Monday, 12 August 2013

Day's Croft, Monk Bretton, Barnsley - it's not there now, the ground's all flat ...

When I was little one of my favourite songs was the Hole in the Ground by Bernard Cribbins. Towards the very end of the song he sings, "Hole in the ground, so big and sort of round it was, it's not there now, the ground's all flat, and beneath it is the man in the bowler hat," which obviously as a bloodthirsty child I thought was justice for bothering a man in his gainful employment leaning on his shovel!

Day's Croft wasn't a big round hole, but it wasn't far away from one ... Monk Bretton Colliery, and neither it nor Day's Croft are there now!  There is a grassy expanse sloping down from Monk Bretton to Lundwood, with a few trees and scrubby bushes where dozens of miners and their families used to live.
Map snip showing a railway line running almost north south across the image - a small row of houses jutting off to the right near a bridge over the canal.  At the top of the image is the colliery and to the bottom right a new "Garden City" style council estate is just coming into view
1930s map of Day's Croft and Monk Bretton Colliery (from Old Maps)

From this map snip I don't think that you would guess there were nearly forty little houses in Day's Croft, yet in the 1911 census summary book I can find a listing for thirty-two properties and there are some gaps in the numbering.  Numbers 1-3 and 6-7 are not occupied or not identified by number anyway.  Interestingly number 30 was Mr Laycock's shop which suggests the street was probably quite self-sufficient.  The summary books are an easy way to see the numbers of people living in an area.  Hard to believe but one of these little houses contained thirteen people on census night and two others each held ten people, including the house of one of the OH's relatives.

The colliery was in existence in 1880 according to a list on Rootsweb, but in the earliest map available, from the 1850s, the canal bridge labelled Croft Bridge on the 1930s map above is adjacent to the Bleach Croft, no doubt where it got its name.  There is no colliery and no row of houses on the road between the Croft Bridge and the Bleachworks.
Monk Bretton and the area of the Bleachcroft nearby (from Old Maps)
Searching the burial records for Monk Bretton church I can find no burials from Day's Croft before 1886.  There are 112 burials between 1886 and 1948 (when the list I have ends) with an address in Day's Croft and nearly half of them (51) are children under five years old.  Given this frequency of children dying in the area it does suggest that this is evidence that the houses were built no earlier than 1885 or 1886. 

A sepia toned newspaper cutting relating the case of George Wharam who had been issued with an order to quit his home in Day's Croft.
Sheffield Daily Telegraph Thursday 17 December 1903 (from Find My Past - Newspapers)
This newspaper cutting from 1903 states that George Wharam had worked at the colliery for fifteen years, so that takes us back to 1888, and that he occupied the house "under the colliery company".  So the houses were owned by the colliery ...

The earliest mention I have for the address in the OH's family tree is in 1900 when George Johnson jnr marries from his father George snr's home at 11 Day's Croft.  George marries Elizabeth Ann Jobling, the OH's half 3x great aunt and another Johnson, George's sister Ellen marries Elizabeth Ann's younger brother Richard Loveland Jobling six years later ... introduced through their siblings maybe?  There must have been a shortage of suitable houses in the area because in 1911 Richard Jobling, his wife and two children are living with George snr and six members of his family at 11 Day's Croft.  This is a total of ten people in a house, which according to the census, has five rooms (not counting the kitchen). 
A coloured map snip showing the location of Monk Bretton and Cudworth relative to Barnsley town.
The north east of Barnsley in 1924 showing Monk Bretton and Cudworth
(from the Bartholomew Half Inch Maps at the National Library of Scotland)
In 1891 George Johnson snr, occupation Coal Miner, and his family were living in Monk Bretton itself and eight or ten years prior to that, based on the birth places of the older children, they had lived in Cudworth.  It is less than a mile and a half from Cudworth to the colliery site, but I'm sure that the shorter walk from Day's Croft was welcomed.  On the small scale location map I have included above there isn't even a blip on the map for Day's Croft, however the Colliery is marked very near to Monk Bretton railway station.

What is even more interesting is that both George snr and his wife Ann Kitchen, who married in 1877 in Royston, are from the North West of England, the area which is now Cumbria.  George is from Penrith and Ann from Appleby which are no more than 14 miles distant from each other.  Did many families move from that area to Barnsley to work in the coal mines in the 1870s?  Did they socialise with each other because of their shared Cumberland/Westmoreland heritage?  The Kitchen family were still in Cumberland in 1861 but Ann's eldest sister, Alice, marries in the Barnsley district in 1869, so they have arrived in the area by then.  George Johnson appears to arrive between 1871 and 1877, alone.

As you can see on the 1930s map the new estates at Lundwood were appearing, semi detached houses, built no more than 12 to an acre in the Garden City style, each with its own garden on curving roads and cul-de-sacs.  I expect the families from Day's Croft watched over the fields as these houses were put up and hoped(?) they would be able to get one.  Certainly by the 1960s, judging by the maps again, there were no buildings of any kind left on the site of Day's Croft.

I can find no pictures of Day's Croft on the Barnsley Council's Yococo Image database online, and putting Day's Croft into the images search on Google brings back some of my own blog posts!

There may be more information in the Archives about Day's Croft, possibly in the records of the colliery ... or photographs that haven't made it to Yococo yet.  We can only hope.  It would be nice to see what these houses, which were home to some very large families in 1911, actually looked like.

9 comments:

Unknown said...

My mother was born in days croft in 1925. To maria and harry jackson. Strangely enough the jobling family is mentioned, many years later my sister (grand daughter of maria and daughter of Elsie Jackson) married a great grandson of the Richard Loveland Jobling referred to

John Rhodes said...

My mother was born in days croft in 1925. To maria and harry jackson. Strangely enough the jobling family is mentioned, many years later my sister (grand daughter of maria and daughter of Elsie Jackson) married a great grandson of the Richard Loveland Jobling referred to

BarnsleyHistorian said...

Thanks for this John,
It's nice to finally 'meet' someone who has a connection to Day's Croft. And who is some kind of complicated (via marriage) relation to my husband's family too!
Linda
(aka Barnsley Historian)

Fran Birkbeck said...

My Nannan was from 26 Days Croft. She was one of 11 children (born 1938) of George (Curly) Addy and Amy Addy. Unfortunately two of the 11 died at a young age. One age three in1939 of pneumonia and the other drowned in the nearby canal aged two in 1944. Would love to find photographs of the area.

BarnsleyHistorian said...

Thank you for reading Fran,
Hopefully if people keep reading and posting some photos might crop up. Fingers crossed!
Linda

Philip Thompson said...

I have been researching a Johnson family for years around Monk Bretton and came across the Johnson's of Days Croft. Sadly there appears to be no connection to the family I was researching but it was deeply interesting to hear of the problems this family has suffered.

Like other, I would like to see and photo of Day's Croft.

Additionally, if any one know of the other Johnson family (Eliza Johnson B 1838 - D 1913 and married Thomas Thompson)

BarnsleyHistorian said...

Thank you for reading Philip.
Hopefully one day some photos will appear. There's not many of the older parts of Monk Bretton either, all now demolished.
Linda

Ruth said...

I've been researching my great grandmother Alice Whike and her family who lived at 15 Day's Croft. This page was really interesting, especially as nothing is left to see anymore.

BarnsleyHistorian said...

Thank you for reading Ruth. I am glad you found my post interesting. It's nice to know there are other people out there with an interest in Day's Croft.
Linda
aka Barnsley Historian