Remembering alumni from WW1


Pictured:  School visitor Chris Zealley and Emma Styles (Development Officer) stood next to the school’s war memorial.

Colyton Grammar School welcomed Chris Zealley, the Nephew of the late Kenelm Zealley, to the school last week. Kenelm was a Colyton Grammar School boy from the late 1890’s (head master Mr Mermagon). Kenelm was son of John and Mary Zealley of Coles Mill, Colyton.

Kenelm attended the school when it was at St Andrews Church, Colyton. He was an architect and a well known member of the Axe Vale Music Society. He was an extremely talented violin and viola player, teaching many local students. Kenelm signed up to the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) in 1915, he was posted to La Harve, France in November 1916.  Within a few days they were sent to the front line at Beaumont Hamel. In early 1917 the Germans withdrew their front line in Somme area, during this time they captured an advanced position held by the HAC, Kenelm’s company were ordered to recapture but the well place machine guns killed 28 men, one of which was Kenelm. On the 1st of April 2017 will be  the 100 year anniversary of his death.

Kenelm’s family are extremely proud of his talents, efforts and bravery. Chris visited the school to meet with the head teacher and Director of Music. In light of this and the other 10 CGS boys who died in  WW1 the school are a memorial concert on Saturday 1st April at St Andrews Church Colyton. This special hour long concert will feature mainly violin and piano pieces of the period.

Free tickets available from


Local business woman Julie Hawker visits school



Julie Hawker (Class of 1983)  visited the school last week as part of the ‘Come Back and Inspire ‘ Programme of lunch time talks. The Year 7, 9 and 10 boys were interested to hear about Julie’s Social Enterprise business in the world of IT. We heard how Julie worked her way through the County Council and then found a new challenge in joining Cosmic.  Julie’s work has seen her work with some other prestigious social enterprises such as Innocent, Eviss and Kresse and Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen. It was great to hear about Julie’s career and life after Colyton Grammar School.

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Published 20.03.2017


Come Back And Inspire Talk with Tom Jessamine

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Class of 2010 Tom Jessamine started our new programme of alumni talks ‘Come Back and Inspire’. Tom grew up with a passion for sport, his most memorable studies at Colyton Grammar School where obviously his favourite subject PE. He also enjoyed Biology where he told students that he enjoyed the subject, but he had to work extra hard to achieve good grades for the course he wanted to study at University. On reflection this was a life lesson, when you should always try your hardest to achieve the best result.

Tom went onto complete a degree in Sport Science and Exercise at the University of Birmingham and is now a professional Golfer, working towards his PGA status and coaching qualifications. Tom’s little piece of advice would be to always ask questions, this is key in school, university and through out life.

Tom also reminisced with some of his teachers at Colyton Grammar, Mr Smith, Mr Bush, Mr Bedford, and  Mrs Harvey.

We look forward to hearing where Tom’s PGA career takes him and we wish him all the best.  Alumni are inspirational for our current students, we are grateful to Tom for making the time to ‘Come Back and Inspire’.


Colyton Grammar in 1929 final part of Grace’s story

CGS crest

Wise words from Colyton Grammar Teachers in 1929

(memories from Grace Blackie, nee Pavey)

Pupils from Axminster came by train which arrived at Colyford about 9 a.m. During the fifteen minutes that they took to arrive at the school, Grace and her friends had to practise handwriting. Rounded letters, high and low loops etc., had to be copied exactly.

One morning, one of Grace’s teachers, Mr Kenny said “Your faces were blank as l saw you arrive at school this morning. Why don’t you use the free time travelling from your homes to THINK, PONDER and PLAN? You’ll never have that wasted time over again.”

On another occasion he said “Don’t think that you‘ve completed your education when you leave school. School is to prepare you for your real education that is offered by the wide world that you are entering now.” Wise words.

Colyton Grammar in 1929 (part 5)

Speech day

Colyton Grammar School in 1929;

based on Grace Blackie (nee Pavey) Part 5

During the winter terms when weather prevented outdoor activities, each form had to produce a play. Grace didn’t like appearing on stage but enjoyed the suspension of lessons. The productions were presented in the Hall and parents invited to attend.

Speech day was celebrated. Governors and representatives, teachers in the various gowns mingled with the parents. Prize winning pupils sat in the front row, remaining on their very best behaviour. To Grace and her friends they had to sit through very long and boring speeches. One year Grace received a prize for physics, this surprised her and the staff! The rest of the school relaxed in the gallery, whilst form captains kept a beady eye on whisperers and sweet sharing.

Teachers suggested to Grace that she should consider a career in teaching, she declined, stating that her parents had three other children, so she could not expect them to support her for another long period. However she did go onto study as a Nursery Nurse the following year.

Colyton Grammar in 1929 (part 4)

Colyton Grammar School in 1929;

based on Grace Blackie (nee Pavey) memories (part 4)

CGS 1929

On one side of the triangle of buildings were Science labs, ie. Biology, Chemistry and Physics, as well as a Woodwork and Metalwork room. On the opposite side of the corridor, between the kitchen and these rooms, was the Domestic Science room.

Grace had to decide between Chemistry and Domestic Science, she couldn’t do both. Grace chose Domestic Science. However she missed having knowledge of Chemistry when she went onto study General Nursing and Midwifery.

The school Hall was used for assemblies, Grace and her friends, each in their form filed in and stood in orderly rows. There was a strict rule about the length of the girls slips, the girls would sometimes have to kneel down in the hall, while the senior Mistress made sure that the hems touched the floor. Some of the girls weren’t sure if they would pass, they would drop their shoulders, held their breath and waited until she had passed.

The Hall was also used for singing lessons, Mr Jowett would pass along the rows, checking if Grace or her friends were playing the choir boys trick of only mouthing the words. They were never caught out!


Vintage Colytonian Publication

Look what arrived in the post! A copy of the Colytonian from 1948 (first edition!) and the subsequent 10 editions to 1954. It contains details about the old school in Colyton, lectures given; topics such as Animal Furs Used by Humans, Lady Peel’s visit (spoke about her trip to Brazil), The world Youth Festival (held in Prague), Women and the Vote and much more. Thank you to Alumnus Joy Waters for sharing this piece of Colyton History with us.  #TBT

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Colyton Grammar in 1929 (part 3)

Hockey 1925

The last period of Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays was allocated to games. During the first year the fields were scattered with stones. The children would line up in rows across the rough field, each had a bucket. Grace and her friends were told to walk forward picking up stones as they went. They thought this was great fun, as they missed a lesson. Gradually the field was prepared for Netball, Hockey, Football , Cricket pitches, and four tennis courts were added between the school buildings and the playing field.

Grace was average at games, although she was enthusiastic and managed to play for the school Hockey and Tennis. She had got a special mention for scoring the highest number of goals in hockey one year, but she felt this unjust, as all she had to, as left inner, was to flick the ball into the net. Whilst her friend Mary Hill had chased it all the way across the field and generously sent it hard across the goal mouth for her to flick it into goal.

Colyton Grammar in 1929 (part 2)

Colyton Grammar School in 1929;

 based on Grace Blackie (nee Pavey) memories (part 2/5)Grace Blackie 2

Grace’s sister cycles to school

Grace had forgotten about the scholarship exams until a letter arrived containing the information that she had been selected to attend Colyton Grammar School for further education.

Grace arrived at school for her first day, she was introduced to her classroom and the form Master. It was quite different to the primary school where she stayed in one class all day, she soon discovered that she had to move around the school to different rooms and had different members of staff for the lessons. Grace enjoyed French and Physics. The children were introduced to homework, which was compulsory.