17th Century Brierley

Near to the manor itself, stands Ringstone Hill. It is the highest of the ridge on which Brierley stands. Most of the village is hundred feet above sea level, with the nearby valley of the Dearne at one hundred and twenty feet, making Briarley's hill The ridge stretches from Clayton in the east to in the west. In some places it reaches three hundred and fifty and at Ringstone Hill it reaches four hundred. The whole area a natural barrier between Pontefract and Barnsley. The hill Ringstone is best seen early in the morning from Common Road, with the sun low in the sky. It is then easy to see why pre- man chose this site for religious uses. Nothing is left now from which the hill top gets its name, the hill being by an undercover reservoir. (At Ripponden, near Halifax, a hill-top named Ringstone Edge; this hill gets its name from of cairns.)

Ringstone Hill farm, as already stated, was at this time an inn and the innkeeper's name was Adam Hawkesworth. There is a legend that the highwayman, William Nevison, had hideouts in Yorkshire, one of them being Ringstone Hill, where the landlord was ordered to take down his sign for giving shelter to Nevison. In fact, there is an entry in the records of the Magistrates Sessions at Rotherham for 1676, ordering that Adam Hawkesworth, inn-keeper at Ringstone Hill should have his sign taken down for having harboured Nevison, a notorious highwayman.

The Savile family were now firmly established at Brierley Manor, though choosing to live at Rufford Abbey, Edwinstowe. In a letter, dated the fourth day of August, 1637, Sir William Savile, baronet, is summoned to appear at the house of John Micklethwaite, lngbirch- worth, to meet His Majesty's Commission on the eighth day of August, 1637. This meeting was to settle a dispute regarding land belonging to Brearley Manor, in the township of Thurlstone. The nature of the dispute was 'Had Sir William Savile rights to any lands here since the Harryngtons, previous Lords of the Manor, had been dispossessed of their lands? So we see that, even at this late date, the disposses- sion of the Harryngtons was still having its repercussions for the Lords of Brierley Manor.

Under the Saviles, Brierley Manor had become the head of their estate in South Yorkshire, and in 1662, rents for Brierley Manor were collected in the following townships: Airton with Calton, Skostroppe, Kirkeby and Hanieth, Airton and Otterburn, Barksland, Bothomhall, Brierley, Ackworth, Chiofell, Darrington, Denby with Bilcliffe, Skel- manthorpe, Smaishawe and Burchworth, Eland, Emley, Gouicarre, Eland cum Grettland, Hallisay with Lindley, Hanging Heaton, Hepton- stall, Hindley, Hipperholme, Hunsworth, Mirfield, Noriand, Ovendon, Rantenstall, Rishworth, Shafton, Shelfe, Skircoate, Soothill, Southoram, Staineland, Stansfield, Thuriestone, Thurgariand with Cawthorne, Hunshelfe, Bagden, Penistone, Birchworth, Kexbrough, Worsbrough, Royston, Thornhill, Wakefield and Wadsworth.

The Savile family were closely involved in the government of the country and in 1689 Sir George Savile was one of the leading men who offered the Crown to William of Orange, to whom he wrote many letters on this subject.