Wilden All Saints CE Primary School has some very special traditions that are remembered by children and staff for many years. The School and Church have a fascinating history which the children love to learn about.
The school was originally built in 1882 by Alfred Baldwin, the father of three-times former Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin.
The following text is taken from the booklet ‘All Saints School, Wilden - 100 Years and more, produced by Nic Harvey former Head Teacher from 1970 - 2001.
‘Alfred Baldwin having taken sole control of the Wilden Works in 1870, moved to Wilden House and proceeded to develop the historic site dating back beyond the middle ages. Alfred believed in people and harmony and began to invest in his home village creating secure employment, a parish with a church (his mini cathedral), a school and recreational facilities catering for all needs. He developed an unassailable reputation, maintaining a premier position in the world markets with ironworks, the real hub of the village providing the catalyst for all that followed.
By 1880 school attendance became compulsory for children between the ages of five and twelve. With the building of the church in 1880, the school did not arrive until 1882 with Alfred funding each project in full, down to the last screw, and covering all running costs. With small government grants and limited pupils’ school pence, Alfred was called upon to fund materials, fabrics, maintenance etc. Often coming to the financial rescue’
Alfred Baldwin had some very well known relatives, which resulted in some additional benefits and exciting visitors for both the Church and School. Through his wife, Lousia MacDonald, Alfred Baldwin found himself connected to three famous artists and an even more famous writer! Lousia’s sister Agnes married the well known artist Sir Edward John Poynter. Her sister Georgina married the painter Edward Burne-Jones and her sister Alice married illustrator, John Lockwood Kipling. Alice and John had a son, Rudyard Kipling.
These contacts resulted in the church having 14 beautiful Burne-Jones windows installed. We know from the school log books that Edward Burne-Jones visited the school on many occasions. We also have school records which document visits of Rudyard Kipling to our school. We like to think that maybe visiting our school and talking to the children might have given him inspiration for some of his stories! William Morris was also a friend of the Baldwin family and the church holds a beautiful golden altar cloth which was designed by William Morris.
In 1899 a poor local cowman Thomas Jones left a very unexpected bequest to the school. Although many thought Thomas Jones to be penniless after his death it transpired that he had saved all of his small income over many years. As well as many other benefactors the school was left a sizable amount of money. This money equated to 15 years worth of Thomas Jones’ wages. The money was to be used for the benefit of the children and school and was to pay for a yearly outing for the children. Thomas Jones made one request from the school in return for the bequest. He asked that every year on his birthday that the children would lay flowers on his grave and sing to him. Sadly the money has long since been spent, but still every year on July 15th we gather around Thomas Jones’ grave and lay posies of flowers and sing to him. This is a special and unique tradition which is memorable to all Wilden children and staff.
These incredible unique links that the Church and School hold help influence our curriculum, giving us a rich ‘real life’ experience for the children of Wilden. Our very unique school jumpers still hold the Baldwin crest, with owls being a key feature on the crest and a theme throughout our school.
Children completing our annual tradition of laying flowers on Thomas Jones’ birthday.