Hugh RAINEY (of Magherafelt)
(Cir 1644-1707)


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Hugh RAINEY (of Magherafelt)

  • Born: Cir 1644
  • Marriage: Unknown
  • Died: 1707 aged about 63
  • Buried: Old Parish Church, Magherafelt, co. Derry, Ireland

bullet  General Notes:

Extract from "History of Magherafelt, Ireland" by W. H. Maitland (1916)
Though Magherafelt cannot lay claim to being a commercial centre of much importance, yet it can boast of having one of the most successful secondary schools in Ulster at the present time. The founder, Mr. Hugh Rainey, was one of the residents of the town during the latter part of the seventeenth and early portion of the eighteenth centuries. He was possessed of onsiderable wealth, and occupied a good social position, being one of the Grand Jurors of the County from 1695 to 1703. He became imbued with the idea of doing what he could to enable the poor lads of his native town to fit themselves to successfully fight the battle of life by placing within their reach the advantages of free education, and the learning of suitable trades. By his Will, which was dated 11th April 1707, he bequeathed his estate to trustees, Thomas Ash and John Rainey, for the purpose of having a suitable school-house built in Magherafelt.
He recommended two executors to consult able counsel to draw up a short Act of Parliament to confirm his Will, so that it would be out of the power of any that should be entrusted with his property to mis-apply the same.
Hugh Rainey was a Presbyterian and a ruling elder in Castledawson congregation (Magherafelt at that date not having been formed into a separate congregation). He died very shortly after making his Will, and Probate was granted on the 19th May 1708 to Thomas Ash and John Rainey, the executors. They disposed of the estate and in 1713 they built a schoolhouse in Magherafelt upon portion of the Salters' Estate, and also acquired a farm of about 12 acres for the purpose of of the school, which they held at a yearly rent.

Extract from "An Historical Account of the Diocese of Down and Connor: Vol. I" by Rev. James O'Laverty (1878)

In 1710, the estate called "The Ten Towns of Lecale," was purchased by the trustees under the will of Hugh Rainey of Magherafelt, for 6,545, subject to a reserved rent of 5 ; the rent of these townlands at that time was 333, although they contain 2,529 acres of the richest land in Lecale. "The Ten Towns" are Bally warren, Tobermoney, Mill Quarter of Do., Upper Ballyclander, Lower Ballyclander, Grange Walls, Grange Ban, Corn-Mill of Do., Ballyhossett, Milltown of Do., Ballygallum and Lower Ballymote. The rents, after paying certain debts, were to be paid by the trustees, one half to Mr. Rainey's grandson, John Ash, or John Ash Rainey, and the other half to Magherafelt School. In 1737 William Ash Rainey, to whom the property of his brother John had passed, obtained an Act of Parliament empowering him to sell or grant leases for ever of the estate subject to a rent of 175 to be paid to the Protestant Primate for the benefit of Magherafelt School. Nearly all the tenants availed themselves of the powers of the Act and became purchasers of the fee of their lands. From the reserved rents 175 per annum was paid to the school, and the remainder, amounting to 600 per annum, was paid to Mr. Ash Rainey, but he continued to sell from time to time these rents to different parties, amongst others, to Judge Ward, who also purchased the interest of several tenants in Ballyhossett and the Grange, which are now vested in his descendants, Lord Bangor, and Mr. Ward of Bangor Castle. When at last Mr. Rainey became reduced in circumstances, his former tenants voluntarily purchased for him an annuity of 50. The permanency of tenure enjoyed by the farmers in these townlands has produced that independence, self reliance, and prosperity for which the occupiers of those lands are characterized, thereby giving a convincing proof that what is wanted to produce prosperity among the farmers of Ireland is permanency of tenure. Of course Catholics who at that time could not hold such leases were deprived of the advantages of the Ash Rainey leases, and of the opportunities of purchase which the sale of the Downpatrick estate in 1710 afforded.

Extract from the website of the Rainey Endowed School:

History & Tradition
Rainey Endowed School was founded by Mr Hugh Rainey, an iron smelter and wealthy merchant in the Magherafelt district. He was an elder in the Presbyterian Congregation of Castledawson, which at that time included Magherafelt.
As a result of a vow made to God for his protection and favour he, by his will dated 11 April 1707, devoted one half of his estate to fund a charity school for 24 boys, "sons of parents who were of good report and reduced to poverty". After three years instruction the boys were to be given a suit of clothes and 2.50 for an apprentice fee.
In his Will, Hugh Rainey wrote "that what I have left may not only be for a generation or two, but that it may be for many not yet born . . ." So was founded 'The Rainey' as it is known locally and to all have attended or taught in it.
Hugh Rainey died in 1707 and the task of building the school fell to his only child, Elizabeth, and her husband, Lieut Colonel Thomas Ash. The school was built on land leased from the Salters' Company, the school is still on that site today.

Extract from "The Ash MSS, written in the year 1735, by Lieut. Colonel Thomas Ash", published by Henry Tyler (1890)
In 1707, Mr. Rainey, father-in-law of Thomas Ash, died; made his will some months before, and left him one of his Executors and considerable effects, amounting to about 4,650, to purchase an estate, which, when purchased, he left the one half to his grandson, John, and the other half to charitable and pious uses, by the will is set forth.


Hugh married.

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