Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: July 11, 2017.
Webpage updated: July 11, 2017




The history of the Hele and Lanyon School commences on January 9th 1632 when Mr Elize Hele, of Fardel, Cornwood, left his large estates to his wife, Mrs Alice Hele, and Mr John Maynard, Mr John Hele and Mr Elize Stert, and their heirs with instructions 'to employ the same in some godly, pious, and charitable uses.'  They placed 500 to be invested in land and 20 per year for the benefit of the poor children in the Hospital of the Poor's Portion.  The charity also endowed schools in Plympton and Exeter.

But it was not until 1679, following a further gift to the Hospital of 2,000 from the will of Mr John Lanyon, that the Hele and Lanyon School was founded.   As both charities were managed by the same set of trustees and housed in the same building, their resources were operated jointly.  The orphan boys whose education was paid for out of the Hele Charity were dressed in a blue uniform while the Lanyon Charity boys wore a red uniform. 

At first there were six boys and two girls funded by the Lanyon Charity but from at least 1721 the School admitted only boys.  They commenced their education at 7 years of age and stayed until they were 15, unless an apprenticeship was found for them, when they received a premium of 3 each.   The number of boys funded by the Lanyon Charity varied between six and thirteen: there were nine in November 1819 but only six in September 1820.

Although the rules of the Hele Charity stated that suitable children should go forward to university, this was not done in Plymouth.

The Lanyon Charity paid 25 towards the salary of the school master in 1816-1817 and 169 towards the maintenance of the boys for one year.  They paid another 7 10s towards an extra master.  The cost of clothing - presumably the red uniforms - amounted to 7 3s 2d.  A large intake of new pupils must have accounted for the sharp increase - to 71 5s 1d - for clothing in 1817 to 1818.  The cost fell again the following year (1818-1819), to 14 15s 3d.

When the Hospital of the Poor's Portion was taken over by the Guardians of the Poor, the trustees of the Hele Charity continued to nominate lads for the school places without reference to the new workhouse.   This lasted until 1805, when the Guardians successfully maintained the right of all the children in the workhouse and the Master annually submitted a list of candidates for the Trustees to chose from.

The boys were now under the care of the Guardians and the school master was nominated and paid by them so that he could provide education for other male children at the Hospital.  These were known as the 'general poor.'  It was therefore ruled that the children being paid for by the Charity were 'always to be kept as distinct as possible (both in and out of school) from the paupers in the house'.  While the school was operating within the Workhouse this presented no problems but when it was provided with separate premises they had to resort to the strange procedure of admitting the boys through the doorway of the Poor's Portion, and then sending them out of another door into their own school. 

In 1857 the School was housed on North Hill, Tavistock Road, opposite the Dame Hannah Rogers' Charity School.  Sixteen boys were being paid for by the Hele Trust and only four by the Lanyon Trust.

By 1890 Hele and Lanyon's School was located at number 1 Lipson Terrace, a private road off Lipson Road, where it was known as the Blue Coat School.

The Hele and Lanyon School closed in May 1907.