Why (4) – Heritage

Yesterday we caught up with the team who are researching material for our heritage centre about Education in the Trossachs “old style”

Ordnance Survey, 1st edition, 1859-64. © CC BY 4.0 (NLS)

Our plans for the Old School include a heritage centre with audio-visual displays describing some of the rich history and culture of the area. Naturally, these will include the story of the school itself but also education more broadly because, at one time, there was more than one school in the area.

Trossachs School was established by the Church of Scotland (the Kirk) in 1716. It was funded by local landowners with a Kirk-appointed schoolmaster who was required to accept the Confession of Faith (a 40-page document setting out key elements of religious belief and church governance). According to the records the Presbytery of Dunblane, in which Trossachs School lay, Donald McLaren, schoolmaster at Brig o’ Turk, signed the Confession in 1699. Mr McLaren was the first schoolmaster at Trossachs School in 1716 so his signing the document predates his appointment by more than 15 years. Does this suggest there was a school in the village before 1716? At this stage, we simply don’t know but perhaps we will find out as we develop the heritage centre.

What we do know is that there was another school in the area, established by the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge (SSPCK). This was a charity which aimed to establish schools in Gaelic Scotland to secure the Presbyterianism of the Kirk and reduce Jacobite support. In 1730, the charity set up a school at Ardcheanochrochan, roughly where Tigh Mòr now stands. In 1733, twenty two boys and two girls attended the school where they were taught arithmetic, writing and reading. 

By the early 19th century, the SSPCK school and Trossachs School had seemingly merged. An 1824 SSPCK inspection report noted there were more than fifty pupils in the school at Brig o’ Turk taught, often in Gaelic, by James McLaren, the 5th schoolmaster since the school’s establishment. This was before the building we know today opened in 1876 and, according to the 1824 report, classes took place in a church built by local people. The schoolmaster was paid £6 for “dwelling house, croft and fuel”, the equivalent today of less than £674.

Well ‘Everyday is a school day”, so please with only 5 days left of our crowdfund campaign to run please help us discover more and display our history so everyone can learn more by supporting us at https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-old-trossachs-school

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