Dorothy Wilson's Schools

Photographs on this page are reproduced by kind permission of Margaret Frank.
The following is a nomination for the York Press's 2012 Community Pride Award for notable citizens over the past 800 years:

"Dorothy Wilson died 1717.She was a philanthropist whose legacy was four schools where pupils did not have to pay,almshouses for unmarried poor women and financial support for blind people.She helped ensure that thousands of young people had the opportunity to attend school,that hundreds of poor women had somewhere to live and hundreds of blind people were cared for."

The photograph at the top of this page is of Dorothy Wilson's Hospital, Foss Bridge, Walmgate, York.  The building comprised an almshouse and schoolroom, with schoolmaster's house attached to the rear.  The hospital was established by the will of Dorothy Wilson and was built on the site of Dorothy Wilson's house.  The almshouse was originally housed in her house, and provided for ten poor women, each of whom had a room to herself.  Revenue from lands at Skipwith and Nun Monkton provided maintenance for the women to the sum of £15 per annum.  The building was rebuilt as an almshouse in 1765 and again in 1812, the foundations of the building having been endangered by the action of the Foss.  A chantry school was also founded under her will and a school was incorporated into the same building.  The schoolmaster's house was built behind the almshouse in 1805.  
A panel inside the building records the foundation in 1719 of Dorothy Wilson's Charity for the "Maintenance of ten poor Women and also for the instruction in English, Reading, Writing and Clothing of twenty poor Boys for ever".

This foundation stone commemorates the rebuilding of the Hospital:  "The Foundation Stone of this Building was laid June 3rd 1812 by Christopher Morrin Esq in the 52 Year of the Reign of GEORGE the III."
There follows a list of trustees.

This view of The Foss Bridge next to the Hospital is interesting, as careful scrutiny will reveal rings inserted in the stonework, to which farmers tied their pigs when selling them!

Dorothy Wilson's charities drew chiefly from lands at York, Nun Monkton, Eastrington, Portington and elsewhere, some of which were later exchanged for lands at Shipton.  In 1820, the charities drew an income of £734 from these, from lands at Skipwith and Riccal and from £8,800 stock.

According to the History, Directory and Gazetteer of the County of York, 1823, revenue from the lands at Skipwith and Nun-Monkton provided: "Twenty pounds per annum to a schoolmaster for teaching twenty boys, and reading prayers twice a day to them, and to the hospitalers.  The boys are also to be provided with new clothes annually, and £6 a year appropriated to placing three of them out as apprentices.  The yearly sum of £2 each is applied to three blind people; and the same sum to a schoolmistress for teaching six children in the parish of Dennis to read.  Owing to the increased value of the estate, the allowance to the inmates of the hospital has advanced from £6.10s. to £15 per annum each:  the schoolmaster's salary has advanced from £20 to £30 and the schoolmistress's stipend is doubled.  The property is vested in seven trustees, none of whom are to be aldermen of the city!  The hospital has been twice taken down and re-built, the first time in 1765 and the latter in 1812, and it now forms a neat brick building of modern appearance, very convenient to the inmates, and rather ornamental than otherwise, to the part of the town in which it stands."

A school in Nun Monkton was also established in the early 18th century through an endowment from the Dorothy Wilson Trust.  "A school in which 12 boys and 2 girls are taught by a master, who has a stipend of 12 guineas, with a house.  The funds of this school are supposed to be large, as it is endowed with nearly 33 acres of land, and which have risen in value since 1716; whereas the master's salary has continued the same, and part of the master's dwelling is in other hands, together with an orchard of three roods."  (Parochial Returns: Education of the Poor, 1818)

Skipwith School was founded in 1710, through a donation left to the school by Dorothy Wilson.  In 1823, the value of the property was estimated at £20 per annum.