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ROTHERHAM: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1835.

"ROTHERHAM, a parish in the West riding of the county of YORK, comprising the market town of Rotherham, the chapelry of Tinsley, and the townships of Brinsworth, Catcliffe, Dalton, and Orgreave, in the southern, and the chapelry of Greasbrough, and the township of Kimberworth in the northern, division of the wapentake of STRAFFORTH-and-TICKHILL, West riding of the county of YORK, and containing 9623 inhabitants, of which number, 3548 are in the town of Rotherham, 49 miles S.S.W. from York, and 159 N.N.W. from London. The town is situated in the midst of a district abounding in mineral wealth; it is built partly on the declivity of an eminence, and paHly in a vale, near the confluence of the rivers Don and Rother; from the latter, which forms its western boundary, the town derives its name, and it is bounded on the north-west by the former, over which a handsome stone bridge connects it with the village of Masborough, which is of nearly equal extent with the town. The houses are in general built of stone, and most of them are low and of mean appearance, though occasionally intermixed with some of more modern erection; in the immediate neighbourhood of the church, several substantial and respectable dwellings have been recently erected, and at the east end of the town are two elegant mansions, called Cliffton and Eastwood. The streets are narrow, and irregularly formed; and though from its situation the town is capable of very great improvement, comparatively little has been effected. It is well paved, lighted with oil, and amply supplied with water. The environs are pleasant, and abound with varied scenery, and coal and iron-ore exist in great profusion. Within a short distance, on the road to Barnesley, is Wentworth House, the magnificent seat of Earl Fitz-William. The public subscription library contains several thousand volumes in the general departments of literature, and is liberally supported by a proprietary, and by annual subscribers of £1. 1. each. The extensive iron-foundries belonging to Messrs. Walker were celebrated for the casting of cannon of the largest calibre for government, and of works of great magnitude; the iron bridges of Sunderland, Yarm, Staines, and the Southwark bridge over the river Thames, were cast in these foundries, in which at present the principal branches are the manufacture and rolling of iron. The manufacture of sail-cloth was formerly carried on, but it has been discontinued. The spinning of flax affords employment to about sixty persons; there are also roperies, a manufactory for starch, a large malting establishment, two extensive ale and porter breweries, several oil and chemical works, and a small glass-house. The river Don, which is navigable to Sheffield, communicates with the river Aire on the north-east, with the Stainforth and Keadby canal on the east, with the Dearn and Dove, and Barnesley canals on the north-west, and consequently with the river Calder, by which means Rotherham obtains a facility of intercourse with all the principal towns in the great manufacturing districts of Yorkshire and Lancashire. The market is on Monday, for corn, cattle, and provisions; and on every alternate Monday there is a celebrated market for fat cattle, sheep, and hogs, which is numerously attended by graziers from distant parts of the country. Fairs are held on Whit-Monday and December 1st, for cattle. A court leet is held annually, at which constables and other officers for the internal regulation of the town are appointed. The Midsummer sessions for the West riding are held here in the courthouse, a handsome stone building recently erected, at an expense of £4000, in which also the justices of the peace hold their sittings, and all public business relating to the town is transacted. On the bridge leading to Masborough is an old structure, in the English style of architecture, now used as the town prison, but supposed to have been formerly a chapel of ease to the church. The living is a discharged vicarage, in the archdeaconry and diocese of York, rated in the king's books at £16. 8. 6., endowed with £200 royal bounty, and in the patronage of Lord Howard,, of Effingham. The church, dedicated to All Saints, is situated on an elevated knoll near the centre of the town, and is a spacious and venerable cruciform structure, in the later style of English architecture, with a central tower and spire highly enriched with panels, canopies, and crockets; the exterior is profusely, but tastefully and correctly, ornamented with sculptures of beautiful design, the doorways richly moulded, and the sides strengthened with panelled and crocketed buttresses: the south porch, of appropriate character, is highly enriched. The interior is lofty and finely arranged; the roof of the nave, which is of oak elaborately carved, is supported on piers of graceful elevation, and the windows, with a very few exceptions, are enriched with tracery of elegant design; the chancel is separated from the nave by a screen of elaborate workmanship, and there are some excellent monuments in the transepts, and near the altar a beautiful monument, of marble to the memory of Samuel Buck, Esq., a native of the town, and late recorder of Leeds, who died in 1806. There are places of worship for Baptists, Indepen dents, Wesleyan Method! sts, and Unitari ans. The free grammar school was founded, in 1584, by Lawrence Woodnett and Anthony Collins, of London, Esqrs., who endowed it with a small portion of land in and near the town; the endowment was subsequently augmented by a grant of £10. 15. 4. per annum, from the revenue of the crown lands, the government being in the feoffees of the common land. The school is kept in a room under the court-house, and is open, for gratuitous instruction in the classics only, to all boys of the town; the master's salary is £22.19. 6. per annum, and his house was rebuilt in 1810: this school, in conjunction with those of Pontefract, Leeds, and Wakefield, is entitled to two scholarships, founded in Emanuel College, Cambridge, by John Frieston of Altofts, in the county of York, in failure of candidates from Normanton school. A charity school was founded by Mr. Scott, and the funds for its support, now under the superintendence of the feoffees of the common lands, were originally vested in separate trustees: the premises, comprising a school-room and apartments for the master, were erected by the feoffees, on a site of land given for that purpose by Lord Howard of Effingham: the income, arising from the original endowment, increased by subsequent benefactions, among which is a bequest of & 20 per annum by Mr. Ellis, is about £ 80 per ann.: there are twenty-eight boys and twenty girls instructed and clothed with these funds, the deficiency being made up out of the rents of the common lands. The Rotherham Independent College, at Masborough in this parish, for the education of young men intended for the ministry among that denomination of Protestant dissenters, was removed from Heckmondwicke, where it had subsisted for nearly forty years, and established here, in 1795, under the superintendence of the late Edward Williams, D.D.: the students are instructed in the classics, mathematics, rhetoric, and composition, and attend regular lectures in theology, to which all their studies are subservient. The premises, which are handsomely built, and occupy a healthy and pleasant eminence, were originally intended for the reception of sixteen students, but have been since adapted to the accommodation of twenty-five: the funds for the support of the institution arise solely from donations and annual subscription. A school for the instruction of thirty poor children of dissenters was founded by Thomas Hollis, Esq., whose trustees appoint the master, with a salary of £20 per annum, for teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic, to the children on the foundation, for which he also receives quarterly payments. The new dispensary, a handsome stone building, erected by subscription, at an expense of £2000, contains on the ground-floor, in addition to the offices requisite for the institution, a spacious room for the grammar school, which it is intended to remove from the court-house, and on the upper story an elegant room for the reception of the library, and a commodious news-room. Almshouses for four aged widows, or unmarried women, were founded in 1780, by Mrs. Mary Bellamy, who bequeathed £250, to be vested in the purchase of land for their endowment. She also left £200 in trust to the feoffees of the common lands, directing the interest to be applied to the apprenticing of two poor boys, and £ 200 for the use of the poor of the parish. Mr. Edward Bellamy, in 1776, bequeathed £200, the interest to be divided among four poor housekeepers in reduced circumstances and not receiving alms. In 1480, Thomas Scott, usually called Thomas of Rotherham, who was then Bishop of Lincoln, founded a college in this town, for a provost, five priests, six choristers, and three schoolmasters, which he dedicated to the Holy Jesus; of the buildings, which subsisted for nearly a century, there remain the inn in Jesus' gate, and the opposite buildings now used as stables. This prelate was master of Pembroke Hall, chaplain to Edward IV., and, in 1475, made Lord Chancellor of England; he was soon after Bishop of Lincoln, and subsequently Archbishop of York; after the death of Edward, he was committed to the Tower by the Duke of Gloucester, who, on his ascent to the throne, released him; he died in 1500, Dr. Saunderson, Bishop of Lincoln, and a very eloquent preacher, in the time of Charles II., by whom he was particularly distinguished, was also a native of this town. On the summit of a hill, called Wincobank, about four miles from the town, and commanding a variety of extensive prospects, is the site of a military encampment, of nearly circular form, the mound and vallum of which maybe distinctly traced; and at the foot, of this hill, near the village of Grimesthorpe, is a quarry of stone, in which are imbedded various vegetable remains, chiefly calamites."


"BRINSWORTH, a township in that part of the parish of ROTHERHAM, which is in the southern division of the wapentake of STRAFFORTH and TICKHILL, West riding of the county of YORK, 2 miles S.S.W. from Rotherham, containing 225 inhabitants."


"CATCLIFFE, a township in that part of the parish of ROTHERHAM, which is in the southern division of the wapentake of STRAFFORTH-and-TICKHILL, West riding of the county of YORK, 3 miles S. from Rotherham, containing 202 inhabitants. Here is a manufactory for glass. In 1702, George Beardsall devised £10 per annum for a master, for which he teaches ten poor children."


"DALTON, a township in that part of the parish of ROTHERHAM, which is in the southern division of the wapentake of STRAFFORTH-AND-TICKHILL, West riding of the county of YORK, 3 miles E. from Rotherham, containing 225 inhabitants."


"GREASBROUGH, a chapelry in that part of the parish of ROTHERHAM, which is in the northern division of the wapentake of STRAFFORTH-AND-TICKHILL, West riding of the county of YORK, 2 miles N.W. from Rotherham, containing 1252 inhabitants. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry and diocese of York, endowed with £400 private benefaction, £600 royal bounty, and £400 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of Earl Fitzwilliam. The chapel is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. An additional chapel is now being erected by the Commissioners appointed under the late act for promoting the erection of churches and chapels. Here is a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists."


"KIMBERWORTH, a township in that part of the parish of ROTHERHAM, which is in the northern division of the wapentake of STRAFFORTH-AND-TICKHILL, West riding of the county of YORK, 1 mile W. from Rotherham, containing 3797 inhabitants. There are places of worship for Independents and Wesleyan Methodists. A school has been erected partly by subscription and partly by the produce of the old school-room; the annual income, arising from sundry donations, is about £S, for which sum eight poor children are instructed."


"ORGREAVE, a township in that part of the parish of ROTHERHAM, which is in the southern division of the wapentake of STRAFFORTH-and-TICKHILL, West riding of the county of YORK, 4 miles S.W. from Rotherham, containing 47 inhabitants."


"TINSLEY, a chapelry in that part of the parish of ROTHERHAM, which is in the southern division of the wapentake of STRAFFORTH-and-TICKHILL, West riding of the county of YORK, 2 miles W.S.W. from Rotherham, containing 827 inhabitants. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry and diocese of York, endowed with £400 private benefaction, £200 royal bounty, and £300 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of Earl Fitzwilliam."

[Transcribed by Mel Lockie © from
Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of England 1835]