1604 - Star free issues and the year of Blundell's School

This is The West Country: Old Blundell's School in Tiverton, now owned by the National Trust. Old Blundell's School in Tiverton, now owned by the National Trust.

YOUR Star is celebrating its 1,604th free issue this week, but that number is not just significant for your favourite weekly newspaper.

The year 1604 was a momentous one for Tiverton with the birth of the famous Blundell’s School, so we thought we’d celebrate our special week focusing on what both can do for you.

The Star is very local to the Tiverton area, and has served the community with news, sport and leisure for more than 30 years.

When we celebrated our anniversary last January we took to the streets of Tiverton, Cullompton and Wellington to find out what you thought of it – and we loved your response!

The first edition of the paper was printed in March, 1983, and since then we have regularly brought you the biggest stories in your community.

The Star is owned by Newsquest, one of the top weekly newspaper publishers in the country.

We have a real presence in Tiverton through advertising manager Sharon Mitchell, who visits and networks with businesses across Mid Devon, not only about advertising, but with editorial, reader offers, competitions, features and fundraising.

Sharon has been with the Star over ten years, and coincidentally lives and works out of the Old Blundell’s School, which was converted into apartments when the new facility was built.

The old site was a school for 200 years until the 1800s.

It was founded by the will of Peter Blundell, one of the richest men in England at the time, and relocated to its present location on the outskirts of the town in May, 1882.

When Mr Blundell died in 1601, having plied his trade in the cloth industry, his will was left to friend Sir John Popham, the Lord Chief Justice of England, who was asked to open a school in this home town.

The Old Blundell's School was built to be much larger and grander than any other in the West Country with room for 150 scholars, and accommodation for a master and an usher.

The grade 1 listed building is now in the care of the National Trust.

One ex-Blundell's boy was famous writer R.D. Blackmore – in Lorna Doone he used the Blundell’s triangular lawn as the stage for a fight between John Ridd and Robin Snell.

Other historic Mid Devon attractions includes Knighthayes Court, which is also owned by the National Trust.

With acres of glorious gardens and parkland surrounding a spectacular Gothic revival house, Knightshayes is a country estate which is built on a grand scale.

The house is a rare example of the work of William Burges, whose richly decorated interiors have always inspired extremes in opinion.

The garden is one of the finest in Devon, and its collection represents one of the most varied in the Trust with over 1,200 plant species unique to Knightshayes, and riotous seasonal colour.

The Heathcoat Factory in Westexe, Tiverton, was also founded by the owners of Knightshayes and is still in operation today in the town.

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