts to forward its school.

The part played by the Committee during the first years of the century is not known. The fact that some of its members adopted the New Light beliefs necessitated their replacement, and there must for some time have been great difficulty and uncertainty. But by 1810 Dublin Yearly Meeting is again urging the Society to look to its young people. Too many of them, it notes, are marrying non-Friends, `even some educated at the boarding school'. As a result a fund was opened to provide them with Bibles and Quaker books. By 1813 it yielded 60 a year of which 12 a year was to be used for apprenticing young people and 48 for starting out in life.

The Committee stuck rigidly to the original idea of a guarded education, as we know from a surviving Indenture of 1807 for a young woman apprentice teacher. The trainee had to agree to serve her mistress faithfully, `keeping her secrets' and carrying out `her lawful commandments'. She was not to give or lend her mistress' property to anyone, and was forbidden to commit fornication, to marry, and play at cards, dice tables or unlawful games'. She undertook not to use `taverns, ale-houses or playhouses', nor to absent herself from the service of the said Mistress day or night unlawfully, but was in all things to prove `an honest and faithful apprentice'. To us, living so much later in time, it seems a kind of slavery, a state of affairs to provoke outraged comment and processions from the Council of Civil Liberties, not to mention apoplexy on the Women's Liberation Front. But it was all part of the education which Quakers wished their children to have, and which would not have been possible unless the apprentice teacher was subject to the same kind of discipline as the children.

In 1812 the Quarterly Meeting held at Lurgan decided that `the school Committee being of long continuance the expediency of a fresh appointment was laid before us'. Whether this idea was born in the old committee, or whether dissatisfied non-members were behind it, is unknown. Part of the reason may have been indifferent attendance on the part of some members. Thirty-nine is a large number for any committee, and when as here they are drawn from widely separated parts of Ulster, there are bound to be difficulties of attendance as well as of finding a common mind. After discussion the old committee was dissolved and a new one appointed, also of thirty-nine Friends. They set about their work earnestly and drew up new rules for the school (which may have been the intention behind their appointment). Here they are

Age of admission 10-12.

Of Friends shall be taught ten children gratis as day scholars ; one boy boarded and taught gratis and endeavours used to qualify him for a schoolmaster.

Each child on admission to the School to have the following clothing sent with it all in good order, viz. for boys : A hat, a great coat, two coats and waistcoat, two pairs of breeches, two shirts, two pairs of worsted or yarn stockings, two pocket handkerchiefs, two night caps, one pair of shoes - with worsted or yarn to mend their stockings and pieces of cloth to mend their clothes.

for girls:
a winter coat and summer coat (not silk), a bonnet of the same, a waistcoat, a pair of gloves, a pair of pockets of coloured fustian, two stiff gowns, a petticoat and two under-petticoats, a stuff shirt, two shifts with tuckers to tuck on, two chequer slips, a long bed gown, two neck handkerchiefs, two caps with strings, two night caps, a pair of shoes, a pair of pattens, two pairs of worsted or yarn stockings, with worsted or yarn to mend them.

No washing gowns for the girls or washing coats and breeches for the boys to be admitted.

No child to be at liberty to go home without the consent of the Committee residing in Lisburn.

The superintendent and housekeeper to have liberty to employ such children as they may judge necessary, the boys cleaning shoes and knives and waiting at table or assisting to keep the place in neat order, and in working in the garden or farm, and it is thought that one day in each week would be sufficient and ought not to be exceeded for each boy's instruction in the department, besides their being occasionally employed in school hours.

The girls to be employed about the housework and assist at washing, waiting at table, making boys beds, and doing such other domestic business as may be useful for them to learn.

While they are so employed the boys are to be under the care and sole direction of the superintendent and the girls of the housekeeper. The girls are to make their own beds before they leave their rooms in the morning.

There must be care that no books or papers be introduced without the approval of the committee. As evil communications corrupt good manners it is enjoined that children may have as little communication with the town as possible, and that sending them on errands be avoided.

It might, these 1814 rules conclude, be profitable to have a portion

of the scriptures or other suitable books read, or to have a pause or silence respecting the times for which we wish the attention
of the heads of the house to be turned towards Divine Assistance.

 It is interesting to compare these with the rules for the Lancaster school on the Dublin Road in Lisburn for more or less the same period. They are taken from The Belfast Magazine where they are part of a full article which explains the system of Joseph Lancaster (the Quaker) who, owing partly to the shortage of teachers, used senior pupils as monitors to ensure that other pupils got on with their work.

1. As the time the masters can devote to the school is but limited, every boy must attend punctually at the hour appointed, viz at 8 in the morning, and 5 in the evening in Summer - and 10 in the morning in Winter-and in order that offenders against this rule may be promptly known and punished, each monitor shall call over a list of his class precisely at 5 minutes after the hour, and report the names of absentees.
2. Any monitor who, without sufficient reason, shall be absent when he should call over the list of his class, shall forfeit his rank.
3. A trusty boy shall be appointed to make enquiries after absentees and any boy who shall be three times reported absent, without sufficient reason, shall be expelled the school.
4. Every boy shall have his hands and face washed, and hair combed before he comes to school.
5. No boy shall talk to his class-fellow, or make a noise in school.
6. No boy shall presume to contradict or argue with the monitor of his class, but shall yield the readiest obedience to his commands, keeping in mind that they are not his commands, but those of the masters, which the monitor is instructed to deliver.
7. Every monitor shall receive premiums in proportion to the pains he takes to improve and maintain good order in his class : and as it is particularly necessary that every monitor should be a lad of strict veracity, should anyone be found guilty of telling a falsehood, he shall be degraded and rendered ever after incapable of holding that rank.
8. No boy shall quarrel with his school-fellows, call nick-names, or use foul expressions.
9. No boy shall lie, swear, or take God's name in vain.

There is not much to choose, it may be thought, between the two schools. The same Puritan purpose lay behind both. But at least by 1817, when Samuel Douglas and his family went into Lisburn to make a better living from keeping a shop, the `family' on Prospect Hill was again settled. In one respect it was very strict : when they were not in class, boys and girls were kept apart. At that time a hedge separated the boys' and girls' playgrounds. A few years later it was replaced by a high wall, and though girls presumably looked at boys if they were in class together, once they were outside the building it was a serious offence for a girl to be found talking to a boy. It was to remain so for over fifty years.