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HER Number:MDV117436
Name:Leusdon School House, Widecombe


Built in 1854-5 with money provided by Mrs Larpent of Torquay, who supported and championed the school until her death in 1879. The school continued on and was extended in the late 1880s. The school closed in 1937.


Grid Reference:SX 707 732
Map Sheet:SX77SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishWidecombe in the Moor
Ecclesiastical ParishWIDECOMBE IN THE MOOR

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • SCHOOL (XIX - 1854 AD to 1855 AD (Between))

Full description

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

The late 19th century historic map shows four main buildings at Leusdon, including the school, which by this time had been extended (to include teachers accomodation) and a new two-room school built just to the south of the old school. This is labelled 'school' on the map.

Stanbrook, M., 1991, Old Dartmoor Schools Remembered (Monograph). SDV359884.

Stanbrook, M., 1991, Old Dartmoor Schools Remembered, 87-94, photograph (Monograph). SDV359884.

Leusdon School owed its existence entirely to Mrs Charlotte Rosamund Larpent, of Torquay who subscribed to the Widecombe and Dartmoor Schools Charity in the 19th century and in 1854 paid for a school to be built at Leusdon (and also covered the teacher's salary costs. The actual building was part of the present 'Old Schoolhouse'. It opened in May 1855 and soon afterwards Mrs Larpent had a separate teacher's house constructed; now 'Leusdon House' (in which she reserved rooms for her own use, which she stayed in more and more frequently and she gradually enlarged the teacher's house).
The school was also used for divine worship until 1863 when Mrs Larpent arranged for a church and parsonage to be built nearby.
Details of school teachers over the years provided. By 1872, Mrs Larpent had settled permanently at the teacher's residence and extended it and added a number of new buildings. Once pointed out to her that she had made a good private home on land given for charitable purposes, she had extra rooms added to the school to provide teacher's accommodation. She died in 1879 and was much missed and Widecombe School Board took over the school in 1880, with numbers averaging around 60 pupils. The increasing numbers of students prompted the construction of a new two-room school which stands alongside the old school (known as 'The Schoolhouse').
By 1921 school numbers had dropped to 19 pupils, although this rose to 27 over the next 3 years and things continued positively until the school closed in 1937. The old schoolhouse is now a private residence.

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

The modern marks marks the old school as 'Leusdon School House'.

Devon History Society, 2019, Early Victorian Schools, 15-16, 21-22 (Article in Serial). SDV363127.

Leusdon school is featured in this chapter examining the development of elementary education in rural Devon parishes, 1833-1870.
The Widecombe and Dartmoor Schools Charity had been founded in 1796 and provided support for a number of small schools. The 1833 Enquiry identified four daily schools in the parish; Dunstone, Widecombe town, Ponsworthy and Poundsgate and a further National School was built at Leusdon in 1854. This became the flagship of the parish, under the patronage of a Mrs Larpent. When Leusdon separated from Widecombe parish in 1864, the Widecombe school was upgraded to a National 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 features: #76745 ; #76746 ]
SDV359884Monograph: Stanbrook, M.. 1991. Old Dartmoor Schools Remembered. Old Dartmoor Schools Remembered. Paperback Volume. 87-94, photograph.
SDV363127Article in Serial: Devon History Society. 2019. Early Victorian Schools. The Devon Historian. 88. Paperback Volume. 15-16, 21-22.

Associated Monuments

MDV117439Related to: Former stables at Leusdon (Building)
MDV117437Related to: Leusdon House (Building)
MDV117441Related to: The Grooms Cottage, Leusdon (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Jul 22 2019 10:01AM