Ironstone quarrying is hard work and these grafters gather for a breather and a photograph at Whinstone quarry in Rosedale.
Stone merchant William Berriman and Ironstone miner John Berriman plus Robert and Joseph are all recorded in the census from 1851 as living in Cropton a local village. In the nineteenth century the population in the area increased four fold over less than 20 years.
If you walk on the moors above Rosedale the track you follow forms part of the valley’s industrial heritage. The old railway line for Rosedale’s nineteenth-century ironstone mines is now a cinder track. “Rosedale’s Mineral Railway” closed in 1929 and now only runs ghost trains at Halloween.
Other relics are the roasting kilns where quantities of ore were tipped into the kilns from the railway line above them. The ore was mixed with coal and set alight. The process was known as calcination and the idea was to purify the iron, and reduce its weight, before it was carried by railway over the moors to the industries in the Northeast.
Blakey Inn, now better known as The Lion Inn on Blakey Ridge above Farndale and Rosedale is a popular location for a well earned drink for both travelers and walkers.
The sculptor, Vivien Mousdell, worked with the children of Rosedale Abbey primary school to create ‘Set in Stone’, with two planks carefully set into a carved boulder. There is a poem inscribed into the edges of the planks and images carved into the boulder that reflect the ironstone mining heritage of the area.
In the dark, working hard, loading up the wooden cart,
Work-shift over, in the sun, on the hill, having fun.
The performer Les Barker whilst not from Wath was reading poems at a festival in 2009. This ditty he wrote and performed stayed with me:
It was a calm, still day in Flamborough,
The channel clear and wide,
As the last of the timber sailing ships
Sailed out on the evening tide.
They never saw that ship again;
They searched when it was light,
But that fine old timber vessel sank
That clear and peaceful night.
No one knows what happened
On that night in 1910;
But the crew and her cargo of woodpeckers
Were never seen again.
- Wath-upon-Dearne is ‘a place on the river Dearn’ where the river is not obviously apparent to visitors and the town is in the Borough of Rotherham.
- It is situated on the floodplain of the River Dearne andand Dove Canal. south of Barnsley .
- The areas of Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster are known as the Dearne Valley. Formerly a strong coal mining area.
- In Victorian times Wath (upon-Dearne) had all the appearance and bustle of a small market town having several good shops and houses of public entertainment and a large population employed chiefly in the potteries, ironworks, and coal mines.
- The Rockingham pottery made fine porcelain and ornamental wares for the aristocracy and royalty leading in the early 1830s to the sobriquet “Manufacturer to the King” an early ‘by Royal Appointment’. Sadly the pottery and the coal mines, Manvers Main and Wath Main, are now all closed.
Wath All Saints Parish Church
- Wath All Saints Parish Church has existed in some form for over 1000 years with visible influence by everyone from Saxons, Normans, Elizabethans and Victorians
- Even people today leave their mark as they perpetuate “The Reading of Thomas Tuke’s Will” and the “Throwing of the Buns From the Church Tower” ceremony. This event is held in remembrance of Thomas Tuke who died in 1810 leaving bequests to the poor that stated “Forty Dozen penny loaves to be thrown from the leads of the Church at twelve o’clock on Christmas Day (now done on May day) forever”.
- The event attracts throngs of local people and visitors every year. The Wath festival is a cultural experience you may also wish to experience.
- King Edward II granted Reiner Fleming IV, Lord of the Manor of Wath, permission for an annual market and fair in 1312.
- Reiner may have set up the Market Cross at the bottom of Sandygate.
Famous Celebrity Connections
Ian McMillan and William Hague both went to schools in Wath. William Addy a Wath lad and pioneer of shorthand published a book in 1693 ‘Stenographia’ The art of short-writing compleated in a far more compendious method than any yet extant ….printed for ye author sold by Dorman Newman at the Kings Armes in the Poultry and Samuel Crouch at the Flower de luce in
Cornhill William Marshall at the Bible in Newgate street, Tho: Cockerill at ye 3 Leggs over aginst the Stocks Market and I. Lawrence at ye Angel in the Poultry (available from the open library)
Other Yorkshire Waths
- Wath means a ford or wading place possibly from the Latin word vadum a ford, or the old Norse Vath a ford or wading place.
- Wath is used in the North Riding instead of ford as in Hob Hole Wath, Slape Wath, Cow Wath and Leeming Wath near Bedale amongst others.
Image from wathhistory.org.uk/Newsletter