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In April 2007, the late Dr. Peter Lyne wrote an article about Hampden House Academy at Ashwater in which he referred to a court case brought against the proprietors by the parents of one of the pupils.

The following report appeared in Exeter's newspaper and gives us a further insight into life in one of the numerous private boarding schools in Devon:, and in particular, Hampden House Academy.


Hampden House Academy 2007

Hampden House 2007

Formerly Hampden House Academy

Described in the court case as having 70 residents.

 Richard J. Brine


From the Exeter Flying Post

10 April 1878




At the Holsworthy County Court on Wednesday, Mr. James Rawlings, a retired solicitor residing at Newton Tracey, Barnstaple, brought an action before Mr. Montague Bere QC, judge, and a jury, to recover from Mr. and Mrs. Charles Veysey, proprietor and proprietress of Hampton House (sic) Boarding school, Ashwater, near Lifton, the sum of £50, as damages sustained by the plaintiff's daughter through the negligence of the defendants. Mr. W. B. Odgers, barrister, of the Western Circuit, appeared for the plaintiff, and Mr. C. Peter, of Launceston, for the defendants.


It appears from the evidence that the plaintiff's daughter was engaged as pupil teacher by the defendants, and on going to their house, she found that, besides twenty girls, there were thirty boys in the school. All the boys slept in one room, the capacity of which, the judge remarked, was not enough for five. The plaintiff had to make the beds in the boys' dormitory, which was the only place they had for washing; and as there were only four basins, half of them went down dirty.


The sheets were only changed twice in one half year, and when measles and other illnesses occurred, Holloway's pills were the only medicines administered, no doctor being called in. The plaintiff had to sleep in one bed with four others, and when an infectious disease broke out, they all caught it, and the plaintiff, when she left, was disqualified from taking another situation for several months. Several pupils had carried the infection to their own homes. Although the household consisted of seventy persons, only one female servant was kept and sometimes there were no servants at all.


The judge summed up strongly against the defendants and the jury awarded the plaintiff £20 damages.


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