Home Places Streets and Communities Bolton-on-Dearne 100 years ago and more.

Bolton-on-Dearne 100 years ago and more.

November 1929

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Friday 15 November 1929

We are indebted to “Crusader” for some interesting historical notes on conditions in Bolton-on-Dearne hundred years ago and more.

The population of the parish in 1821 was 623, and its only industries then were farming and milling. Coal mining had taken place in the parish some years earlier at Goldthorpe, but the Pit had been closed. There were no railways, and the district was not at that time served by stage coaches. The common land had been enclosed, and the people in return were given land reached by four lanes; Highfield, Lowfield, lngs and Common Lane.

Bolton Hall was not then built, It was erected a few years later by a doctor named John Dimond, a reserved and mysterious man who is buried in an expensive vault without inscription. The churchyard was almost surrounded by Spanish chestnut trees, and was crossed by about seven footpaths.

Cross Hill, near the Cross Daggers Inn, was the milling centre of the village; there the Village Feast was held, and there took place the hiring of servants at the statutes. The village inns were then the Cross Daggers, kept by John White, and the Angel Inn, kept by Joon Ibbotson. There was no Coilingwood Hotel, but there were two beer houses, one m premises now occupied, near the shop of Mr. C. Harlow, the butcher, and other in the house which was for long occupied by the late Mr. John Dickinson.

The leading residents at that time included a lawyer named Godfrey Piggott, a maltster named Jonathan White, and a sadler named Luke White. This Luke White and his wife were foully murdered in 1856, and the crime was never cleared up. The village blacksmith was Robert Day, and the village shoemaker Joseph Ellis. There were two millers, Thomas Braithwaite and William Robinson; two wheelwrights, John Travis and Thomas Huntington—the latter still represented in the district by a number of descendants; Joseph Gillett, a butcher of that day, also has a descendant still in the business.

There was no nonconformist chapel, but soon after, nearly a hundred years ago, the chapel in Furlong Road was erected. There was a Goldthorpe Hall near the site of the present Wesley Ball at Goldthorpe. Although the population of the village was less than 1,000, Bolton was relatively more important than it is today. Wombwell and Mexborough were not much larger. Swinton at that time was the most populous village gust over 1,000 souls). Wath not quite large, Darfield, Adwick, Thurnscoe and Barnburgh substantial hamlets.

There was a colliery at Billingley, which supplied the district. It was worked by J. and J Charlesworth a very old Wakefield firm who in a later generation owned the Kilnhnrst Collieries. The site of Billingley pit is on the top of the hill, just above the Green.

There was a proposal about that time to make Lowfield Lane into a direct road to Doncaster, and though the project was never carried through, it will be noticed that the lane has the width of an arterial road, and is much wider than the ordinary agricultural accommodation lane.

When Bolton Hall was built early in the thirties numerous skeletons were excavated and it is thought that they were relics of an epidemic, although against this theory is the fact that one skull was perforated by what might very well have been a spear or a large bullet.

Mention of the old Angel In at Bolton-on- Dearne (continues “Crusader”) leads me to acknowledge the courtesy of Mr. B. Tugle, of Swinton, who has recently purchased the property and the adjoining cottages, by whose kindness I recently went over the interesting old place. The excavations in the rear have brought up a gravestone inscribed by John Pashley, and dated December, 1711. Near it was a carved face in stone, which was almost certainly the original “Angel” sign. Also, something like a huge oven was unearthed, probably from the old Brewhouse, which I find mentioned in deeds connected with the property a century or more ago.

There is plenty of documentary history of the property from 1732. In that year it was kept by William Pashley, a son of the John Pashley whose stone has been unearthed. It is possible that his father’s tombstone was finished and inscribed, but never taken to the grave in the Churchyard. This William Pashley got badly into debt, and eventually found himself in a debtor’s prison at York Castle where he remained for at least four years and became turnkey there, unable to return to his Bolton property for fear of his traders. He was succeeded by George Piggott, who for over twenty years collected the revenues of the property and methodically rendered an account of them, retaining them against the mortgage he held. William Pashley never ventured to claim his revenues on the spot, and the presumption is that he died at York. George Piggott was succeeded by William Piggott, and during the last century among those mentioned in deeds as tenants of the inn and cottages are George Bee, Thomas Thornhill. James Law, Richard Fretwell, Thomas Storey, George White, H. Hancock and Millicent Fricklery.