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by Richard Harris


The old school at Kingsteignton 2010

Kingsteignton - the old British School in 2010

© Richard Harris

In 1873, land forming part of Cotty Meadow was granted to a group of trustees for the building of a British school which was completed in 1875. This was followed by the building of Savery Pinsent's generous extension in 1880. Kingsteignton's National  School was built on glebe land and was  firmly linked to the Church. The British School, however, was an all-age non-sectarian school and continued so until 1910 when it became a Council School.


From The Western Times - October 26th 1880


"The numbers of children attending this school having increased beyond the accommodation, additional rooms have been erected by Savery Pinsent Esq. These rooms,  one of which will be used for the Infants, and another as a Reading Room, were formally opened by the Rev. J. Sellick of Newton Abbot, on Thursday.

At the same time, a bazaar was held on behalf of  the funds of the school. The friends were fortunate in having a fine day for the undertaking. The bazaar was opened at 4.20pm. At 4.30pm, the Rev. R. W. Row introduced Mr. Sellick to those assembled. The Reverend gentleman, in the course of his address, whilst holding that only faith and Christ will save a man, urged upon all the importance of education.  He said that whilst holding it was true that there were learned scoundrels and educated villains, yet there was in education an enlightening and elevating influence. He entreated all to attend to the education of their children, and not forget themselves, but to take advantage of the Reading Room and prepare themselves for the time not too far distant when they would have the vote and ought to know how to use it and support the Government that was best for the country. He spoke of the work that Mr. Pinsent was doing for Kingsteignton and then declared the rooms open.

Savery Pinsent Esq. briefly sketched the history of the movement in the village, the work done by former labourers in the cause, including Mr. Burd and of his own father* in whose footsteps he was proud to tread. He desired no praise, but only wished to see the work prosper, and the people taking advantage of their privileges and getting blest accordingly.

The work of selling was then resumed. The large room of the school, which was tastefully decorated was used for the sale of work and for the music. Another room was set apart for refreshments, which had been given by Mr. Pinsent's Bible Class, Mrs. Walling senior and junior, and the Misses Wallings being the caterers. All praised the admirable way this department was managed.

Great delight was experienced in the third room termed "The Exhibit" which included the Rev. L. W. Row's collection of old china, curiosities lent by Dr. Stradling, Mr. P. R. Mann and Mr. Windsor, and a "Fine Art Gallery" containing many choice pictures such as "The Deserted Home" (a painted an egg shell). The visitors were enlivened by vocal and instrumental music. The proceeds on Thursday amounted to nearly £70. This, with private sales and subscriptions, makes the sum realised to be over £100."


*Savery Pinsent was the youngest of 10 children. His father was Thomas Pinsent and his mother was Mary Savery, Thomas's second wife.


The pupils and teachers of the British School in 1891

Kingsteignton British School - the pupils in 1891

The Master - Charles Freestone - stands on the left in the back row

© Richard Harris



The 1881 census shows us that Savery Pinsent, at that time a pensioner, had taken lodgings at Town End Farm in Kingsteignton where, by coincidence, Miss Davie, the school's infant mistress, was also a boarder.

Savery Pinsent was  born 7th July, 1825 in Plymouth. He became a solicitor and, as a young man, set off for South Africa to what was to become eventually the city of Durban, then just in the earliest stages of its development. His work in the Solicitor's office there was challenging to say the least and he took a hand in everything including laying out the plan on which the city developed. He became a Councillor and then, in 1856, was elected mayor of Durban for the first time, holding the post until 1858; in 1859, he was invited to take the post again.

His odd first name came from his family connections with the Savery family - one of Devon's most ancient, as were the Pinsents. Newton Abbot was part of his family heritage as was Kingsteignton, through the Greenhill Estate.

Savery Pinsent never married and retired to live a simple and generous life in what was then a very rural village. He died there in 1886 at the age of 70.



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