The first recorded school in the Parish of Kinnoir was established in 1636 near the original Kinnoir Kirk. This was named the Parochial School of Kinnoir and was founded at the instigation of the Church Presbytery in conjunction with the parishioners of Kinnoir and Dunbennan and was run as a Charity school by the Church.
Local historian Patrick Scott has uncovered a very interesting report of a visit to the school in March, 1738 by three “inspectors” appointed by the Strathbogie Presbytery to see how well the funds provided by the church were being utilised. The full text of the report can be read here but the inspectors pronounced themselves happy with the accomplishments of the students and were reported to be “….much pleased with their performance and proficiency of the said school….” Read full text of Inspector’s Report
The same report records the petition of “several honest men in the Parish of Kinnoir” to be allowed to remove the school from its location near the original Kinnoir Kirk to somewhere more central in the community to be more convenient for the majority of its scholars.
Although not recorded in the report, we believe this petition was approved and the school was torn down and re-established near the farm of Bridges where it operated as a charity school of the Presbytery until around the end of the 19th Century.
History of Schools in Kinnoir
As an interesting aside, the house now called Ladysmith which housed the previous school was built as a private dwelling in 1852 but was pressed into service as a school after the Education (Scotland) Act of 1872 made it compulsory for all children between the ages of 5 and 13 to receive at least some elementary education.
After the pupils transferred to the new school the building was sold to a Mrs Rose in 1900 and reverted to a private dwelling.
A subsequent owner (Miss Christie) had learned that the name of the house had come about because Mrs Rose was on her way home from her lawyers office having concluded the purchase of the house when she heard that the Siege of Ladysmith (during the Boer War in South Africa) had been lifted and the British troops relieved.
She consequently decided to name the house Ladysmith - the name it carries today.
Photo courtesy of Jim Morrison
A building exists today at the site which we believe is the re-established school although it has been extensively maintained and upgraded and now exists as a holiday cottage.
The length of the building, (25 yards) would suggest that it was not built as a simple dwelling in its original form
Photograph and historical input courtesy of Jim Morrison
What caused the Charity School to close is unclear but we do know that with the Education Act of 1872 the private dwelling in Kinnoir which is now called Ladysmith was pressed in to service as a school. However the building could not cope with the demands put upon it and a new school was desperately needed.
The new school opening in 1898 therefore changed many things and allowed a much wider range of Kinnoir children access to the written word!