Vicars Mead, on Hayes Lane, East Budleigh
We can guess that Raleigh may have received his early education from East Budleigh’s vicar, John Ford. After that, who knows? We have no hard evidence for such matters.
The John Grandisson Triptych c. 1330 in the British Museum's collection, described as 'a superb example of a medieval ivory triptych. Its purpose was to aid meditation and prayer by beautifully illustrating truth. Left section - upper scene: Saint Peter holding a church in his left hand and a key in his right hand; lower scene: A young full-faced John Grandisson holding a bible in his right hand and an unidentifiable object in his left hand, with his coat of arms at upper right. Centre section - upper scene: The King of England and his queen, with his right hand raised in blessing his nation, his left hand holding an orb representing his temporal power; lower scene: Jesus of Nazareth being crucified, thus blessing the world, surrounded by men and women of varied emotions. Right section - upper scene: Saint Paul holding a bible in his dominant hand and a sword in his left hand (a sword of the Spirit); lower scene: An aged gaunt-faced Bishop Grandisson with his right hand raised in blessing in the same manner as the king, blessing his congregant, with his coat of arms at upper left.
It was then that a new era began in the history of the town. John Grandisson, Bishop of Exeter, purchased the Manor back from the Cathedral at Rouen to create, in Ottery, his Ecclesiastical College, his ‘College of Canons’.
It was an area much sought after by settlers even before Roman times; it was easy to farm, and it had all the infrastructure for healthy and sustainable living. A beautiful river valley, which has always been described as a gentle part of England, blest with soft valleys, warm crumbling loam, rich soil. This resulted in lush vegetation and healthy livestock.
The Choristers’ School, founded in 1337, which became The King’s Grammar School in 1545. The photo was taken shortly before its demolition in 1884.
The Raleigh House we recognise today, pictured above, was erected to the left of the original house, with its offices and stabling annex on the original footprint.
During this same period, by a strange coincidence, a private school was operating successfully at ‘Priory House’, home address of the said Rev. George Smith. The proprietor of this independent establishment was a certain Rev. W C Frost BA.
Above: A contemporary drawing of the failing King’s School in the 1880s.
The original school building used to set up ‘The Kynges Newe Grammer Schole’ of 1545 during the reign of King Henry VIII, dated back to the construction of the College in 1337, so by the late 1800s, to say the least, the building was past its best.
The coat of arms of The King's School, Ottery St Mary
Although the school with its ancient history occupies a different site today, it continues to flourish as a comprehensive school with over 1000 pupils.