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.


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

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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!
(aka Barnsley Historian)

Unknown 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!

Unknown 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.

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.
aka Barnsley Historian

Unknown said...

I am researching my Stone family & just found Samuel Stone (dob 1835 in WestonUponTrent) who married a Mary Ann prob after 1851. I have found a burial record from Parish Records at Monk Bretton, Yorks for a Samuel Stone for 4 July 1883 aged 48yrs (which would be correct) also a burial record for Ann Elizabeth Stone his daughter on same date aged 1 mth. Both give abode as Day's Bleach Croft. Bap Record for Ann Elizabeth Stone in Monk Bretton, Yorks Parish Records dated 4 June 1883 give her parents as Samuel & Mary Ann Stone of Days Bleach Croft and her father Samuel occupation is Miner. I Googled Days Bleach Croft and was directed to your website which I read with interest. I hope that my information will be of interest to you and I too would be thrilled to have a photograph of Days Bleach Croft. I have photographs of Monk Bretton Colliery and intend to research further

BarnsleyHistorian said...

Thank you for for reading my blog. It is great to get comments from people with a connection to Day's Croft. Hopefully, one day, someone will turn up a photo. I am staying hopeful!

Oly said...

In Monk Bretton
Have you come across the name Hope Inn which was near or on the canal bridge the Innkeeper in 1901 and 1911 was Alfred North Wiseman and I have access to a photograph of a football team taken outside the Inn in 1898 89, which local newspaper of the time would have been likely to have published it.
Thanks in anticipation

BarnsleyHistorian said...

Hi Oly,
The Hope Inn is still there. and an old photo here

Is this the pub you were hoping for? Sorry for the pun!

P.S. You only needed to post once, I like to moderate the comments to avoid spam, that's why your post didn't appear straight away. I have deleted the surplus duplicate queries.

Oly said...

Yes thats the pub, thanks, sorry for re-posting, i'm getting hasty in my old age, HOPEing i'll last a bit longer to be able to find the local newspaper it would have been in with all the names mentioned and perhaps the positions they played, HOPEfully.
One member of the team was Walter Joyner born locally in 1882 worked in the mine his father Thomas a miner lived in NewMillerDam, was a local Methodist lay preacher.

Unknown said...

I am currently planning a railway model of Barnsley Exchange and Courthouse stations in and around the 40's-50's and need any information. I have books and photos that are shown on the internet but need a more detailed rail and road layout map or plan. I can be reached at
Thanks, Geoff Readman

BarnsleyHistorian said...

Hi Geoff,
A few years ago I remember seeing/glancing through a book in the local library here in Cudworth about the railways in the area. It was a large, A4, book with a white cover ... I didn't buy it as it was very specialist, but maybe you can find it in one of the local libraries or at Barnsley Archives. I am sure it laid out all the railway lines around Barnsley.
Sorry not to be more help, railways aren't my thing really.
aka BarnsleyHistorian

wellerz said...

There is a mystery surrounding the death on Elsie Duffy of High Street, Monk Bretton, who was found on the railway at "Danscroft Bridge" on 22 October 1922. She was last seen getting off a bus in Monk Bretton at 7.15 pm, and found by the signalman at 12.25 am, having been hit by a train. Was it an accident, suicide, or murder? The inquest on 24 October returned an open verdict. any further information would be welcomed. Regards, Sam Weller

Unknown said...

My Family also lived in Days Croft.
My Uncle Edward Wetton was born there in 1921 he lived with his parents and grand parents family. Quite a lot of them. Edward Wetton died in the second world war and is commemorated on the memorial at monk Bretton and is buried in monk bretton cemetery .

Sharon Drainer said...

Hi, my mum and her family, the Penman family lived on Days Croft and my mum has many stories about the old area. She has a great memory about her young happy life at Days Croft. Please feel free to contact me for more information.

Sharon Drainer said...

Hi my mum lived on Days Croft, Jean Penman and was friends with Mavis Addy and they were playing when they saw an ambulance which was for the child who drowned in the canal, the child was feeding the ducks and feel into the canal. My mum has lots of stories from Days Croft. Xx

Mhr1952 said...

Hi Linda

I've just stumbled on your site having googled "Day's Croft, Monkbretton". Some of my ancestors lived at number 26 Day's Croft for over 20 years - the Keen family. They are shown on the 1901 census, Eliza Beatrice Keen (born 1894) being my maternal grandmother. My mum, Mary was born in Barnsley Maternity Hospital at Pindar Oaks on 16 August 1924, and her mother's address was still 26 DC. My grandmother was unmarried at the time, and we don't know who the other party (i.e. my grandfather) was. I once quizzed mum on this and all could say was her that her mother had told her her father was called Johnson. Granny told mum that she had inherited his teeth - they both had one front tooth partly in front of the other! Mention of the Johnsons of Day's Croft on an earlier post naturally aroused my interest - could this be my missing grandad? Granny subsequently married John Natngle in 1926, and mum was formally adopted by him. I presume at that stage they would have left 26 DA, and I note that a previous poster mentions relatives living at number 26 in the 1930s.

If anyone can add anything useful I would be obliged.



Unknown said...

I live on Burton Crescent Monk Bretton.Just off Burton the crow flies the pit head would only be about 300 yards from our garden and would have been visible before new buildings went up. When I moved here in 1984 my neighbours were George Johnson and Evelyn Johnson.They had brought their family up here.Mrs Johnson passed away the first and Mr Johnson about 2004. His sisters lived on Burton Rd across from the colliery. 2 houses on Burton Road were pulled down because of subsidence.One of his sisters lived in one of these. Mr and Mrs Johnsons children will be in their 60,s now and are Barry ,then a girl, Phill and Steve.Most probably my neighbour Mr George Johnson was a relative of the Johnsons in Days Croft.He also worked at monk Bretton colliery..these houses were built in 1939 The family who lived in my house years before me was called Storey.

Stone Family said...

I too am researching the Stone family as is Unknown from an earlier post. Samuel Stone was my great grandfather. Recorders indicate he resided at Days Bleach Croft at the time of his death in 1883 and that he was buried at Monk-Breton along with his infant daughter. Are the graves at Monk-Breton marked? Also as I reside in the States I am limited in what I can view online. Is there any way to tell what the cause of death would be since both father and daughter died on the same day.

I would also be interested in contacting the unknown poster researching the Samuel Stone family. I assume we are related somehow. Please get in touch.

Oly said...

You can obtain a death certificate for what I assume to be your past family from - UK General Register Office - the certificates are identified by quoting that you want the death certificates, there charge will be a charge for each certificate. The cause of death is not always given.
Bleach Croft is in the registration district of Barnsley.

Samuel Stone died in the 3rd quarter of 1883 age 48 Barnsley 9C 85

Mary Ann Stone born 1883 died in the 3rd quarter 1883 Barnsley 9C 85

BarnsleyHistorian said...

Given the coincidence of two family members dying on the same day you could try looking in local newspapers. Both the Barnsley Chronicle and Barnsley Independent are available online through the British Newspaper Library and also on Find My Past.
The burial records at Monk Bretton on Ancestry include the 1880s. Not all graves have a stone. Try Find A Grave or Billion Graves (websites) but the coverage is not 100%.
I am not sure what living in America has to do with restrictions on looking online ... try library access to the sites (yes, I know it's not possible at the moment, but make a note for when this is all over) as in England I can see all the overseas records for free at my local library even though I only have a UK subscription at home.
Contacting people via these posts is not easy ... all comments are moderated and I usually advise that putting your email online is not a good idea. I will publish a post with a contact email if you are sure that's what you want, but I will delete it after a few weeks (if I remember! Or am reminded).

David Hudson said...

My Great Great Grandfather Frederick Manterfield and his family arrived in Barnsley in the 1870s from Newark, first living in Cudworth, then in the 1880s moving to No. 26 Day's Croft, Monk Bretton. I found an article in the Barnsley Chronicle from 3rd September 1887 about an outbreak of Swine Fever in the Barnsley area which tells how Frederick kept a sow and six young pigs at his cottage in Days Croft which were infected all had to be slaughtered.
"They were destroyed, and as no compensation is now allowed for animals slaughtered the loss to Manterfield, who is a poor man, will be very great, the value of all the pigs being about £25"
Not long after this the family moved a short distance to a cottage on Littleworth Lane near the bridge. If only there were a photo of Days Croft but it's helpful to see the old map.

Stu from wakefield said...

Excellent story....I remember the two leaning houses on Burton rd.I came through every week on the bus from Wakefield and every week,the incline seemed to get steeper.Eventually,I guess,it became too much sadly. Hope the residents managed to get compensation to cover it...must have been quite an upsetting time.

Sharon Drainer said...

I really wish there were photos of Days Croft but alas I fear there are none. Would love to see the boathouse my mum was born in. She remembers everything about Days Croft and everyone who lived there, I've heard many stories. Xx

BarnsleyHistorian said...

Posted by an anonymous reader:
My grandad George whyke was born at 16 days Croft in1900 his parents were John Thomas and Edith allsebrook,my great,great grandparents lived at number 15; and had moved there between 1881 and 1891. Would love to see a picture, I remember my grandad saying he had to run through fields on a morning to get his dad beer, and then go to monkbretton school most mornings.
Ruth who posted earlier, your grandad George was my grandad George’s cousin, I remember him and your grandmother Bertha.