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SAMUEL MARDON - VILLAGE SCHOOLMASTER

 

The memorial to Samuel Mardon at Broadclyst

An unusual memorial to a Victorian village schoolmaster

in Broadclyst Churchyard

©Richard J. Brine

 

From The Devon Weekly Times

Saturday July 6th 1901

"A handsome memorial has been placed in Broadclyst churchyard to the memory of the late Mr Samuel Mardon. It takes the form of a massive cross of unpolished Dartmoor granite, the letters of the inscription being sunk into the stone in blackened lead.

The inscription is as follows:

IN LOVING MEMORY OF SAMUEL MARDON

BORN 23 JULY 1834. AT REST 20 MARCH 1900.

MASTER OF GEORGE III JUBILEE SCHOOLS, BROADCLYST

1857 - 1894.

"MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR THEE"

 

The above is inserted on the three steps of the pedestal on the side of which there is also an inscription setting forth the death of Mr. Mardon's first wife, Elizabeth Ann Stocker Mardon who died 10 January 1881. The name of the sculptor is not given but is believed to be the handiwork of a former pupil of the Jubilee Schools."

 

Elizabeth Ann Stocker's Inscription
©Richard J. Brine

 

Samuel Mardon was born in Drewsteignton 23 July 1834, the son of William Mardon, a farm labourer and his wife and Ann.  The 1851 Census shows Samuel already working as an assistant in the local school. He came to Broadclyst in 1857 and the 1861 Census shows him living in the house attached to the village school with a 12-year old pupil called John Greenway living in and acting as a house servant.

 

In 1862, he married Elizabeth Ann Stocker Corner who had been born in Broadclyst in 1839 and was a certificated elementary schoolmistress - together they worked in the school until Elizabeth's death early in 1881, leaving Samuel with 8 surviving children*, the youngest being 2 years old.

The memorial also includes a reference to four infants lost by the couple over the years.

 

(*Emily Ann Mardon, born in 1867, eventually became the Schoolmistress at  nearby Talaton - a school which closed in 1972 and which was one of the last thatched schools remaining in Devon.)

 

The inscription to four infant children (not named)
©Richard J. Brine

 

In December 1882, Samuel married  another certificated elementary teacher - a Cornish woman named  Elizabeth Ann Hicks who was to teach the Infants of Broadclyst  for 21 years.  An Inspector's report says of her teaching the "the children are kindly and pleasantly managed, and the instruction is carefully given."  Her name was added to the memorial above after her death in August 1906.

 

Inscription of the name of Samuel Mardon's 2nd wife
©Richard J. Brine

 

The Jubilee School at Broadclyst

The original part (right) of Broadclyst's Jubilee School was built in 1810 by Sir Thomas Dyke Acland of Killerton who took a life-long interest in its development. It was thatched then and consisted of a boys' classroom and a girls' classroom. By 1852, shortly before Samuel Mardon's arrival, it was described by Her Majesty's Inspector as " a good and convenient building, with a gallery."

©Richard J. Brine

 

From "Early Devon Schools"

by R. R. Sellman

"Samuel Mardon was an outstanding example of a better type of contemporary village schoolmaster. His log is well-written and shows him to have been a man of diverse interests and capacities as well as an effective teacher. He ran a 3Rs Night School for "men and youths", and lectured on bee-keeping; in 1868 he raised £3 0s 5d which produced 152 books for a school lending library; he frequently took the older boys out for surveying (discovering that "the floor line of the school is 72 feet above the level of the sea"), produced his own "New Table Books" and raised a large Victorian family.

His first wife died in 1881 but by 1885 he had re-married. His second wife then joined the staff and continued as Infants Mistress until  her retirement in 1906. Four children by his first wife became Pupil-Teachers in the school. His Report record, at least until age and illness began to tell on him and his handwriting, was invariably good. After retirement in 1894, he became a member of the Committee - a local vote of confidence - until his death in 1900.

He had served the school for 37 years."

 

 
 
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