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Devon County

Devonshire Rgt.

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Records show that as a result of a charitable bequest, there was a school in Zeal Monachorum as early as 1768. By 1818, a master had been appointed and there was provision for teaching 16 children.

A small building was erected in 1850 on the right of the road coming into the village from Down St. Mary and this became a National or Parochial School.  John Sanders, then aged 38, was appointed schoolmaster. The 1851 Census lists the following 47 children claiming to attend the school - the same census also names other children who did not claim attendance.


Tryphena Clotworthy 13
Elizabeth Mitchell 8
Sarah Matthews 5
George Mitchell 13
Ann Hopkins 8
Elizabeth Newcomb 5
Joseph Haskings 13
Thomas Stentiford 8
John Northam 5
John Baker 8
Ada Mitchell 5
Samuel Brealy 12
George Matthews 7
Harry Dart 4
Richard Hill 11
Elizabeth Lock 7
Francis Clotworthy 4
Thomas Vanstone 11
William Moor 7
Louisa Stentiford 4
Mary Bishop 11
Mary Hopkins 7
Emily Dart 4
Frederick Bishop 7
Thomas Mitchell 10
John Hopkins 3
Frederick Castle 10
Susan Mitchell 6
Ann Clotworthy 10
Ann Dart 6
Joseph Matthews 2
George Stentiford 10
Eliza Hopkins 6
Philip Northam 2
Emma Haskings 10
Henry Castle 6
Martha Baler 10
William Clotworthy 6
John Stentiford 6
Mary Moor 9
Joseph Brealy 6
James Stentiford 9
Samuel Hopkins 6
Adolphus Bishop 9
Ellen Dart 6
Elizabeth Brealy 9


No infant mistress was appointed in 1850 so the older girls would have provided assistance with the very youngest children but by 1861 Joseph Bibbings (aged 47) was in charge of the school. It is fair to assume that his wife Elizabeth played her part in the running of the school by teaching the girls to sew. The number of children claiming to attend had increased but actual attendance figures would have been comparatively low.

The original schoolroom measuring 30' by 16' was still in use in 1870 when William Clotworthy, Joseph Bibbing's replacement,  reported a regular attendance of 20 girls and 20 boys. By this time, people were becoming more interested in the standard of teaching and William Clotworthy did not last long in Zeal Monachorum. In 1872, he moved on to East Budleigh to a post from which he was eventually sacked.

His successor at Zeal begged unsuccessfully for a playground (not provided until 1894). He saw this as an absolute necessity to counteract complaints from nearby properties about damage and rowdyism. Locals complained bitterly about the boys' habit of filling the village letter box with stones so there was no room for letters. Both he and his successor stayed only for a short while as there was no response from the school's managers to any of the points they raised.

In 1875 the school became a Board School. The premises were leased from the Rector and in 1876 the buildings was enlarged by the construction of another classroom. John Clemmow,  who came to the school in 1875, represented a new breed of teacher. He came from St. Luke's College in Exeter to gain his Certificate by training on the job. After his second inspection in 1876, he was judged to be a competent teacher and moved on.


Zeal Monachorum School 2002

Zeal Monachorum - the village school building in 2002

In 1937, Zeal Monachorum School became a school for juniors only and  senior pupils were transferred to North Tawton. The school finally closed in 1956 and the following year, the building was sold to the Village Hall Committee.

©Richard J. Brine



John Oliver Clemmow
January 1871 - September 1876
John Edwin Barnes
October 1876 - March 1885
Walter T. Prideaux
March 1885 - March 1891
Peter Colliver Hodder
April 1891  - March 1895
John Rowe
April 1895 -  December 1897
John Drought
January 1898 - December 1900
Henry James Foord
January 1901 - September 1903
Thomas O. Hocking
September 1903 - December 1909


With the coming of Walter Prideaux in 1885, Zeal Monchorum's School turned a corner. He set unusually high standards in every aspect of the conduct of the school, and at last, the Infants had an excellent teacher in the person of Fanny Grant who lived in the village with her widowed mother for many years and was greatly respected. Successive head teachers maintained Walter Prideaux's high standards. A playground and new toilets were provided in 1894. When James Drought took up office, he took a strong stand against absenteeism which was then very high and under Henry Foord, the school continued to do well.

Henry Foord was the last of the Board Masters. In the summer of 1903, Devon County took over the running of the school which became known as a Council School.



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