A brief history of Battisborough House
In 1896, Charles Alfred Fox, a Plymouth businessman whose family had long connections with the area, bought South Battisborough Farm from Barings Bank following the demise of the Membland Estate. With a strong eye for landscape and an appreciation of coastal scenery, Fox levelled terraces in the field to the East of the farm and built a solid family house with adjoining stables. Photographs of him and his family hang in the house today. One can be certain that, as strong Quakers, the Fox family found inspiration and solace from the beautiful surroundings, the drama of the sea and the call of wild birds.
A new owner
Fox died in May 1929 and the house was sold to the Flete Estate shortly after. In 1958 it was bought by a Gordonstoun schoolmaster, Harry Leney, who with his wife, Barbara, founded a school based on the educational philosophy of Kurt Hahn. The school ethos encouraged pupils to push themselves physically and to develop spiritually. Its location on the rugged Devon coastline and its close proximity to Dartmoor made it ideal for outdoor learning and adventure.
Battisborough became a founding member of Round Square, today an international network of 250 schools with a shared belief that education is more than what happens in the classroom. Battisborough School became international and had a strong following of alumni who, to this day, remain loyal to their school.
Battisborough House today
Financial difficulties dogged Battisborough School and it was forced to close in 1985. However, in 1987 it was given new life by the Headmaster of Hall Grove, a preparatory school in Surrey, who bought the house and grounds to act as a residential centre for field study parties. Today Battisborough House hosts educational visits from a wide range of groups, keeping alive the spirit of the Fox family and of the Round Square movement.
What are Round Square schools?
Round Square stands for adventure. While growing up, students learn through activities and extracurricular projects to accept physical challenges, to go beyond their limits and to learn from these experiences in keeping with the motto of Kurt Hahn, “Plus est en vous” — “There is more in you than you think”!
Round Square schools are expected to encourage and guide their students to:
- seek to discover and embrace similarities and differences between cultures and nationalities in a way that promotes meaningful and lasting understanding and respect;
- develop a sense of equality, fairness, justice and a desire to do what is right;
- understand the significance of mankind’s place in the universe, the forces that shape our surroundings and the impact that they have on those surroundings;
- recognise that great leaders are driven by a desire to be of service to others and to nurture, guide, develop and help them to improve and succeed; and
- celebrate personal development through practical experience that brings sustainable support and benefit to others.