With all the talk about Covid-19 and immunology washing around I was surprised to find a family connection of sorts whilst carrying out some family research.
Some of my forbears, on my grandfathers side, are from around the Berkeley area of Gloucestershire. So what, you may ask?
The founding father of immunology, Edward Jenner, was from Berkeley and whilst researching my forbears I came upon the record above.
It is the actual frontispiece of the register of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials from the small town of Berkeley in Gloucestershire. Many of my forebears are in these records.
I don’t normally start at the very front, and I’m guessing not many others do either, but this time I wanted to see the full record. That’s where I discovered this note.
For those of you who do not know, Edward Jenner was the local doctor/surgeon. He is credited with the popularisation of immunisation.
You can see in this document a note dated 1795 by the curate, William Davies, to the effect…
“ In the spring of the year 1795 three hundred and nine persons were inoculated with the small pox in the town of Berkeley by Henry and George Jenner all of whom recovered”.
Though not the first to inoculate, Jenner was the first to prove the efficacy of inoculation in providing immunity to disease, in this case small pox.
Added to this, my forebears have a connection with the Nelmes family of Berkeley. Sarah Nelmes, a milkmaid provided the pus from a sore resulting from cowpox which Jenner used to inoculate an 8 year old boy. When Blossom, Sarah’s cow, died it’s hide was taken and is now hanging on the wall of St Georges Medical School Library (Tooting).
Small world isn’t it?