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

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

Salford Quays


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

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