The 1861 census recorded that Kingsteignton had a population of 1,652. Two years later the village was stricken by an outbreak of scarlet fever. The log book entry for the Church School (now St Michael's) of 10th July 1863 records that:-

"There is a great deal of sickness among the school children (in the past month 3 children reported as dying of scarlet fever)."

The vicar, the Rev Robert H Hext and other minsiters who officiated at burials, noted the cause of death against the burial register of children who died of the disease. By the end of November that number had reached 19. as listed in the table below.

 Name Burial Date  Age Address Cause of Death
1 Elizabeth Bickham 21.06.1863 3 Ware Cross Scarlet Fever
2 Charles Henry Towell 28.06.1863 4 Kingsteignton Village Scarlet Fever
3 Joseph Mason 05.07.1863 5 Kingsteignton Village Scarlet Fever
4 Elizabeth Ann Mallett 09.07.1863 6 Preston Turnpike Gatehouse Scarlet Fever
5 Elizabeth Milton 14.07.1863 9 Kingsteignton Village Scarlet Fever
6 George Mason 16.07.1863 3 Kingsteignton Village Scarlet Fever
7 William Ridgway 06.08.1863 3 Kingsteignton Village Scarlet Fever
8 Rachel Edwards Snow 10.08.1863 4 Kingsteignton Village Scarlet Fever
9 Emma Murrin 21.08.1863 4 Kingsteignton Village Scarlet Fever
10 John Tregale 23.08.1863 1 Kingsteignton Village Scarlet Fever
11 Louisa White 23.08.1863 6 Sandygate Scarlet Fever
12 Sarah Jane Thorne 01.09.1863 6 Hackney Scarlet Fever
13 Elizabeth Jane Ward 11.09.1863 1 Kingsteignton Village Scarlet Fever
14 Joseph Moist 13.09.1863 4 Kingsteignton Village Scarlet Fever
15 Thomas Sanders 18.09.1863 1 Kingsteignton Village Scarlet Fever
16 John Bailey 08.10.1863 3 Preston Scarlet Fever
17 Rosetta Snow Knowles 30.10.1863 5 Kingsteignton  Scarlet Fever
18 Peter Snow Knowles 30.10.1863 10 Kingsteignton  Scarlet Fever
19 Samuel Snow Knowles 03.11.1863 13 Kingsteignton  Scarlet Fever

When Mr John Creed, a member of the Newton Board of Guardians, reported that there were a high number of deaths in the Newton Abbot district from the disease, a Mr James Barry of Newton Abbot, penned a letter to the Western Daily Mercury  in which he wrote:- "A statement more absurdly incorrect or more calculated, when uttered by a man in Mr Creed's position, to have a mischievous effect on the prosperity of the town could not possibly have been made".

Mr Barry went on to quote the figures of deaths from the disease in the various parishes of the sub-district to which Mr Creed referred and pointed out that in Kingsteignton, the deaths from scarlet fever in the last quarter amounted to 18, some 77.2% of the total deaths in the parish. Mr Barry  further suggested that Mr Creed should direct the attention of the Board of Guardians to that parish, seemingly oblivious to the high incidence which he himself reported for the parish of Wolborough, where the deaths from scarlatina accounted for 66.66% of deaths in the same quarter.

The figure of 18 deaths in a quarter quoted by Mr Barry suggests that some entries in the Kingsteignton burial register may have not followed the practise of the Rev Hext by noting the cause of death. This was not a requirement of the officiating minister, just an add on  instigated by Mr Hext.

Whatever the true figures of those who succumbed to the disease one can only wonder at the anxiety faced by the parents of Kingsteignton children at the time.