Cairneyhill Ladies Seminary in 1845



The annual examination of the boarding school at Cairneyhill Manse, conducted by Mrs and the Misses More, took place on Wednesday last the 13th inst, before a select company, consisting of the friends of the young ladies boarded at this institution.

The examinators were – the Rev Professor McMichael, the Rev Messrs Chalmers, Gibson, and Walker, Dunfermline; Gilston, Carnock; Johnstone, Limekilns; Gardiner, Kincardine; and Mr Browning, classical teacher, Commercial Academy.

The examination throughout was most interesting; and in all the branches in which they were examined – viz, French, arithmetic, Biblical knowledge, civil and Church history, geography, botany, English grammar, etc – the young ladies acquitted themselves in a manner which testified the eminent assiduity and skill of the ladies who conduct this seminary in communicating instruction.

The examination was minute and scrutinising, being continued, with only one hour of intermission, from 10 morning until 6 evening. Mrs More scarcely interfered with the examination, further than pointing out the previous exercises of the pupils, but left it entirely to the examinators.

It would be impossible for us to say in which department the young ladies most excelled. We cannot, however, but notice the fine taste, good feeling, and information which the more advanced pupils evinced in their exercises in composition. Four of them read essays of considerable length, which were much admired – viz, ‘The Orphan Girl’, ‘The Virtuous Woman ‘, ‘The Comparative Value of Divine and Worldly Wisdom’ and ‘The Advantages of Education ‘. At the close, the examinators expressed their highest satisfaction with the attainments and deportment of the pupils, and warmly eulogised the manner in which education is conducted at this seminary.

While it required a patient attention to convince us of the mental requirements of the young ladies, a glance around the school -room was sufficient to show us the astonishing progress they made in drawing in pencil and chalk, in painting and in ladies ‘ coloured work. The walls were covered with the most elegant specimens. The drawings were of no ordinary description. Far more paltry exhibitions have been noticed in some periodicals under the title ‘Fine Arts’. These drawings were chiefly copied from the admirable pencillings of Miss Jane More – some of them illustrative of the most interesting scenery and passages of history.

In the evening we were delighted with the performances of the young ladies on the piano. Their attainments, however in this department were varied, corresponding with the standing of the pupils, and, no doubt, in some degree with their natural taste for music. Some of them performed the most difficult pieces in the most finished style, while others evinced that in music they were only tyros. In the youngest performer, however, we could observe that strictness to time and gentleness of touch which characterise the performances of Mrs More’s pupils. A few of the young ladies accompanied the piano in song with excellent effect.

Cairneyhill Church and Manse.

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