Deed of Bequest Discovered

The Deed of Bequest instigated by Edward Lord Viscount Bangor and The Honourable Robert Ward Esq. to establish a School in Bangor in the County of Down as provided for in the Will of Robert Ward’s Grandfather dated 1828 with money bequeathed by Lord Viscount Bangor, his brother.

On the Saturday morning following the Bangor Grammarian Dinner of 2012, held in Bangor Grammar School College Avenue,  an Open Morning was held to allow members of the School Family to visit the College Avenue estate for the last time before it was handed over to Mr Eddie Ervine and the developers.  During this very successful event the School Archivist, Barry Greenaway, was approached by Frank Boyle, Grammarian (1949-58).  He produced and handed over a document contained in an acid free wallet which, with some shock, was thought by the Archivist to be the Deed of Bequest leading to the foundation of Bangor Endowed School, later Bangor Grammar School.  This Deed had not been seen by anyone outside the Boyle family for more than 50 years.  Before that it had possibly not been seen since 1906. Indeed there was no record of its existence (a document was known to exist in Dublin, where the pre-partition educational authority lay.) The date on the Deed is 17th April 1856.

During his sixth form years, more than fifty years ago, Charles Boyle (1952-63) brother of Frank was sent up with some other boys to “clear out” the tower room in College Avenue.  In doing so he came across the above document and had the good sense and foresight to put it in his pocket.  All the other material was destroyed!  He thought no more about it but kept it safe in any case.  Recently it once more came to light and realising it was important Frank returned it to the School as described above,  in Charles Boyle’s name.  Thanks to him we have in our possession the single most important item in the School’s Archives.  It tells the entire story between 1821 and 1856 of how Bangor Grammar School (the Navigation School of the document) came into existence.

The Archivist after consulting with the Headmaster, took the Deed to the North Down Museum where the Curator enthusiastically declared it to be genuine in that its character and component elements (paper, structure, ink etc.) belonged to the mid-nineteenth century. The Deed was signed by all the parties concerned including Edward Lord Viscount Bangor of Castleward and Robert Edward Ward Esquire of Bangor Castle. It was decided that there was no reason to believe it to be other than the original Deed of Bequest a Memorial of which was made to be lodged in the then (1856) National Registry of Ireland.  The Archivist then contacted the Registry of Deeds in Dublin where a Curator was able to identify their Memorial from the Archivist’s description and to supply a catalogue number.  A certified copy of the Dublin document was then requested and supplied.  This Memorial is the official record of the Deed’s existence.  Bangor Grammar School’s Archives now possess both the original Deed – there is no other known copy – and a certified copy of the Memorial which is referred to in the Deed itself. A photocopy of the Deed is presently (June 2013) being studied by a highly experienced legal member of the Board of Governors.

We have in our possession the very hand-written words and signatures which were instrumental in creating Bangor Endowed School / Bangor Grammar School one hundred and fifty seven years ago.