Manorhamilton Parish Church and Masterson National School were constructed on the site of an old military barracks. The barracks itself was demolished to make way for the new church which was constructed in 1783. It is believed that Masterson NS was originally used as a dispensary for the barracks and was later converted for use as a school. The first roll books date from the year 1860. The site of the church and school is surrounded by one of the best preserved star forts in Ireland. The school is situated on Church Lane overlooking the town of Manorhamilton. It was built as the result of an endowment gift from a local man John James Masterson, after whom the school is named. Not much is known about Mr. Masterson. It has been recorded in the Church of Ireland Vestry minutes of 1809 that there is a copy of Mr. Masterson’s bequest for £900.00. This was to be used for the education of the parish children, especially their religious education. Mr. Masterson died in Wimbledon, London.
Masterson NS was a one-teacher school for many years until 1996 when the then principal, Mrs. Edith Leslie, was joined by Mrs. Gillian McMorrow. Mrs. Leslie retired in 2007 after 42 years of teaching in the school. Today, the school has two teachers; Acting Principal & Senior Room Teacher Mr. Garvan Jones and Junior Room Teacher Ms. Caroline Owens, (Principal Mrs Zara Ball currently on a career break) a shared Special Education Teacher, a Special Needs Assistant, a part-time Secretary and a Cleaner.
For many years there was little change to the original building. Toilets were added to the rear of the building to replace an outside toilet. Any other changes were minor and involved internal partitioning and the general maintenance of the building. Two chimneys were removed when the stoves were no longer used to heat the school. It was, therefore, a very big event in the life of the school when the extension and refurbishment project got off the ground due to the leadership of the then Principal, Mrs. Edith Leslie.
Planning permission was granted for an extension to be added to the original school building in March, 2007. This refurbishment project resulted in an extra classroom, computer room, staff room, two store rooms, two new sets of toilets and a disabled/staff toilet. The exterior of the original stone building has been preserved in its original state. During the project, asbestos was found in the roof of the original building. This was carefully removed and the roof was re-slated. Outside, the area at the front of the school building was tarred to become the playground area. A small school garden consisting of four raised beds was created just inside the church gate.