During 1898 the Natal Witness carried an advertisement heralding the opening of a new school in “healthy and commodious premises”. This had been requested by Rev G W Rogers and Mr Justice Mason in a letter to Miss Emily Lowe and Misses Emma Mason and Charlotte Mason, who were staying together in London. The request was that Miss Lowe and Miss Emma Mason open a school in Maritzburg, as it was then called. This request was seconded by a number of Methodist laymen and ministers, the intention being that once the school was established the Wesleyan Church would take it over.
Thus in 1898 Epworth School was founded by Miss Emily Lowe and Miss Emma Mason, who considered it to be their Christian duty. It was named after the birthplace in Lincolnshire of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, the alternative suggestion of the name, “Victoria”, after the reigning Queen Victoria having been rejected. The doors opened on August 3 1898, with an initial enrolment of children of the early Natal settlers, in all, 45 pupils, 26 seniors and 19 kindergarten pupils.
History of the Epworth Chapel
On the 3rd December 1959, Epworth School chapel designed by architect Mr J Meanwell was opened by Rev L Hewson by “three traditional knocks”. The Epworthians had raised sufficient funds to donate monies towards a communion rail, altar table and pews. The chapel with its beautiful garden and water fountain adds to the tranquility.
In the foyer are three lovely small stained glass windows depicting the three muses of the art of music. All the other stained glass windows in the Chapel are designed and executed by Anton Voorvelt of Johannesburg and at least some of them in cooperation with Mrs H M Owen, an Art Mistress at Epworth at the time. Each window has its own gospel message and has been given in memory of someone closely linked with the life and history of Epworth.
On the left side, above the pulpit is the window commemorating Susie Kachelhoffer, Principal 1953-1965. The window depicts the risen Christ saying, “Lo I am with you always”. On the opposite side, above the pulpit is the window in memory of Norah Patricia Nel (née Shuter), a pupil from 1931-1944 and it carries the text “I am the way, the Truth and the Life”. Within the sanctuary are windows in memory of Carol Louise Hartman, a pupil from 1952-1967 and Ruby Natalie Garland (née Jackson) 1910-1911.
For further information on the history of Epworth please contact Renee Alcock on 033 846 2539 or email firstname.lastname@example.org