MEM24708 - Withypool School (Building)


The land for Withypool School was donated by Henry Leigh in 1876. The school first opened in 1878 and closed in 1970 after numbers fell. It became an Outdoor Centre but fell out of use after the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

At the Withypool Parish Meeting on 29 January 1874, it was decided to build a school in the village. One of the project committee, Henry Leigh, donated the land for the school ""for the benefit of the children of the parish"". The new school opened in 1878. It became the responsibility of Somerset County Council and was closed in 1970, due to a fall in pupil numbers. It then became an Outdoor Centre for a consortium of schools in East Somerset but was closed in 2001 due to the foot and mouth outbreak. The building required repairs and was sold on in 2004, with a trust for the benefit of the children in the area, the Henry Leigh Withypool Educational Trust, established from the proceeds. [1] The site is shown as part of a field, land parcel 277, on the Tithe Map for Withypool. The field was owned by John Leigh and was part of Gibbs's Farm. [2] The 25 inch 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map depicts a group of buildings centred at SS 8451 3555, labelled ""School"". [3] The school is also shown on the 2nd Edition map, with no change in layout. [4] The buildings are shown on 2018 MasterMap data apparently extant in their original layout. They are labelled ""FS". [5] The headmistress from 1907 was Edith Macdonald, who was there for 32 years. She married the farmer who lived next to the school in 1910. In winter, farmers rode to the school, carrying hot dinners in baskets for their children. School would finish early so that pupils could go home in daylight. There were Christmas parties and concerts where gifts would be given from the tree and every year a rich neighbour would gift every child a book and a large iced bun with a cherry on top; a further bun would be given at Easter. During World War One, school would end early to allow the children to pick whortleberries, which commanded high prices and were used for dye; proceeds would fund clothing for the children. The building is now run as an activity centre for pupil groups. [6]

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Website: Anonymous. Undated. History of the Henry Leigh Trust.
  • <2> Map: 1839. Withypool Tithe Map and Apportionment. Land parcel 277.
  • <3> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <4> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-1907. County Series, 2nd Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <5> Map: Ordnance Survey. 2018. MasterMap.
  • <6> Serial: Exmoor Society. 1959-present. Exmoor Review. Volume 31 (1990), "Ruby Reed remembers", p11-12 (V McMullen).

External Links (0)

Other Statuses/References

  • Local List Status (Unassessed)



Grid reference Centred SS 8451 3555 (43m by 52m)
Map sheet SS83NW
Historic Parish WITHYPOOL

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

Record last edited

Jul 29 2019 2:05PM


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