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Help and advice for Ayr Grammar School, Ayrshire

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Ayr Grammar School, Ayrshire

The Grammar School of Ayr 1746-1796, written by A.L. Taylor.

The Grammar School was fitted with a Schoolmaster's desk and forms (1602-13) and the Schoolmaster had a room with a timber braiss (mantlepiece) separate from the main schoolroom. This strongly suggests the building referred to in the Town Council Minute of 30th June 1746, where it is noted that the elderly Schoolmaster, 'Mr James Fergusson, Master of the Grammar school of Ayr, who had served the town......for nearly fifty years' (i.e. since about 1696) 'had been frequently confined to his room.'

On 30th June 1746, it was reported in Council that Mr James Fergusson, Master of the Grammar School, who has served the Town in that station and as Doctor of the said school for nearly fifty years, was now become valetudinary, tender and much afflicted with the gout and gravel, whereby he was frequently confined to his room and rendered uncapable (sic) to attend the education of the children in his care. He was willing to resign his office if the Magistrates and Council could continue upon him his yearly salary during the short time he might now live. "Quich (sic) being considered" ,a committee was appointed to converse with the said Mr James Fergusson and Mr John Mair, Doctor of the said school and to report.

A 'doctor' was an assistant to the Master. Ayr had had one at least as early as 1582 and Mair had come from St Andrews to be Doctor in Ayr in 1727. He had to wait nearly twenty ears for the position of Master and now apparently he was offered it without additional salary.

On 8 July 1746, the Committee reported that Mr Mair thought the proposal of the Magistrates and Council to continue with Mr James Fergusson the full salary during his life extremely just and reasonable as being nothing more than what was due to one who had served so long in that station.