South Molton Heritage Trail

Below is a page from the Heritage Trail booklet which was produced by the South Molton & District Archive Local History Society and first published in 2000.  The trail takes you around some of the interesting parts of the town and gives a brief history of 30 buildings. Smart black and yellow numbered plaques on the buildings together with maps in the booklet mark out the route which takes about two hours to complete. Funding came from the Devon County Council, Devon Rural Action for the Environment, South Molton Town Council, North Devon District Council and the Greater Exmoor LEADER Project.

In 2013 the trail was revised and updated with a donation from The Rotary Club of South Molton, a Community Grant from the North Devon District Council,  plus a donation from Jack Rice Flannigan of Florida, USA in appreciation of research carried out for him by members of the South Molton Archive.

Copies are available from the Museum, Library and the Tourist Information Centre price £3.00.

TAMARISK  1684/6

The former Hugh Squier School at South Molton.
                                            Copyright Gordon Bray.

Heritage trail siteThis house was once a school which was built and endowed by Hugh Squier, primarily for teaching good writing and arithmetic to 30 poor boys of the town.  It also accepted some fee paying pupils, who received a grammar school education.  Hugh Squier was born, the youngest son of a yeoman farmer, at Townhouse, which is situated about four miles from the town.  As a young man he went to London where he became a merchant and accumulated a large fortune.

    The school consisted of a writing-room, a Latin room and the Master's house, with some buildings at the rear and a courtyard in front.  R. D. Blackmore, the author of "Lorna Doone" was a pupil there before he went on to Blundell's School.  The school continued both as a "free school" and a "Latin school" until 1877 when it was amalgamated into the new United School.  The buildings were sold to Mr. Samuel Brown in 1880 and used as a private school, by successive owners until the First World War, when they became the headquarters of the North Devon Yeomanry.  During the 1940s one of the buildings behind the school was used as a miniature rifle range.  After the war, the school buildings were converted into two dwelling houses.

    In the 1960s the premises were purchased by Mr. George Wallace who used some of the buildings for his Honey Farm.  It was during this time that a third of the old schoolrooms were demolished in order to provide an entrance for articulated lorries.  In 1978 the Honey Farm was moved to the old Union Workhouse in North Road and Hugh Squier's school was converted into the private house which can be seen today.

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