February 2021

What is the connection between Edwinstowe and the Christmas carol “Once in Royal David’s City”?  The words were written as a poem by Mrs C. F. Alexander and later became a Christmas carol with music composed by organist Henry John Gauntlett.  Mrs Alexander’s husband, William, Bishop of Derry, was a cousin of James Fane Alexander of Edwinstowe House.  Mrs Alexander also wrote the hymns “All Things Bright and Beautiful” and “There is a Green Hill”

The advent of the Corona virus and its devastating effects will remain for many years, and the fact that some schools were closed and pupils sent home brings to mind an event which took place in Edwinstowe during 1901-2, as recorded in the Village School’s Log Books.

On 7th July, 1901, the Headmaster, Mr William Curtis, recorded that the scarlet fever was spreading very fast and attendance was falling off considerably.

Then on 12th July a notice was received from the Medical Officer ordering the closure of the school until further notice.  After reopening on 30th September, the school was closed immediately when the fever reappeared with renewed vigour.

On 1st January 1902 the school reopened with a good attendance.  Mr Curtis noted that six pupils had died and several were still in hospital, and that scarcely a house had not been affected.

On 6th February the school was again closed by order of the Medical Officer of Health, but on 1st Apr was reopened for another trial.   The fever still existed in 2 houses but the Medical Officer kept close watch to prevent any intercourse with other families.  Mr Curtis commented that “in spite of the fearful outbreak of fever which has spread in this village, the people as a rule are just as incautious as ever. “