Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: November 15, 2017
Webpage updated: April 02, 2021

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The Saint Budeaux Foundation Church of England Junior School is currently located at Priestly Avenue, Saint Budeaux, Plymouth.

The Old School in Victoria Road

The School was founded in 1717 by the wealthy gentlemen and farmers of the parish, such as the Stucleys and the Trelawneys, who gave 100 each, a Miss Darracott who gave 50, and Mr Nicholas Docton gave 10.  It was for the benefit of just six boys and six girls.  Soon after, in 1725, Mr John Harris of Pennycross Barton endowed it with 1 every year for ever, out of the income of his estate.  Mrs Christianna Gennys of Whitleigh Hall, also gave financial support and was appointed as Trustee along with the Reverend Thomas Alcock, vicar of Saint Budeaux Church.

There were other benefactors.  In 1767 it was endowed with 300 of South Sea Stock plus 100 of bank stock by Mr Peter Madock Docton, of Whitleigh Hall, to add to the annuity of 10 left by his father.  That stock was had accumulated to be worth 700 and was sold in 1770 in order to purchase 21 acres of agricultural land at Pennycross, from which an income of 71 per annum was at first derived.  One of the fields that was purchased was called Beacon Down and was where Plymouth Albion had their rugby ground until just recently.  In 1771 Mrs Joanna Knighton included Saint Budeaux in her charitable gifts with a donation of 1 per year for ever.  And in addition to all that, there was still 375 in 3% Consols earning an income.  The total income to the School was stated to be 84 5s per year. 

It would seem that in 1783 the Reverend Alcock, as Trustee, agreed to appoint a mistress to teach twelve poor girls reading, knitting and sewing and also to provide them with a pair of shoes and stockings twice a year.  The mistress was paid only 9 per year, half that of the schoolmaster.

Until that year the schoolmaster had been paid 18 per year but on January 27th 1785 the Reverend Alcock ordered that his salary be raised to 20 per annum, the same as in the surrounding parishes.  There was a condition, however: the schoolmaster had to teach reading, writing and 'vulgar arithmetic' free to all the children of the parish , although 'the better sort shall give only what they please unless the Trustees order otherwise'.  There was no mention of an increase for the mistress.

Another member of the Doctor family, Elizabeth Mary Docton (1721-1801), a spinster so presumably Peter's sister, left 100 to the parish in her will dated July 29th 1787.  This was for the provision of a poor house.  Apparently, following her death in 1801 the trustees of her estate were granted the Church Green poor house for use as a charity school for 12 poor boys and 12 poor girls.  Was this the date of the establishment of the school on the village green?

A report compiled in 1826 for the Charity Commissioners tells us that the master was paid 18 a year and the mistress 9.  They were also paid 2 and 4 4s respectively for rent and 1 1s each for fuel, with the master getting a further six shillings for stationery.  The children were given a complete suit of clothes annually and new shoes twice a year.  The cost of that had been 48 0s 9d in 1819.  They were taught reading, writing and arithmetic, with the girls also getting lessons in needlework.

In 1834 the School was taken over by the National Society.  The pupils were then required to attend Church of England services every Sunday.  Drawings of the building in April 1836 show that it was built on sloping land, with the main entrance from the Green being through two doors side by side.  On was presumably for the boys and the other for the girls.  Inside were two schoolrooms, each just over 16 feet in length and 6 feet wide.  Each had stairs to the lower and upper floors.  No plans exist of the upper floor, although the elevation drawing suggests this was simply the loft.  The lower floor was divided (as in the ground floor) into two apartments for the master and mistress, each with a kitchen, bedroom and pantry, and an outside toilet in a small courtyard.

Meanwhile, the older building was replaced by a new school building and master's residence in 1863.  When in April 1877 a new school was opened in the adjacent parish of Tamerton Foliot, several pupils transferred there but many apparently soon transferred back again. 

One of the results of the amalgamation of a large part of the parish of Saint Budeaux into the Borough of Devonport was the manner in which the charity should be applied given that it was meant to be for the residents of the parish only.   A lot of debate took place during 1900, with some saying it should only be for those outside of the Borough and others claiming that it would now apply to the whole Borough as St Budeaux was a part of a larger body.  The area outside the Borough was allowed sixty places at the School now and the Board of Education were asking them to build premises for a further 200.  The parishioners said they were entitled to 200 places at the School and thus they would have to provide a new building for only 40 pupils, which would be a lesser burden on their rates.

There had been a school within the Ordnance Depot at Bull Point but when that was closed in 1901, pupils transferred to Saint Budeaux Foundation Church of England School and later to the Victoria Road Board School.   Some further transfers took place in 1903 when the Saint Budeaux School Board opened their new schools at Crownhill.

By the Education Act 1902 the management of Saint Budeaux Foundation Church of England Junior School was transferred to the new Devonport Local Education Authority, which was actually the Education Committee of Devonport Borough Council.  Although the transfer was supposed to have taken place on Wednesday April 1st 1903, it actually happened on Monday June 1st 1903.  Saint Budeaux Foundation Church of England Junior School* had accommodation for 263 junior mixed and infants.

In 1914 Mr Joseph Warring was the master in charge.  The average attendance at that time was 214 children.

On and as from November 9th 1914, when Devonport was amalgamated with Plymouth, the School came under the management of the Plymouth Local Education Authority.

The Education Act 1918 raised the school-leaving age to the fourteenth birthday.

In 1937 Mr E Pryor was the head master.

The Education Act 1944 raised the school leaving age to the fifteenth birthday as from Tuesday April 1st 1947 and created Primary schools for the 5 to 11 years olds and Secondary Modern, Grammar and Technical Schools.

The Present School in Priestley Avenue

At that time the only ways of crossing the river Tamar to Saltash were by means of the ferry or the train service across the Royal Albert Bridge.   But in 1962 both were supplanted by the Tamar Road Bridge.  In due course it was decided to improve the approach roads to the Bridge and Saint Budeaux Foundation School found that it was in the way of progress. 

The foundation stone of a the new building in Priestley Avenue was laid on Thursday July 12th 1979 by the Bishop of Plymouth, the Right Reverend Richard Cartwright.  After checking with a spirit-level that the stone was laid true, he tapped it in place with a suitably inscribed maul made from Afrormosia, which he returned to the School for safe keeping.  Also attending the ceremony were the three surviving head teachers: Mr Auberry Pryor, Mr Gwilym Davies and Mr Robert North.  Mr Pryor's brother, Ewart, and their great-grandfather had also been head teachers during the long history of the School.  Three former acting head teachers were also present: Miss Maura Parker, Mrs Isabel Barnes and Miss Phoebe Bosworthick.

It was anticipated that the new school would cost 466,450 and would accommodate 280 pupils in eight class-rooms.  In addition there would be an assembly hall, practical areas, visual aids rooms, resource areas, a swimming pool and kitchen.  Alongside would be a caretaker's house and a new football pitch, which would be shared with Plaistow Hill Infant School.

On March 6th 1981 a special service was held in the old school and the following week the pupils transferred to the new building, which was officially opened on June 12th 1981 by the Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Councillor R V Morrell, and dedicated by the Lord Bishop of Exeter, the Reverend Eric Mercer.


  * There is some doubt as to the actual titles carried by the former National Schools after they were transferred to State control.
Many were still known as "National Schools"  in their locality.
The title used for this School has been assumed on the basis of what happend to former Board Schools.