Rhoda mary painting school

Schooner Stories- Schools Workshop

Posted on: 28th March 2023 1 Comment

drawing of a merchant schooner with notesStorylines was delighted to be welcomed back into Devoran School recently for a schools workshop exploring Cornish merchant schooners. Year 6 learnt about these vessels through a series of digital stories, doing some excellent listening and note taking.

Here’s just one of the digital stories we made with the fabulous Robbie and Maureen Tatlow who had an infectious passion for sail…

For the Love of Sail

Merchant Schooners in Cornwall

Once vital to life in coastal villages and towns, these nimble vessels carried cargo to communities around the globe. Sometimes built and owned by the community they served, they took anything from China Clay to fish, rarely travelling empty.

The schooner Rhoda Mary was central to this schools workshop. Built a short distance downstream from Devoran at Yard Point, Feock (where there is a plaque to commemorate the yard and her build), the Rhoda Mary was famed for her speed. Through stories passed down the generations, children learned about both the Rhoda Mary and her designer William Foreman Ferris.

Schools workshop

As expected of a school perched close to the Fal estuary, the children were familiar with boats and had plenty of their own sailing stories to share. We were also delighted to welcome Ross Ferris (Great great grandchild of Foreman Ferris) and Anna Brunyee into school. This helped bring the history of merchant schooners to life, as children made links between their interests and experiences and those from the past.

painting a canvas in schoolOver the day, children worked together to write a brilliant class poem and create a large canvas to celebrate the Rhoda Mary. It was lovely to see the canvas and poem from our last visit still hanging proudly at Devoran School, and we loved how different this class’s version was. A stormy sky and sea was the backdrop to skilfully stitched sails, a fabulous new crew and colourful nautical badges.

stitching sails


Ross Ferris and class teacher Mr.Dobson holding the finished canvas

Ross Ferris and class teacher Ms.Dobson holding the finished canvas

Thank you to Devoran School for a brilliant day filled with creativity, history and stories. This workshop was kindly funded by the Rhoda Mary Project who we worked with back in 2016/17. A huge thanks also to Anna Brunyee and Ross Ferris for bringing their seafaring knowledge and enthusiasm. This workshop sadly marks the end of the wider Rhoda Mary Project, which had been seeking funding to provide vocational training in the maritime trades to young people in Cornwall and across the UK through the reconstruction and operation of this legendary Cornish 19th century sailing vessel.

One Response

  1. Congratulations to all of you at Devoran School who were involved in creating the marvellous picture of the Rhoda Mary. It reminds me of the model I built of her forty years ago and the painting I commissioned of her, sailing south to pass Pendennis Point. My parents used to walk around the point when they retired in 1970 and moved back from Surrey to our ancestral home in Falmouth. Keep up the great artistry and enjoy your time at school.

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