When John Walling Brooks (who later went on to found a school of his own in Chulmleigh) was born in 1839, a boarding school for boys was already was already firmly established in the town. It was the creation of John Tuke who ran his school from two adjoining houses in East Street, Chulmleigh. John Tuke was a staunch member of the Congregational Church also situated in East Street..
Judging by the names below, his pupils were drawn from some of Devon's leading yeoman families. The curriculum seems to have been very down-to-earth. Latin was taught but so was accountancy and book-keeping - useful skills for the sons of bankers and farmers alike. The existence of the school over a long period of time is evidence of its quality.
John Tuke was careful to educate his daughters and it was they who eventually carried on after his death, successfully applying his principles in what became a girls' school.