Home Places Streets and Communities A Ramble Round Mexborough – The Present and The Past.

A Ramble Round Mexborough – The Present and The Past.

May 1890

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Friday 16 May 1890

A Ramble Round Mexborough

The Present and The Past.

Being a stare to my ‘cycle, but few days elapse without my riding east, west, north, or south, of our good old town, Mexborough—or, as it was anciently known as, the Maisebelly of Matthew, of Westmoreland. Flourishing as the place is now with mines, ironworks. railway operations, and so on, it is interesting to the übiquitous ‘cyclist to know that in days of yore the potteries were the chief source of benefit to the inhabltants—then about one-eighth of the present number. It was noted for its excellent quarries of building and grinding stones, and for the vestiges of several Roman aggers, supposed to have been raised to strengthen the neighbouring fortifications at Templeborough, but one of them called the Castle Rill, is said by

A Ridiculous Traditional Tale

“to have been the intended site of a castle, the erection of which was commenced, but whatever was erected in the day was, by some supernatural agency conveyed to Conisborough at night.” The Earl of Mexborough, who is an Irish pier, derives his title from this town. The ‘cyclist, with a few rough ideas in his mind, can revolve through the streets with some degree of interest and reflect on the rapid strides made, and at the same time carry his mind forward to the near future, when Mexborough and the neighbouring townships will be amalgamated—an event which will bring along along with it a Town Council, a Police Court, perchance a County Court and the other advantages possessed by a municipality. Well, passing along the main street, down the Doncaster road declivity and between the pastures, the rider will mount the hill leading to Melton—High Melton, or Melton. on-the-hill. This is a very pleasantly situated and healthy village, from the summit of which an

Extensive and Attractive Panorama

is obtained. The chief residence is the Hall, a handsome mansion with pleasure grounds, formerly occupied by the late Richard Fountayne Esq., but now by James Montagu, Esq. The church, St. James’, is only a small edifice, but the windows are a special feature. Much of the stained glass was introduced at the cost of the late Dean Fountayne of York, who painted part of it and collected the rest from the old ecclesiastical edifices in that city. From Melton, an enjoyable run can be had to Barnburgh, which includes the village of Harlington, at the foot of the hill near the bridge. Bamburgh is remarkable for a questionable story of a fatal battle between

A Man and a Wild Cat.

They are said to have commenced fighting in an adjacent wood and to have continued the struggle to the church porch, where each of them expired of their wounds. The hero in this fable is said to be Percival Cresacre More. “A rude representation in the church commemorates the event, and, as in similar traditions, the accidentally natural red tinge on some of the stones has been construed into bloody stains, which all the properties of soap and water have not been able to efface.  The church, dedicated to St. Peter, is a neat fabric of the fourteenth century It contains

A Highly Wrought Tomb

to the memory of Percival Cresacre, whose effigy, finely carved in oak, is still in good preservation. Hickleton, with its fine hall, the residence of Lord Halifax, the president of the English Church Union, and the owner of the handsome church, which has recently been further improved at considerable cost, is well worth a visit. Swerving round to the left, an enjoyable ride is afforded for several miles between the fields until Goldthorpe and Bolton are reached. At the latter place is a bridge, said to occupy the site of a Roman ford in the way from Castleford to Templeborough. At the head of the village is a handsome residence erected in the Elizabethean style, on the site of an ancient burial ground.

Many Human Bones

are said to have been dug up in excavating the foundation. From Bolton, Mexborough is then easily reached, a circuit of about twenty miles having being made. Marr and Brodsworth could also be included in the outing. if time permitted. Brodsworth is a very picturesque parish. including Pigburn and Setwslay. The manor and principal estates in this parish became, in 1713 the property of the Earl of Kinnoul, and his grandson, who died in 1804, sold the whole to Peter Thellusson, ‘ a merchant of London, who had accumulated

A Princely Fortune

and died at Plaistow in 1797. The extensive estates he left in Brodsworth, Marr, Hampole, and some other places, he bequeathed tu trustees and directed that they should accumulate till a future period, for the benefit of his children’s children. The provisions of his singular will have been contested in every form and in every court and by Act of Parliament some of the previsions were reversed. But the estates are still vested with trustees, who have employed a great part of the rents in adding to their trust other large estates in the counties of York, Norfolk. Warwick, Hertford. Middlesex and Durham. The late Lurd Rendlesham was one of the trustees and lessee of the manor of Brolsworth. The church is an ancient structure, and dedicated to St. Michael, and contains several elegant modern tablets to the memory of the Kinnuuls and the Thellussons. Supposing the cyclist went on a direct route from Mexborough, eastward, he would come to the modern village of Denaby a place of

Mushroom Growth.

with its main street flanked either side by long rows of cottages, and close to which is the colliery. employing nearly 2,000 men and boys. Passing along it will be seen that quite a little colony has been created, and the reason of this is found on looking across the railway higher up, where sinking operations are going view of melting another mine but where progress is greatly retarded by the springs which are constantly tapped and for the removal of which water from the shaft large pumps have been In operation constantly, night and day for months.

The highway leads at once to the spot rendered famous by

Sir Walter Scott.

Conisbrough or Coningsborough is historically spoken of as the handsome and well-built village. mostly on a bold acclivity, at the base of which glides the Don. The

Castle Ruins

stand upon a conical hill, rising abruptly from the river, and forms one of the principal scenes in the popular romance, ” Ivanhoe.

This admired ruin, which consists of a lofty shell of a large and strong circular tower, commands an extensive prospect of the fertile vale beneath, and was once

An Impregnable Fortress

occupying the whole crown of the eminence, with a deep ravine between, from which in bye-gone days it was approached by a draw-bridge. The moat is now filled up, and the ruin is finely embowered in elm, ash, and other trees, of which have grown to a considerable size within the castle wails.

Camden says the Britons this place Kaer-Cosnan which signified the

“City of the King”

Aurelino Ambrosius, a British prince after defeating the Saxons in a battle in 489, retired to Kaer-Conan with his prisoners; and there it was that Hengist, the Saxon general, was beheaded and buried. The inhabitants show his grave to this day, before the north gate to the castle. The Saxons ultimately became the masters of this ancient British city and gave it the name of Coningsborough, i.e. King’s town or fort.”

In their time, its castle had under lie jurisdiction 28 towns, the inhabitants of which

Maintained the Garrison

The Norman Conqueror gave it to William Warren. It afterwards passed to the Crown, but was granted by James II to Lord Dover. The Duke of Leeds is now lord of the extensive honor and manor of Conisborough.

The village church is a spacious and lofty edifice, still retaining much of its original Saxon and Norman architecture. It contains a large grey stone, 18 inches thick, covered with rude carvings, the principal object in which is a

Knight Encountering a Dragon

The only effigy in the church is a much mutilated statue of a night, supposed to represent one of the Veecis. The route from this historic village can be either to Doncaster or Tickhill and Bawtry.

I will draw to a close of the present but may continue subject at a future time.