Rathvilly School, Birmingham, was founded in 1895 by
Mary Earl, widow of James Earl, son of farmer Newton Earl. In 1865,
James Earl became master of Disraeli School Bough outside Rathvilly, Co.
- Mary Earl, founder of Rathvilly School.
Source: Turtle Bunbury
Born in Donegal in 1824, Mary was a daughter of
scripture reader (died 21st September 1851) and his wife Jean (born in
1796, buried 25th November 1886), both of whom were buried in St. Maryís
Church, Rathvilly. Maryís brother, Thomas James Mustard (1826-1902),
lived in one of the gate lodges on the Powerscourt estate in Wicklow.
James and Mary Earl were married in St Marks Church in the parish of
Lakenham, Norwich, on 14th July 1854.
After Jamesís appointment to
Bough, they lived and farmed at Broughillstown House, the old Pendred
house on the Rathvilly-Baltinglass Road (later home to Carlow historian
J. Ryan and now farmed by Willy Hopkins). James Earl died in 1890 and
there is a tablet to his memory in Rathvilly.
After her husbandís death,
Mary Earl (nee Mustard) moved to join some of her children in
Birmingham. There is a photograph of her taken in Birmingham six months
after Jamesís death. In 1895, she founded Rathvilly School in a then
rural farmland outside the city, today known as Northfield. The school
comprised a row of old houses and accommodated both day pupils and
boarders. Rhoda and Margaret Earl, two of her daughters, also taught at
the school, while two more daughters, Lucy and Ada, taught elsewhere.
Taught at Bough by their father, the Earl daughters were said to have
been very highly educated and were fluent in Latin and Greek.
also some sons in the family, including the Rev. James Newton Earl
died unexpectedly in Yorkshire circa 1895, leaving two sons and a
daughter. The Rev. Earls daughter, Kathleen Earl, recalled playing with
the Cadbury children in her youth and rowing on their big lake. She and
her brothers spent several years at Rathvilly School until their mother
Kate (Campion Storry) married another clergyman in 1900 and moved back
to Yorkshire with them. Lord Rathdonnell was a trustee of Rathvilly
School and one assumes it was no coincidence that the road on which the
school is located was later named Bunbury Road.
The Carlow historian
Dick Corrigan played a key role in the private schools centenary
celebrations in 1995, which was attended by many members of the Earl
family. The school closed in September 2008 but is due to reopen under
new management shortly.