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HER Number:MDV117047
Name:The Old School, North Bovey


Depicted on the late 19th century historic map, the school was built in 1842 on land donated by the Earl of Devon to replace the schoolroom in the Church House. A cottage on the site was removed to allow the construction of the school, which was used until 1965, when it closed and pupils were transferred to Moretonhampstead. Now a dwelling.


Grid Reference:SX 740 839
Map Sheet:SX78SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishNorth Bovey
Ecclesiastical ParishNORTH BOVEY

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • SCHOOL (Constructed, XIX - 1842 AD to 1842 AD (Between))
  • HOUSE (XX to Unknown - 1965 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

'School' is depicted on the late 19th century historic map. The Tithe Map depicted the cottage that pre-dated the school.

Stanbrook, M., 1991, Old Dartmoor Schools Remembered, 54-61, photographs (Monograph). SDV359884.

After the fire at the Church House (a chamber of which was used as the first village school), a new school was planned. It was built on land given by the Earl of Devon and was known as the Earl Devon's School. It opened in 1842 and was closely monitored by the Reverend Arden who had pulled down the old rectory and built a new one in 1860 (now the Glebe Hotel). The parishioners were said to be 'very turbulent' and when his successor Reverend W. H. Thornton became Rector in 1866 he was warned of their roughness, although Thornton recalls the children were very good. He was Rector of North Bovey for 50 years and exercised a great influence for good. The rectors wife often helped out at the school and a number of teachers struggled to maintain good attendance and orderly behaviour.
A small school for miners and farmers children was being run at Lettaford but in 1872 it was closed and all the children were transferred to North Bovey, swelling the pupil total to around 70, although attendance was generally much lower than this. In 1888 another 14 boys were admitted from a Dr. Barnardo's Home. A number of head teachers is listed for the late 19th century, often struggling with the post, with the Thorntons all the while maintaining their intimate connection with the school.
In 1902 Miss Susan Ellen Smardon started as head and would stay with the school for over 30 years. Along with Miss Mary Cuming, who joined permanently in 1902 as Infant teacher, Miss Smardon provided stability and the school thrived. In 1916 Parson Thornton died aged 86 and was mourned by all, although his successor W. R. Fox and subsequent Rectors carried on the tradition of interest and care for the school. Also in this year, the thatched roof of the school was replaced with slate, a new grate was put in, a well sunk in the playground and new offices with 'a good flush' were installed.
During the war, pupil numbers were augmented refugees to over 50, and following the retirement of Miss Smardon (1933) and Miss Cuming (1938), a succession of teachers followed until 1955 when Miss N. M. Jones took over for the final ten years of the school. When it closed, the pupils were transferred to Moretonhampstead County Primary School.

Dartmoor National Park Authority, 2012, North Bovey Conservation Area Character Appraisal, 8, 17-18 (Report - Assessment). SDV359513.

The school is a significant 19th century addition to North Bovey; a simple building with granite walls and a slate roof, constructed in 1842 on land donated by the Earl of Devon. It was once described as being “very pretty with diamond paned windows”, but unfortunately these have since been replaced in aluminium, and two large roof lights have been inserted into the roof slope. A cottage to the east of the green (shown on the Tithe Map) was removed to make way for the new school.

Ordnance Survey, 2016, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV359352.

Modern map depicts 'The Old School'.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV359352Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2016. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #76359 ]
SDV359513Report - Assessment: Dartmoor National Park Authority. 2012. North Bovey Conservation Area Character Appraisal. Dartmoor National Park Authority. Digital. 8, 17-18.
SDV359884Monograph: Stanbrook, M.. 1991. Old Dartmoor Schools Remembered. Old Dartmoor Schools Remembered. Paperback Volume. 54-61, photographs.

Associated Monuments

MDV8740Related to: Cottages 35 meters north-east of church, North Bovey (Building)
MDV35517Related to: Glebe House, North Bovey (Building)
MDV8788Related to: Methodist chapel at Lettaford, North Bovey (Building)
MDV35450Related to: Three cottages in North Bovey (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Nov 15 2016 9:13AM