Black Diamonds Built Wentworth Castle

Wentworth Castle at Stainborough near Barnsley has fine gardens and parkland to walk around.
Now-a-days Wentworth Castle buildings are used as a college of further education known as The Northern College. Access into the house is therefore strictly by pre-booked tour only.

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Old History

‘In 1695, Thomas Wentworth expected to inherit the landed estate and vast wealth at Wentworth Woodhouse, some 7 miles to the south of Stainborough, when the 2nd Earl of Strafford died childless in 1695. Unexpectedly the estate was left to Thomas Wentworth’s cousin Thomas Watson.
Although Thomas Wentworth went on to command high positions as a soldier and diplomat in the service of King William III and Queen Anne, he remained determined to re-establish his claim to the title of Earl Strafford’.
In 1727, Thomas began to build a mock castle on the highest point of the estate. He called this Stainborough Castle, and on its completion in 1731 he renamed the house and estate Wentworth Castle.

20th Century History

For a full account of the fall of the dynasty from 1902 you could do worse than read ‘Black Diamonds’ by Catherine Bailey.
At that time Wentworth was surrounded by 70 collieries employing tens of thousands of men. The battle between the varying attitudes of mine owners and miners during the first half of the twentieth century is coupled with detail of the lives of the miners & their families.
Black Diamonds tells the story of Wentworth’s demise where family feuds, forbidden love, class war, madness and a tragic and violent death played their part. Coal is one of the most emotive issues in twentieth century British politics and this well written book sheds more than a miners lamp on the issues and social activity from two distinct points of view.

Book Cover

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Wentworth Castle and the Castle Gardens with Stainborough Park is the only Grade One Listed landscape in South Yorkshire. In addition to numerous listed buildings and monuments the gardens are superb as the following photos indicate.

Wentworth Castle Garden
A series of gothic follies and features includes a stumpery. Other structures enhance the viewing but for the fit a walk in the adjacent parkland is a bonus.

Formal Garden
If there was a garden specialty it is the acid loving collections of Rhododendrons, Camellias and Magnolias. I liked the presentation of a range of different holly varieties and an old yew.

There are 60 acres of formal gardens at Wentworth Castle and over 500 more acres in the surrounding parkland.

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You can wonder at leisure through the Gardens and Parkland but Wentworth Castle is now a college of further eduation and access into the house is by pre-booked tour only.

Other interesting houses in South Yorkshire: Wentworth Woodhouse, Wentworth Castle, Sheffield Manor, Cantley Hall, Burntwood Hall, Cannon Hall, Houndhill Paperback from amazon


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