History of Edwinstowe Historical Society

1960’s – Early Days.

One of the courses organised by the WEA dealt with sorting and transcribing old documents.  Classes were held in the Old Library, High Street, (now Fables tea rooms) and were under the guidance of Mr Kennedy, the archivist from the Notts County Council.  Such was the interest engendered that several of the members decided to set up the Edwinstowe Historical Society.

The Committee comprised Chairman – Rev H Pickles, Vice-Chair – Mr G S Harper, Secretary – Miss P Whiddon, Treasurer – Mrs M Greaves, 

In order to publicise the Society leaflets were distributed throughout the village:

At first, meetings were held during the evening in the Village Library.  Then in 2003 the decision was taken to hold meetings in the Church Rooms.  Later still, and following consultation with the members, agreement was reached to hold the meetings in the afternoon throughout the summer months, but not during two of the winter months.

An early programme for the year 1986/87

 The following award was presented to the Historical Society in 1993

New Decade – 2000 – 2010

Members assisted in writing and performing in a Pageant and photographed every street in the village and surrounding area, including farms, bridges and railways.  A Village Trail was developed, and a survey was completed of the inscriptions on gravestones in the churchyard. The latter greatly assists visitors seeking an ancestor‘s or relative’s grave.

Margaret Woodhead, Margaret Charles, Michael Jackson, Liz Stuart-Smith L-R

Past practice has been to deposit records with the Notts County Council (Nottinghamshire Archives), and in September 2000, the following records were deposited, the Accession No being 5852:

Edwinstowe Pig Club minute book (1935-1966); Thoresby Colliery Social Committee minute book (1929-1939); Bolsover Colliery Co. Ltd.,,”Quarterly News” magazine (1932), Edwinstowe St Mary’s Sunday School attendance register (1935-1952), building account (1899), and pageant programmes (1953-2000). 

Sorting of maps for Edwinstowe and Clipstone was completed.  A decision was taken to record the buildings in the village which members considered worthy of note, with research into the public houses being the first project.  Appendix “A”.

2010 – 2020.

Booklets written by Margaret Woodhead were produced:

“Coming of Coal”,  “People of Edwinstowe” or “Dead End of the Village”

“Edwinstowe 1890 – 1900s”

Acknowledgement – Chad newspaper. Oct. 2015

Falling membership was a concern and arrangements were made for the programme to be included in the Church Magazine, also detailed information about the Society’s activities was published in The Acorn, (the quarterly community magazine during the 18 years it was in circulation).  In addition, reports were, and still are, submitted to the Chad newspaper, and the Sherwood Life Magazine.   On one occasion “flyers” were delivered to houses on a new estate where owners may have been new to the area and, occasionally, a reminder was sent to previous years’ and lapsed members, encouraging their return.  Posters were, and continue to be, placed in local shop windows, and the Village Library.  The following notice, and similar ones, were available each time displays were held:

Work began to sort all the photos for the archive to enable a data base to be completed, and a home page was drafted for the website.

After many years of uncertainty regarding storage of the documents, photos, maps, etc. (all of which had been cared for in Mrs Woodhead’s home), the Woodhead’s Construction Company based in Edwinstowe, came to the rescue and offered the Society the use of a room in Edwinstowe House.

Consequently, a meeting took place at Edwinstowe House when a representative from the Notts County Council Archives & Local Studies Department, gave advice and comments regarding storage of material and cataloguing.

An application was made to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a grant, and on 20th March, 2015 notification was received stating that a grant of £10,000 had been awarded towards developing the skills to preserve the Society’s collection.  Also, to create a website, produce school packs and arrange community events to publicise the society.

Outside Edwinstowe House

With this in mind a Training Session was held at Edwinstowe House for preserving, conserving, cataloguing, archiving and digitising material. This was followed by a meeting in Nottingham where training was given in the use of the website.  In the meantime, photographs had been scanned for the society and data base of nearly 1600 photos had been compiled.

The Exhibition commemorating the closure of Thoresby colliery was successful with over 100 comments in the visitors’ log.  This was held over 6 weeks in the Library, with a footfall of almost 600 people.

Informative displays were on show in the Library and an education pack for the schools had been produced.   One had been presented to the Head of St Mary’s and another to one of the governors of King Edwin School.  With the launching of the website all of the approved objectives stipulated by the HLF had been achieved.

A congratulatory letter was received from the Heritage Lottery Fund marking the end of the project.

Acknowledgement to Sherwood Life

The introduction of the Website has led to enquiries from people all over the country (and recently from abroad) researching Edwinstowe families.  This often entails a great deal of “detective” work by the dedicated researchers, who refer to parish records, newspapers, and the census.

Following a request from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds a power point presentation, and a historical walk, was organised along High Street for a number of RSPB volunteers. In response to a further request from RSPB photos were provided together with information for notice boards being placed in the forest while the old visitor centre was being demolished.

The newly formed Edwinstowe Merry Women WI, requested a talk and power point presentation about the history of the Edwinstowe WI which was greatly appreciated.

The Society has been instrumental in arranging for the first Blue Plaques to be sited in the village.  A Grant of £200 was obtained from NSDC towards a plaque to commemorate Christopher Thomson, which was placed outside the old library in High Street. With support from the Society, the church warden at St Mary’s had been successful in obtaining a grant from the Parish Council towards a plaque relating to Bellamy Alms Houses. Both plaques were unveiled on 4th November, 2019.

The village and the environment are of concern, and information has been sent to the Sherwood Forest Trust reminding them of the history of the wetland area by the River Maun, also the background to the sponsored oak tree planting next to the village cemetery.  The preservation of the prisoners’ chains outside the Old Constable’s House on High Street remains to be addressed.

Social events and outings have been well supported, with members enjoying day, afternoon and evening visits to places of interest.   Appendix “B”

Photographic displays have been held in Mansfield Library, Mansfield Museum, Edwinstowe Library, St Mary’s Church, the Visitor Centre, the Craft Centre, Forest Corner, the Hammer & Wedge, and Emily’s Friendship Group.  Appendix “C”



 Social Events

1987 E Greaves, J Hammond, K C Bartram, Walster

1987 Pearce, E Crocker

1987 Doreen & Alan Keerfoot (Treasurer), Frank Dove (Chair), Oswald Storrs

  • Christmas-Cheer-Evening-Janice-Lane-with-Pharmaceutical-Memorabilia-17.12.2008

Annual lunch, January 2020



Bakewell Museum

Bell Foundry at Loughborough

Beverley & Normanby Hall


Brodsworth Hall

Burghley House

Mary Pickett, Margaret Woodhead, Molly Wright, Netta Caunt, Val Jones, Marion Wrobleski, Frank and Barbara Read, Elinor Crocker, Janet Smith, Sid Brocklehurst, Janet Otter, Jean Mendham

Creswell Crags

Cromford Mill – Arkwright’s Mill 18th July 2007

Sonia Farthing, Keith Renshaw, Mary Pickett, Kathleen Keightley, Dorothy Lucas

Church Farm Museum. Skegness

Doddington Hall

Flintham Museum

Gainsborough Old Hall

Harwood House

Imperial War Museum

Visit to Imperial War Museum 2004

 Frank Read, Margaret Woodhead, Keith Renshaw

Kedleston Hall

King John’s Palace – 16th July 2007

Marion Wrobleski, Frank and Barbara Read Group incl Mac Mumford (wearing boater)

1998 Doreen Kerfoot, M Wright, J Young, Liz Stewart-Smith, J Otter, S Brocklehurst


Lotherton Hall

Mr Straw’s house

Newark walk – 21st June 2006

Newstead Abbey

Renishaw Hall

River Trent cruise – July 2006

Ripon and Newby Hall

Tea-time. Frank & Barbara Read, Mike & Elma Smith, Keith Renshaw, Pat Chattaway

Rockingham Castle & Oakham

Ruddington Frame Knitters  Museum – 18th July 2008

Patti,  Frank and Barbara Read, Winston and Janet Otter, Margaret Woodhead

Saltaire 2004

Skipton Castle

Southwell Workhouse

Stainsby Mill

St Edmunds Chantry, Nr Lincoln – August 2003

Foreground: Jean Mendham, Marion Wrobleski, Netta Gaunt, Doug & Betty Clark

Stoke Bruern Canal Museum

Strutts Mill Belper

Tatton Park

Tissington Hall & well dressing

Walks of Life, Tuxford


Margaret Woodhead & Di Roker

Wollaton Hall

Woolsthorpe Manor

York Jorvik exhibition


Photographic Displays

Elinor Crocker History Fair Nottingham May 1988

EHS Photo Exhibition Sherwood Forest Art & Craft Centre –  July 2004

 Colin Roker, Margaret Woodhead. Molly Wright

EHS Committee 2004

Committee members: Margaret  Woodhead, Molly  Wright, Di  Roker and Mike Smith.

Keith Renshaw (Chairman) Margaret Woodhead (Secretary)

EHS Display Edwinstowe Festival 3rd August 2006


Name                             Year

Rev Harold Pickles             1960s

G Harper                               1976

Frank Dove                          1986

Janet Young                         1990

Doreen Kerfoot                   1995

Mike Smith                          2000                                    

Keith Renshaw                    2004

Di Roker                                2010 

Shirley Moore                      2016

Lockdown activities – 2020

83-year-old sharing Lock-down with a friend.

Opened my door to find a bag of groceries left by my son. Phoned the Care Home to check on my brother, also phoned brother-in –law and his wife who are both 92. My order from the local village butcher was delivered by Sue, dressed in WW2 Land Army dungarees singing, ‘Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree with anyone else but me.’

Made some soup, spent time on the Historical Society website.

S. Moore. 23.5. 2020


Technology Expert among other things

Became a technology expert when my granddaughter taught me how to make WhatsApp video calls. Not sure I always like what I see when I press the wrong button and it is me in the frame!

Today I decided to rekindle my baking skills and bake a Swiss roll.  So, it isn’t always necessary to rely on Mr Kipling after all.

Spent time on my computer adding information to the Edwinstowe Historical Society website.  Wrote another short story for great-grandchildren.  When e-mailed to my grandson and granddaughter, being the busy teachers they are at present having to deal with pupils over the internet, they have the task of downloading my contribution in order to read to their respective families. The stories certainly send me to sleep at night because I am worn out tasking my brain for ideas.

Tonight, is Thursday, and at 8 p.m. I will join my neighbours to clap for all the NHS staff and other members of the community who have helped to keep things ticking over.  An idea from one of the families on this small avenue is for each Thursday to be a “theme” night as well.  This has been an introduction to get to know the neighbours who normally are seen waving as they pass by in their cars.

M. Wright. 21.5.2020


Wonderful neighbours and VE Day 75 Community Celebrations

VE Day was an early start and I spent the morning baking scones, preparing dinner and putting out bunting and flags in the front garden as well as setting up a table at the top of the drive displaying Edwinstowe WW2 photos and information that had been planned to go in the Craft Centre which was closed because of the virus. This was the next best thing. During the day many couples and families stopped for a look and Maureen, my next-door neighbour, directed people to view the information. Many positive comments were received. After lunch we set our chairs and tables in the front garden and many of our close neighbours did the same. We played several Vera Lynn songs on the Bose Blue Tooth speaker.

At 3:00p.m. we acknowledged the two-minute silence to commemorate VE Day.

We sat again, chatted, enjoyed drinks and scones and introduced ourselves to many people as they walked by, some with children and many with dogs eager for exercise. We waved to everyone who passed in cars. Pat, our neighbour, who was dressed as ‘Pike’ from Dad’s Army, marched around the block. He looked the part. At 6:00p.m. we went inside for Roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings.

Afterwards we joined our neighbours until 8:55p.m. when we went inside to listen to the Queen’s speech. Back outside again we sang the Vera Lynn song, ‘We Will Meet Again’ As the weather was still very warm, we sat and talked until 9:30p.m.

E. Hawkes 25.05.2020


 A family’s 75th VE Day Celebration in Lockdown

It was a very early start to the day, I completed my handmade bunting and had great fun climbing ladders and stringing it across the driveway, to the delight of passers-by.   A few families with children stopped and asked about it then went on their way.  Thank goodness it was a dry day as the bunting being card would have dripped and drooped quickly.  Had a quick walk down the road to admire the colourful bunting, Union Jacks waving in the breeze and free sweets for lucky travellers.

Best of all a quick chat for friendly neighbours, some already starting to celebrate with a cup of tea and cupcakes, drawing similarities between the situation for people in WW2 and coronavirus today. I then dashed up to see two of my grandchildren, following the Government Guidance to the letter.

Waved to them through the large picture window, their faces pressed to the glass and surrounded by NHS Rainbows and slogans reminding people to ‘ Be brave’ and ’Keep Safe.   WW2 bunting surrounded the window and slogans saying ‘Thank You’, to the brave soldiers marked this special day.  Dressed as land girls and farm workers (7 years old) they showed their home made cupcakes with handmade Union Jacks on them. No hugs no kisses just miming ‘I love you’ through the window.

Had a virtual zoom meeting with all of the family, even Yoda the dog had his Union Jack bow tie around his neck.  It was a great time and everybody put a virtual wish into the ‘wish box’, for after the Lockdown.

We went out into the street at eight o’clock, raised a glass or cup and toasted ’To those who gave so much for us, we salute you and thank you.’   We then sang ‘We’ll meet again ‘ with Vera Lynn and the sound echoed down the road.    People chatted, joked and danced keeping two metres apart as requested by the government.  What a great memory of a virtual and distanced VE Day in Lockdown but so much fun and goodwill.

M. Share. 26.5.2020


There is an old saying where I come from, ‘all dressed up and nowhere to go’. Well, that has not applied to me since 23rd March, 2020. I have not been dressed up and I have had nowhere to go, because it has not been allowed.

The daily walk, a visit to the pharmacy, socially distanced shopping has been the limit. Thankfully, the weather has been largely sunny and warm. I miss seeing my friends, but we all keep in touch by phone or email.

Gardening, watching the antics of the birds, in particular the starlings and sparrows, research into my family history, together with the mundane tasks of every day occupy most of my time. The big event of my year, a train journey to the Somme Battlefields in April, was cancelled owing to the travel ban.

My great uncle Robert was killed during the Battle of the Somme in September, 1916. He was 22 years old and the youngest of six children. His death is commemorated by an inscription on the Memorial to the Missing at Thiepval. None of the family have ever been to see the Memorial, and, having looked at his picture, read the only surviving letter in his own hand and remembered what my grandparents said about him, I felt that it was my duty to go there before advancing age prevents me from doing so.

Hopefully, I shall be able to set out on this journey when it is safe to travel.

I have not, as yet, been directly affected by the biological onslaught that has changed so much in everyone’s lives and I am very grateful. In our local area, I have found that most people have been sensible and stoic, which I think deserves much credit.

My sincere sympathies are with those who have suffered bereavement, mental distress or illness through whatever cause during the Coronavirus emergency.

J. Lane. 30.5.20

Bad Timing – Toothache in Lockdown

For the past two days I have been in denial about the painful hard lump on my gum. Chewing a clove and taking painkillers hasn’t done any good.

When I ring my Dentist, I just get the Answerphone. Panicking, I call a dentist friend who insists that I must keep trying my Surgery where they have my records.

“Only in an extreme emergency we refer patients to a “Hot” or “Cold” Covid Hub as far away as Northamptonshire or Yorkshire. They’ll only do an extraction and the form-filling is horrendous.”

Eventually a lovely locum dentist rings me back, looks at my recent X-ray and sends an e-prescription for strong antibiotics to a Late-Night Pharmacy. Thank Heaven for the NHS!!

L. Stewart Smith. 22.5. 2020





After the usual routine  “first things”, i.e. breakfast, shower, bed making, etc. , it’s time to psych myself to do some digging as I’ve only been in my bungalow for 4 months and it needs lots of attention.  I’ve also been making my own sourdough bread.  The dough’s been in the fridge overnight so it has to be taken out ready to bake.  Time for a cuppa!

Dashed out to open cold frame which I should have done earlier!  Started to dig out a piece of border so I can plant the fuscias which arrived from Thomson & Morgan yesterday. That was hard work as it was grass sods to be dug out.

Bread baked and out to cool – looks OK – hope it tastes OK! Thank goodness I arranged for the milkman to call as week before lockdown as I believe it was difficult afterwards due to a deluge of people requesting their milk to be delivered only to be told “we have more than we can cope with at present”.  I also arranged to have my magazine and Saturday paper delivered.

I am quite fit, thank goodness; as all my children live away from me and so I use our local Co-op for perishables once a week.  I’m always relieved to get back home!  I’ve also managed a Tesco home delivery too.

I like to relax with my best friend, the TV before its time to prepare dinner.   I’ve also been doing a spot of knitting.  A headband to cover my ears for winter, or when it’s cold and windy.

Bedtime is a read for half an hour or so and then zzzzzzz

Goodnight x

A lockdown day June 2020 in rural isolation

To set the scene, living in a small hamlet like Rufford sawmill cottages is in general a pleasant and enjoyable experience, although we do not have a bus service and have no shops within walking distance so are dependent on our own transport, which when you’re not that mobile is difficult in this lockdown situation.

Unfortunately, we do not have a central point within the parish area which is mostly small pockets of dwellings and a scattering of farmsteads etc. We really do not have any of the normal village community organisations and neither do we have a very proactive parish council, no verbal information by phone or through the letterbox etc.

Throughout the lockdown all information has been solicited by phone from outside organisations who have been very helpful and fully understanding of our situation. We have obtained supplies by contacting some very nice and helpful people, like volunteers who offered to deliver food supplies. The problem is most volunteers delivering in this manner need cash, very difficult if you can’t go to a bank, cash machine, or a shop, at present we are relying on the family.

The following list will give you an indication of what we had to set up at the start of the lockdown:

One goodhearted volunteer who does a weekly shop for groceries etc. and fresh food.

Neighbour who goes once a week and tops up our supplies.

Daughter who lives 25 miles away calls every10 days and keeps us supplied with none food items.

We have a local pet shop who delivers bird food etc.

Our pet food supplier delivers dog food and biscuits.

Prescriptions are delivered from the local chemist.

Local milkman comes three times a week and delivers milk, eggs, yogurt and bread Grimsby fish van called once a week.

Without the generous help from so many people we would struggle on a daily basis.

Having one or two health issues these are covered by telephone consultations with the doctor, not the best but better than nothing. Other problems that could affect us would be supplies oil and Calor Gaz, we shall see. We are playing it by the book, all items delivered or given a wipe over by B before use.

6:45 am looked out of the window, raining not the best incentive to leap out of bed

7:20 am washed and tidy, quick shave, B sorting dog and breakfast.

8:15 am breakfast over, radio on classic FM, not listening to news any more too dismal.

8:30 am priority dog walk.  Next up the lane to the farm and back, quick look at the weather forecast unfortunately not going to be a flaming June, should be on holiday today in Norfolk glad we didn’t go.  Back from dog walk nice – don’t mind rain if it’s not too heavy, B feeding garden birds and dog I’m on morning kitchen duties

10:00 am quick car ride up the A 614 round the edge of Worksop past Dukeries, then birdwatching at Carburton, we had to laugh not many birds, but we did feed a very large rat. Had a quick scone and drink, did not leave the car at all nor speak to any people. Not much traffic on the road and nice to see lack of maintenance on grass verges plenty of wild flowers growing. Back from trip rest today not going to get dirty cleaning out the garage etc.

You may ask why we went on the car drive and took a little risk, when you’re dependent on your own transport in case of emergency you must keep the car in reasonable condition, we do take masks and gloves in case we have a problem. Not quite sure what to do next, two friends rang discussing the problems many people have in a lockdown situation.

12:50 pm time for lunch, 1:40 pm lunch over.

B decided to work in Kitchen making goodies for midday snacks etc., I’m on the usual midday kitchen duties, washing pots etc.

My next job preparing notes for the hospital telephone appointment next week with a consultant.

B still working in the kitchen, me to my PC to check emails and different documents regarding holidays.  Not really getting dirty today, thought of taking rubbish to recycle centre some time, unfortunately been told too many cars waiting so have to let rubbish pile up and go at a later date.

5:45 pm suddenly decided time to stop work have a quick cup of tea then a meal.

6:30 pm time to walk dog just down to the lake look to feed the Swans, we are fortunate. Back from short walk and time to relax watch Spring watch, Country file, History, Pre-History, a lot of programs on Railways at present most interesting not much else to watch mostly repeats. Two hours of telly is enough for us.

9:30 pm probably time for bed.

Summary of the day weather not too bad eventually, not much traffic about have not talked to any people apart from a couple of neighbours, kept the right distance. Telephone calls to check up on friends, saw a few people in the park later kept our distance not much you can do, but the day not too bad really. Have been retired a long time, finding things to do fortunately is not a problem we have a large garden, B disappears for hours when it’s not raining, we have a good collection of trees, plenty of wild flowers and a host of wild life, we are very lucky.

From Mr F Eyre

Acknowledgement – Wikipedia Rufford Abbey