Friday, 27th November 2020

History of Brinsworth

Brinsworth = “Brynesford” = Brini’s ford.
The ford in question may be the ford across the Don at Deadman’s Hole or a ford across the Rother that preceded Bow Bridge

Bonet Lane (new and old)

Brinsworth can claim to have a longer documented history than most Rotherham parishes for the Roman fort at Templeborough fell within its boundaries. Initially constructed from earth and wood c50AD, the fort was rebuilt in stone around 100AD. The civilian settlement that sprung up outside the walls to service the legionaries’ needs can claim to have been the forerunner of modern Brinsworth.

There is strong local tradition, but no physical evidence, that the great battle of Brunanburgh, fought in 937AD between King Athelstan and a combined Viking and Scottish army, took place in or near Brinsworth.

On the evidence of Doomsday Book, Brinsworth had been completely devastated during William the Conqueror’s Harrying of the North in 1068-9. There were two estates at Brinsworth in 1086. Roger de Busli held the lands that had been held by the Saxon lord Godric while William de Percy held the larger estate that had belonged to Northmann. The Commissioners returned both estates, where there had been land for 4 ½ plough teams, as “waste” and valueless.

The de Busli share of Brinsworth was later held by the lords of Tinsley and formed a detached portion of Tinsley and Brinsworth. The Percy estate came to be held by a family called de Normanville (?descended from the pre-Conquest Northmann) whose main seat was at Thrybergh. Ralf de Normanville received a charter from Henry III in 1260 granting him free warren in his lands at Brinsworth, Thrybergh and Dalton. In the reign of Edward III the de Normanville estates passed to the Reresbys and Brinsworth thenceforward passed with Thrybergh to the Saviles, Finches and Fullertons.
The most important inhabitant of Brinsworth in the late 14th Century was the lawyer John Guneys. In the 1379 Poll Tax Guneys and his wife Alice were assessed at 6s 8d. The next highest tax payer was Robert Brake, the village blacksmith, who paid 6d. Altogether 58 inhabitants paid the poll tax.

The boundary of Brinsworth originally extended north of the River Don as far as the Holmes Tail Goit, including the area of Masbrough known as New York. The hamlet of Ickles lay on the Sheffield Road. Here there was a corn mill on the River Don, later converted into an oil crushing mill. Ickles Hall was used as a dower house by the Reresbys and their successors. The original timber framed house was rebuilt by Thomas Reresby in 1587, probably using stone from the ruins at Templeborough, and enlarged in 1610 by Sir George Reresby who lived there for a time. The house, with the surrounding land, was acquired by United Steel Company Limited and was demolished in 1939.

Brinsworth was part of the extensive ecclesiastical parish of Rotherham and therefore did not have its own church. The village stood away from the main road from Sheffield through Rotherham, to Doncaster, turnpiked in 1756 and the Bawtry – Tinsley road, turnpiked in 1760. The population was 183 in 1801 and by 1851 had risen only slightly to 266. The next decade saw the population jump to 777. Almost the whole of this increase was in the New York area. In 1879 the boundary between Brinsworth and Rotherham was altered, transferring New York, Templeborough and Ickles to Rotherham. The 700 acres of Tinsley territory within Brinsworth was transferred to Brinsworth in 1912.

The first exploitation of the extensive reserves of coal beneath Brinsworth took place from outside the parish. The Fullertons leased the coal beneath their lands to the Rotherham, Masbrough and Holmes Colliery Company who sank a colliery at the Holmes, north of the Don. This pit was then leased by the Fullertons to the Sheffield steel makers, John Brown and Company, who, in 1890, sank a new pit on the west bank of the Rother at Canklow. Known as Rotherham Main Colliery, the pit became a major local employer. The Midland Railway Company established a locomotive depot at Canklow to deal with the coal from Rotherham Main and other local pits. The railway through Brinsworth had been opened by the North Midland Railway in 1841 as part of its main line from Derby to Leeds. Streets of houses were erected by the colliery company and the railway to accommodate their workers. These developments resulted in a population increase to 1,332 in 1881 and 1,656 in 1891.

With the rise in population came a need for a church to serve the village. A small mission church, St Andrew’s, was opened in 1886. By 1898 the need for a larger place of worship was being felt in the Canklow area. A new church, St George’s, was erected on land given by John Brown’s, and opened in 1900. In 1903 it became the parish church of the new parish of Brinsworth which included Orgreave and Catcliffe. When St George’s was declared redundant in 1974, St Andrew’s took over as the parish church.

John Brown’s were also instrumental in providing the first school in the township. Brinsworth had been incorporated in the area of the Rotherham School Board in 1875, against the wishes of many of the inhabitants, but the Board had done nothing to provide a school for the village, expecting the children to attend the school at Catcliffe. In 1894 John Brown and Company provided a school near the colliery for 140 children of their employees. From 1894, the newly formed Parish Council were in the forefront of the movement to get a proper school for the village. In 1901 a temporary board school was opened in Atlas Street, using a corrugated iron building that had formerly served as a temporary school in Middle Lane, Rotherham. This served until the permanent school buildings on Brinsworth Lane (now Brinsworth Manor School) was opened in 1907.

In 1912 the detached portion of Tinsley officially became part of Brinsworth township, an addition on some 700 acres. In 1936, however, the boundary of Rotherham County Borough was extended south to Bawtry Road and civil parish of Brinsworth was reduced to 711 acres. As a result the population of the civil parish fell from 2,500 to 1,900. The post-war years saw the development of Brinsworth from a semi-rural community to an urban area serving Rotherham and Sheffield. The population rose steadily as the result of house building within the parish, reaching 5,300 in 1961 and 9,664 in 1981, before a slight fall to 9,319 in 1991.

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