The Industrial Revolution

The nineteenth century saw the coming of the modern age to Brierley. The Industrial Revolution, in its local form of intensive coal-mining had already reached Barnsley where a canal linking Barnsley with the Aire and Calder canal at Wakefield had been started 1792 and was completed in 1812.

In 1824, the first railway in the area, the Wentbridge and Heck was planned and an extension of this was to run through of Barnsley. The builders went bankrupt it was completed and only a short stretch of the line can be in Brockadale near Wentbridge.

The first railway of a large scale to be built in the area was the Midland Railway from Derby to Leeds. It wassurveyed and in the September of 1835 by Robert Stephenson, the son of more famous George Stephenson. Cudworth was chosen as the the station to serve Barnsley, the station being linked with town by coaches travelling on the turnpike road. Later, a speciall line was built to link Cudworth with Barnsley. This was known as 'Pull and Push', since the engine pulled the carriages to Barnsley pushed them back. On Wednesday, 30th June, 1840, the first through Cudworth station. This was the 8.02 from Hunsiet, to Masbrough, Rotherham, which stopped at Cudworth for 9.1 5 that morning.

The Manor of Cudworth had now passed to the Banks Family of near Wigan, Lancashire. Their Manor House at Cudworth at the foot of Jenny Lane where Newtown Avenue now is. In this was occupied by William Making. One of the fields of the south west of the manor house was Great Hall Flatt and may mark the site of the hall of the Staple-tons, Newland and Newdale Avenues now occupy this field. In the late 18th century there was a coal pit with two shafts near Bell Green and five hundred yards to the north east of these near the road from Shafton to Ferry Moor Common is a field called Engine Close which was the site of the third shaft of this colliery. This shaft housed the engine for pumping water out of the workings. The road is now called Engine Lane.

One of the lasting effects of the railways was that, though they were built in this part of the country to take coal to the growing towns and industrial cities, they also made it possible for building materials from other places to be brought into the area. Thus, from 1840, the traditional stone roofs of Brierley were replaced by slate. Another change at this time was the general introduction of sash windows, up till now only installed in the more important buildings as at Grimethorpe Hall and the Manor House. Brierley Manor House has seen several changes of windows and has been re-roofed in slate. A local innovation was a horizontal sliding sash window, still to be seen in the window frames of many of the village cottages.

In 1835, the Barnsley to Pontefract turnpike was opened as far as Ackworth and a remaining milestone of the road stands to the right, on the way to Hemsworth, just past the end of Frickley Bridge lane. This milestone is the only one of the fourteen which still has the maker's nameplate fastened to it. All that can now be made out is'Leeds 1831'. The stones must have been ordered some time before the road was completed. They are in the form of a triangular cast iron face, supported by a large stone.

Following the opening of the turnpike road we find the first men- tion of the Three Horse Shoes Hotel, probably opened as an inn to serve travellers along this road. The post office at Brierley also came into b.-ing around this time; the first record of a post master at Brierley is of a George Wilson who was post master here in 1861.

The enclosure acts which dealt with the enclosing of lands in many voltages in the area did not include Brierley, but the Tithe Award for 1841 shows the village fields to have been completely enclosed by that date. This Act contains an enormous amount of detail regard- ing the field names, owners, tenants and tithes payable in Brierley, South Hiendley and Shafton and is worthy of a detailed study in its own right. The Archbishop of York was the owner of the tithes and they were leased to Viscount Galway and Robert Hoyland; the Rev. John Bains Graham, vicar of Felkirk, held the vicorial tithes. This arrangement regarding the collection of these tithes dates back to the Gth October, 1729, when Viscount Galway of Hodroyd Hall, Felkkirk, John Hoyland and Jos Wells signed a deed of covenant co.,icarn'ng the enjoyment of tithes in Felkirk, Hodroyd, Havercroft, Brierley and Shafton. In 1841 the principal land owners in Brierley were the Lord of the Manor Sir George Savile-Foijambe 1,698 acres, Richard Crookes 131 acres, John Hoyland 155 acres, and George Andrew Helleley 139 acres.

Viscount Galway was the Lord of the Manor of Havercroft which contained the remainder of the parish of Felkirk--that is Havercroft, Cold Hiendley, and Hodroyd, which is another name for Felkirk. The Manor of Havercroft was created out of the confiscated lands of Nostell Priory. The first mention of the manor comes in 1 549 when Sir Thomas Gargrave bought the lands from George Mills. Cudworth, though closely related to these villages, lay in the parish of Royston until its own parish church was built in 1892. The tithe barn for the parish of Felkirk stood one hundred yards to the north east of Viscount Galway's Hodroyd Hall. Its foundation can still be seen close to the road at High Well Hill. In keeping with the traditions of the area Viscount Galway acquired an estate at Serlby on the edge of the Dukeries, Nottinghamshire. He went to live there and rented the Elizabethan Hodroyd Hall to the Methley Family of Shafton.

Notable members of this family were: Willoughby Mathley of Hodroyd Hall, born 1791, his son Willoughby Methley who died on a passage from Quebac to Hull when his ship was lost on the second week of December 1831, Richard Methley who was born in 1797 became a merchant in Quebec and crossed the Atlantic 34 times, he died in 1837, the Rev. James Methley who was born in 1838, became a Wesleyan minister and died at Sheffield.

On the 23rd of November 1562 a tenement with land in South Hiendley, and a close in Brierley called Rowall Flatt was set aside by Sir Thomas Gargrave of the Manor of Havercroft. The profits of this land were to go to pay for books and other needs of the church or parish of Felkirk. In 1840 the churchwardens of Felkirk held in Brierley a piece of land called Ryehill Flatt, containing almost four acres. Allowing for variation of spelling this must be the same piece of land as mentioned in 1 562. The land can still be recognised. It is the last field on the left of Barnsley Road before entering Shafton. The first two houses in Shafton stand in the next field.

In the past three hundred years, coal, clay, and sandstone have been mined or quarried in Brierley, and there are remains 'of extensive osier or willow plantations at Frickley Bridge, Cliff Lane, and 'New Park Spring. Osiers were used in basket-making. Clay was dug "at Bind Holes at Tom Bank, and in Grimethorpe where Brighton Street is now

The windmill which had stood on the hill top between Brierley and Grimethorpe was probably taken down when the sandstone quarry was dug into the hillside there. There are several sandstone quarries in the area, one of which was on the left of Barnsley Road at the bottom of the hill going towards Shafton; another stood on the left of Common Road, Brierley, while a larger one stood just outside Brierley on the road to South Kirkby.

As we saw in the court rolls, coal had been dug on a small scale in South Croft. This field of South Croft was later used as the site for Brierley's 20th century coal mine.

Large scale mining as mentioned before had been started in Barnsley and in 1838 was the tragic flooding of the Silkstone Colliery.

There is a monument in Silkstone Churchyard telling of this.

There was a colliery at the side of the road between Brierley and Shafton which was worked from 1840 to 1856. This mine was known as White Hall Colliery and had a shaft down to the Shafton Coal Seam at a depth of 309 feet; the seam at this point was four feet six inches thick. The shaft is now covered by a slab of concrete in the grounds of the colliery cottage. The mine would have access to the Barnsley to Pontefract Turnpike mentioned earlier.

During these industrial changes the water driven corn mill on Grimethorpe Green was converted to steam.