Chilcott's Free Schools

Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 11:1, (1920), p. 18.


Rhys Jenkins

Prepared by Michael Steer

Google with the Archive Organization has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. The Internet Archive makes available, in its Community Texts Collection (originally known as Open Source Books), books that have been digitised by Google from a number of libraries. These are books on which copyright has expired, and are available free for educational and research use. The copy of this rare book is held in the collection of Albert William Bryant Messenger, and is available from the Internet Archive.

Visitors to Tiverton cannot fail to have noticed Chilcott's Free School in Peter Street, which was founded in 1609, by Robert Comyn alias Chilcott, nephew and clerk to the more famous Peter Blundell. According to Prince's Worthies, "Mr Chilcot before he died, settled his habitation in London, where very probably he expired, and lieth inhumed; altho' in what particular church, by reason of that grand conflagration, which happened in the year 1666, and destroyed so many funeral monuments, we can't certainly determine; nor what issue he left behind him". It is, therefore, interesting to find that two persons of the same name, and undoubtedly his descendants, founded a century later, a similar free school at Watford, in Hertfordshire. The following words are cut in stone over the doorway of the old free school near the church in that town:

"Anno Dni 1704. This free school was built and endowed for the teaching of poor children at the proper cost of Mrs Elizabeth Fuller of Watford Place the only daughter of Mr John Comyne alias Chilcott of Tiverton in Devonshire and of London, Merchant who dyed ye 11th of November 1709 aged 65. Silvester Chillcott Gent. Brother to the foundress of this school has made an addition of £20 a year for ever".

This Silvester Chilcott died in 1716 and was very properly buried just outside the school which he "for ever" enriched