20th Century Brierley

The area under the influence of Brierley Manor had by now been reduced by various sales to lands in Brierley, Grimethorpe, South Hiendley, and Shafton. Each of these villages had its own sub-manor house, the one at Grimethorpe has already been mentioned; the one at South Hiendley stood on the south-west corner of the junction.

Main Street and Kirk Gate, the road leading to Felkirk. This manor house had extensive gardens and a large fish pond, the remains of this pond can still be seen about three hundred yards along Kirk Gate. Shafton Manor House stood to the south-west of the road at Dog Hill; this may well have been the site of the earlier manor of John Harryngton. Both these buildings are now in use as private residences.

The 19th century road through South Hiendley followed a very w.nding course. Coming from Brierley it turned sharp left at South Hiendley Manor House, then sharp right to become Tun Lane, then on to Havercroft via Wastoff Lane.

South Hiendley and Brierley Commons are the only ones to have survived as open land, though much of Brierley Common is now under the plough. The common at South Hiendley is in two parts, one each side of the road from Brierley and covers 47 acres. South Hiendley pinfold stood at the western end of the common. Brierley Common has retained its original shape and parts near to the village are still open land. It lined both sides of Common Road from the place called The Flashes as far as the cross roads on the Rotherham to Wakefield Road, then both sides of this road as far as Burntwood, and covered an area of 134 acres. The commons were waste lands used for grazing and were the joint property of the Lord and Freeholders of the manor.

Colonel Foijambe had inherited the estates of Francis John Savile-Foijambe and in 1919 the Manor of Brierley was sold. (An extract from the Sale Documents is shown.) The Court Leet of Brierley was retained; this is still held when there is sufficient business to warrant a meeting.

In 1934 there was another change in Brierley when the Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists decided to unite. Each group left its own church and together they bought the Methodist Church, which is now in use, and to which a fine new hall has recently been added.

Work at Brierley Colliery ceased for a while in the 1930's and in the next, one to the west of Ket Hill Lane and the other to the south of Frickley Bridge near the decade coal was outcropped on three sites in the village. One of these was to the east of Cliff Lane Hull and Barnsley Railway line. By 1949, all these sites had been restored to farmland. Plans of Brierley Colliery workings show that pillars of coal were left under the village and under some outlying farms to prevent subsidence. On January 31st, 1947, mining ceased at Brierley and the colliery became a training centre.

The mines in the area, particularly those at Grimethorpe and Ferry Moor, have gradually swallowed up most of the now park of the Saviles and are now, with their spoil heaps, creeping past Ferry Moor Farm on to Cudworth Common. The N.C.B. is doing much to restore this land by lowering the tips and covering them with soil.

Between 1959 and 1961 the spoil heap of Brierley Colliery was landscaped: 140,000 tons of red shale were removed. Together with the Forestry Commission, the N.C.B. planted 38,000 fir trees on the site of the lip and to ensure the development of the plantation planted 10,000 more one year later.

Even Brierley Hall has changed. Brierley became part of Hems- worth Rural District, and in the 1950's Brierley Hall had a brick section added when the hall became the Headquarters of the Rural District Council, which governed an area as large as the estates of Brierley Manor in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Another estate changed hands in 1960, when on the death of Roger Dymond, the Dymond estate was sold off. Burnt Wood Hall is now the property of Mr. Dougles Ross-Gardner, the son of a well- remembered local doctor. Howell Wood is now the property of the new West Yorkshire County Council.

The West Riding and Hemsworth R.D.C. have now been replaced by West and South Yorkshire with the new Barnsley District now controlling Brierley. Here again the past is being reflected, as the new Barnsley District closely resembles the old Wapentake of Staincross. In fact, the point where the new districts of Barnsley, Wakefield and Doncaster now meet is near the point where the Wapentakes of Staincross, Osgoldcross and Strasforth met, and the high north boundary of Brierley is now the boundary between West and South Yorkshire.

The Brierley Manor House is now the property of Mr. G. Kenyon and comes under the care of the Department for the Environment.

At the turn of the century, some visitors to Brierley, having come by train to Cudworth Station, walked, from there, the three long miles up to the village, along the old Hall Steads road. They gave to Brierley a name with which all its present and former inhabitants will agree - "That City Set On A Hill".