The villages of Newhill, Hoyland Common and Platts Common.
by Edward Wilkinson.
Newhill continues to be part of Wath-upon-Dearne within the Metropolitan Borough of Rotherham. Newhill Park is now just an open space owned by the local authority, whereas until the end of WWII it was the grounds of Newhill Hall, a private residence owned by a Miss Payne, where peacocks roamed the grounds. The book "A History of the Ancient Parish of Wath-upon-Dearne" by Revd. W. Keble Martin .M.A. Vicar of All Saints, Wath-upon-Dearne says that Mr. Richard Payne's great grandfather built the present Hall in 1784. ( Keble Martin was also author of the book "Concise British Flora" with foreword by H.R.H. Duke of Edinburgh)
When Miss Payne fell ill around 1945, squatters moved into Newhill Hall. The Urban District Council later bought the Hall from Miss Payne's executors and continued to house the squatters. After the squatters were moved out into new housing, vandals wrecked the house just after the Hall had been surveyed for the U.D.C. In particular they pushed the wrought iron balustrade off the edges of the cantilevered stone staircase, breaking the stone treads. The vandals missed the several lead linings of the rain water tanks in the roof which were over half an inch thick. During the survey it was noted that the partition walls on the second floor, instead of having wooden laths on the timber stud beams, had woven rushes nailed to the timbers to hold the plaster surface.
The remains of the water mill at Mill Lane below Newhill Grange can still be seen: this mill was mentioned as being at Monk Dam in 1257 when William le Fleming gave his lands at Wentworth to the monks at their abbey at Bolton-in-Craven.
New Council house building has detracted from the few pretty cottages. A storm in the mid 1950's tore many of the clay tiles from the Council house roofs, some losing more than half their tiles. In the entrance to the old Co-op store, a concrete capping covers the top of an old coal mine.
Hoyland Common, like nearby Platts Common, did not exist as villages until after the enclosure Acts of 1794 - 1799. Stead Farm, mentioned in 1573 still has stone mullioned windows filled with masonry following the imposition of Window Tax in 1696. Where the road coming up from Elsecar and through Hoyland past the old Town Hall to Hoyland Common, previously known as Finkle Street but now West Street and Hoyland Road, crosses the Sheffield to Wakefield Turnpike road (now the A6135) to go to Tankersley, the cross roads used to be called Allott's Corner after the family which for some generations ran the Sub-Post Office on the corner. There was an interesting sign post on this junction pointing North Eastwards which read "Jump 1 mile" and the local Yorkshire Traction bus service was the "Jump Circular".
In the 18th and 19th century some poor single storey housing started to be built in Hoyland Common for miners working at local coal mines and for families of nailers - that is buying rods of iron to be heated and cut into nails and sold back to the local nail factor. This arose from the locally outcropping coal and iron ore deposits. Nailers had been operating at nearby Elsecar early in the 17th century, but by the 18th century the work moved to Hoyland Common, providing nails for the London market. Some nailers were also farmers in the summer months, being nailers in the winter to keep warm, then taking the nails by horse and cart to sell in Lincolnshire.
The Marquis of Rockingham wrote in 1750, "I have built a tower at Hoyland Law", subsequently called Hoyland Law Stand. This is on the edge of Hoyland Common, just above the present site of St. Peter's Anglican Church built in 1740 as a Chapel of Ease in the Parish of Wath-upon-Dearne.
In August 1859, the local newspaper reported that "The village of Hoyland Common seems to be improving with something like the speed observable in American towns. ... Among other improvements a large hotel has been erected and it is anticipated that there will soon be a mechanics' institute."
Methodism spread to Hoyland Common from Thorpe Hesley where Revd. John Wesley had preached. St. Paul's Wesleyan Chapel was built in 1809. In July 1861 Joseph Dyson said that a new Wesleyan Chapel had been built at Hoyland Common, and that he had "attended the last of the opening services - a tea meeting - last Monday". This was Christchurch Wesleyan Methodist Church in Hoyland Road, Hoyland Common. Meanwhile the members of the Primitive Methodist Church met in cottage meetings until a chapel which held 300 people was built in Tinker Lane, opening in the week ending 17th February 1866. Later a Mission Hall was built alongside this chapel with a foundation stone marked "This stone was laid by J.R. Wilson Esq. 16th Oct. 1886". The Hall was demolished in August 1970.
Hoyland Common School was built in 1874 at Sheffield Road (the old Turnpike) and Mr. & Mrs. Parker from Ollerton as teachers with salaries of £120 and £70 per year respectively, plus a house.
During the Great Yorkshire Lockout in 1893 there occurred a most violent industrial dispute in which the colliery owners tried to impose a wage reduction of 25%. Rioters left a meeting in Wombwell and attacked the Hoyland Silkstone colliery simultaneously from four different directions, beating up blackleg wagon loaders, smashing offices and releasing the brakes on rail wagons to run away and smash. After an hour they set of for the Rockingham Colliery, pausing only to plunder a cartload of ginger beer. A small boy carried the tidings to Hoyland Common where shopkeepers hurriedly put up shutters. As they passed through Hoyland Common a small schoolboy (the writers great uncle) stood up in class to watch the rioters pass by along the Turnpike from Barnsley towards Sheffield. Policemen watching the crowds of several hundred men watched helplessly. The strike dragged on for sixteen weeks before a meeting in November 1893 of men and owners agreed that the men would return to work at their old wages.
At Wentworth, the cottages shown about half a mile to the South west of the Church and marked on the O.S. Explorer map 2½ inches to 1 mile map as 'Derricroft' is in fact the old Spittal Houses where Elizabeth Beaumont was born on 14 July 1793.
This information taken from local knowledge, from the 1953 Coronation Edition of the Official Guide to Wath-upon-Dearne with the map of Wath-upon-Dearne Urban District, an original copy of "A History of the Ancient Parish of Wath-upon-Dearne" by Revd. W. Keble Martin. M.A. Vicar, and from the book "Hoyland Nether" - a history of the Hoyland Nether Urban District produced for the Council by Mr. A.K. Clayton a local historian in November 1973 and who copyright it remains.
Edward Wilkinson, now in Devon.
Written by Edward Wilkinson