St Stephen’s Protestant Orphan Society

Saint Stephen’s Protestant Orphan Society was formerly known as the Cork Protestant Orphan Society.

St Stephen’s Hospital, also known as the Blue Coat Hospital, was a charitable school founded in 1699 by William Worth, merchant, of Dublin, for the benefit of poor boys belonging to the then Established church, the Church of Ireland.  William Worth is thought to have been from a Cork family which included his brother Edward, Dean of Cork and later bishop of Killaloe, incorrectly identified as the Hospital’s founder in some source

The Mayor and Common Council of the City of Cork were appointed governors of the school and its endowments. The Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork, Worth and his heirs, and the Provost of Trinity College Dublin, together with the Governors, nominated and chose pupils for the school. By the late 19th century the school and its endowments had been placed under a scheme by the Commissioners of Charitable Donations and Bequests for Ireland, under the Educational Endowments (Ireland) Act, 1885 [the Commissioners as a public body were created in 1845]. In 1916 this scheme was amended and the school was closed, with arrangements made for funding of pupils elsewhere.

The Cork Protestant Orphan Society was founded in 1833 in response to the suffering caused by the Cholera Epidemic of that year and continued to function long after the ravages of the disease.  The Society was guided in its early years by a committee of dedicated people, amongst whom the Rev. J.N Woodroffe was the most notable.  He was one of the main figures behind the foundation and retained an active interest in it for 40 years.

The Cork Protestant Orphan Society amalgamated with Saint Stephen’s Hospital in 1991 and became known then as Saint Stephen’s Protestant Orphan Society.  The office was originally in 35, Grand Parade and has since relocated to the Diocesan Office, St. Nicholas’s House, 14 Cove Street in 1993.

Saint Stephen’s Protestant Orphan Society assists orphans and necessitous children where one of the child’s parents is Protestant in the Diocese of Cork, Cloyne and Ross.  We also assist children attending Midleton College and Bandon Grammar School with an education grant, which is means tested, and this aid is sent directly to the schools.

Applications are only accepted through referral of the Rector and in the case of an education grant these are only accepted through Midleton College or Bandon Grammar School.