The medieval St John the Baptist Hospital buildings became in 1633 the Free Grammar School, a charitable foundation started by Exeter Corporation. The school remained on the St John's Hospital site for two centuries, until 1880, when Bishop Temple and a new board of governors instigated a move to a new school. Initially, it was to move to a site in Denmark Road, but for some reason it was turned down and the site used for Maynard's School.
The school for 'what was essentially a school for tradesmen and the better class of working men', in fact moved to a new, purpose built, 25 acre site, in Heavitree adjacent to Victoria Park Road. It was designed by the High Victorian architect, William Butterfield, who was responsible for Keble College, Oxford. The main building is L-shaped, with a five story corner block. The land had cost the governors £7,600 and the building £16,750. The whole building is dominated by the tower which was originally intended to house staff rooms.
Butterfield added a 'modest and efficient building' as a chapel in 1885. The tombstone of the first headmaster who died in 1642 can be found in the chapel.
Further additions, including the Andrew's Library, were made in the 1930's. Exeter School is now an independent co-educational school of a thousand pupils, some being borders.
Exeter School showing the playing fields and students formed up in rows – probably Army Cadets.
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